Which service is right for you?

Property disputes vary greatly in their types, complexities and issues. We act for parties requiring a resolution to their rent review or lease renewal valuations. Philip Morris is a member of the RICS Presidents Panel of Arbitrators and Independent Experts – the appointing arm of the RICS Dispute Resolution Service. He can act in resolving disputes concerning telecommunications installations, radio towers and portfolios and data centre leases. He can also take on arbitration appointments for lease renewals under the PACT system. We can help you with Expert Witness testimony or third party dispute resolution by arbitration or independent expert determination or by Professional Arbitration on Court Terms (PACT). Not sure which one is right for you? Each is explained below:

Arbitration

This is a pseudo-judicial means of resolving commercial disputes. At a lease rent review, if the amount of the rent can’t be agreed between the landlord and the tenant, there will usually be a means to resolve it by reference to arbitration. An Arbitrator is appointed (by the two parties or by application to the President of the RICS) to consider each case and make an award to resolve the dispute. ┬áThe lease will usually refer to an arbitrator or resolution under the Arbitration Act 1996 (or an earlier version).

Arbitration is quicker and cheaper to resolve a commercial dispute than full on court litigation. Cases can be referred to, presented and decided by Arbitration within a matter of weeks. The Arbitrator has wide ranging powers to progress a case, including evidential discovery, witness summons and costs apportionment. An Arbitrator’s award is fully enforceable and only opened to very limited challenges.

Independent Expert Determination

In a rent review, if the lease doesn’t allow for an Arbitrator to resolve a dispute, it may refer to an expert surveyor or valuer to be appointed. Again this person my be appointed by the parties to the lease or by application to the President of the RICS. The Independent Expert may only act in a way that the lease describes. They may not apportion costs unless the lease says they can. They may not call witnesses or demand the discovery of evidence. The Independent Expert though is expected to use their own knowledge, experience and market understanding to form their determination. The parties may provide expert witness statements and reports but the Independent Expert has to form his own opinion of the value.

PACT (professional arbitration on court terms)

Lease renewals under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 are often very amicable agreed by the landlord and tenant, without reference to any court or dispute resolution process. If the terms can’t be agreed then the matter should be referred to the County Court by one side or the other. Very often the only matter in dispute is the level of rent in the new lease. However, once a disputed renewal is before the court the costs can easily escalate. To avoid excessive costs and time the parties can ask the court to have the outstanding issues resolved by Arbitration in the PACT process. this is a quick and cost effective way to settle the outstanding matters.

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