Real estate litigation

Our property litigation team has a track record of getting results for its clients: we combine excellent technical knowledge with commercial acumen. For us, the key questions are: what does our particular client want, and how can we use the property rights it has to help get them there.
  • Profile
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Our team is best known for our firm litigation style; we have an excellent record of settling disputes, on good terms, at mediation. Many of our clients have come to us where existing solicitors have failed them, or showed inadequate imagination or drive.  

We act in both commercial and residential for a wide range of landlords (from well-known institutions to entrepreneurs and individuals) and occupiers, developers, investors and public bodies. 

We can help with:
  • property risk management advice
  • dilapidations claims
  • property disputes: rights of way, easements, boundary disputes, adverse possession, restrictive covenants
  • landlord and tenant: forfeiture, lease renewals, break disputes, breach of covenant, rent reviews and insolvency
  • development disputes: rights of light, other construction nuisances (representing both developers and adjoining owners)
  • sale and purchase disputes: failure to complete, breach of warranty claims
    joint venture disputes
  • professional negligence claims
  • Sophie Schultz is particularly well-known for her rights of light expertise.

We were the successful team in the biggest property litigation case in the UK in 2014, the Dolphin Square enfranchisement case. The Legal 500 UK 2021 states that ‘each lawyer is deeply impressive and knows their stuff inside out' and that their 'case preparation is first class and their knowledge of the law is brilliant.‘

"Stephenson Harwood gets to the bottom of issues quickly and delivers results."

Chambers UK 2023

Westbrook Dolphin Square leasehold enfranchisement claim 

We acted for Westbrook in the largest leasehold enfranchisement claim ever made in the UK, which was successful against Friends Life Limited concerning Dolphin Square, a well-known London apartment block.

Overage claim

The team acts for a local authority, making a very large claim for overage against a major housing developer.

Property Group terminal dilapidations claim against a telecommunications services tenant and their property management firm 

We advised our client on a terminal dilapidations claim against the tenant and their property management agents in relation to a 1960s property in Reading that was left in unusable condition when the tenancy ended.

Proceedings against Lidl UK GmbH 

We advised our client in proceedings issued against Lidl who cut them out of a joint venture deal. We claimed a Pallent v Morgan equity, which could force Lidl to share the site equally with Generator.

Defending adverse possession claim for state entity

We are defending our client from a claim by an individual claiming adverse possession.

Protecting our client against neighbour/development nuisance

We are advising on mitigating potential nuisance from the construction of the 22 Bishopsgate skyscraper, including considering private and public law rights and pro-actively engaging with the developer to avoid future disputes.

Rights of light strategic advice -  for major regional property development

Strategic advice on risk and its management and advising on dealing with claims, using our deep technical knowledge and significant experience acting on both sides of the fence for our client's benefit.

Specific performance claim on behalf of property developer

We issued time-critical proceedings to force the seller to complete the sale of a development site. We successfully resolved these highly-contested proceedings without the costs of full trial, via pressure at the interim stage.

Latest news & insights

31 Jan 2024

From Insights

The estate manager strikes back - newcomer injunctions…

You're an estate manager. You manage a number of different types of property including retail parks and some high profile central London offices. The occupier of your ..


16 Oct 2023

From Insights

The Building Safety Act 2022 – financing existing buildings

The Building Safety Act 2022 ("BSA 2022") has been described as the biggest change in building safety in a generation.


21 Sep 2023

From Insights

Current spotlight - Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete ("RAAC")

The current spotlight on the use of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete ("RAAC") started with concerns raised in relation to schools and the subsequent guidance on ..


01 Aug 2023

From Insights

Economic Crime – Register of Overseas Entities – Don't forget to update!

You're a fund manager. Your fund vehicle is an overseas entity and you're looking to buy a property from another overseas entity in the coming weeks.


03 May 2023

From Insights

Nuisance – you can overlook it…

Considerations for unusual developments


01 Feb 2023

From Insights

Service charges – pay now, argue later?

How conclusive is a service charge certificate?


08 Aug 2022

From Insights

Landlord remedies for rent arrears – where are we now?

What can landlords do if a tenant has not paid its rent?


22 Mar 2022

From Insights

Good news for landlords wishing to recover rent arrears

Three major restrictions on landlords' ability to recover rent arrears are about to end. Landlords' options will very shortly be much wider.


17 Mar 2022

From Insights

Answers to 10 key questions about how the new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 affects property ownership

The new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act ("the ECA") provides for a register of overseas entities and their beneficial owners.


11 Nov 2021

From Insights

A brave new world? Government sets out proposals for new Covid Rent Arrears Arbitration Scheme

The Government presented the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill to Parliament on 9 November 2021. This sets out the proposed law for an arbitration scheme to determine..


05 Aug 2021

From Insights

Latest Government announcement on liability for rent arrears

Yesterday (4 August 2021), the Government released their policy statement on supporting commercial tenants who are in arrears as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In ..


18 Jun 2021

From Insights

The rent arrears rollercoaster continues: extended restrictions and new obligations – what can landlords do now?

The Government has announced further measures to help commercial tenants who are in arrears as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, seemingly without much regard for the..


09 Dec 2020

From Insights

Moratorium on forfeiture for non-payment of rent and winding-up petitions extended until 31 March 2021

The Government has today announced that it will extend, yet again, until 31 March 2021 the moratoria on: forfeiture on grounds of non-payment of rent or other sums due..


07 Dec 2020

From Insights

Important – Imminent deadline for serving s.17 notices

There is a deadline fast approaching for the service of a notice to retain your right to claim June quarter arrears from a former tenant or former guarantor.


22 May 2019

From Insights

Put it in writing as soon as possible; The key principles involved when claiming estate agent commission

Following the recent Supreme Court case of Wells v Devani [2019] UKSC 4; [2018] PLSCS 33, Andrew Myers looks at how the Court's decison provides a salutary reminder to..


© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.