Category Archives: Litigation Disputes

Do not run out of time!

JudgementThe very recent case of Cowan v Foreman and others, highlights the importance of  bringing claims in a timely fashion.  In this case, a widow tried to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”) against her husband’s estate.  The Act states that claims must be commenced within six months of the date probate has been granted.  The Court does have discretion to allow a claim to be brought out of time.  In this case the claim was brought 17 months after the date probate was granted.  The Judge refused the widow permission to bring the claim, commenting there was no justification for the delay.

The moral of the story is that if you think you may have a claim, act quickly and seek legal advice.

For further information and advice, please contact Johanna Nolan in our Dispute Resolution team.

Also posted in Legal Briefs, Probate & Estate Adminstration | Comments closed

Tenant Fees Act 2019

On 1 June 2019, the Tenant Fees Act (“the Act”) will come into force.  The aim of the Act is to reduce costs Landlords may currently impose on tenants both at the outset and during the tenancy.  The Act applies to new tenancies from 1st June and to existing tenancies from 1 June 2020.  It affects tenants renting privately, student accommodation and licences. Letting Agents are also governed by the Act.  The Act does not apply to social housing and long leases.

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Of course, rent can still be claimed.  Rent payments cannot be increased at the beginning of the tenancy and then reduced later on in an effort to recoup costs indirectly.

A Landlord is permitted to claim certain payments by the Act, but the amount that can be claimed is restricted.  Whilst a deposit can still be claimed, the Act provides that the amount of the deposit cannot be more than five weeks rent if the annual rent of a property is less than £50,000.  If the annual rent is more than £50,000, the deposit must not exceed six weeks rent.  If a holding deposit is paid for a property, this must not be more than one weeks’ rent and once a tenancy agreement is entered into the holding deposit should be repaid.

Other charges can be made by a Landlord e.g. cost of replacing lost keys, charge for late payment of rent, ending the tenancy agreement early, changing the tenancy agreement or a claim for utility or Council Tax payments if not paid by the Tenant.  However, the Landlord can only recover the reasonable cost incurred by the Landlord.

Tenants will be entitled to recover charges wrongly paid.

A landlord in breach of Section 1 or 2 of the Act can face a fine of up to £5,000 for a first offence.  If a Landlord commits a further breach within five years of the first breach, a criminal offence is committed or alternatively the Landlord may face civil proceedings and be fined up to £30,000.

Landlords should note that if a payment prohibited by the Act has been taken and not re-paid to the Tenant, the Landlord will be prevented from serving a Section 21 notice.

For further information and guidance, contact our Dispute Resolution Team.

Also posted in Legal Briefs, Residential Property | Comments closed

Choosing the right lawyer

It can be a big decision to instruct a solicitor and it could end up costing you a lot of money, so you need to get it right!

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Certainly, it can be tempting to go to the first firm you think of, drive past on the way to work or that has the fanciest offices but there are some things you should consider before parting with your hard earned cash:

Specialism – Often, high street practices try to be a jack of all trades, with the same Solicitor offering advice on all manner of problems. But, if you have an employment law issue why would you want advice from a Solicitor with a background in property law? Do your research and make sure the Solicitor you will see is a specialist in and has good experience in the area you need advice on.

Recommendations – from people you know and trust are always useful but if your friend recommends a firm because they did a good job of selling their business, it does not make them best placed to help you make a personal injury claim.

Attitude – Make sure you are on the same page. If you want to resolve your issue amicably, you do not want an aggressive lawyer who will rack up costs arguing over nothing. Likewise, if you want a robust approach, don’t instruct a wallflower. A good lawyer will explain the options and alter their approach based on your instructions and will be mindful of how their approach will affect your costs; even if that means telling you what you don’t want to hear.

Alternatives – Does the firm promote and actively engage in other ways of resolving legal problems; such as ACAS Conciliation for employment problems or Mediation or Collaborative Law for family matters? Again, a good lawyer who isn’t just interested in taking your money will encourage these approaches where appropriate.

Likeability – Believe it or not, not all solicitors are cut throat so it’s important that you feel comfortable speaking with your legal adviser and that you feel able to build a relationship of trust and confidence. That said, just because you might want to go for a pint with them does not mean they will give you quality legal advice.

Fees – Make sure you have a very good estimate of what it’s likely to cost and when you will be billed. From 6 December 2018, all Solicitors websites must display prices and service information for residential conveyancing, probate, unfair & wrongful dismissals, debt recovery and licensing applications.

Choice – Remember you don’t have to use any firm which may already have been ‘assigned’ to you – perhaps by your employer when handling a settlement agreement or your car hire company when dealing with an Road Traffic Accident.

At North Ainley, we have been advising the people of Oldham since 1901 but that doesn’t mean you will get out of date advice, just lots of experience! Our size allows us to combine a friendly, personal service with city professionalism from a team of specialist Solicitors and legal advisers.

For more information, please call Laura Campbell, a Solicitor in our Dispute Resolution team on 0161 624 5614.

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Commercial Litigation, Employment, Family, Private Client, Probate & Estate Adminstration, Residential Property | Comments closed

Important tips for Landlord’s on granting or ending an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (‘AST’)

Since 1 October 2015, under the Deregulation Act 2015, a Landlord offering a new Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement to a tenant must ensure that the tenant is provided with :-

  • A Gas Safety Certificate for the property to be occupied
  • An Energy Performance Certificate
  • The booklet entitled – How to rent: the checklist for renting in England

With effect from 1 October 2018, the above requirements will apply to all tenancies, even those in existence prior to 1 October 2015.

It has also been the case for some time that if a deposit is paid by the Tenant, the Landlord must ensure that:-

  • The deposit is being held in accordance with an authorised Tenancy Deposit Scheme and;
  • the Tenant has received the information about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 days of the Deposit being received.  Failure to provide such information means that the Tenant has a claim against the Landlord of up to three times the amount of the Deposit.

It is important that a Landlord complies with the above points as this could impede a Landlord’s right to obtain possession of their property at the end of the term of the tenancy.  It is common for Landlords to serve a Section 21 Notice upon the Tenant, if the Tenant does not vacate at the end of the term.  Non-compliance with the requirements set out above will mean a Landlord cannot serve a Section 21 notice, although steps may be taken to rectify the situation and enable service of a Notice.  Alternatively, a Landlord may be able to serve a Section 8 Notice.

A Landlord is further prevented from serving a Section 21 notice:-

  • Within the first four months of the tenancy and must issue any possession proceedings within six months of the date of the Section 21 Notice.
  • If a local housing authority has served notice upon the Landlord about the condition of the property.

With effect from 1 October 2015  for any tenancies granted after that date (and 1 October 2018 for any other tenancies) Landlords must serve upon the Tenants the prescribed form of the Section 21 notice, otherwise, the Section 21 notice will be deemed ineffective.

For further information on granting a new tenancy please contact our Commercial Property team or for advice on serving a Notice to end a tenancy, please contact a member of our Dispute Resolution team.  Both departments can work together to provide overall comprehensive advice to suit your individual or business needs.

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Legal Briefs, Residential Property | Comments closed

Helping Society Grow

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North Ainley value the importance of supporting young people, schools and colleges.

One of our Solicitors, Laura Campbell, will be starting her role as an #EnterpriseAdviser with a local school today – we are proud to be part of www.bridgegm.co.uk

 

Also posted in Commercial Litigation, North Ainley News | Comments closed

When is your home not your home?

What happens if you have lived with a partner for many years and your partner dies without making a Will?  What if the Will that your partner did make leaves little or nothing to you? In those circumstances, what rights do you have?

What, for example, happens to the property you shared with your partner?

What if your partner did not make a Will?

The Intestacy Rules will apply.  Co-habitees are not recognised under the Intestacy Rules.  A co-habitee would not benefit from a deceased partner’s estate.

What if the property is jointly owned?

If you owned the property with your partner on what is known as a joint tenant basis, the property would pass to you under established legal principles, whether or not your partner had a Will.

What if your partner owned the property?

If the property was in your partner’s sole name the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows certain categories of individuals (including those who have lived with a partner for more than two years) to make a claim against their partner’s estate, for what is known as reasonable financial provision.  The claim would be for such financial provision as it would be reasonable to receive for your maintenance.  Maintenance would include somewhere to live and may include a lump sum payment, dependent on your financial position.

“It won’t happen to me” In a recent case Thompson v Raggett (2018), a couple lived together for 42 years but never married.  Throughout the relationship, Ms Thompson was financially dependent upon Mr Hodge.  After suffering a stroke in 2006, she became physically dependent upon Mr Hodge and moved temporarily to a nursing home in 2015.  Mr Hodge purchased a cottage to be  adapted to Ms Thompson’s needs but he passed away before they could move into the cottage.  Mr Hodge made a will, leaving his £1.5m estate (including the cottage) to two tenants of a property he owned.  The will left nothing to Ms Thompson! She was effectively left homeless at the age of 79.

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Ms Thompson made a claim under the 1975 Act.  Often in these types of cases, Courts allow a cohabitee to live in a property during their lifetime and the property reverts on their death to the estate of the deceased partner.  Ms Thompson’s claim was successful and given the length of the relationship, she was awarded the cottage outright, c.£29,000 to cover costs of adapting the cottage to her needs and a lump sum payment of £160,000.

Don’t leave it to chance.  If any of these issues do or may affect you in the future, contact North Ainley for expert legal advice.

Johanna Nolan is a Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team at North Ainley.  For advice on this issue or any dispute contact Johanna a member of our litigation team.

Also posted in Legal Briefs, Private Client, Residential Property | Comments closed
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  • Liked how we were given time to go through details without feeling rushed.
    Mr & Mrs Medhurst - Oldham
  • Lisa Wright
    Lisa Wright
    15:05 25 Feb 19
    Cassie was fantastic throughout our sale and would recommend North Ainley if selling or buying a house.read more
    Lynn Findlater
    Lynn Findlater
    18:55 01 Dec 18
    I have used North Ainley for a number of years. They have successfully dealt with my parent's wills and more recently the sale of 2 properties. The staff are exceptional and imparticular Cassie who took care of the whole process from start to finish whilst I was overseas. She diligently chased all third parties and kept me informed at all times. I would recommend North Ainley as they have proved themselves time and again over the last 10 years in all of my family's legal affairs.read more
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    Idnan Ahmed
    12:57 30 Nov 18
    Excellent service. handled my latest commercial purchase professionally. Would recommend to anyone who is looking for a solicitors who are proffesional and easy to work with. Top service.read more
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    Lucy Hoy
    16:39 27 Nov 18
    Excellent! Very friendly and fantastic communication throughout. Nothing was to much trouble. Thankyou Vinesh and Cassie. Would definitely recommend.read more
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    Anil M
    15:11 04 Nov 18
    Fantastic Solicitors firm. Very professional. Close to Oldham Town Centre. Answer all your questions and concerns. Keep you upto date at every stage. I have used this firm for many years in buying and selling property. You can not go wrong using North Ainley Solicitors.read more
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