Property: What’s in store for 2024
All of this may prompt a pick-me-up for deal activity in both the commercial and residential sectors. There will also be a number of regulatory changes to keep up with in 2024, but with a general election on the cards, making accurate predictions of what will happen in the sector and what the legislation will end up looking like is probably best avoided. What we can safely do is provide a rundown of some of the more significant developments in property law expected in 2024, with the finer details to be fought over in Parliament.
Leasehold and freehold reform
The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill will enable leaseholders to extend leases to up to 990 years, abolish marriage value and also limit ground rent. These changes will make it cheaper and easier for leaseholders to extend leases or buy the freehold or share of the freehold.
The Renters Reform Bill is likely to come into law this year, and it will make significant changes to the way in which landlords let properties to tenants. This is the one promising the abolition of so called “no fault” evictions, but the reforms have been delayed due to the lack of a framework for the courts to deal with the proposed new eviction process.
Ending of lower residential stamp duty
The increase of the residential nil-rate tax threshold from £125,000 to £250,000 will end on 31 March 2025. This means that buyers will go back to paying the full amount of stamp duty next year. This may result in an increase in transactions towards the end of 2024 and the beginning of 2025, before the lower rate ends.
The Building Safety Act 2022 brought in several measures intended to make buildings and residents safer, in light of the Grenfell tragedy. In October, a number of measures were brought into law, which now relate to all projects, not just high-risk buildings. The regime is complex and specialist advice should be sought when building or re-developing property.
Biodiversity net gain
Intended to ensure that development has a measurably positive impact, or “net gain” on biodiversity, developers must deliver a BNG of 10%. This means a development will result in a better quality natural habitat than there was before development. New BNG rules came into force for most new developments from January 2024. Draft regulations and government guidance were published at the beginning of December.
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Commercial Property Team Facilitates Playground LA’s Latest Dance Venture in heart of London
PLAYGROUND Brand’s Dance Legacy Broadens Its Horizon. Boasting acclaimed studios in LA, Playground London stands as the newest addition to the illustrious PLAYGROUND Brand, gearing up to offer master classes and dynamic daily sessions helmed by industry-leading choreographers.
Seamless Expansion: Thanks to the diligence and expertise of the Commercial Property team, Playground LA Limited secured a smooth lease agreement, culminating in a mid-July completion. With eager anticipation, PLAYGROUND LONDON is poised to swing its doors open on Oct 2nd!
Frequented by stars like Jennifer Lopez and Justin Bieber, and associated with brands such as Nike and Adidas, Playground LA’s legacy is set to continue in London. Dive into the PLAYGROUND brand and check out PLAYGROUND LONDON.
Shaping the Sherrards of tomorrow
Abroo Khan, has now qualified from the Sherrards Training Academy and will be joining the Private Wealth team as a Solicitor.
Abroo has been a trainee with the firm now for just over two years, where she has been working alongside various departments, such as Commercial Property, Dispute Resolution, Corporate and Commercial, in order to grow her knowledge and understanding of the legal world.
Partner and Head of Private Wealth, Nicole Marmor, says, “It is brilliant news to have Abroo join our growing team. We have seen how hard she has worked throughout her time as part of the Sherrards Training Academy and we look forward to seeing her grow in her career with us.”
With regards to our Trainee Solicitors,
Max Marmor joins the Commercial Property team as a Trainee Solicitor in London, after working alongside the Dispute Resolution team and Commercial Property team as a paralegal for the past year.
We also congratulate Mike Jenkins who is promoted to Trainee Solicitor in the Commercial Property team in St Albans, after working alongside the team there for the past 10 months.
Lastly, we welcome Gabriel Cooke as a Trainee Solicitor to the Corporate and Commercial team in St Albans. Gabriel has been working alongside both the Employment, and Corporate and Commercial teams as a legal Admin Assistant for the past 7 months.
Sherrards Trainee Academy Partner, Michael Lewis says, “It is fantastic to see the Trainee Academy grow and see three excellent members of the team stay with us to begin their career as lawyers. We look forward to supporting them on their route to becoming Solicitors. I am also delighted that Abroo is qualifying with the firm after a highly successful training contract with us.”
Clarity for charities on non-domestic rates
However, in a significant judgment, the Supreme Court have unanimously ruled that a health charity can qualify for mandatory 80% relief from non-domestic rates in respect of a health and fitness club it runs, clarifying a well-established legal principle.
This ruling makes clear that where a charity is using premises for its core charitable purposes, the charity should be entitled to mandatory rates relief.
This decision will deliver some much-needed reassurance to charities on this point.
The case centred upon a members-only gym in Merton, South-West London, run by health giant, Nuffield Health.
The local authority had initially withheld rating relief on the grounds that Nuffield was operating a commercial gym that had no public benefit. In particular, they argued that the membership subscriptions charged put this facility out of reach of many in the community.
However, the Supreme Court (upholding the decisions of the lower courts) thought otherwise, finding that Nuffield “plainly uses the Merton Abbey gym for the direct fulfilment of those charitable purposes”. Nuffield qualified for business rates relief, after all.
Speaking about the judgment, Charities law expert and partner, Shane Knight commented:
“Rating relief is several billion pounds a year for the third sector. Without this decision, many charities would have faced massive hardship at a time when we are all still feeling the chill wind of a cost-of-living crisis. Charities should also be aware that there is a further discretionary rating relief that they can apply for directly from their local authority.”
Sherrards Partner, Guy Morgan, observed: “The decision removes any doubt on this point. Any landlord must also take this into account, when letting property to a tenant”.
Based in London and St Albans, Sherrards Solicitors has a large team of specialist lawyers acting for charities and those in the health and social care sector.
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Giggling squid open their 42nd restaurant
Partner Stephanie Kierans helped Giggling Squid open their 42nd restaurant, situated right in the centre of Welwyn Garden City.
Giggling Squid is thai food with personality and a firm favourite for Team Sherrards.
Founded by husband and wife Pranee and Andrew Laurillard, Giggling Squid opened its first restaurant in 2002 in Brighton, but despite the recent difficult period for all in the hospitality industry, the restaurant chain continues to push ahead with their expansion plans opening beautiful restaurants all over the UK.
Seven Dials welcomes WatchHouse Coffee
Charles Hodder, partner in the Commercial property team worked alongside the London Corporate and Commercial team to assist WatchHouse with the opening their ninth specialist coffee shop which boasts state of the art coffee technology including a Slayer Steam LPx and full brunch service seven days a week.
Sherrards are delighted to continue to support Watchhouse as their vision continues to grow.
You can read more about WatchHouse by clicking here.
Sherrards Corporate teams help with the sale of The Plough
This company are the owners of The Bull in Highgate and a local microbrewery. They reopened The Plough in October 2021 with great success.
Sherrards’ property and corporate teams worked together to complete the transfer of each constituent part of the business to the new buyer.
Sherrards retail team work with client Evapo expand and explore new business ventures
During the course of the last calendar year Stephanie and the team have advised Evapo on the renewal of three leases; the strategic re-gearing of two further leases and the acquisition of three new units. This is typical of the type of work the commercial property team carry out for a number or retail clients.
The team are also now working with the owners of the company in connection with a new business venture and we have concluded the first, of what we hope will be many, acquisitions of premises for the new concept.
Sherrards advised client Powerday on the acquisition of IOD Skip Hire Limited
This acquisition was led by Charles Hodder but also involved our corporate & commercial, employment and dispute resolution teams. The IOD Skip Hire site became Powerday’s sixth facility in London and means they will inherit the affiliated businesses of IOD.
The transaction was complicated, but we successfully completed the deal due to the team’s experience in the market and ability to work brilliantly across departments, bringing together specific expertise to ensuring seamless transaction.
Jamaica Blue opens new coffee shop and café at Kings Walk Gloucester
Jamaica Blue offers coffee made with beans from the Jamaican Blue Mountains along with a contemporary menu featuring classic dishes with a twist using the fresh locally sourced ingredients as well as a range of vegan and vegetarian options, and not forgetting the café’s famous big brekkie!
The store opening came just in time for the festive period for shoppers to enjoy.
To find out more, please contact Terry Fendt.