Awards

Real estate litigation

Real estate litigation

Property litigation

Property litigation

Sophie Schultz Partner

A specialist property litigator with over 15 years' experience, Sophie helps clients navigate the complexities of property law and resolve disputes quickly and cost-effectively. She advises property investors, developers, lenders, corporate occupiers and individuals on every manner of property dispute. Sophie has particular expertise in rights of light and disputes relating to property development.
  • Profile
  • Services

She is renowned for her legal knowledge and ability to get to the bottom of a tricky issue.  Sources quoted in Chambers UK have praised her "phenomenal" knowledge (2015) and described her as a "walking brain" (2014) that is "able to tie the opposition up in knots" (2011).

Sophie regularly acts on a wide range of landlord and tenant disputes, representing both landlords and tenants, including lease renewals, forfeiture, dilapidations, service charge and agreement for lease disputes.

She also has extensive experience in the development sphere, advising both developers and neighbours on claims (including injunctions) relating to nuisance, rights of light, trespass and party wall matters, restrictive covenants and easements. She is equally at home using her experience to help developers navigate and pre-empt claims as assisting neighbours assert their rights.

Other experience includes adverse possession, boundaries, easements, insolvency-related issues, joint ventures, leasehold enfranchisement, professional negligence, residential property and sale and purchase disputes.

Sophie gives practical advice which goes straight to the heart of an issue. She deploys her expertise in the law and strategy to secure the best result for her client at the earliest possible stage.  Clients express their appreciation of having her in their corner to fight their side.  She has a track record of achieving excellent results.  She aims to resolve disputes without court proceedings wherever possible.  Often straightforward 'without prejudice negotiations' are most effective but she also has experience of mediation, arbitration and expert determination.

She is a solicitor advocate and member of the Property Litigation Association. Sophie has written for Property Week, Estates Gazette, Landlord & Tenant Review and FM World.

"She is very analytical, strategic and good at understanding the law and applying it."

Chambers UK 2023

  • Real estate investment
  • Real estate litigation
  • Landlord and tenant

Vacant possession strategy

Devised and implemented a vacant possession strategy for an institutional landlord for a mixed-use site including leases with security of tenure and flats let to company employees.

Rights of light - developer

Advising on all aspects of rights of light on numerous developments from the initial stages onwards, including acquisition report, advice on insurance options, using legal arguments to cut down claims, and working alongside surveyors to agree releases.

Rights of light – adjoining owners

Sophie has secured substantial settlements for a range of institutional investors, public bodies and individuals, adapting tactics according to circumstances and the client's aims and budget. 

Hiscox Syndicates Ltd v Pinnacle Ltd [2008] 145 (Ch): nuisance from demolition works

Sophie secured interim injunctions to protect Hiscox from demolition nuisance which could have seriously affected its business.  The proceedings were highly contested and conducted under significant time pressure.

Apexmaster Ltd v URC Thames North Trust & another [2018] 2 WLUK 584: defending trespass injunction

Sophie successfully defended a developer from an injunction claim for scaffolding trespass. The case emphasised the need for there to be some give and take between neighbours during construction works and the importance of reasonable behaviour.  Her tactics were such that despite having admitted trespass, her client was awarded costs on the indemnity basis.

Restrictive covenants

Advised developers on the options available to deal with restrictive covenants.

Specific performance claim

Sophie forced a seller, in highly-contested court proceedings, to complete a sale agreement before a fast-approaching longstop date. By applying pressure at the interim stage, a timely and cost-effective settlement was achieved without full trial.

Professional negligence

Multi-million pound professional negligence claim relating to valuer’s negligence. 

Failure to construct premises in accordance with Agreement for Lease

Acting for an institutional fund, Sophie achieved successful settlement at an early stage of a multi-million pound claim against its landlord for failure to construct premises as per the agreement for lease.

Failure to construct premises in accordance with Agreement for Lease

Acting for an institutional fund, Sophie achieved successful settlement at an early stage of a multi-million pound claim against its landlord for failure to construct premises as per the agreement for lease.

Contested lease renewal proceedings

Sophie regularly advises landlords on vacant possession strategies to enable redevelopment, adopting different strategies according to the specific facts and looking for angles to enable possession to be obtained as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Resisting vacant possession

Acting for a tenant, Sophie has recently successfully exploited the S’Franses judgment (that a landlord has to intend to carry out works beyond getting the tenant out) to secure a new lease for her client.

Forfeiture

Forfeiture of lease, using an interim payment application coupled with an unless order to obtain judgment at an early stage of the court proceedings.

Service charge disputes

Acting for an institutional landlord, Sophie secured favourable settlement of a service charge dispute going back many years, involving evaluation of the tenant's counterclaim for inadequate air conditioning services.

Tenant insolvency

Acting for the administrators of a high street retail chain, Sophie resisted attempts by landlords to forfeit leases, advised on the surrender of other leases and assessed the company's property rights and liabilities.  More recently, Sophie has advised a number of landlords on tenant CVAs.

Awards

Real estate litigation

Real estate litigation

Property litigation

Property litigation

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