Property litigation typically involves settling disputes between property owners and their tenants, but can also include a wide range of other matters involving the ownership of residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural property. In other cases, property investors and owners may retain the services of a solicitor when they need legal advice; for example, for drawing up contracts, or simply for obtaining advice in order to prevent future disputes or problems.
Litigation refers specifically to resolving issues within the court system, while dispute resolution pertains to alternative methods that don’t involve the courts.
Examples of Property Matters
Some general areas in which property solicitors and litigators work include conveyancing, planning and development, regulatory compliance, finance and security, and leasehold matters.
Within these areas, property litigators can handle a very wide range of disputes, ranging from simple residential issues between landlords and tenants, to advising commercial property developers and investors. Examples of property disputes that might require litigation include:
· Securing vacant possession of a tenanted property
· Obtaining a court order to allow property developers to proceed with development
· Recovering rent arrears from a commercial leaseholder
· Enforcing continuation of a lease in a case where a commercial tenant attempts to exercise a break option but does not comply with the contractual requirements
· Acting for a property owner to remove unlawful tenants from a property
· A dispute between a landlord and tenant over payment of property repairs
· A boundary or right-of-way dispute between two residential neighbours
· Matters relating to conveyancing, such as title issues or easement disputes
In each case, property litigation solicitors will attempt to reach an agreement on behalf of their clients via dispute resolution methods. If an agreement can’t be reached, the dispute would then enter the court system.
Legal Aid for Property Disputes
While most property disputes do not quality for legal aid, some kinds of residential disputes may be eligible. Eligible disputes are limited to those where a resident is unsafe or faces homelessness. Examples include:
· A homeowner who is at risk of losing their home
· A residential rental tenant who is at risk of eviction
· A residential rental tenant living in a home where their health or safety is at risk
Business, company, and partnership law are excluded, which means that matters relating to commercial and industrial property are not eligible. In addition, matters relating to conveyancing are not eligible for legal aid.
Legal aid for property disputes is subject to the same rules and regulations as legal aid for any other purpose: there are different levels of legal aid available, and the kind of legal aid a person can receive depends on the nature of their legal problem, as well as their assets and income.