Welcome to the Property Protocols website.  This is a free resource offered to the property industry – solicitors, surveyors and other advisers, as well as property owners and occupiers.  We hope it will become a suite of documents that will outline, in readily understandable prose, a series of practical steps that parties should consider taking if they wish to avoid property disputes (or if not avoid altogether, deal with them in the best way possible).  It applies to property situated in England and Wales.

The first step in this endeavour was the Protocol for Applications for Consent to Assign or Sublet (the Alienation Protocol), used by landlords, tenants and their advisers as a means of regulating the applications process for divesting leasehold property.

Our second product was the Protocol for Applications for Consent to Carry Out Alterations (the Alterations Protocol).  It applies where a tenant wishes to carry out alterations but the lease restricts their ability to do so.  Compliance with the Protocol should help landlords and tenants avoid costly and unnecessary squabbles, identify the issues and resolve them quickly through alternative dispute resolution (ADR).  Accompanying the Protocol is a guidance note, which touches upon some of the more frequently encountered causes of dispute and offers assistance in navigating these thorny issues.

Our latest protocol is the Protocol for Disputes between Neighbours about the Location of their Boundary (The Boundary Disputes Protocol).  This Protocol applies where neighbours are in dispute about the location of the boundary between their properties.  It aims to ensure that neighbours exchange sufficient information in a timely manner to minimise the scope for disputes between them; and to enable any such disputes to be readily resolved, keeping costs to a minimum.  As with the first two protocols, it is accompanied by a guidance note which assists parties in dispute.  It is also accompanied by a supplementary guidance note written by one of the foremost surveyors practising in the field, who sets out what the parties should expect from the surveyor appointed to assist with the resolution of the dispute.    

We envisage the Protocols being disseminated by the legal and surveying professions as a ready reckoner for behaviour at the point of application.  As they become embedded in practice, we would hope to see them being referred to in leases and other binding documents as behavioural codes to which arbitrators and courts will have regard when assessing compliance.

As we say, we hope to continue expanding the Protocols on this website to serve as a series of "best practice" documents designed to smooth relations between parties to property disputes.