The Government has overnight published new guidance for those who are currently buying or selling a property. In light of the current restrictions on movement across the UK and the importance of self-isolating, it is understandable that this will...
At an age where it may be challenging to access more traditional mortgage finance, equity release can supply you with the funds for your future plans. The money generated from equity release can be used for any purpose you have in mind, such as a once in a lifetime holiday, home improvements or even assisting a loved one in the purchase of their own property. In this guide Associate Solicitor and Equity Release specialist, Zoe Fellows, details everything you need to know about equity release, including what it is, how long it can take, the safety of it and how it can impact Inheritance Tax.
Buying a property is an exciting and momentous life milestone. Whether you are looking for a new home for an expanding family, or you are looking to start your climb up the property ladder, buying a home can be a complicated one and it’s important to understand the steps that will see you settle in to your dream property. In this guide, Conveyancing Executive, Sabrina Skerritt, details the three stages to buying a property, shares her top tips and details how we can help you if you’re a first time buyer.
Whether you are selling your home to make more room for a growing family, or you are looking for something smaller now that the nest has become less occupied, our aim is to make your move as stress free as possible. We also understand that selling your home can be an emotional time if you are selling the property that you shared with a loved one, or a family home that your children grew up in. Here, Conveyancing Executive, Sabrina Skerritt, provides the ultimate guide for selling your home by detailing each step of the process, how to prepare your home for viewings, as well as selling your property through auction.
As Inheritance Tax (IHT) is calculated based on the size of your estate, releasing equity in your home would reduce the value of your property and therefore lead to either less Inheritance Tax payable upon your death, or your estate may fall under the threshold completely, provided the equity released is spent and not invested. It is important that you consider the wider impact this has on your estate and your future beneficiaries; Zoe Fellows, Equity Release specialist, discusses here how equity release affects Inheritance Tax and how we can support you if you decide you would like to release equity in your home.
The Government’s proposal to abolish section 21 notices has caused a feeling of uncertainty amongst landlords as to how they will go about regaining possession of their property if a tenant refuses to leave after the fixed term of their tenancy agreement expires. The Government has stated that the purpose of the abolishment is an attempt to remove no fault evictions so as to provide renters with the security of having a tenancy that cannot be ended through no fault of their own. The National Landlord’s Association have specified that “over 96% of landlords would consider the leaving the market without section 21”.
Downsizing and equity release are effective ways to fund your plans for later life, or to help a loved one onto the property ladder. They both have their pros and cons and the right option for you will depend on your own personal situation. Zoe Fellows, Associate Solicitor and Equity Release specialist, explains here why equity release may be right for you, and why more people are choosing this option opposed to downsizing.
Equity release is an increasingly popular way for individuals to fund their retirement or help a loved one onto the property ladder. In recent years the practice has become more regulated in order to protect those releasing equity, namely with the introduction of the Equity Release Council (ERC) in 1991. We are delighted to have now joined the ERC; here Zoe Fellows, Equity Release specialist, explains more about why we have joined and how we can help you if you are considering equity release.
Despite past concerns, equity release is now considered to be a safe and effective way of raising funds. Releasing equity is fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and we can offer further protection as we are a member of the Equity Release Council.
With Help to Buy ISAs set to be shut down on November 30th 2019, you may be wondering if it is still worth opening one. Here Zoe Fellows, Associate Solicitor in our Residential Conveyancing department, explains why Help to Buy ISAs are still a good way to get your foot in the door as a first time buyer, and the difference between a Help to Buy ISA and a Lifetime ISA.
The abolishment of eviction notices under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 could be seen as a positive move for tenants as they will remove the ability for landlords to evict them without a justifiable reason. However, there is a concern from the Resident Landlords Association (RLA), which is the largest representative for landlords within the UK, that “landlords will be more selective when this abolishment is in place”. Understandably, this raises causes for concern for current and future tenants.
If you own your current property and are over 55 years old (some schemes may apply different age requirements), you can release equity in order to buy a second property, or it may be more appropriate to consider re-mortgaging or a buy-to-let mortgage. Zoe Fellows, Equity Release specialist in our Fareham office, explains how you can do this and the factors you need to consider in order to proceed with the right decision for your own circumstances.
Depending on the equity release plan you choose, it usually takes between 6 to 8 weeks to release equity in your home, assuming there are no complications along the way. With this route of raising funds becoming more popular, Paula Bryan, Equity Release specialist in our Waterlooville office, explains the various stages to equity release and the timescales involved.
The Tenant Fees Act sets out the Government's approach to banning letting fees paid by tenants in the private rented sector and capping tenancy deposits in England. The aim of the Act is to reduce the costs that some tenants have to pay, and...
The High Court has recently announced their decision in a pinnacle case regarding whether Brexit could frustrate a commercial property lease. Molly Siggs, Commercial Property Solicitor in our Portsmouth office, reviews the outcome of the case. ...
Releasing equity in your home is an effective, and increasingly popular, way of raising funds to help your children onto the property ladder, make renovations, go on that once in a lifetime holiday or have a more solid financial foundation for your retirement.
Our Southampton Residential Conveyancing team are celebrating the promotion of Lucy Smith to Team Leader of the department.
On the 15th April 2019, the Government announced proposals to repeal section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, which provides a no fault procedure for a landlord to recover possession of their tenanted property. Were the proposals to proceed, the future of tenant evictions and repossessions would be drastically altered. Helen Porter, Partner in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, reviews the proposals and the steps landlords can take to protect their property in the future.
Our Litigation and Dispute Resolution team have previously discussed the progress of the Tenant Fees Act through the Houses of Parliament, but the Act has now received royal assent and shall come into force on 1 June 2019. From this date, landlords and letting agents are only able to charge for the deposit, rent and restricted default fees. Helen Porter, Partner in the team, reviews the changes being introduced and explains the steps landlords should take now to remain compliant.
A recent Tribunal decision has considered whether derelict residential properties are liable to the 3% surcharged rates for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). Joe Taylor, Commercial Property Solicitor in our Portsmouth team, considers the outcome of the case and...
Our Residential Conveyancing team have previously discussed how to spot Japanese Knotweed on your property, but could you have legal grounds to make a claim if your neighbour’s land has Japanese Knotweed that is encroaching upon your land? ...
On 20 March 2019 the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 (the Act) will come into force in England. The Act will give tenants the right to take court action for breach of contract if a property is not fit for human habitation at the start of and throughout their tenancy. Helen Porter, Partner in the Southampton based Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, explains the amendments being introduced by the Act and what they mean for landlords
Landlords will be familiar with the protection afforded to business tenants when it comes to lease renewal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. At the end of WWII, commercial property was at a premium. Business tenants found that when they...
An option available to a tenant under a commercial lease is the ability to assign (or transfer) the lease to a third party. This will usually require the landlord’s consent. One of the conditions of a landlord giving their consent will inevitably be...
Japanese knotweed has become well known in the UK as a nuisance plant, which can lead to structural damage due to its aggressive nature and ability to grow through materials such as concrete and tarmac. Genni Cooper, Solicitor in our Fareham...
The landscape of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) has changed significantly over recent years, mainly for first time buyers. That landscape is set to change once more on 1 st March as the deadline for submitting SDLT returns will reduce. Jenny Colvin,...
When purchasing a property, it can be confusing to know whether a survey is needed, what type of survey is best and who is responsible for organising this. Genni Cooper, Associate Solicitor in our Waterlooville Residential Conveyancing team, explains...
Equity release as a concept is not new, but equity release products are growing in popularity. The number of products on the market has doubled in the two years to August 2018, and lending through such schemes grew for the seventh consecutive year in...
New statistics released from the First Time Buyers 2018 report, produced by Yorkshire Building Society, have highlighted a significant increase in the level of First Time Buyers (FTBs). Genni Cooper, Residential Conveyancing Solicitor, here reviews the...
An interesting and pinnacle case is about to go to court as to whether Brexit can frustrate a lease – bringing it to an end and releasing the parties from their obligations. Molly Siggs, Commercial Property Solicitor, explains the facts of the case,...
We understand that being a landlord is a big responsibility and we’re here to help you understand your legal obligations to make your role as easy as possible.
With Christmas only six weeks away, there are many of you who will be looking to move into your new home in time for the Christmas festivities. To help you pick up those keys ready to put up your tree, decorate the house and cook your Christmas...
In recent months, there has been a growing trend in the way commercial tenants are using a particular type of insolvency prevention procedure, known as a Company Voluntary Agreement, to reduce the amount they are paying to their landlords. Here Helen Porter,...
If you have bought, sold or rented commercial property, then you may have heard your legal adviser refer to Commercial Property Standard Enquiries, or more commonly known CPSE. While the name may refer to them as ‘standard’, if you...
Owning a property comes with many considerations; one of them being whether you own your property as tenants in common or as joint tenants. Jane Cox, Private Client Partner, explains here the difference between the two statuses, and why they are...
From 1 October 2018, all Assured Shorthold Tenancies will be subject to the rules that were introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015 (‘the Act’), which outlines situations when a landlord can terminate a tenancy under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Helen Porter, Partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, explains how the Act affects landlords who are faced with a complaint about their property from their tenant, and why this may restrict you from serving a Section 21 notice.
The sale of new properties as leaseholds subject to ground rents that double regularly is a topic that has been featured a lot in the press in recent months. National builders, Taylor Wimpey, have responded to criticism and launched a scheme whereby they...
When a landlord wishes to evict their tenant, it is vital that they follow the correct procedure for doing so, in order to avoid any unnecessary delays and wasted costs. This is particularly important given the upcoming changes in the law regarding landlords’ use of the procedure under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. Helen Porter, Partner in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, explains the changes in the law, and the steps landlords must take to ensure they are compliant.
All parents hope that one day their children will own their own home but with rising house prices and inflation, parents are being called upon to either house their children while they save for the deposit or gift the deposit themselves. Jane Cox,...
Recent comments made by Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, may have existing and future property owners, as well as landlords and developers, concerned about the future following Brexit. Sarah Brooks, Partner and Head of Residential Conveyancing,...
On September 5th the Tenant Fees Bill (the Bill) had its’ third reading in the House of Commons and the Bill has now been passed up to the House of Lords for consideration. Helen Porter, Litigation and Dispute Resolution Partner, explains how...
Our Commercial Property team has an enviable reputation in Portsmouth, and has recently welcomed a new member of the team to support local property owners and developers with their portfolios. Molly Siggs qualified as a Solicitor in April 2013, spending her...
When a landlord wishes to evict their tenant, it will not be a decision they have reached lightly and will invariably be the last resort. There could be various reasons why they wish to do this, but there are also various steps they must follow to ensure any subsequent eviction is legal. Helen Porter, Partner in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, explains the correct steps for landlords and the legal consequences if they do not evict their tenants legally.
When tree roots extend into your neighbour’s property they can cause damage, especially if they are close to foundations of a building. Helen Porter, Partner in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, explains here the rights you have regarding tree roots and steps to take before legal action.
When granting an assured shorthold tenancy of residential accommodation, you should ensure you are aware of the obligations you are required to satisfy both at the beginning of, and throughout the duration of the tenancy, otherwise you could face serious difficulty when trying to regain possession of your property. Helen Porter, Partner in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, explains these responsibilities here, and reviews a recent case highlighting the impact the failure to deliver a Gas Safety Certificate to a tenant can have on the validity of notice given under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee last week announced that their interest rate will increase from 0.5% to 0.75% on 2 August 2018; the highest percentage since March 2009. Whilst this may mean that the interest rates in your savings...
Not a day goes by when we are not faced with news of identity theft or online fraud, and so it should be no surprise that if you are buying or selling a property, as your lawyers, we will ask you for several documents to confirm your identity and also query...
In 2017, it was reported that over 80,000 British homeowners were trying to boost their income by advertising their properties on short term rental websites such as Airbnb. With these numbers expected to rise to one third of homeowners by 2021, and...
As a landlord, one of the most important legal requirements is that you cover the basic safety practices and equipment in the property or properties you are renting. Keeping your tenants safe should be your principal concern, so ensuring that these obligations are met is of the utmost importance. Helen Porter, Partner and Litigation and Dispute Solicitor, clarifies the responsibilities of residential landlords regarding fire, gas and electrical safety, and explains how UK legislation applies in this area.
Barely a day goes by without a local newspaper recording the infringement of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). These are often accompanied by protestations from the accused claiming they had no idea that a TPO was in place and, more frequently, detailing the fines imposed against them (which can be as high as £20,000). Helen Porter, Partner in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution team, clarifies the position on TPOs as well as offering advice to landowners and developers.
Many people think that purchasing a property is not achievable, and that their only option is to rent. But how much truth is there to this?
The property market continues to show signs of progress as figures from UK Finance show 2017 saw the highest number of first time buyers since 2006. Emma Gilliland, Residential Conveyancer, here reviews the figures and explains why this is good news for the housing market as a whole.
In recent months, several bodies have been calling for clearer options when it comes to individuals buying or selling their home, particularly when they require conveyancing services. With the market awash with choices of legal services to provide this, John Blake, Senior Residential Conveyancer, evaluates the impact this call for transparency will have for clients, and why real client feedback and recommendations will always be a preferable place to start.
Hampshire law firm, Warner Goodman LLP, are delighted to announce the opening of our new office in Chandler’s Ford; the fourth office for the firm. The firm already have offices in Southampton, Portsmouth and Fareham, providing a full range of legal services for people in their business and personal lives.
In yet another move to drive the housing market forward, last week Chancellor Philip Hammond and Housing Secretary Sajid Javid announced the investment of £866 million for local housing projects.
The term ‘dilapidations’ refers to the wants of repair in a leasehold property for which the tenant is responsible. At the end of the term of the lease, the landlord will serve a terminal schedule of dilapidations on the tenant.
Here in the South East figures show our region saw the highest number of home movers in 2017; a sure sign the property market is continuing to grow.
In November last year, Philip Hammond announced in his Budget the abolishment of Stamp Duty for first time buyers; but where does it leave those first time buyers looking to buy a property through shared ownership?
Springtime is traditionally the busiest time for the property market, but with a knotty problem affecting more homes than ever, it’s worth doing some horticultural homework before you start, whether you’re buying or selling.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in his Budget yesterday that Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is to be abolished with immediate effect for first time buyers. Sarah Brooks, Residential Property Partner, explains the practicalities of the move from the Chancellor and what happens next for first time buyers.
The private rented sector is made up of 4.5 million households in England. Both landlords and tenants frequently pay Letting Agents to provide a valuable service in ensuring properties are managed; assisting landlords in complying with their legal responsibilities and helping tenants secure a home, being their first port of call for any maintenance and repair issues.
Last week saw the interest rate rise from 0.25% to 0.5%; the first increase in ten years. The news has been welcomed by some as a sign of improving economic times, but homeowners have been wondering how this will impact them in particular. Anne Mills, from the firm's Residential Conveyancing team, explains what the rise means in real terms for homeowners.
Taking a lease of commercial premises is usually a big commitment. Issues to consider include:- Term, Breaks and Insurance.
A recent survey by HSBC revealed that UK millennials, ie those born between the early eighties and the mid-to-late nineties, are less likely than their counterparts in other countries to own a home. But there lies hope, and it lies in Southampton! Post Office Money recently interviewed more than 1,000 people who have bought their first property in the last two years.
The cost of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is being held responsible by many in the property sector as to why there may be hesitation when it comes to purchasing a property, particularly for first time buyers and those looking to downsize following retirement. Emma Gilliland, Residential Conveyancer, reviews here why there are proposals for this to be reduced in the future and brought more in line with current market activity, and why it causes a barrier to the housing market.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has announced that the Help to Buy Scheme, which was launched in 2013, is to continue until at least 2021. The news comes amid rumours that the scheme was to be scrapped, which led to shares in leading house builders falling earlier this month.
EPC certificates were first launched on the 1st August 2007, and were introduced as a way to provide energy usage and costs on a property, as well as making suggestions about how the property could be more energy efficient. This is based on a rating between A to G; A being most efficient and G least efficient.
When the General Election was called in May, possible uncertainty in the housing market was forecast once again, similar to a year ago in light of the EU referendum. Recent research however, and figures from local law firm Warner Goodman, has shown that this has not been the case, and the property market continues to grow apace.
The recently published Housing Price Index has shown more positive news for home owners across Hampshire. Paul Winslade, Residential Property Partner, reveals the latest figures and what this means for the property market in the South.
The housing market across the UK continues to stabilise since the uncertainty in 2016, as news comes from various sources showing that the number of first time buyers remains on the rise month on month, boosting the overall market for all home owners and potential buyers.
A new cash back mortgage has been launched by Barclays Mortgages in an effort to assist more people onto the property ladder. The Barclays Homebuyer Cashback Mortgage will give buyers either £1,250 or £2,500 to put towards the stamp duty costs on their new property. John Blake, Residential Conveyancer, here reviews the mortgage and explains who could benefit most from it.
While shared ownership has been around for many years, its popularity has only started to grow in the last 12 months; a fact highlighted in a recent report released by Orbit and Chartered Institute of Housing. Paul Winslade, Residential Conveyancing Partner, explains exactly what shared ownership is and how it is helping first time buyers to purchase their home.
As the housing market improves, so does the availability of homes in Hampshire as news comes of a new garden village to be developed in the area, sharing access to a £6million fund over the next two years. Welborne will be situated just outside Fareham as part of the Government’s new Garden Village framework in a bid to provide high quality, affordable housing.
Michael Fallon, Defence Secretary, recently announced that the popular Forces Help to Buy Scheme, which was due to close in April this year, has been extended to 2018. The news comes as Mr Fallon revealed that the Government target to double the number of service personnel application approvals to 10,000 has been met.
Signs of the recovery of the UK property market were proven once again today as new figures show the number of first time buyers in 2016 reached its highest level since the start of the financial crisis in 2007. Sarah Brooks, Residential Conveyancing Partner, here reviews the news across the UK as well as here in the South.
From 1 December 2016, a landlord or agent will have committed a criminal offence where they know or have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that any property they are letting is occupied by someone who is disqualified from residing in the UK, regardless of when the tenancy was granted. This is due to Sections 39 to 41 of the Immigration Act 2016 amending the Immigration Act 2014 to enhance the ‘right to rent’ regime.
Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement on 23rd November reviewed many areas for this Parliament to be working on, with housing first on the agenda as a priority to build more affordable housing. Paul Winslade, Residential Conveyancing Partner, here reviews the key points arising from the Autumn Statement, as well as the ramifications for tenants, landlords and first time buyers in Hampshire.
Serving in the armed forces will naturally mean spending time overseas, but what about your life at home while you are away? If you are looking to buy or sell your home and then are deployed, there will be matters to arrange, and with you not contactable this could lead to unnecessary delay or even the house purchase or sale falling through. Zoe Fellows, Associate Solicitor in our Residential Property team, explains here how a Power of Attorney could help you keep things on track.
Recent years have seen many changes to property tax and it appears this is unlikely to stop as Community and Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid, has hinted that more could come in this month’s Autumn Statement.
During last month’s Conservative Party Conference, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced his plans to take the focus away from the budget surplus and instead invest in the development of new homes.
Following many changes and uncertainty to the market in recent months, it seems the housing market is on the road to recovery as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) revealed in their August Housing Market report that the supply of housing has risen to the highest level seen since March this year.
When attempting to obtain possession of your property as a landlord (when it is let out on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement), there are two routes that can be followed. Helen Porter, Partner in our Litigation and Dispute Resolution team explains how Section 8 and Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, as subsequently amended, can assist.
Those serving in the Army, RAF or Navy can struggle to get on the property ladder; they are not always based in the UK and can find it harder to raise a deposit. These members of our society make a commitment for our country and so in April 2014, the Forces Help to Buy Scheme was launched. Earlier this year, for their two year anniversary it was announced that loans have reached £100million.
As summer approaches and we look into making the most of our valued weekends and potential summer holidays, we weigh up the options of buying a rural or coastal retreat.
With the influx of new Landlords prior to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”) rate increase on 1st April 2016, these Landlords will now need to consider the strategies of managing their properties and establish which method suits them best.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 made significant changes to the rights and obligations of parties in business to consumer contracts.
Disputes commonly arise out of building contracts. These could include arguments as to quality or price, being kicked off site or being asked to do more than what was initially agreed.
The Housing and Planning Bill has now had its second reading in the House of Lords on 26 January 2016, after passing through the House of Commons. The next stage for the bill is scrutiny by a House of Lords committee who will look at the bill line by line. The committee will produce a report on the Bill and it will then go for a final third reading in the House of Lords before both Houses consider any amendments and the Bill receives Royal Assent.
Buying a second home or investing in a “buy to let property” is about to become more expensive. This shift is part of the governments’ aim to make it easier for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder.
With house prices across the UK continuing to rise, we can also report a record increase in the number of people they have helped buy or sell their home in the past year, both encouraging signs that the UK housing market is improving.
News of the sinkhole appearing in St Albans last week has prompted many people looking to buy a new home to consider the stability of the land where their future home sits. Sarah Brooks, Residential Conveyancing Partner advises here that purchasers may to wish consider investing in thorough checks as these types of concerns are impossible to identify with the naked eye.
New Energy Efficiency Regulations have been passed this year in an attempt to meet parliamentary targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and here Colin Winyard, Commercial Property Solicitor, advises landlords of privately rented commercial properties to familiarise themselves with these rules as they are likely to have a significant impact on their properties as well as the tenants who occupy them.
Property prices keep on hitting the headlines but Sarah Brooks, Residential Conveyancing Partner, warns that anyone getting their home on the market with the hope of celebrating Christmas in a new place, should be getting the paperwork in order before a buyer knocks on the door.
Under new regulations, landlords must comply with the introduction of individual metering and charging on communal heating and other forms of heat networks advises Sarah Brooks, Residential Conveyancing Partner. The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 have been introduced in the UK in response to the European Energy Efficiency Directive, and landlords who currently operate a communal heat supply have until December 31st to comply with regulations.
In a bid to improve EU energy efficiency and reduce emissions across the UK, new laws have been introduced that require all rented properties meet a minimum energy performance standard by April 2018. Sarah Brooks, Residential Conveyancing Partner, advises landlords to start planning for any adjustments that will need to be made, otherwise risk facing a penalty fee or a restriction on renewing contracts.
In December 2014 major reforms were made to the way Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is calculated. Six months on, homeowners are reaping the benefits of that as the UK’s leading provider of mover conveyancing services reports savings of £701million.
If you welcomed in 2015 thinking that this will be the year you buy your first, or a new, home, then you should consider doing so now. Anne Mills, Residential Conveyancing Solicitor, explains why this is, and why Southampton is the best place to be looking to invest.
As technology and its users continues to become more sophisticated, property fraud is one threat to home owners that is also on the rise. Sarah Brooks, Residential Conveyancing Partner, explains how the Land Registry has taken steps to minimise the risk of property fraud, a system that is whole-heartedly supported by the firm.
The property market was top headline for Chancellor George Osborne in this year’s Autumn statement, with a radical change to stamp duty which should see 98% of buyers better off.
Savvy property owners who club together to buy a home are turning to no-nups to safeguard their investment. Sarah Brooks, Residential Conveyancing Partner, explains how cohabitation agreements, or no-nups as they are becoming increasingly known, can help fix the outcome if things go wrong between a cohabiting couple or two or more friends clubbing together.