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Archive for April, 2017

General Election - What is Purdah? Will it Affect You?

Posted by on April 28th 2017 in Blog Posts

General Election - What is Purdah? Will it Affect You?

Theresa May’s announcement last week to call a general election was of significant surprise to many given the previous assurances and declarations made by the Prime Minister. Whilst a significant back-peddle from her previously entrenched position where she has maintained that an election would not occur before 2020, the question now arises as to what effect such an announcement will have.

During any election, the pre-election period known as ‘purdah’ comes into force. This is a period in which specific restrictions are placed on the decision making powers of public bodies and government departments in order to prevent these bodies and...

The Pitfalls of Property Guardians

Posted by on April 26th 2017 in Blog Posts, Conveyancing

The Pitfalls of Property Guardians

Due to the rise of so called “professional squatters”, property guardians are often enlisted to live in property, which would otherwise be left empty. Guardians are offered low rent accommodation, their presence deterring squatters, arson and vandalism. To reflect a temporary living arrangement, licences rather than a lease is given. Licences are granted as licences are believed to not offer the tenant the same protections of a lease. Recently, however the decision by the Bristol County Court in Camelot Property Management v Roynon (unreported) has shown that property guardianship schemes may not be a risk free temporary arrangement for landowners!

Bristol...

E-Conveyancing - a Move with Times?

Posted by on April 26th 2017 in Blog Posts, Conveyancing

E-Conveyancing - a Move with Times?

A Digital signature has made its first appearance in a residential property transaction.

An electronic signature was used for the first time to exchange contracts in a residential property transaction on the 6th April 2017 at exactly 15:39. This marked the beginning of E-conveyancing and potentially laid down the first brick for the path of the future. 

Solicitors acting on both sides uploaded the agreed contract onto one of the registered secure systems, which was then sent to the respective seller and purchaser to electronically sign. The system was then able to confirm that the document was read and signed,...

President of the Solicitors for the Elderly Praises Kitsons Solicitors

Posted by on April 25th 2017 in Press Releases, Private Client

Lynn Smith a Partner and head of department at local law firm Kitsons Solicitors and Marjorie Creek a Private Client Solicitor in their Plympton branch, both full accredited members of Solicitors for the Elderly, have been singled out for praise by Anne Edis, President of the Solicitors for the Elderly.

The SFE is an independent, national organisation of over 1,500 solicitors, barristers and chartered legal executives, committed to providing the highest quality of legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers. It has campaigned hard, alongside other organisations, to have the draft Non-Contentious Probate...

The End of Tenants Abuse?

Posted by on April 24th 2017 in Blog Posts

The End of Tenants Abuse?

The Government announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement that it intended to hold a consultation on introducing a ban on letting agents charging residential tenants a fee for finding accommodation. This consultation is due to end on 2nd June 2017. The consultation relates to England. Scotland, with its usual more enlightened approach to such matters, has already banned such fees. The position is under review in Northern Ireland and Wales. It is anticipated that the ban will lead to a “better and more transparent service” and increase competition between agents. It is also intended that it will prevent a tenant...

Seven Bedford Row to go Paper-Less: Is this the End of Paper-Cuts and Filing Cabinets?

Posted by on April 19th 2017 in Blog Posts

Seven Bedford Row to go Paper-Less: Is this the End of Paper-Cuts and Filing Cabinets?

‘We’re Going Paperless’ is a phrase that can be heard reverberating around the conference rooms and corridors of businesses up and down the country, and none more so than in the legal industry. With the introduction of a new online court system on the horizon, and the opportunity to provide a quicker, more cost effective service for clients, more and more firms are making the effort to go “paper-less”.

To remain competitive, Barrister Chambers are now feeling the pressure to adapt their own practices to embrace the changes seen in the way others are operating around them. It is therefore not...

Isle of Wight Council v Platt [2017]

Posted by on April 18th 2017 in Blog Posts

Isle of Wight Council v Platt [2017]

Isle of Wight Council v Platt [2017]: Supreme Court rules parents can be prosecuted for taking children out of school without permission

On 6 April 2017 the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a child fails to attend school regularly if they fail to comply with the rules prescribed by the school. Therefore, as set out in Section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996 (the Act), in this case Mr Platt was guilty of an offence:

444. Offence: failure to secure regular attendance at school of registered pupil.

  1. If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a...

What Makes a House a House?

Posted by on April 17th 2017 in Blog Posts, Property

What Makes a House a House?

In Grosvenor (Mayfair) Estate v Merix International Ventures Ltd & Another [2017] EWCA Civ 190 the Court of Appeal had to consider what makes a property a house.  If a property is a “house” under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 (the ’67 Act), then a tenant may be entitled to purchase the freehold or extend their lease. The Court had to apply the law to the facts to determine the entitlement of the tenant.

Certain criteria must be fulfilled to entitle a tenant to enfranchise or extend. The tenant must hold a long leasehold of the property (more than 21 years)...

Can you Enjoy an Easement to use a Golf Course, Swimming Pool and Tennis Court ?

Posted by on April 15th 2017 in Blog Posts, Property

In the case of Regency Villas Title Ltd v others v Diamond Resorts (Europe) Ltd and another [2017] EWCA Civ 238 (“Regency”), the Court of Appeal considered whether the right granted to use a golf course, swimming pool and tennis court was capable of forming a legal easement.   Regency explored the test established in Re Ellenborough Park  [1955] EWCA Civ 4 where the Court of Appeal had to consider the validity of easements, of various kinds, to enjoy recreational facilities.

Regency Villas Title Ltd was the freehold owner of Elham House which lies in the middle...

The New Probate Fees

Posted by on April 13th 2017 in Blog Posts, Private Client

Probate fees are payable by executors when they apply for a Grant of Probate which is a formal document required in order to administer a deceased person’s estate. Currently a flat fee is payable of either £155 for an application made by a solicitor or £215 for an application made by an individual regardless of the value of the estate. Probate fees are separate to inheritance tax and are payable on an application irrespective of whether inheritance tax is due. 

New provisions intended to be introduced from May will replace these flat fees with a system...

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