You and the Law – 15th June 2010

Branching out

My son is looking for a new job, but he is currently living in a tied cottage provided by his employer.  What is the minimum amount of notice he can be given to move out? 

He says he is paid monthly, so he should be given a month, but he has been told that other managers have been given what’s known as ‘garden leave’ and could be told to vacate the property immediately.  DN

This type of detail is likely to be set out in your son’s employment contract, or any occupational licence he may have for the property.  From a practical point of view his employers would need a court order to evict him if he refused to go, and this could take several weeks.

‘Garden leave’ is where an employer suspends the employee on full pay during his notice period and bars him from working elsewhere.  It is usually designed to prevent an employee using inside information for his or her own benefit in another job. 

It could be that previous managers have been given time off to find themselves somewhere else to live.  During this period of garden leave your son is still technically an employee and should not be asked to leave at least until this period has expired.

Home alone

My husband and I own our house as tenants in common.  In his Will he has left me a lifetime interest in his half of the property.  If he were to die and I wanted to move somewhere smaller, would I be able to sell the house?  AM

Most Will’s these days give permission for the house to be sold and the full proceeds to be used to buy another property for the survivor to live in.

However if the Will is silent on this point, on the face of it you would only be able to sell up with the permission of the trustees, ie the people (presumably your children or step-children) in whose name the property is held on your behalf.  Check this with your solicitor.

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