House Rules: property law and Crossrail 2

1. Crossrail 2

I’ve heard about something called Crossrail 2. Is it yet another new rail proposal? Yes, this time for a high-frequency rail line targeting key growth areas in and around London. A public consultation last year showed support for a route extending beyond central London. The current proposal is for a line running broadly northwest to southeast, from Hertfordshire to Surrey, which should complement the east to west Crossrail scheme currently being built.

Do we know the exact route? That is still being settled. A fresh consultation launched on June 9 seeks views on detailed proposals for a new station in Chelsea, an extension from Alexandra Palace to New Southgate and the specific route alignment through Dalston and Hackney.

How do I know if I am affected? Look at the proposals on the Crossrail 2 website. You could also go to one of the drop-in sessions in Chelsea, Dalston and Hackney.

What will happen next? There will be more consultations. The initial proposed route has already been “safeguarded” to prevent planning permission being granted for conflicting development. The safeguarded area will be updated in 2015, although the final preferred route is unlikely to be settled before 2017. Ultimately, the scheme will need parliamentary approval, like Crossrail 1 and HS2. Transport for London does not expect to get the go ahead before the end of 2020 and the current intention is to open Crossrail 2 to the public in 2030.

What will it cost? Current estimates are in the region between £12bn and £20bn.

And who’s paying? Funding will probably come from a mix of private and public sources, as it is for Crossrail 1. London will bear most of the responsibility for funding. Financing options are still being discussed but could include passenger fare hikes and an increase in council tax and business rate levies in London.

How do I have my say on the scheme? The current consultation is open until July 25.

2. Home and holiday lets

I want to do a “home-swap” holiday. Are there any property rules I should know about? As with any other sort of letting arrangement, you need to check that your insurance policy allows it and that it isn’t prohibited by the terms of your mortgage, and your lease if your property is leasehold. Even if temporary lettings are allowed, you will probably need to notify your insurers, plus your lender and landlord if relevant.

Isn’t there something odd about short term lettings in London? Yes, but probably not for much longer. The government has just announced that it intends to scrap a rule imposed in the 1970s that requires Londoners to get planning permission to let out their homes for periods shorter than 90 days.

So Londoners who let out their homes while they are on holiday may have been breaking the law? In theory, yes, although not all councils have been enforcing the rules. If you live in an area where the council restricts short term lets, you may have to wait until the Deregulation Bill changes the law, which the government hopes will be before next year’s general election.

3. Community rights

People in my neighbourhood got our local pub registered as an asset of community value but when it came on the market we couldn’t raise the money to buy it. Are community rights like this really delivering anything? Parliament is asking the same question. It wants evidence of how well communities understand their rights under the planning system and how easy it is for them to exercise those rights. It is particularly interested in evidence from local community groups.

I could certainly tell them what made it impossible for us. What other sorts of things do they want to know? How helpful did you find any government guidance and assistance when you were trying to understand and use community rights? If you feel communities are not using their rights, why not? What extra help could the government provide to make sure the rights are more widely understood and used?

Is there a questionnaire to fill in? No – you can set out your thoughts in writing (no more than 3,000 words) and submit them by 2pm on Thursday 4 September 2014. For more detail, look at the UK Parliament website.

Chloe Man is part of the Planning and Environment team and Fiona Larcombe is a solicitor in the Real Estate team at King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin

Illustration by James Ferguson

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