Call: 1998

Peter Petts

Peter Petts
“His knowledge of the law is excellent and he is unfazed by anything thrown at him in conference or in court” Chambers UK

Practice overview

Peter is ranked as a leading junior in Property Litigation. He regularly accepts all levels of court and tribunal instructions, predominantly in the fields of landlord and tenant, and real property. He has wide-ranging trial and appellate experience in the Court of Appeal, High Court, County Court, Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber), and the Land Registration and Residential divisions of the Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal.

As well as trial advocacy, Peter has wide experience of more complex interim application, including security for costs, interim injunctions and committal proceedings.

His drafting and advisory work is held in high regard.  Peter’s clients particularly appreciate the clarity and commercial reality of his advice, and he regularly accepts licensed and direct access work.

Having operated on a completely paperless basis for more than 4 years, Peter is a doyen of electronic working, providing a speedy and efficient service to clients and the court.

As Secretary of the Property Bar Association, Peter was regularly involved in court and tribunal consultations; working closely with the PLA.

Areas of expertise

  • Property
    • Commercial landlord & tenant

      Commercial landlord & tenant

      Peter’s expertise covers a wide range of commercial landlord and tenant work, including: rent reviews; renewal of business tenancies; service charges; dilapidations; compensation for improvements; assignment; forfeiture and relief; other breaches of covenants, and interpretation and enforceability of covenants.

      He regularly gives talks and writes on all aspects of forfeiture.

      Peter has expertise in respect of the leases of licensed premises.  He represents both Pubcos and tenants in all conceivable disputes which may arise, including: construction of covenants, forfeiture, rent reviews, lease renewals, lease variations, validity and breaches of beer ties, injunctions, the landlord’s right of access, misrepresentation, and mistake.

      Relevant work

      • Successful claim against sub-tenant whose tenancy exceeded the term of the head tenancy and amounted to an assignment of the same, despite the 1954 Act.
      • Advising multinational retailer on forfeiture threat and relief, and limitation in respect of sums payable “on demand”.
      • Summary judgment on a rent arrears claim where the tenant raised: frustration; cesser of rent and misrepresentation.
      • Successfully resolved tenant’s commercial service charge dispute.
      • Advising on business lease renewal of part of the holding.
      • Advising multinational telecoms companies on their rights and obligations under telecoms equipment site leases.
      • Interim injunction against former managing agents to prevent them from interfering with the management of the landlord’s properties.
      • Forfeiture of a chain of public houses.
      • Successfully persuading a landlord that its purported forfeiture of woodland was unlawful.
      • Summary dismissal of tenant’s injunction against its landlord, followed by forfeiture of the lease.
    • Real property & mortgages

      Real property & mortgages

      Peter’s real property expertise includes: conveyancing and land registration; party wall disputes; easements; freehold restrictive covenants; co-ownership, trusts and proprietary estoppel; disputed boundaries and adverse possession; public and private nuisance, and mortgages and charges.

      Relevant work

      • Advising on the construction of restrictive building covenants and their purported deed of release.
      • Advising upon and fending off an adverse possession/jus tertii claim.
      • Proceedings in respect of the modification of a restrictive building covenant, under s. 84 of the LPA 1925.
      • Advising on party wall/trespass action.
      • Trial and appeal in respect of parking and rights of way easements: Poste Hotels Ltd v Cousins [2020] EWHC 582 (Ch).
      • Advising in respect of freehold covenant purporting to restrict the sale of land.
      • Interim injunction and committal proceedings in respect of breach of a party wall award.
      • Advising on injunction to prevent mortgagee selling land at auction.
      • Recovery of £800k in VAT under contract for sale of land as a transfer of a going concern.
      • Construction and enforcement of friendly society rules, regulated by Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, in respect of freehold property.
      • Fraudulent misrepresentation on sale of land.
      • Successfully opposing claim for drainage easement.
      • Successfully striking out and opposing appeals on security for costs.
      • Party Wall injunction and application for committal following breach.
      • Successful Land Registration boundary rectification claim.
      • Successfully opposing Land Registration adverse possession claim.
      • Advising on nuisance claim in respect of water ingress from neighbouring land.
      • Successful acting for an international gas and oil exploration company in obtaining possession of a wellhead site from anti-fracking protestors.
      • Successfully defending allegations of fraud in a sale of land dispute.
      • Adverse possession and the intention to possess.
      • Boundary dispute involving overriding interests.
      • Advising on the variation and discharge of freehold restrictive covenants.
      • Defending trust of land proceedings instigated by a purported legal advisor.
    • Leasehold & leasehold management

      Leasehold & leasehold management

      Peter’s residential landlord and tenant practice covers contractual, Housing Act and Rent Act tenancies, as well as long leases.

      Peter has a wealth of experience before the LVT and the Land Registry Adjudicator, now the Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal.

      Relevant work

      • Injunction proceedings in respect of a landlord’s failure to repair, including interim injunction for inspection.
      • Advising on a landlord’s repairing obligations in respect of defective magnesite screed.
      • Advising a shareholder of an RTE company in respect of company’s failure to account to them for profits made.
      • Summary dismissal of forfeiture claim for breach of statutory requirements.
      • Determination of breach and forfeiture of a St John’s Wood lease.
      • £1m service charge dispute.
      • Chancery Division injunction to prevent the sale of a property by LPA receivers.
      • Advising on validity of service charge demands, consultation and limitation.
      • Advising six figure service charge dispute and liability on assignment of the term.
      • Advising a landlord on numerous leases of some 900 properties, including the cost, provision and recovery of privately provided utilities and the impact of the statutory service charge regime.
      • The recovery of the landlord’s LVT costs as administration charges under the lease.
      • Contested Rent Act possession claims founded on cessation of occupation as a resident, and nuisance or annoyance, waste and neglect.
      • Landlord’s licence to alter and recovery of the landlord’s costs.
      • Jackson v JH Watson Property Investment Ltd (2008) 11 EG 94; (2008) 2 EG147 (CS); (2008) NPC 1. Neighbouring landlord not liable to tenant for nuisance existing prior to the granting of the lease: caveat lessor.
    • Housing (social & privately rented)

      Housing (social & privately rented)

      Peter undertakes all forms of private residential landlord and tenant work.

      Relevant work

      • Injunction proceedings in respect of a landlord’s failure to repair, including interim injunction for inspection.
      • Advising on a landlord’s repairing obligations in respect of defective magnesite screed.
      • Advising a shareholder of an RTE company in respect of company’s failure to account to her for profits made.
      • Summary dismissal of forfeiture claim for breach of statutory requirements.
      • Determination of breach and forfeiture of a St John’s Wood lease.
      • £1m service charge dispute.
      • Chancery Division injunction to prevent the sale of a property by LPA receivers.
      • Advising on validity of service charge demands, consultation and limitation.
      • Advising six figure service charge dispute and liability on assignment of the term.
      • Advising a landlord on numerous leases of some 900 properties, including the cost, provision and recovery of privately provided utilities and the impact of the statutory service charge regime.
      • The recovery of the landlord’s LVT costs as administration charges under the lease.
      • Contested Rent Act possession claims founded on cessation of occupation as a resident, and nuisance or annoyance, waste and neglect.
      • Landlord’s licence to alter and recovery of the landlord’s costs.
    • Development & planning

      Development & planning

      Peter undertakes all aspects of work covering the creation or transfer of interests in land and associated incorporeal hereditaments.

    • Trusts of land

      Trusts of land

      Peter undertakes all aspects of work concerning trusts of land.

      Relevant work

      • Proceedings defending a constructive trust/proprietary estoppel claim.
  • Property Professionals

    Property Professionals

    Peter undertakes all property related professional negligence work.

    Relevant work

    • Advising on surveyor’s negligence in failing to identify defective magnesite screed, and limitation.
    • Advising on surveyor’s negligence in failing to identify subsidence.
    • Advising on surveyor’s negligent mundic testing and third party indemnity.
    • Solicitor’s negligence in advising client on easements affecting property.
    • Property manager/Surveyor’s negligence in complying with the lease provisions when demanding service charge.
    • Solicitor’s negligence/fraud in acting for a mortgagee on the purchase of a property.
    • Surveyor’s negligence claim in failing to advise on a structurally unsound property.
    • Managing agent’s negligence in complying with the statutory residential service charge regime.
    • The negligence of a surveyor who held himself out as having expertise in medieval properties.
    • Advising and managing the clients’ expectations as to the level of damages, where the Defendant surveyor had admitted liability.

Recognition

“His knowledge of the law is excellent and he is unfazed by anything thrown at him in conference or in court”Chambers UK
“He is outstanding”Legal 500
“He is excellent; his involvement is instrumental”Legal 500

Professional associations

  • Past Secretary & Treasurer of the Property Bar Association (PBA)
  • Chancery Bar Association (ChBA)
  • Professional Negligence Bar Association (PNBA)
  • Bar Pro Bono Panel Member

Qualifications

  • LLB (Hons)(Lond)
  • Inner Temple Bursary
  • Duke of Edinburgh Scholarship

Directory recommendations

Peter is recommended in Legal 500 for Property Litigation. The directory notes:

  • “He is excellent; his involvement is instrumental.”
  • “Quickly identifies the key issues and is very responsible and reliable.”
  • “He is outstanding.”
  • “Has an assured manner and an excellent technical grasp.”
  • “Direct and to the point, and has very good knowledge of landlord and tenant law.”

Articles

Forfeiture Elephant Traps

30/06/2020

Every dog in the manger has its day. Sometimes two.

12/05/2020

Pilot Training: Business & Property Courts

07/03/2019

Every dog in a manger has its day: landlord’s obligation to enforce tenants’ covenants at the request of other tenants

29/11/2018

Making the most of Cost Budgeting

20/11/2017

Past events

Hardwicke Franchising Day – Business as Usual?

24/09/2020

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