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Property development specialist joins firm

Property development specialist, Lois McCartan has joined Doncaster law firm, Atherton Godfrey LLP.

Lois, who qualified as a solicitor in 2015 has significant experience across all aspects of property development, including POS/management agreements and transfer, site set ups and section agreements.

Sarah Naylor, partner and head of commercial and property, commented on the appointment: “We are delighted to welcome Lois to the firm. Lois brings a wealth of experience that will really complement the work of our property development team.

“There is a huge amount of investment right across the Yorkshire and Humber region; Lois joins us at a particularly exciting time in the sector.”

Lois, who graduated with a BA Hons in Criminology, studied law while working as a Witness Care Officer for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Lois began her legal career with a West Yorkshire firm which specialised in construction, commercial and corporate law.

Since qualifying, Lois has worked in property development and has spent the past several years working with a transatlantic law firm servicing corporate, individual and non-profit clients throughout the UK and USA.

Lois said: “This is an exciting move for me. I was at a point where I felt it was time to broaden my experience. From there it was really a case of looking for a firm that had both a significant presence in the South Yorkshire area but also felt like somewhere I could be part of a team and help grow the business.

“It was clear from the first conversation with Sarah and Gareth Giles, who manages the property development team, that Atherton Godfrey would tick both of those boxes.”

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Commercial property evictions: ban may be extended

Commercial property evictions – is a further extension on the way?

Businesses struggling to survive these turbulent times, may be thrown another lifeline by the government.

Tenants of commercial property, such as restaurants and shops have benefited from an eviction ban since April, making it illegal for them to be evicted for not paying rent. That ban is due to come to an end on 30 September.

However, the government is reported to be planning to extend the ban until the end of the year, giving tenants a few more months protection.

As the high street struggles to recover, the government is coming under increasing pressure to offer businesses more support, or risk surging unemployment figures as businesses fold.

Businesses in towns and city centres have not seen the much-needed increase in footfall since the lockdown lifted; people have been reluctant to return to their high street shops or office desks.

The extension will come as a welcome relief to tenants but will be a hard blow for some landlords, many of whom are facing financial difficulty themselves after seeing a huge fall in rent revenue.

It also has the potential to impact investors who will be less likely to want to pour their cash into the UK property market.

There are also concerns that many businesses who have the finances available to pay their rent have been wrongly using the scheme to avoid paying.

Sarah Naylor, partner and head of commercial and property, commented: “Some landlords were able to agree rent holiday’s with their tenants, but many other tenants face the prospect of having to repay all the outstanding rent when the ban comes to an end. I would urge landlords and tenants to try to find workable solutions.

“Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, if you need legal support either with your business operations, staffing issues or repayment terms, it is crucial that you act quickly.”

According to the Financial Times, the ban could come within the next few days, just in time for the next quarter rent bill which falls due at the end of September.

If you are affected by the commercial property evictions ban and would like to arrange an appointment with our business or employment experts, please call 01302 320621 or email 

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Commercial property specialist joins firm

Atherton Godfrey has appointed an additional commercial property solicitor to its commercial property department.

Phil Taylor joins the firm from Birmingham City Council where he has worked for the past 11 years, handling a wide range of property matters relating to the council’s extensive land ownership and commercial property portfolio.

He has experience of drafting and negotiating leases of shops, office and community properties, drafting and negotiating licences for subletting, and deeds of variation. He has also been involved in the property due diligence and negotiation of a loan and debenture for the secured lending on a multi-million pound redevelopment project.

Phil also has experience of freehold disposals and the drafting of leases linked to the granting of contracts for the delivery of services across multiple sites.

In addition, Phil can provide conveyancing services for property auctions and can draw on his experience of investigating unregistered titles involving bundles of title deeds covering large parcels of land.

Sarah Naylor, partner and head of the firms commercial property department, commented: “We are delighted to welcome  Phil to the firm. He brings with him a wealth of valuable skills and experience that will further strengthen our commercial property offering.

Phil added: “I am looking forward to being a part of the firms’ ongoing growth and development. “