Spring has sprung and although it appears that we are periodically being plunged into Siberian Winter, this is the traditional time when people turn out their cupboards, rifle through their collections and generally look to find space for items which may fall victim to the next year’s bout of cleaning.
The general rule is that a lease may only be terminated during the term of the lease if the lease contains a tenant’s break clause. If it does not, the lease can be terminated early by way of surrender however the landlord will need to be in agreement. If the landlord refuses to take a surrender, the lease will have to remain in place.
The process of divorce or separation can be deeply emotional and stressful for all involved. But it doesn’t have to be. A good family lawyer will help you through the process in the most painless way possible. Whilst they cannot help you to overcome the problems in your marriage they can put you in touch with a marriage counsellor who can. A family lawyer is not qualified to provide counselling. If you decide that your marriage is at end, a good counsellor can also help you deal with the emotional fallout of the breakup. This will help you to think clearly and deal with the divorce in a civilised and reasonable way.
From 1 April 2018, landlords will not be able to rent out their commercial properties if they do not meet a minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES). The reason for this change is to help the government to meet its obligations in the Energy Act 2011 to improve energy efficiency across commercial properties.
I often work in conjunction with my colleagues in our commercial team, particularly for business owners who are thinking about their own Wills and Inheritance Tax planning. The most frequent area in which my colleagues and I work together relates to the preparation of cross option agreements.
When selling or buying land, you might hear the terms “conditional contract”, “option agreement” or “pre-emption agreement”. Whilst these all essentially involve the sale of land from a seller to a buyer, there are significant differences.
I work in our Private Client Department and manage older and vulnerable clients’ affairs. This position has made me realise how difficult it is for clients who do not have family members close to them. It could be that they do not live close by, or they do not have a close relationship with the client for whatever reason. At Longmores, we act as Attorneys under Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Finances where there are no other suitable people to take up this role. Where there are no family members to provide a helping hand my role can include a regular visit to check the client has everything they need, liaising with financial advisors to ensure the client’s money is achieving maximum income, arranging care, arranging meal deliveries, contacting third parties for jobs around the house, etc.
Generally speaking these days if you own a flat and the remaining length of the lease is anything less than 75-80 years then you should consider extending the length of the lease. Indeed if at all possible you should extend it before the remaining term dips below 80 years since after that the cost of extending is likely to be higher.
Many of my clients have business interests, which need to be considered at the time of preparing a Will. Such interests may be in the form of a shareholding in a private family company, or an interest in a partnership, or acting as a sole trader. The type of business structure will have an impact on how the Will might be drafted and what, if any, administrative provisions should also be included.
A question which is often asked by a lot of employees and employers is whether or not an employee with less than 2 years' service can be dismissed without following any process and without the risk of the employee bringing any claims against the company. Whilst it is true that to qualify for an unfair dismissal claim an employee will need to have 2 years' continuous service, there are other claims which can be sought without this length of service.
Generally speaking these days when a developer builds a new housing development he will include in the conveyancing documents things known as “restrictive covenants”. Basically these are rules about how the property can be used. They remain binding on the property for ever and therefore do not just have to be complied with by the first people who buy the property but by all subsequent owners as well.
Prevention is better than cure. The adage is well known and applies to many situations, including dispute resolution. There are a great number of disputes that most likely could have been avoided altogether, had the parties had the foresight to discuss and set out clearly in writing exactly what they were agreeing to before signing any contracts.
In my earlier blog The new Data Protection Regulation is upon us, I wrote about the start of the implementation process of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). At that stage, it was still very much early days, and since then there have been a number of developments and with the deadline for compliance now in sight, this blog outlines some of the requirements that businesses should be aware of.
The Office of Tax Simplification has provided details of the scope of its review for the current Inheritance Tax system, and whether and how, it might be simplified. They have advised that this will include both administrative and technical questions, which will include:
Settlement agreements (previously known as “compromise agreements”) are common place but not always fully understood. So, exactly what are they? Put simply, they are a contract between an employer and employee which is usually used to resolve any disputes which have arisen within the employment relationship. Under this type of agreement, an employee will agree not to pursue specific legal claims against their employer, as set out within the agreement, usually in return for a sum of money from the employer. Typically, a settlement agreement will be proposed at the end of the employment relationship, but this is not always the case.
It depends. As with so many questions concerning flats, the answer is normally in the lease. It may contain an absolute prohibition on pets, in which case the leaseholder won’t be able to keep a dog. Or it may be silent on the subject of pets, in which case they will be able to keep a dog.
Running a business invariably means that you will build up sensitive business specific information; whether that is a novel manufacturing technique, the confidential information of your clients, or even your staff wages, it is obvious that you would not want this information in the public domain.
Employment Tribunal fees were abolished on 26 July 2017 and a significant increase in claims is already being observed, just as there was a major depression of claims when the fees were introduced in 2013. Employers will also need to contend with late claims being brought by former employees if they can show that it was the payment of fees that stopped them bringing claims in the first place.
The area of private client law does not often go through a period of prolonged change. However, as I reflect upon the year it seems that 2017 has seen a number of development and proposals affecting our day to day work.
It may not always seem obvious but everyday life is full of contracts. Whether you are buying a train ticket, a chocolate bar or simply going to work, contracts underpin all these transactions, and in order for all these transactions to be valid they must all share five key elements.
If you are in the fortunate position to own valuable antiques, works of art, sculptures or other valuable personal possessions, it may be possible to consider using such items for your Inheritance Tax planning strategies.
From 27 November to 1 December, it is Cohabitation Awareness Week. Resolution, a national organisation that campaigns for improvements to the family justice system, are raising awareness about the lack of legal protection on separation for cohabiting couples. They are also continuing their call for greater protection for couples in this type of relationship.
Since 1925 when the Land Registry was first established it has been trying to extend the number of properties and amount of land registered with the eventual aim of covering the entire country.
They are still working on it but these days, if it is not already registered at the Land Registry, whenever a property or land changes hands or any “legal” dealing takes place registration will be triggered.
Enduring Powers of Attorney (‘EPA’) and Lasting Powers of Attorney (‘LPA’) are both documents which you can sign in order to give authority for your ‘Attorneys’ to make decisions on your behalf. The EPA is restricted to financial and property decisions, whereas the LPA can also include health and welfare decisions (there are two types of LPA; one for financial and property affairs and one for health and welfare).
The term “chattels” invokes the language of a time when Britain still had an Empire and people were concerned with what would happen to things such as their carriages and horses. The statutory definition of personal chattels was updated in 2014 from such delightful but archaic language but the principle remains the same. Any personal goods other than “money, securities for money or property used solely or mainly for business purposes” falls into the definition of chattels.
Heads of terms is a document that records the main terms of a lease agreement between a landlord and a tenant. The terms are usually prepared and negotiated by the landlord’s agent. Although heads of terms are not legally binding, it is important for the tenant to take time to understand the terms and the financial implications behind those terms before they start lease negotiations.
When applying for a divorce in England and Wales you have to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. It is quite common for couples who have decided to separate to be under the misconception that the only way they can get a divorce amicably is to wait until they have been separated for more than 2 years. The reason for this is that to get a divorce before then involves one party having to place the blame for the breakdown of the marriage squarely on the other party as a result of their adultery or unreasonable behaviour.
When anyone decides they want to move or buy their first house, the exciting bit is searching through the online listings or estate agents details trying to find their ideal property, going round to have a look at it and deciding which bits of the decor or layout of the property they would never have chosen and would need to be changed immediately when they move in!
But there are some more boring and mundane tasks which everyone should also think about and which will help ease the process of selling and buying.
If you have recently made the step to start up a new business, you are not alone. Last year more than 650,000 new businesses and start ups were established in the UK. Here are three essential legal considerations should you have in mind before you start trading in earnest.
The methodology for calculating the premium to be paid to the freeholder in exchange for an extension to the lease under the Leasehold Reform Housing Development Act 1993 was, until fairly recently, a simple calculation. Recent changes mean that the valuation process is likely to become more complex and protracted, and it is therefore important that you obtain expert legal and valuation advice at an early stage.
Letters of Wishes are not a legally binding document. They are not part of a Will, nor a Trust Deed, and they have no legal status when prepared. However, such letters, sometimes known as side letters, do help to exert a sense of moral obligation on those left behind to help administer the estate, or trust.
The right to request flexible working has been with us since 6 April 2003 and from 30 June 2014 was extended so that employees could effectively make requests for any reason (rather than just for childcare reasons as was the position previously). Clients often call me concerned as to the damage flexible working might do to their business.