A Q&A with Pippa Garrod,  associate solicitor in Blandy & Blandy’s dispute resolution team and an expert in property disputes and litigation. 

How long have you been at the firm?

“I joined Blandy & Blandy in 2015 from a firm in the West Midlands and I became an associate solicitor in our dispute resolution team last year. In addition to working with colleagues in our team, with expertise in areas including commercial litigation, insolvency and restructuring and inheritance related disputes, I work particularly closely with our award-winning commercial property team and our nationally-ranked planning and environmental law team.”

Who is your client base? 

“I advise a broad range of organisations and commercial land and property owners, including national and local charities, universities and schools, companies ranging from UK subsidiaries and large SMEs to owner-managed and family run businesses, landowners and property developers. I also routinely advise private individuals, including homeowners, landlords and tenants.”  

What basic advice would you offer to anyone faced with a property related dispute?

“Very simply, I would encourage the organisation or individual to seek specialist advice from a solicitor at the earliest opportunity.

“Typically, this maintains the widest range of options for the client, allows us to mitigate any significant risks and to work towards achieving the best possible outcome. It goes without saying that we would also recommend avoiding taking any action or providing any commitments to other parties before doing so.”

What areas do you advise on most frequently?

“I would say that I most frequently advise on commercial landlord and tenant matters. This does not always mean that a dispute has actually arisen between the parties and that there are breaches that need to be remedied or enforced.

“There are specific procedures that need to be followed in accordance with both the lease and the relevant legislation in order to preserve the parties’ rights as they continue to let the premises in the long-term and in order to maintain a good landlord and tenant relationship.

“Given the current difficulties faced by landlords and tenants, as they deal with the impact of coronavirus on their businesses, it has been more important than ever for both parties to work together to deal with matters such as rent arrears, repairs, and provision of services.

“Unsurprisingly, it has been much more challenging to resolve recent issues when the landlord and tenant relationship was already fraught or had broken down before the pandemic.”

Which areas can be the most complex and challenging?

“It is difficult to think of specific areas that are particularly complex and challenging. Many cases fall on their facts and so whilst the same law and procedure might apply in a particular area, the advice which I give to one client is likely to be completely different for another.

“This is because there is a whole host of variables such as the client’s objectives, the type of property involved, the documentation available, the amount of money or asset involved, and the position and approach adopted by the opposing party.”

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