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Residential Law News

Governments bid to end the leasehold housing crisis

David Farrugia
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Leasehold agreements date back to the 11th century but in more recent years, due to lack of space for houses and therefore need for flats, they have become increasingly popular. According to a BBC news report, 21% of private housing in England are owned via...

Taylor Report review into workers' rights published today

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The Taylor Report has today been published and calls for an end to the "cash-in-hand economy" - reportedly worth £6 billion - most of which goes untaxed. The review looked at modern working practices, particularly the so-called 'gig...

Buy Cheap, Pay Twice - Why It Is Crucial To Invest In A Quality Conveyancing Solicitor

Spencer Davis
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If you were spending over £250,000 on a car, would you employ an unqualified or junior mechanic to inspect the engine?  If you were buying a business that may require you to take out a loan for £300,000, would you fail to hire an accountant...

House prices in the UK fall by 1%

Spencer Davis
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According to the Halifax, the UK’s largest mortgage lender, property prices fell by 1% in June, the largest monthly fall since January of this year.   In the report published by the BBC they comment “there is still good activity but many...

Landlords' tax increases from April 2017

Marc Dorsett
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Landlords who are higher rate or additional rate taxpayers are likely to see a dramatic increase in tax liabilities over the next few years due to the changes to tax relief on loan interest payments which kicked in from April 2017. After a phased in four...

Residential property stock hit a record low...

Bakshi Dhanda
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According to the RICS the UK housing market continues to lack impetus, with some surveyors reducing their expectations for housing market performance this year. New property coming to the market fell noticeably with some agents reporting a 13% fall in...

Estate agent employees offered up to £100,000 to whistleblow on cartels

Spencer Davis
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Estate agents are among those being offered up to £100,000 to blow the whistle on illegal cartels. The Competition and Markets Authority announced early this morning that it would be launching its first advertising campaign to crack down on...

Extending Your Lease.

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If you own a leasehold property on a long lease and are thinking of selling or mortgaging it, you need to check how long is left to run on the lease as it can affect the value of your property. Long leases are usually for 99 years or more. As the length of...

The most expensive place to live...

Spencer Davis
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In a report by the  BBC  London’s Eaton Square is officially the UK most expensive place to live, with an average house price of £17m It is one of three squares developed by the Grosvenor family following the end of the Napoleonic wars...

"find your happy"

Spencer Davis
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In a recent article by  Design Week  it was reported that property search giant Rightmove are in the process of re-branding in an effort to humanise their brand.  Started in 1999, Rightmove claim they now advertise around 90% of all homes...

Sales of £1m+ houses rise by 12%.

Spencer Davis
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According to a recent report by  Lloyds Bank  the number of £1M+ house sales rose by 12% in the first half of 2016 compared with the previous year, a report has suggested. Lloyds  found the average price of a home sold above £1m...

Considering renting out your flat? Check the lease first!

Spencer Davis
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A ruling of the Upper Tribunal's Lands Chamber means that thousands of flat owners who rent out their homes are probably breaking the law. The issue is due to 'private residence only' clauses, a common feature of such leases. With an estimated...

UK housing market settles after post-Brexit uncertainty

Spencer Davis
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The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) says that house sales and prices are expected to rise in the coming months, despite fears of stagnation as a result of the vote to leave the European Union. The immediate aftermath of Brexit saw a sharp...

The UK housing market paused?

Spencer Davis
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In a recent Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) survey they reported house price rises slowed significantly in the three months to the end of July. The surveyors said new buyer inquiries, home sales and new instructions all fell over the period....

Your own private island hideaway...

Spencer Davis
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On September 27th you will have the opportunity to bid for a ‘hideaway retreat’ on your very own private island! Osier Island is only accessible by boat, but once there you will be immersed into a wonderful wildlife haven.  Osier...

Short-term slump in house prices predicted

Spencer Davis
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The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) predicts a drop in house prices over the next three months, which will be the first decline in the UK property market in over six years. It cites the upcoming EU referendum and the uncertainty that that...

The '40-year mortgage': a blessing or a curse?

Spencer Davis
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Traditionally, first-time buyers have bought mortgages carrying a term of 25 years, but with the ever-increasing difficulty to get onto the property ladder, sales of 30 to 40-year mortgages have shot up. Many see these longer-term mortgages as the only way...

House price growth continues to slow

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The rate of house price growth has slowed since March where we saw a 5.7% rise, with April seeing a rise of 4.9%, and May just 4.7%. Nationwide Building Society suggests that this is due to the stamp duty changes that came into force in March, leading to a...

Interest in buying houses in April at its lowest level for eight years

Spencer Davis
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Across the UK in April surveyors saw the lowest number of new enquiries into purchases since August 2008.  The number of new enquiries fell most dramatically in London, with nine other regions in the UK following suit. Enquiries did, however, rise in...

Bungalows maybe a thing of the past

Spencer Davis
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The amount of bungalows being built in the England has reduced, despite the need for properties to accommodate the elderly. Bungalows appeal to those approaching retirement, and for those who struggle to climb stairs. Therefore they are a perfect choice for...

Probate fees to rise "astronomically" for those with the biggest estates

Lisa Carter
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Obtaining a Grant of Probate from the court to deal with a deceased's affairs has long been fixed at either £155 or £215, for any estate worth more than £5,000. The Ministry of Justice now wants to increase these fees to as much as...

Warning to private Landlords - new "right to rent checks" introduced

Michael Callaghan
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From the 1st February 2016, private landlords in England will need to ascertain whether prospective tenants or other authorised occupiers have the right to be in the UK when granting a tenancy. The procedure is known as "right to rent checks"....

Significant increase in buy-to-let loans ahead of tax changes

Marc Dorsett
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The first buy-to-let mortgages appeared on the market in the mid-1990s. Since then the sector has boomed. A shortage of housing and rising demand has pushed up house prices and rents, making the buy-to-let market, with its high potential returns, an...

Why we recommend a full structural survey in residential purchases

Spencer Davis
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A full structural survey is the most comprehensive type of building survey. A qualified surveyor will carry out a detailed structural survey of the property, examining all aspects of the building structure. Yet many people consider purchasing a property...

December Sees a Hike in House Prices

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House prices saw a 0.8% rise in December 2015, in contrast to a 0.1% rise in November of the same year.  Nationwide claims the rise in house prices matched average salary growth in 2015, and that similar predictions are being made for this year. Chief...

House sales down By 16,000

Spencer Davis
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The number of homes sold in the UK fell sharply in November, according to the latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). This relates to completed sales dropping from 122,000 in October to 106,000 last month. However, in November the figures were...

Tenants could see a 25% increase in their rent, surveyors have warne

Spencer Davis
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According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) the cost of renting could rise faster than house prices over the next five years. Simon Rubinsohn, Rics chief economist, blamed government moves to discourage buy-to-let landlords. "In...

Why does England have so many empty homes?

Spencer Davis
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Despite ongoing coverage of the shortage in available housing stock,  there are reported to be 610,123 empty homes in England . Of these, 205,821 have been unoccupied for six months or more. Although it sounds counterintuitive, investors who leave...

Landlords lose and whiplash gets cracked in Osborne's autumn budget

Marc Dorsett
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Backtracking on the contentious cuts to Working Tax Credits caught the headlines when Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Autumn Budget statement, alongside a boost to building and good news for first time buyers. The Chancellor announced the allocation...

Growth in UK house prices sped up in the year to October

Spencer Davis
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According to the  BBC  the country's largest lender, the Halifax announced house prices rose in October by 1.1%, this follows a decline of 0.9% in the previous month. This increase has brought the average price for a flat or house...

Assured shorthold tenancies: changes to section 21 notices

Justin Emerson
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Landlords should be made aware of changes to the section 21 notice procedure that came into force on 1 October 2015. They place further restrictions on when a landlord can serve and enforce a section 21 notice in relation to residential properties let on...

The north-south divide returns

Spencer Davis
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Latest figures from the Land Registry support the north-south house price divide, suggesting the gap to be widening aggressively. From January to August this year, house prices in Wales, the North East and North West of England rose by less than 1%. This...

'Million' new homes aim

Spencer Davis
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The government says it wants a million homes built in England by 2020, as the scale of the housing crisis is revealed in a BBC Inside Out investigation. The National Housing Federation estimated 974,000 homes were needed between 2011 and 2014. However this...

Buy to let loan interest restrictions

Marc Dorsett
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During the Chancellor's Summer Budget 2015 he made the announcement for plans to restrict the tax relief given to landlords for their finance costs. The decision was stated to have been made in order to remove the tax benefit available to a landlord but...

Landlords must act to avoid ending up in hot water over heating supplies

Spencer Davis
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Landlords must comply with the introduction of individual metering and charging on communal heating and other forms of heat networks Landlords operating a communal heat supply have until December 31st to comply with regulations which introduce new...

Landlords could face up to five years in prison.

Spencer Davis
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New proposals to be included in the upcoming Immigration Bill will state Landlords will be required to check a migrant's status in advance of agreeing a lease. Repeat offenders could face up to five years in prison. Again they will be able to end...

Property owners win and lose in Osborne's first fully Tory budget

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Action towards a new living wage caught the headlines as Chancellor George Osborne delivered his first Budget statement under a Tory majority, alongside good news for families who want to pass on their property wealth to future generations. The Chancellor...

Taking stock of UK and overseas property

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Capital Gains Tax (CGT) has been extended to non-UK residents selling UK residential property and as the tax will be calculated on the gain made after 5th April 2015, owners need to record the value of the property and its general condition now, so they have...

House sellers are facing testing questions

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It’s tempting to throw away old papers when spring cleaning or thinking of moving home, but anything relating to renovation or upgrading on a property should be kept safe and sound, to avoid problems and delays when you come to sell your house. And if...

Property buyers play it safe with no-nups

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Whether as a cohabiting couple, or two or more friends clubbing together, a cohabitation agreement, or no-nup, as they now becoming known, can help fix the outcome if things go wrong. And that’s particularly important when...

Housing Market - Boom or Bust

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Britain’s booming housing market is in dangerous territory according to the Bank of England, who warns of the danger of ignoring the momentum apparent across the country. On the same day that it emerged that one in fifteen London homes are selling for...

Accelerating House Prices turn UK into a nation of Renters

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced that prices across the UK rose from the annual rate of 6.8% in January to a considerable 9.1% in February 2014. The ONS stated that house prices were 3.6% higher than the pre-recession peak in 2008. ...

£40,000 salary needed for first mortgage

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A first-time buyer needs a salary of almost £40,000 to afford an average mortgage acrossBritain, new figures suggest. First time buyers on average took out a mortgage loan of £119,000 in February, out of reach to those earning the national...

Good news for landlords where tenant companies enter administration

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Until the decision in this case, administrators had typically waited until an advance payment of rent was due before formally entering into administration, as this tactic almost certainly provided a rent free period.  In many cases the administrator...

How much higher can they go?

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According to Rightmove, property asking prices have reached an all-time high of nearly £256,000. The average asking price increased by £16,251, a 7% increase over the previous year. London saw the average price increase by 11.3% to a massive...

House prices are still on the up!

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Whilst prices rose across all regions the annual lows were in the North of England with 1.9%, whereas London increased by 14.9% in the last quarter alone. This takes the average UK house price to £175,826. The full report from the Nationwide can be...

Transport links and Schools prove to be significant factors influencing house prices

Spencer Davis
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A recent report shows that the demand for higher end properties throughout the UK has had positive growth; however, the positive trend has not applied to the same extent equally throughout the country. It appears that the following key factors have...

Landowners can stop the clock on public usage rights

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Public use of privately owned open spaces is on the line following the introduction of legislation that allows landowners to bring to an end recreational use of land as a village or town green. Areas of open space used by local residents for recreation and...

House Prices still on the up!

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Whist this time last year the summer was a little slow, this year has seen no sign of the usual holiday siesta! The average house price is now estimated at a little over £170,000. Much of the increase has come from the relentless London market which...

Landowners intending to diversify the use of their agricultural buildings take note!

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On 30th May the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 (SI 2013/1101) comes into force. The order allows English landowners greater flexibility in the use of their agricultural buildings. A new permitted...

Homeowners warned over new care home fees rules

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Following the long awaited announcement on the changes to residential care fee contributions, homeowners with higher value property are being drawn to routes to protect their assets, but experts are warning them to watch out for expensive schemes that will...

More mortgage approvals, more house sales.

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According to the latest announcement from the Bank of England, the number of mortgages agreed by lenders to home buyers has risen for the 5th month in a row. One suggestion for the increase is the government’s Funding for Lending scheme (FLS). ...

Slow growth for mortgage lending

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According to an article published by Warren Lewis of propertyreporter.co.uk, any growth in the UK 2013 mainstream mortgage will be eclipsed by growth in lending from alternative sources of finance. A survey of 400 mortgage brokers forecasts the bridging...

Britain : the expanding playground of property millionaires

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According to research carried out by Zoopla.co.uk, high demand for prime residential property resulted in a steep increase in prices at the exclusive end of the property market compared to the rest of the market, where house prices grew by just 1% overall....

First-time buyer numbers at highest since 2007

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This represents around 216,000 first-time buyers (FTBs) up from 193,000 in 2011. But this is almost 50% lower than in 2006. Affordability not availability of stock seems to be the stumbling block for many who are forces to take up the rental option. Again...

Contracts for the sale or disposition of land

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A contract for the sale or other disposition of an interest in land can only be made in writing and by incorporating all the terms which the parties have expressly agreed in one document, or where contracts are exchanged, in each. These are the requirements...

Introduction of a Small Claims Track for Intellectual Property Disputes

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Until very recently, small businesses and individuals faced a significant problem in protecting their intellectual property rights. Bringing a claim of enforcement was prohibitively expensive and taking legal action in respect of intellectual property...

Value of detached houses up by over £640 per month in past decade

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The average price of a detached property has grown by almost £77,000 to £282,211 since the second quarter of 2002. This represents a 38% increase over this period. Terrace houses have grown by 41% to £151,568 whereas semis and bungalows...

Warning to under insured landlords!

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Insurers have warned Landlords to check they aren't under insured after a recent incident saw a Landlord having to account for £100,000 due to his insurance falling short of the £400,000 needed to repair his fire damaged property. This...

Landowners - Is it time for a review of the land?

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When the upheaval of the 2012 harvest has abated it will pay rural land owners to review any use of their land being made by third parties, warns Edward Worthy, rural partner at Gepp & Sons. It is common in agriculture for customary arrangements to be...

Yellow is the new green when it comes to town planning

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The classic image of a village green is one of a grassy space, shaded by oak trees; a game of cricket played while boys sail their toy yachts across the duck pond - but now the High Court has ruled that a village green does not have to be green. In a case...

Shareholder Disputes

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Disputes between Shareholders can be disruptive, costly and time consuming, and have potentially devastating consequences for businesses.  Such disputes can arise for a number of reasons including the following: Disputes over the future direction of...

House Prices Rise?

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Figures just released by  Chesterton Humberts  report average house prices have risen by 0.5% month-on-month. This is despite net mortgage lending levels reaching a 15-year low. The average house price rose to £161,677 whilst net mortgage...

Landlords! Are your tenants in arrears?

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In the current financial economic climate, there are more and more cases of residential tenants defaulting on their rental obligations.  It is important that landlords are aware of their rights when seeking to recover possession of their property from a...

Recent case provides guide on re-occupation of leased premises

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In brief if a Landlord (L) wants to remove a Tenant (T) upon the expiry of the Lease they can do this on the basis that they themselves want to occupy the premises and use it for their own business purposes.  T can counter that on the ground that either...

Landmark case allowed to proceed

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Tony Nicklinson has 'locked-in' syndrome and is almost completely paralysed, only being able to communicate using special technology that monitors eye movements.  He has asked the High Court to to rule that any doctor who should assist him to...

Struggling businesses dealt a double blow when landlords won't let go.

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The alert follows a court ruling where tenants were left unable to end a lease because they had not complied with the small print on interest payments for late rent. Commercial leases are normally granted for a specified period, such as seven years or...

Landlords of High Street Premises Face Challenging Times

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A recent report from the Local Data Company (LCD) has forecast that the number of empty shops in town and city centres is set to rise in 2012. This increase may be attributed to the current economic instability that Britain faces. However, according to the...

Flying Freehold causing issues?

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A flying freehold is where a section of a property structurally overhangs a neighbouring property and is therefore ‘flying’ above land or a building which is not owned by the owner of the overhanging land.  For example, one property’s...

Where there's a will, there's a way round care home fees

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Funding for care home placements has been means tested since 1948. The principle being that those who can afford to pay should do so, with a safety net for those who do not have the means.  In 2011 the Government commissioned a report on the issue of...

Homeowners warned to watch out for squatters

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According to Justin Emerson, property dispute expert with Chelmsford based firm Gepp & Sons : "Mention squatters and most people think of someone who has made themselves at home in an empty property. But squatters’ rights, or adverse...

Planning the Heritage of Modern Buildings

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We as a population and our government have got to decide what we think is ‘heritage’ and what sort of protection it needs from ourselves or indeed deserves. This, amongst a time of cuts and reviews, is dangerous. Nevertheless, it needs to be done...

First Time Buyer's Relief : Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on Residential Property

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The Government is lending a hand to 'First Time Buyers' in offering them relief on the biggest ancillary expense attributable to purchasing a new home, Stamp Duty Land Tax. Stamp Duty Land Tax is normally charged on all land transactions in the UK....

Protecting your Intellectual Property Rights

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The Intellectual Property Office ('IPO') recently announced the results of one of their latest surveys, the  Intellectual Property  Awareness Survey of Business, which showed that: - • as little as 15% of small businesses have sought...

Will home ownership become a reality for first time buyers again?

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The Government's pledge to make becoming a home owner for the first time a reality may allow deposits to be cut to as little as 5%, making it easier for first time buyers to secure a mortgage. At present deposits for first time buyers can be up to 20%,...

The importance of documenting your interest in a property.

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The importance of recording how a property owned jointly is to be held has recently been re-visited in the case of Jones v Kernott. This case considered how the Court should approach calculating the interest in a property by a cohabiting couple who hold the...

Landowners, Dangerous Trees and the Law

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A case continues to be heard in the High Court concerning the National Trust and and several families from Heathlands Church of England Primary School in West Bergholt, Essex (Mullinger et al. vs National Trust). The case relates to an accident that occurred...

Care Home Fees Reform Proposals

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Care home fees can be a huge concern for many people How will the cost be met? What will this leave in my estate to pass down to my loved ones? Presently, the costs for care are met either by the individual, or on a means-tested basis, potentially meaning a...

Landlords left confused on disability ruling

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Landlords have been left baffled where they stand on the Disability Discrimination Act after the Court of Appeal rejected a claim by a disabled tenant. In the case of Beedles v Guinness Northern Counties Ltd, the Court of Appeal ruled that The Disability...

Landlord left with £270,000 property repair bill after consultation blunder

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Failure to consult with tenants over works means landlord has to carry the cost says Court of Appeal Landlords who fail to consult with flat owners before carrying out works cannot expect help from the courts if the tenants refuse to contribute to the...

Householders need not fear administration of Tchenquiz's Peverel Group say experts

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Aftershocks of Tchenquiz investigation raises concerns for 300,000 homeowners across the UK living in property managed by their Peverel Group company A number of holding companies within the Peverel Group, one of the largest residential property management...

House sellers are being warned to watch out for gazundering

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House sellers are being warned to watch out for "gazundering" in the current tough conditions of the residential property market. Gazundering is where the buyer drops his offer for the property just before contracts are exchanged. It's the...

Landlord extra time to oppose lease renewal confirmed

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In August 2010 the High Court contemplated in Somerfield Stores Ltd v Spring (Sutton Coldfield) Ltd1 whether a business tenant can bring forward the hearing date to prevent a landlord from opposing a lease renewal. The general principle is that a tenant...

Chelmsford's Got Talent (and some)

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You can forget your Britain's Got Talent or The X Factor; the real stars were the sixth form students from Chelmsford's finest, battling it out at Gepp & Sons Solicitors annual debating contest at the Shire Hall. The sixth form students from...

Residential landlords face rent threshold rise for assured shorthold tenancies

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Residential landlords face rent threshold rise for assured shorthold tenancies Residential landlords are being urged to check their position, following a change in law that has seen the maximum rent level for assured shorthold tenancies quadruple to...

Landlord sets testing homework for the Revenue

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A blow for victory was struck for small time landlords when HM Revenue & Customs were forced to back down over their challenge of tax deductions for repairs that were part of a refurbishment project. The ruling, which told the Revenue to revisit their...

Gepp & Sons acquire land on behalf English Rural Housing Association

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English Rural Housing Association Limited (ERHA) recently unveiled their latest development of 12 properties in the village of Rolvenden, Kent. Set just a few miles outside Cranbrook, 'Glebe Field' offers 4 properties for shared ownership purchase...

Holiday home owners back in business with preelection trade off

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Property owners who let out second homes to holiday makers were thrown into confusion last week after the Tories forced a u turn on the Government's tax policy for second homes. In the course of horse trading over the Budget the Government agreed to drop...

Gepp & Sons sponsor talk by the Country Land Owners Association

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On Tuesday 2nd March Gepp & Sons' Agricultural Team, led by Jonathan Douglas-Hughes were delighted to sponsor a well attended event at Newmarket's Animal Health Trust. A talk was given by CLA policy director, Allan Buckwell which sparked a lively...

Legal Practice Course Congratulations

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The Partners & Staff of Gepp & Sons recently joined together in wishing Keri Burton, who is currently a Paralegal working in the Firm's Commercial Department, every success in her future legal career, after passing her Legal Practice Course...

Spring upsurge in Property Market ?

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Our calendars, if not the weather, tells us that Spring is approaching and homeowners, estate agents and solicitors around the country are wondering whether Spring 2010 will see an upsurge in the property market. The signs are confusing to say the least. The...

They want your land

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Despite the recession and continuing bad news world wide I am still experiencing considerable activity both from developers wishing to take options on land likely to come for development within the next ten to 15 years and from farmers anxious to snap up any...

Holiday Home Owners may have to do a "Basil".

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With months to go before an end to the favourable tax regime which has helped encourage the growth in holiday home letting, experts are warning property owners against delivering "Basil Fawlty" style serviced accommodation to try and overcome the...

New HIPs rules place more demands on homesellers

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A local solicitor has highlighted how people hoping to sell a home need to understand recent changes to the law surrounding Home Information Packs (HIPs) if they wish to avoid unnecessary delays. According to Toni Young of Gepp & Sons in Chelmsford,...