• Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law

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  • Acquisition of private ownership over land plots in Russia by virtue of acquisitive prescription. Issues and prospects

    Purpose This study aims to clarify the scope of the legal procedure of the acquisitive prescription in Russia. Design/methodology/approach Dialectical method, historical method and system analysis method have been used. Findings The authors consistently prove the inadmissibility of applying acquisitive prescription to land plots in private, state or municipal ownership. One of the features of Russia as an emerging market economy is that, the major part of state lands is in so-called “non-delineated state ownership.” Plots included in such lands are not registered in the cadaster or transferred to particular public owners. That is why, the authors prove that the procedure of acquisitive prescription must be applied only in relation to land plots that are in non-delineated state ownership and have been occupied by citizens and legal entities for 15 years. Originality/value The authors propose new guarantees of the rights of private and public land owners. Clarification of the scope of the acquisitive prescription procedure will streamline the turnover of real estate in Russia.

  • Housing not for all. The lack of universal accessibility to housing in multi-unit buildings in Spain, Sweden and Germany

    Purpose This study aims to explore the current situation of universal accessibility to multi-unit buildings in three European countries (Spain, Germany and Sweden), in view of the lack of effective European rules on this topic, with the aim to identify which legal frameworks and policies may be useful to favour it. Design/methodology/approach The results presented in this work are based on empirical data gathered from three surveys conducted in three representative countries of different housing models (Spain, Germany and Sweden). These surveys addressed the grade of accessibility at each point of the route that a person with mobility difficulties, with a physical deficiency or aged +70, has to do to access to their home from a public street or road. Findings The current paper shows that, in the end, there is still a long way to go in terms of universal accessibility to multi-unit buildings in, at least, three European Union Member States as, according to this study’s findings, the percentage of universally accessible multi-unit buildings is limited to 0.6 per cent in Spain, 2.5 per cent in Sweden and 1.5 per cent in Germany. The study also identifies successful legal frameworks and policies among the studied countries that may be useful to achieve a true universal accessibility to flats located in multi-unit buildings. Research limitations/implications The legal frameworks and policies identified in this paper in terms of promoting universal accessibility to housing located in multi-unit buildings may provide guidance to other researchers and policymakers when addressing this topic, thus helping them to reach an egalitarian and inclusive society. Originality/value This paper goes one step further than previous works as it is based on up to date empirical data concerning accessibility and it identifies successful legal frameworks and policies in a comparative perspective.

  • New Perspectives on Land Registration: Contemporary Problems and Solutions
  • Guest editorial
  • The impact of compensation upon urban village residents satisfaction with the land expropriation process. Empirical evidence from Hangzhou, China

    Purpose The purpose of the paper is to investigate compensation and related welfare issues in the case of the expropriation of land for urban redevelopment in China. Design/methodology/approach A mixed methods quantitative and qualitative approach was selected to undertake the research. This involved a wide ranging qualitative review of the academic and policy literature to explore the relevant arguments and issues, combined with a quantitative regression analysis of survey data collected from research subjects. Findings The research identified the complex and changeable phenomena of urban village redevelopment in China, and the variable compensation arrangements used. The research found that monthly family income before land expropriation, monthly family expense before expropriation, the location of the housing expropriation and family unit size are important determinants for the property holders chosen methods of compensation. It also found that an increase in family size leads to a decreasing probability that the expropriated farmers choose the single monetary compensation relative to the alternative option of housing compensation. The degree of satisfaction with compensation, changes in monthly family income and expense are found to be significant determinants for changes in life satisfaction. Research limitations/implications The research made the following four recommendations based upon the qualitative and quantitative analysis: that local governments should pay closer governance/ political attention to changes in the welfare of the farmers/ villagers whose property has been expropriated; that central and local government should aim to improve the compensation system for rural land and property expropriation, to make the compensation policy be perceived as fairer and more reasonable by citizens; that a broad National standard of compensation be used within a pragmatic locally focussed regime; that the Chinese Central, Provincial and Local governments can devise improved policy tools and make more effective policy interventions by learning from the experiences (both successes and failures) of other countries approaches to this topic. It also suggested that further research be undertaken investigating the multitude of local level policy experiments, as a way of developing better National compensation standards based upon those compensation standards that appear to be working - and have citizen support - at the local level. Originality/value The literature review identified recent developments in Chinese urban studies and originally synthesised both recent and longstanding work on the issue of urban villages in China. The research also suggested changes to the National and Local legal and policy framework for compensation cases in urban redevelopment expropriation scenarios.

  • Human rights and the moralities of property. Participation, obligation and value in <italic>R (on the application of Mott)</italic> v. <italic>Environment Agency</italic>

    Purpose Responding to the Supreme Court’s decision in R (on the application of Mott) v. Environment Agency, the purpose of this study is to explore the interface between property, environment and human rights. It examines the space within human rights jurisprudence for a richer notion of property that can accommodate social and environmental obligation and non-anthropocentric values. Design/methodology/approach In this study, a theoretical lens is applied to human rights doctrine. A central question is the extent to which there is room within the discourse on Article 1 of Protocol 1 (A1P1) to the European Convention on Human Rights for a more relational and ecocentric approach. The paper engages with the jurisprudence of the UK courts and that of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as the works of scholars such as Jennifer Nedelsky and Nicole Graham. Findings It is concluded that although the judgment in Mott demonstrates the potential for A1P1 to function as a means for rights-holders to obtain a voice in environmental decision-making processes, it highlights the tendency of property to preserve existing structures and arrangements. When assessing whether an individual is asked to bear an excessive burden, great weight was given in Mott to values associated with livelihood. What did not feature in the (brief) judgment was the consideration of the ecological context in which Mr Mott’s rights were embedded and the extent to which this context might have inherently restricted his ability to enjoy his property. The dispute demonstrates the limitations of existing property institutions and discourses in managing ecological conflict and fostering positive relationships and management practices. Originality/value This study contributes to the doctrinal literature on A1P1, providing a new perspective on the role of human rights jurisprudence in managing environmental conflict. It is original in its examination of human rights discourse in light of relational and ecocentric theories of property, providing a critique of existing values and paradigms. Evaluating the doctrinal reasoning in Mott with reference to this theoretical framework, it provides fresh insight into the limitations of the Supreme Court’s approach. It points to the need for more explicit incorporation of environmental values and contexts in human rights reasoning.

  • “Family-friendly” tenancies in the private rented sector

    Purpose This paper aims to analyse the extent to which the government’s recent proposals to end no-fault evictions will result in “family-friendly” tenancies. Design/methodology/approach It applies the theoretical scholarship on the meaning of family and home to the current law relating to private rented tenancies and the government’s proposals to increase security of tenure in the private rented sector. Findings Security of tenure is important to a number of the key aspects of home. However, feelings of home are better protected by security of occupancy, which requires more than de jure security of tenure. For families to feel at home in the private rented sector, they must be permitted to personalise their home and to keep pets. Further legislative changes could achieve these changes. However, for families to really make a home in the private rented sector, they need to exercise some choice over where they live and for low-income families; this will only be possible with broader policy changes. Originality/value This paper contributes to the important scholarship on the meaning of home and applies this to the very current debate on the rights of tenants in the private rented sector.

  • No children, no DSS, no students: online adverts and “property guardianship”

    Purpose Those seeking a new place to live - especially in the private rented sector - now head online to do so. The platforms they use and adverts they see are an important source of information about the properties they will occupy and how their owners’ seek to project them. This paper aims to argue for the importance of property adverts as a source of data, using “property guardianship” to illustrate the value in the approach. Design/methodology/approach The study draws on an analysis of 503 advertisements published on SpareRoom.co.uk - a leading property search engine - in July 2018. Findings The authors put forward four key areas of findings. The first two look at legal understanding, dealing with the context, the advertisement provides for eventual occupation (the “process of construction”) and any indications they provide of legal elements of occupation (“diagnostics”). The final two deal with the broader positioning of the sector, analysing the practice of excluding prospective occupiers, such as the widespread inclusion of “no Department of Social Security” seen elsewhere in the private rented sector, and how the adverts project a certain lifestyle to their viewer. Research limitations/implications The findings demonstrate that further research into property advertisements would be valuable, particularly into other sub-markets in the private-rented sector, such as student accommodation and “professional” lets. Originality/value This study is the only analysis of property guardian advertisements and the first dedicated study of private rented sector advertisements in the UK.

  • Environmental area conservation through urban planning: case study in Dhaka

    Purpose There are some environmentally critical areas (ECAs) in cities such as flood flow areas, agricultural land, canals, rivers, water bodies, forests and hills that need to be conserved from land transformation. The purpose of this paper is to review the compliance, challenges and significance of urban planning, and to develop a contextual framework of urban planning for environmental area conservation to improve the urban environment in case study city Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Design/methodology/approach This research is based on a qualitative thematic analysis of the available relevant literature. Findings This research identified non-compliance of the contemporary urban plans such as indiscriminate land conversion activities in the ECAs. Conflicting interests between the urban plans concerning protection of the conservation areas and business interests of the community people and the real estate development companies are identified as the major challenges. Dhaka faces several environmental problems such as loss of biodiversity and ecosystem, waterlogging, flooding, pollution, reduction of vegetation, groundwater depletion, temperature increase and a reduction in agriculture and fishing because of land conversion in the ECAs. Practical implications Urban planning with effective conservation area management, conflict resolution through communication and participation, creation of economic opportunity to generate income from the ECAs and assessment of the conservation strategies and interventions might ensure environmental conservation in Dhaka. Originality/value The conceptual framework of urban planning for environmental conservation is innovative as this could be a basis for other cities in Bangladesh and in other developing countries.

  • The order is rapidly fadin’. Responding to the impact of climate change on property with reference to the Aotearoa New Zealand context

    Purpose This paper reviews the relationship between property and the changing coastal environment. It looks at issues around the mismatch between the protection of private property rights implicit in our property law, which assumes stability and permanence, and the protection of public rights and environmental values expected of coastal land, which is increasingly vulnerable to climate change hazard. Issues of retreat from the coast, perhaps with compensation and incentives, will need to be dealt with. Design/methodology/approach New Zealand situations and examples are used to illustrate the conflicts between secure property rights and changing coastal land. Findings The effects of climate change on coastal land will be significant. This era of environmental degradation and climate change will require a significant re-ordering of property law. Changes in coastal land will require property owners to adapt their use and occupation of the coastal zone, if necessary by retreating. Similarly, local authorities will need to be proactive in planning for coastal land changes. Social implications Property will need to be re-imagined to support public and environmental goals for the coast. Originality/value This paper extends other discussions about how property law and the protection of property rights is a barrier to implementing climate change responses.

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