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New Property Protocol

Hogan Lovells and Falcon Chambers Develop Online Resource for Avoiding Disputes Between Landlords and Tenants in Lease Transactions.

Hogan Lovells and Falcon Chambers have worked together to develop an online resource to help tenants and landlords navigate their way through the legal minefield of assigning or subletting a lease. 'The Protocol for Applications for Consent to Assign or Sublet' is an online resource which has been developed for those who want to assign or sublet part or all of their premises but require their landlord’s consent to do so, and for those landlords whose consent is being sought. Leading real estate disputes specialists at Hogan Lovells and Falcon Chambers have worked together to create the first in a series of protocols, applying to commercial property situated in England and Wales. The Protocol is easily accessible ''here''.

The Protocol will help to:

  • Improve communication between landlords and tenants and ensure that applications are dealt with within a reasonable timeframe
  • Smooth relations and avoid disputes because both parties are provided with all the information they need regarding procedure.
  • Save the parties time and expense by allowing them to focus on the substance of an application, rather than wrangling over procedure
  • In cases where disputes do arise, parties are guided towards alternative dispute resolution (ADR) through an experienced arbitrator or mediator, with recourse to the courts being an option of last resort.

Other leading practitioners have been invited to put forward ideas for further protocols aimed at avoiding or resolving real estate disputes to be included in the on line Property Protocols hub.

Nicholas Cheffings, Chair of Hogan Lovells and head of real estate disputes, commented: "We envisage the Protocol being disseminated by the legal and surveying professions as, in the first place, a ready reckoner for behaviour at the point of application. As the Protocol becomes embedded in practice, we would hope to see it being referred to in leases and other binding documents, as a behavioural code to which arbitrators and courts will have regard in assessing compliance."

Guy Fetherstonhaugh QC of Falcon Chambers said: “We hope that this will be the first in a series of collaborative ventures by property professionals to facilitate good practice in the property industry, and enable disputes, if not avoided altogether, to be resolved by experts with minimum contention.”

Liz Peace, the chief executive of the British Property Federation, has endorsed the Protocol:

“Improving the functioning of the sub-letting and assignment process can only benefit landlords and their customers. Added clarity should save time and money, better protect each party, and narrow the scope for disputes. I know from past experience that ease of sub-letting and assignment is also something Government puts emphasis on. I therefore really welcome this protocol and hope it will be the first of many that seek to map out best practice in our industry.“

The team who created the Protocol were Nicholas Cheffings and Mathew Ditchburn, partners in Hogan Lovells real estate disputes team, and Guy Fetherstonhaugh QC and Jonathan Karas QC from Falcon Chambers.

Further discussion of the Protocol can be found "here"

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