We are consulted on a number of interrelated issues, the most common being from clients looking to purchase short leases. Before they can know what to bid to acquire a leasehold property, they need to know approximately what it may cost to extend that lease (in the case of a flat) or to acquire the freehold (in the case of a house). While the client is at the stage of formulating a bid to purchase the property, it is understandable that they may be reluctant to incur the cost of a full valuation.
In such circumstances, provided we are given reliable details relating to the lease, the dimensions of the property, particularly floor plans, and any licences relating to alterations, it is usually possible to prepare an initial opinion on a “desk-top” basis, and this can be carried out at a much reduced fee. If the client should proceed to acquire the lease, then any fees already incurred may be absorbed in the normal fee for negotiating a claim.
We are also regularly consulted as expert witnesses in cases of professional negligence and even criminal matters, such as mortgage fraud. In the first instance we prepare a report including detailed analysis of comparable evidence, reference to any relevant case authorities and all statutory provisions. In most cases once we have provided this written evidence the matter is usually concluded without the need for further litigation. However, if the matter is referred to a court of law, we have considerable experience in giving evidence as expert witnesses before a hearing.
Most of this experience derives from our core activity in representing clients who have made claims under the 1967 or 1993 Acts. In the vast majority of cases we achieve a negotiated settlement without the need for a hearing, but where this is not possible, we have given evidence as expert witnesses on many occasions before the First Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).