House Building Plot Sales

Whether you are large builder or a smaller first time investor we have the service to help guide you through your next building adventure. Being an independent family firm we have been able to ensure personable service with the low cost everyone needs. We have a strong team which enables quick completion, quality advice yet without the loss in service.

Our highly experienced Solicitors have helped many clients from the beginning of the development; buying the land through to the completion of the Plot Sales and beyond. We have a great wealth of legal documentation which allows you as a builder to know your assets and legal rights are protected but ensures it meets the Mortgage Lenders, buyers and the Land Registry’s requirements. This can make the whole process quicker and more efficient which allows us to pass the savings on to you. You may need assistance setting up a Management Company, Infrastructure Agreements/Ancillary Transactions and we can help you throughout. We can handle all matters whether freehold, leasehold Help to Buy plus the acquisition and disposal of properties in part-exchange.

Coupled with this as Estate Agents we could save you even more by selling the Plots under one roof. Very few Solicitors can offer this service but as we have the knowledgeable staff and structure to deal with this bespoke service we can massively reduce your costs.

We know how busy and time-consuming building the development itself can be so we try to accommodate as many ways of communication as possible. Whether you require a weekly meeting for us to go everything in one appointment or whether you prefer updates via emails/phones calls/Skype/text whichever method you want we can aid in saving your precious time. Alternatively, we can offer a site visit to you if you prefer a tailor made service.

We have been awarded the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Mark and we were Shortlisted for Law Firm of the Year in 2013 so you can be re-assured that our standards of service are that which you expect and that which you receive.

We have helped even more clients in 2013 build their portfolio and we want to help you where we can in 2014. Whatever stage you are at with your next project please give our Expert Plot Sales Solicitor on 01772 426532 or email matthew@solicitordirect.com. We can talk you through your options and work out what savings we can help with. Alternatively use the form below and we can call you free of charge:

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Resolve A Dispute With Your Landlord

Renting a property is usually hassle free and runs smoothly, providing both you and your landlord adhere to your responsibilities and honour the terms of your tenancy agreement.

However, sometimes things don’t work out well and you end up in a dispute with your landlord. When this happens it is important to understand exactly what your rights are and to understand your ongoing responsibilities even when you are in dispute with your landlord.

There are many different reasons why you may be in dispute with your landlord, but some of the most common reasons are:

  • Property Maintenance – your landlord has a responsibility to keep the property properly maintained. When something goes wrong such as the boiler breaking down, you have the right to expect this to be resolved quickly. If you feel that your landlord is taking too long to carry out the repairs you have the right to withhold rent or deduct the cost of the repairs from the rent you pay, as this would be reasonable behaviour. You must give your landlord reasonable opportunity to make these repairs before taking action.
  • Property damage – there is a fine line between you causing damage to the property and wear and tear. Your landlord should expect to have to take on a certain amount of wear and tear, but if you want to hang pictures or mirrors, you should check whether this is acceptable with your landlord before drilling holes in the wall as this could be seen to be property damage.
  • Deposit returns – your landlord should place your deposit into a rental deposit scheme. This offers you protection from your landlord trying to take your deposit without a real reason.

If you can resolve any of these issues before the problem gets out of hand, it will help you and your landlord to maintain a reasonable relationship. You can do this by talking to your landlord as a starting point and if this does not work you do have other options. Where you have a dispute over your deposit, there are mediation options available to get this sorted.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our disputes and litigation services, please call us on 01772 424999/ reply to this email/fill in the form below and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).

Christmas Competition

LEYLAND CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL

Christmas Hamper Competition image

On Saturday 28th November 2015 Leyland will be host to the ever growing Christmas Festival. Courtesy to the Leyland Town Team and many others the Festival is growing and getting bigger each year. There will be plenty to do, the Big Man will be visiting of course and we shall be running a FREE COMPETITION to win a Christmas Hamper. PLUS… All children under 10 years old will receive a FREE Mask. Just see poster for information

We shall be open 10-4pm and we hope to see you to enjoy the festive spirit.

Happy Christmas everyone…

The New Cost of Divorce

The government are planning a rise in the fees you pay to get a divorce and this may have a real impact on people who are stuck in unhappy marriages. Senior family court judges are concerned that women will be particularly affected by this new increase in fees. They commented recently that ‘there is something unappetising about the state making a profit on a legal necessity and a source of unhappiness for people’.

Whilst the judiciary are unhappy about this new rise, what are the facts and who will it affect the most?

The plans, that are now the subject of a Common’s Justice Committee Enquiry, are to increase costs by 34 per cent – in real terms this is a rise from £410 to £550. This is the latest in a long line of increases in the cost of divorce. In fact, the cost for a couple getting a divorce has actually gone up by 600 per cent in only two years. This is as a result of the current government pushing the burden from the taxpayer to the individuals involved.

However, the government have not only increased the fees to ensure they cover the cost of the service, they are actually making a profit on divorce – they will take over £66 million in profit each year from unhappy couples and put this towards maintaining the court system.

Whilst for many people £550 to get out of an unhappy marriage may be a price worth paying, it may put a number of people at a real disadvantage and leave them in a position where these fees create a very real barrier to leaving their marriage.

Senior judges, both from the Judicial Executive Board and from the High Court, suggest that people are being encouraged to stay in bad marriages due to financial constraints. The impact on them and on their children could be devastating. They also claim that this goes against one of the fundamentals of British justice – that access to justice should not be sold – everyone should have access regardless of their means. In addition, they fail to understand why people who wish to get divorced should subside the court system.

It seems this issue will continue to be debated for some time.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our family law services, please call us on 01772 424999, reply to this email or use the form below and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).

 

Buying A New Build Off Plan?

Buying a new build off plan can be one of the most exciting ways to buy a house as you can have real control over how your home looks, but there are some downsides to buying off plan. Here are some of the things you will need to consider before you take the plunge and buy a new build that is currently just a building site.

Help to buy has helped to kick start the desire for new build property and this may mean that you fail to consider the risks that may be involved – you will agree a price for the property before it is built and this could mean that the value of your property drops before you complete on it. This could cause you a problem as it could mean that you cannot secure the full amount of the price in a mortgage, but you will have to find the full amount of money to pay the agreed price.

The upside of this is that the reverse can happen – your property may actually increase in value before completion. This means you will probably pay less than other people who waited to buy and you start life in your new property knowing that it’s now worth more than you paid for it.

Once you have decided to buy off plan, you should understand how the process works – you pay an upfront deposit that is non-refundable. This allows you to obtain the property you want. Once you have paid this fee, you will then have to pay another 10 per cent of the total value of the property within 21 days and then the rest on completion.

You should be aware that your build may not go according to plan and that there may be some delays. This could impact on any mortgage offer you have as they only normally last for up to six months. If you need to, contact your mortgage company to discuss any delays on completion.

Be prepared for the possibility that you may need to live on a building site for some time after you move in, particularly if you live on a large development, but most of all enjoy your new bespoke home that boasts a ten year guarantee.

If you have any property questions, please call us on 01772 424999, reply to this email or fill in the form below and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).

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What is Criminal Injuries Compensation?

If you are injured as an innocent victim of crime, you have the right to apply for compensation for your injuries. Your injuries can be physical or psychological and the method used to assess compensation is a specific tariff which your case will be mapped against to see what compensation you are entitled to.

There are a number of different criteria that need to be met in order to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation and you also have to be eligible to claim. You are eligible for compensation if you were the victim of a violent crime or if a loved one has been killed in a violent crime, providing you are a qualifying relative. There are exclusions, depending on where the crime took place and definitions of a violent crime too.

In order to make a claim for compensation, you must report the incident to the police as soon as possible after the incident. There are a number of factors that could result in a delay in reporting this to the police and these will be taken into account.

You may also claim if you have been a victim of physical or sexual abuse as an adult or a child or if you have taken an acceptable and justified risk and been injured, such as trying to stop a criminal or if you witnessed or were present at an incident that may cause you psychological injuries.

You will need to complete and submit an application form and include with this application the evidence you need to support your claim. You need to provide medical evidence, proof that you are resident in the UK and evidence to show any losses you incurred as a result of your injury. You will have to pay for your own medical report, which will cost up to £50 and the compensation you are awarded is dependent on the injuries you suffered.

Using a solicitor can increase your chances of getting a higher award. Where you suffered more than one injury you can stack these in your claim and you can argue that your injuries are in a higher category. This will ensure that you receive all of the compensation you are due for your injuries.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our accident and injury claims services, please call us on 01772 424999 or reply to this email and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).

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New Changes to Landlord and Tenancy law

There have been significant changes that have become law from 1st October 2015 which can affect both landlords and tenants. Below we have given you a quick summary of information help with general guidance.. As each situation is unique we at Solicitor Direct can advise you on your particular issues, so if you have any further questions then give us a call:-

The changes relate to:

  • Section 21 Notices- The notice which is served on tenants to end their tenancy
  • Further responsibilities of the Landlords
  • AST (assured shorthold tenancies) which start on or after 1st October 2015

Depending upon when a tenancy started the situation and requirements will be different. We’ve outlined these below to help you decide which apply to you.

For ASTs that started before 1st October 2015

In relation to serving Section 21 Notices:

  • Landlords can still serve a section 21 notice at any time during the tenancy
  • There is no change to the form of the section 21 notices you use
  • There is no time-limit after which a section 21 notice expires – unless you give your tenants a new fixed term tenancy, or arguably if you change the terms and conditions of the tenancy, for example by increasing the rent

However regardless of when the tenancy started these rules will stop in October 2018 and the new rules will apply across the board.

For ASTs starting on or after 1st October 2015

You now need to give the following documents to tenants at the start of each fixed term tenancy:

  • Gas appliance safety certificate
  • An energy performance certificate (EPC)

In relation to serving section 21 notices:

  • Landlords can only serve a section 21 notice after 4 months of the first tenancy
  • The form of the section 21 notice has to be in the new ‘prescribed form’
  • There is a 6 month limit after which a section 21 notice expires, at the present time running from the date of service
  • Any health and safety improvement notice served by the local authority means no section 21 notice can be served for 6 months
  • You will not be able to regain possession of your property without any of the above being dealt with correctly

Complaints about the property

Any complaint in writing from the tenant about the condition of a property has to be responded to within 14 days. The landlord has to set out in his reply:

  • What he intends to do
  • The timeline for doing the repair work

If the landlord then either:

  • Fails to reply to the written complaint,
  • Gives an inadequate reply, or
  • Serves a section 21 notice

The tenant can complain to the local authority who must inspect the property. If the local authority inspects the property it can:

  • Serve a remedial notice
  • Carry out emergency remedial action

At this point the landlord’s rights to evict under section 21 will be held in limbo, since:

  • No section 21 notice previously served will be valid
  • No further notice may be served for 6 months

However, the landlord can still serve a section 8 notice, but given the repair issues, the tenant may take the opportunity to try and counterclaim to prevent possession and claim damages.

Smoke alarms

Each floor of each property requires a functioning smoke alarm from 1st October under The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

Deposits

If a landlord took a deposit after 6th April 2007 but missed the deadline to get it registered by 23rdJuly 2015, then this is how the law stands.

If the landlord has not registered a deposit in a government-backed deposit scheme within 30 days of receiving the money, the landlord has to return the deposit money to the tenant immediately, as until the landlord does so they cannot serve a Section 21 Notice.

If the prescribed information relating to the deposit has not been given to the tenants and any other relevant persons within 30 days of the deposit being received, then the landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice. (‘relevant person’ presumably means guarantors, or anyone who helped pay for the deposit).

However, so long as the deposit money has been put into a scheme within 30 days, the ‘prescribed information’ relating to the deposit can be served at a later date, which then allows the landlord to serve a section 21 notice.

Do not expect the deposit scheme to provide the ‘prescribed information’ to the tenants, whatever the scheme suggests it might do. It is the landlord’s specific responsibility to make sure all relevant persons receive the prescribed information. If in any doubt whatsoever, serve the documents yourself, keeping good evidence of having done so.

Notwithstanding these difficulties over section 21 notices, any deadlines for compliance with the rules that are missed mean that the landlord will be liable to the tenant for between one and three times the amount of the deposit, should the tenant bring a claim, or a counterclaim.

Need Help?

With our breadth of experience and service  we are able  to advise both landlord or tenant on their rights and obligations, and with our letting agency service we can ensure that you are not left exposed by the changes in the regulations and to ensure the appropriate steps are taken. Speak to us and see how we can help you today.

All initial advice is free of charge –

Call 01772 424999 or

Email enquiries@solicitordirect.com

We can phone you using the contact form below:

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What Should I Look For In A Commercial Lease?

commercialpropertyDeciding to move into a commercial property as a tenant can be a big decision. It could be the turning point of your business by providing the space to grow and develop and therefore you need to know what your rights are as a commercial tenant and to be clear about the points you need to negotiate on in your lease agreement.

Your lease will lay out where your responsibilities lie and those of your landlord and there is a code of practice that outlines the best way to go about preparing a commercial property lease.

In the first instance, it is good practice to negotiate the lease along with your new landlord and be open and honest about your needs and requirements. By approaching negotiations in this manner, a lease agreement should be reached early on.

By using a solicitor to review the lease, you have their years of experience in commercial property and receive good, solid advice about the legal aspects of the contract and what clauses you should expect to see and those you do not want included.

A standard lease will include items such as:

  • The term of the lease
  • Whether there are any break clauses
  • Whether you can sub let
  • How to renew your lease after the term is up
  • The amount of rent payable over the period of the lease
  • Rent reviews and how often they happen
  • Any insurance held by the landlord
  • Who is responsible for repairs
  • Amount payable in service charges
  • What should happen if there is a dispute

You can see there are a number of areas you should investigate with your solicitor, with some of the most important ones being the break clauses and sub-let terms, repairs to the building and rent reviews. These clauses could make a big difference to your monthly bottom line and the break clause or sub-let option can provide your business with a get out clause if things don’t work out well at that property.

Once you have found the right commercial property to lease, you should make sure that you negotiate the best possible lease so you don’t pay for any oversights or mistakes later on.

We have helped so many clients sell, buy, renew, extend or re-negotiate their commercial lease. We would love the opportunity to help you in your next venture so please simply call us on 01772 424999, email enquiries@solicitordirect.com or alternatively fill in the form below and we shall call you:

How To Make A Claim After A Bicycle Accident

bikeIf you are a cyclist you will probably have suffered from some very near misses during your time on your bike. We have a few of our own staff members who cycle to work and are continually commenting upon those near misses. You have probably felt very lucky to avoid an accident or collision with a car, van or even another cyclist.

However, a growing number of cyclists are not so lucky and have suffered injuries as a result of an accident. We have seen a rapid increase in people coming to see us since being knocked of their bike. If this is the case, you may decide that you want to pursue a personal injury claim so you can be compensated for your injuries and get your bike repaired and back on the road.

You have every right to seek compensation for your injuries and for any other losses you have as a result of the accident. It doesn’t matter if your injuries are minor or serious, you are still entitled to claim.

Your first consideration will be which solicitor to choose. After all, there are so many available, particularly when you watch the advertisements on day time television. However, your starting point should be that they have experience in bicycle claims. Simply put we have. Some of the issues in bicycle claims are complex and if your solicitor is a generalist, they may not be aware of some of the more important or obscure points. With some of personal injury solicitors being avid cyclists themselves a great deal of hands on knowledge and experience also helps throughout your claim.

After you have made your choice of solicitor, you will have to consider the cost of any legal action and as a lot of cyclists do not have insurance. We will run through all of the options open to you, such as a conditional fee agreement, known as a CFA.

This provides you with the opportunity to defer the costs of your legal fees until the end of the claim and if you win, most of your fees will be paid for by the person who was at fault for the accident. If you lose, an insurance policy will pay the winning side’s costs and we would not get paid.

You will need to assist us by providing information about the accident and also giving details about your losses, such as receipts for your bike and your damaged clothing. In addition we will need to know about any lost income as a result of time off from work due to your injuries, including bonuses and overtime. If you are self-employed you will have to provide copies of your accounts.

We will arrange a medical appointment for you so a doctor can provide a report about your injuries and your prognosis as this will help to decide the amount of compensation you recover for your injuries.

Whilst no legal process is quick, providing your injuries are not serious and you recover quickly, your claim may be completed within a matter of months.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our accident and injury claims services, please call us on 01772 424999/ email enquiries@solicitordirect.com/ come and see us at 71 Hough Lane Leyland or alternatively complete the following form and we will call you free of charge.

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How to avoid making small business blunders

S PebblesSometimes when starting out on your first business venture you may feel you do not know what you are doing. There are however, a number of legal points you should consider and take very close attention to.

Firstly, you should draft a shareholder agreement. It is not compulsory to have one however it is very important to lay out the responsibilities, ability to make decisions and who’s right it is to do so. It will assist should a dispute arise and whilst you may hope this will not happen the great thing means that you have a document in black and white to help resolve things quickly.

Secondly, is a data protection breach? The protection provided by the Data Protection Act 1998 means that you are required by law to use and process personal data using the 8 principles laid down in this legislation.

You have to be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and nominate a data controller. Failure to do this is a criminal offence, so this should be one of your first jobs once you have started trading, or even before if you can.

Another mistake that small businesses make is to try to cut costs when putting together employment contracts, supplier contracts or in fact any of the legal work that supports a business. Cutting costs at this stage may seem like a stroke of genius, but in the long term this could end up costing you more than you bargained for, particularly if a dispute arises with an employee or even a customer. Good legal advice may seem expensive, but it could save you a fortune in the long run.

Lastly, check that you have insurance cover in place. There are some statistics to suggest that about 230,000 business have no insurance at all and if you are one of them that could be disastrous. Just one accident at the office or a break in could mean that you are unable to operate and therefore, the end of your business.

There are many more small business blunders than these to factor into your business plan, but hopefully by avoiding these, you will stay afloat in the all-important first year.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our commercial legal services, please call us on 01772 424999 or use the contact form and we can call you free of charge.

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