Say ‘expert witness’ and most people will think of scientific or medical experts who are called to give evidence in a criminal trial. However, they are also an essential method in resolving property disputes.
Maunder Taylor provide expert property valuation services in London and Hertfordshire. Here we look at some of the key areas in which an expert witness is required, and how we can help provide independent advice should you ever become involved in a property-related dispute.
Valuations – Expert witnesses typically come into play when property needs to be divided up between two parties, or one is bought out by the other. For instance, if a couple are divorcing, the court needs a realistic, independent assessment of what their home is worth so the Court has a valuation it can rely on when it comes to dividing up the assets.
Business partners often split up as well, with one member of the partnership wanting to buy out the other. In such cases, expert witnesses may be needed to provide an independent assessment of the physical assets of the company, such as the premises it operates from.
Compulsory Purchase Orders – These allow public bodies, such as planning authorities, to acquire land without the consent of the owner. Most CPOs are issued to enable the construction of new homes or shops, or a transport project, such as a major road or rail line. The owner is legally entitled to compensation, but there are often legal disputes over this – not just for the value of any land or property, but relocation expenses as well. Expert witnesses provide independent advice, such as property cost estimates, so the matter can be resolved fairly.
Landlord and Tenant Disputes – These can take a variety of forms. There may be disagreements over the level of management service charges, or the tenants are asked to pay more following a review. Often it is not possible to settle the dispute without a court or tribunal hearing, where an expert witness is a vital part of the proceedings.
Sometimes landlords or tenants may wish to terminate the lease before the time specified in the agreement – something which is likely to increase due to the current uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Business Rates – The taxes on the occupation of non-domestic property are set by the Valuation Office Agency. If the owners are unhappy with their property’s rateable value and the size of their bill, then initial checks and challenges should be made to the agency. If the owner wants to take it further, then they can appeal to the independent Valuation Tribunal. It is at this point that the services of an expert witness could be required.
Expert Witness Services from Maunder Taylor
Chartered surveyors Maunder Taylor have acted for claimants and defendants in many different types of property dispute. We have spoken for clients in courts, tribunals and at arbitrations.
We prefer any dispute to be settled by negotiation or mediation, as this will save both parties a lot of time and money. However, you can rely on us to give independent, impartial advice in this difficult field of practice, and we will always seek a swift resolution to your problems. If you would like to know more about our expert witness services, follow this link.