Carl Brewin is a specialist property barrister with a particular focus on cases involving land and real property, landlord and tenant matters and disputes concerning and arising from property transactions.
Recognised by Legal 500 as a leading property practitioner, his clients include: well-known retailers, national housebuilders, institutional investors, property managers, insurers, local authorities and housing associations, as well as high net worth individuals. Carl is sought out as a confident and firm advocate and he is known for giving clear and concise advice that enables clients to understand their legal position as well as what that means for them in practical terms. He has a wide range and experience of advisory work, drafting and advocacy in all levels of court and tribunal.
Carl studied Russian and Politics. Before coming to the Bar, he worked in a busy solicitors’ office and for a city-based firm of corporate governance consultants advising pension funds and other large investors.
In alpine ski season Carl can be seen on the slopes attempting to match Eddie the Eagle’s finest achievements. For the rest of the year he can be seen mostly recovering from those attempts.
Carl has been appointed as a Deputy District Judge on the South Eastern Circuit and is also an accredited mediation advocate.
Areas of expertise
- Commercial landlord & tenant
Commercial landlord & tenant
Carl regularly advises and acts in matters arising from commercial leases, acting for both landlords and tenants. This includes opposed and unopposed lease renewals and dilapidations claims, in addition to advising on withholding of consent and exercise of break clauses and options.
He has a particular specialism in forfeiture proceedings (seeking forfeiture, wrongful forfeiture and relief applications) for arrears and breach of covenant, particularly where pubs and other licensed premises are involved, including obligations to buy tied products and services.
- Acting for an allotment company in a dispute over the termination of licences and recovering possession following anti-social behaviour by occupiers. The occupiers sought an injunction to stop the eviction, alleging harassment, and the case required analysis of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908, the Allotments Act 1922 and the Allotments Act 1950.
- Advising the intermediate landlord of retail premises in a bitter and wide-ranging dispute with the freeholder and sub-tenants involving: breach of lease, unlawful subletting, forfeiture and misrepresentation, amongst other things.
- Advising and acting for a national museum in a dispute involving an advertising lease of a large screen on the outside of their building.
- Acting for the freeholder of commercial premises in opposing a lease renewal on the basis that the tenant had breached a user covenant by using the shop as a convenience store rather than an upmarket deli.
- Advising the landlord on an unopposed lease renewal of a high street branch of HSBC, including issues of dilapidations.
- Defending a landlord in a claim by a tenant of a function room in licensed premises for loss of profit in circumstances where it is alleged that certain representations were made during lease negotiations about improvement works including to the heating system.
- Advising landlord on its repairing obligations with regard to inherent defects in period property.
- Advising a tenant on landlord’s intention and opposition to renewal under section 30(1)(g), drawing analogies with the decision in Gulf Agencies Ltd v Ahmed  EWCA Civ 44, and to renewal under section 30(1)(a), (b), (c) and (g) and dealing with tenant’s compensation.
- Advising landlord on enforceability of option to purchase and opposition to lease renewal.
- Advising on appeal regarding interim rent, defences based on waiver and/or estoppel.
- Acting for landlord in trial for recovery of over £300,000 arrears based on overriding lease. Tenant unsuccessfully sought to rely on duress and surrender and regrant in favour of sub-tenant.
- Obtaining injunction against tenant to ensure compliance with lease purchasing obligations of tied products.
- Acting for occupier of hotel and restaurant with poorly drafted licence agreement seeking recognition as business tenant and renewal of tenancy.
- Development & planning
Development & planning
Carl advises and acts for sellers and purchasers on issues arising out of the sale and development of properties, including injunctive relief and committal, options and overage, land registration, orders for sale, breach of contract, misrepresentation and failure to complete.
He understands the need for common sense advice on developments and regularly assists clients, often at short notice, in making commercial decisions.
- Advising the purchaser of a substantial property in relation to a misrepresentation claim against the sellers for failure to disclose that there were significant works being undertaken at a nearby golf course including the construction of a new road, substantially increasingly traffic and affecting use of the property.
- Advising on a boundary dispute and proposed development of additional floors to a pre-existing block in SE1.
- Advising a local authority who entered into a Community Service Agreement with a Trust in respect of development premises in Central London, where part of the development was intended to be sub-let to generate an income to help the Trust generate income.
- Acting for a claimant under the Defective Premises Act 1972 against a developer where the property purchased regularly overheated to over 40 degrees (caused by a fire vent) and is uninhabitable.
- Advising siblings who inherited development land from their late father where option agreements had been agreed in principal with a developer but where an objection from a nearby resident regarding access to the land over a garden would be in breach of covenant, thereby stalling the development.
- Advising a group of homeowners on objecting to the development of residential units on an adjacent field, and whether restrictive covenants included on some of their titles over the field restricted the size of the development permitted.
- Particularising a rectification and alteration claim based on wrong plan and dealing with tenants’ assertions that Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 should not be excluded.
- Acting for the freeholder of a property in a dispute over the terms of an option agreement for the tenant to purchase valuable abattoir premises, issues involved substantial rent arrears, sub-letting to a third-party and the provision of security services.
- Advice on claim for diminution in value to client’s home where sale to potential purchaser fell through due to neighbour’s conduct in dealing with boundary dispute.
- Seeking urgent possession of premises in West London that were occupied by squatters which was holding up the development of a cinema on site.
- Taylor v Diamond  EWHC 3008 (Ch);  EWHC 2900 (Ch) (applications to vary an order for sale following sale of property at auction and applications to vary appointment of estate agents, appeal against interim orders and proceedings dismissed).
- Housing (social & privately rented)
Housing (social & privately rented)
Carl deals with all matters and issues arising from residential landlord and tenant disputes and he acts for both landlords and tenants. He has also appeared in cases involving residential disrepair, tenancy deposits, and antisocial behaviour injunctions for housing association landlords.
He has a particular interest in Rent Act tenancies and other regulated occupations, and relishes getting to grips with complex statute to find practical solutions.
- Intervening on behalf of banks in residential forfeiture proceedings brought by freeholders where securities are at risk for leaseholders’ non-payment of service charges, ground rent and insurance premiums.
- Advising a landlord on a matter concerning an alleged right to succeed a Rent Act tenancy of a large maisonette in Fitzrovia.
- Advising a business on the occupation of a property owned by them of the widow of a former director who had not been paying rent.
- Acting for members of a partnership who owns three properties, although where no written partnership exists, on splitting the assets and / or buying out the other members. No rent was being received from one of the units as the other partners’ family member had been living there.
- Advising a landlord on how to regularise the position with a Rent Act tenant where the property was required to accommodate their growing family needs.
- A claim for possession and rent arrears with counterclaim that landlord’s agent unlawfully evicted disabled tenant.
- Acting for an international charity in managing their residential property investment portfolio.
- Leasehold & leasehold management
Leasehold & leasehold management
Carl regularly acts for leaseholders, management companies and freeholders in disputes before the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) and the Upper Tribunal. He has experience of disputes involving the reasonableness of service charges, the dispensation of and consultation process for major works, the appointment of managers, breaches of long leases and Rent Repayment Orders.
Carl has a niche specialism in matters involving fire safety works to large blocks and has dealt with a number of matters involving rectification works in respect of cladding, estate wide sprinkler and alarm systems, and major roof replacements.
He also advises and acts on both collective leasehold enfranchisement and lease extension claims, particularly where there are issues in addition to the premium and where the validity of notices is challenged. Carl has acted in a number of cases where the freeholder is absent or missing.
- Cos Services Ltd v Nicholson and Willans  UKUT 382 (LC) (recovery of insurance premiums and reasonableness of service charges).
- Acting for large housing association in relation to both a challenge to the reasonableness of service charge demands and an application by a minority group of leaseholders seeking to be recognised a residents’ association.
- Advising on a developer’s liability in a multi-block high rise development for potential claims from housing associations, private leaseholders and shared owners, concerning the design and installation of defective fire preventative measures.
- Defending a claim by a long leaseholder for breach of repairing covenant and counterclaiming for breach of no alteration covenant. Complicated by lease extension proceedings where the parties disagree on the demise layout and plan.
- Acting for long leaseholder in claim against management company and freeholder regarding new build high rise and water penetration. Issues of correct identity of defendant, causation where additional floors added to development, and dealing with claims on NHBC cover.
- Advising leaseholders of a substantial Victorian mansion on collective enfranchisement.
- Acting for management company in relation to service charge dispute and validity of demands served and recoverability of sums already paid by leaseholders. Issues include application of company resolutions to shareholder and leaseholder obligations.
- Advising on validity of notices and steps to find missing landlord and Part 8 claims where freeholder seeks deemed withdrawal of notice to extend lease.
- Re Longden Mill, Nottingham BIR/00FY/LSC/2014/0022 and BIR/00FY/LDC/2015/0005 (Recoverability of full roof replacement versus recovery to industrial mill converted to residential accommodation).
- Patel v Quadron Investments Limited (2010) LON/00BB/LSC/2009 and 017) (service charge dispute).
- Professional liability – property transactions
Professional liability – property transactions
Carl has experience in bringing and defending claims against solicitors, valuers, surveyors and other professional arising in and around property transactions.
- Advising firm on potential claim against them regarding failure to advise on Stamp Duty Land Tax and Multi-Dwelling Relief in property purchase.
- Advising on a claim against a solicitor for failure to advise on an onerous ground rent review clause in a lease.
- Acted for family property portfolio in claim for an account and damages against the managers for income received and expenditure incurred.
- Advising the freehold owner of a property in relation to claims for breach of contract, breach of duty and professional negligence for advice given on a purchase. The leaseholder in situ subsequently applied to extend their lease despite the client being advised during the purchase of the property that the lease was due to expire.
- Real property & mortgages
Real property & mortgages
Carl has considerable experience of neighbour disputes, including boundary determination and declaration, adverse possession actions, enforcement of party wall awards, rights of way and other easements (existence, excessive use and extinguishment). He also regularly deals with the interpretation and enforceability of restrictive covenants.
Regularly acting for banks and bridging companies Carl has a wealth of experience acting in disputes over mortgages and other secured lending, either bringing actions to recover sums owed or intervening in ongoing cases where securities are at risk.
- Acting for a national rail franchise in a dispute about fencing and road blockings erected by a neighbouring landowner causing issues with access to a railway station.
- Acting for an airfield in a dispute with an owner of neighbouring land who, in breach of a restrictive covenant, had built a landing strip and sought planning permission to build an air hanger on their land.
- Acting for a national rail franchise in injunctive proceedings regarding the encroachment of a nearby hotel who had painted car parking spaces over the boundary of our land at a station.
- Acting for a loan company seeking repayment of loans totalling over £5,000,000, secured against various properties in and around Westminster and Chelsea as well famous artwork. Issues involved debenture, freezing orders and bankruptcy.
- Advising and acting on various Party Wall Act appeals both for Appellants and Respondents.
- Advising a client on noise nuisance at a holiday home where a nearby outdoor activity centre had been extended.
- Acting in boundary determination trials, defences of boundary agreement and/or proprietary estoppel.
- Advising on application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal following successful 3 Day trial of boundary dispute. Permission sought based on alleged forgery of pleading and omission of land registration documentation.
- Application dealing with liability for tenant’s repairs based on judgment where tenant failed to pursue or act for nearly 10 years, and successful reliance on limitation defence.
- Diss v Quinlan 2012/0951 Adjudicator to HM Land Registry (adverse possession based upon unconscionable behaviour because of an equity by estoppel).
- Trusts of land
Trusts of land
Carl is experienced in acting and advising on TLATA claims and property disputes arising out of the formation and breakdown of relationships. This includes applications for declarations of interest in property, orders for sale to realise shares in property and advising trustees on their obligations.
- Settling at mediation a dispute between a bank and family members over a mortgage entered into in order to raise funds for a business venture. The issues involved fraud by false representation, the property as a false instrument, beneficial interests and the realisation of shares in the property following on from a criminal conviction.
- Advising a freeholder on how to recoup substantial service charges following the death of a leaseholder and where no administrator for the English estate had been appointed.
- Applying for an order for sale of a property for a client who wanted to realise their share of the proceeds of sale as the other party could not buy them out and refused to sell.
- Acting for an estate in relation to possession proceedings brought by an equity release company in the context of a wider dispute over the validity of a will.
- Commercial landlord & tenant
CSR & pro bono
Carl is Chair of Governors at Comber Grove Primary School in Camberwell and recently completed a tough mudder challenge in aid of Mind the mental health charity. He is currently “in training” for a half marathon in support of Alzheimer’s Society.
Carl is recognised as a leading property practitioner by Legal 500 which states that he is: “excellent, knowledgeable, and, importantly, pleasant to work with.“
- Chancery Bar Association
- Property Bar Association
- Professional Negligence Bar Association
- London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
- BSc (Hons) London School of Economics
- Graduate Diploma in Law – Nottingham Law School
- Bar Vocational Course – Nottingham Law School
- Accredited Mediation Advocate
- Diplock Scholar of the Middle Temple
Contributor to Risk & Negligence in Property Transactions (The Law Society) – publication late 2018.
Deputy District Judge