Service charges and property law
The Charities Facilities Management Group discussed legal issues relating to service charges and property at this meeting.
Law firm Bates Wells Braithwaite (BWB) hosted this meeting at their offices in Central London. We had an informal networking breakfast, followed by presentations from three speakers and a lively question-and-answer session.
The first presentation looked at how to get the best from service charges. The speaker was Peter Forrester, the author wrote the updated RICS Code of Practice on Service Charges.
The RICS published the Third Edition of the Code of Practice in February. Forrester introduced the Code and discussed what information should be included in service charges and how it should be set out. Forrester, who is also Director of Service Charge Consultancy at Savills, also discussed how charities can seek to improve the terms and how to use the Code of Practice on Service Charges in negotiations.
The next speaker was Lesley Robinson, Head of the Property Dispute Resolution Department at BWB. She discussed leases, and looked at the key lease terms to improve the terms of occupation. These included break rights, notice periods, and repairs and reinstatement. She also discussed some other relevant factors to raise during negotiations on the heads of terms.
The final presentation was by Nick Ivey, Co-Head of Property at Bates Wells Braithwaite, and a long-time supporter of the Charities FM Group. In a wide-ranging talk, he reviewed a range of topics which may have an impact on charities who own property, or plan to convert, let or sell property.
Participants also had the opportunity to ask questions and a range of topics were discussed, including alterations, letting and issues relating to tax.
Our thanks to legal advisors Bates Wells Braithwaite (BWB) for hosting this meeting. BWB is one of the UK's largest charity law firms and they have a special focus on legal issues relating to charities and property