You and the Law – 20th October 2009

Conservatory calamity

Can the owners of my freehold ask me to apply for retrospective permission for a conservatory I put up 14 years ago or was there a time when you didn’t need permission and the law has changed?  When did this change take place?  WP

There have been important changes to the laws governing leasehold property in recent years, but I’m afraid the requirement to observe the terms of your lease has never altered.

Owners of leasehold property should make themselves familiar with the conditions of their lease before making even the smallest alterations.
If you have put up a conservatory without your freeholders’ permission they are within their rights to ask for payment for granting this retrospectively.

The sum involved may be set out in your lease document, but it is often an arbitrary figure which can be unreasonably high.
It may be cheaper in the long run to offer to buy the freehold.  I suggest you discuss your options with your solicitor.

And then there was one . . .

My mother-in-law made a Will many years ago leaving everything to my wife, and naming her and a local solicitor as joint executors.
She has very little to leave, and since the will is very simple I wondered whether it would be possible for my wife to become sole executor.  How would she go about it?  TM

This seems sensible; if your wife needs any help administering her mother’s estate she can always call on a solicitor if necessary.
However, your mother-in-law will have to write a new Will, changing the clause which names her executors.
This will supersede her previous Will.  It shouldn’t be expensive to do.

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