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We aim to provide practical guidance on useful areas of busness law.  

By sfb solicitors, Jun 13 2019 12:38PM

Are you a letting and managing agent with client landlords who are in rent arrears? If so you will need to think about how to assist your client landlord, otherwise you may be in breach of contract with them.

There are in general two options for a landlord, namely obtaining possession of the property and/ or recovering the rent arrears. In order to seek possession of the property it is necessary to serve Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy under section 21 Housing Act 1988, on the tenant stating that they must vacate the property by a certain date.

If the property is not vacated within the specified timescale then the landlord will need to instigate appropriate action for a claim in the County Court for possession of the property together with an order for payment of the arrears that are due. We can assist letting and managing agent’s client landlords with this service at a very cost effective fee structure.

Contact our property dispute team on 01858 414284 or email enquiries@summerfieldbrowne.com

Summerfield Browne have offices in Leicester, Birmingham, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Market Harborough.

By sfb solicitors, Jun 12 2019 09:22AM

RVA Surveyors sign up businesses with an offer to recover overpaid rates and secure a reduction in future business rates, for a percentage of any sums recovered which is usually 45% plus VAT.

Whilst most businesses are happy to pay a one-off fee what they do not realise and what is not made clear before entering into a contract, is that they are often signing up to a minimum of a 5-year contract, with payments to be paid annually.

What many small businesses are not often aware of is that with effect from 1 April 2017 any small business occupying premises already in receipt of small business rate relief (“SBRR”) were no longer required to re-apply for it. Therefore, the relief is automatic.

Within the small print of the contract it usually states ““The fee will be payable whether or not RVA is shown to be the effective cause of any such reduction in the rateable value (including any repayment of rates, relief, reliefs and refunds).”

If you have any concerns regarding your business rates, please contact Summerfield Browne Solicitors

Summerfield Browne have offices in Leicester, Birmingham, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Market Harborough.

By sfb solicitors, Jun 6 2019 10:07AM

Summerfield Browne Solicitors have recently assisted two clients living in Leicestershire to obtain an injunction against the owners of a neighbouring property in relation to nuisance parking.

In a boundary dispute of this nature the first thing to do is speak to your neighbour regarding the problem. In our case the clients live in a cul-de-sac of houses that are accessed by driving up a narrow-shared driveway that leads from the main road to our clients’ property. The shared driveway leading to six different properties.

If neighbourly relations have broken down the next step is to write to the neighbours outlining the problems being encountered. Our clients instructed us to write letters to their neighbours explaining that the parking of vehicles in front of their property was causing an obstruction to our clients’ rights of access and meant that our clients could not drive onto the shared driveway without encountering an obstruction (namely a parked car). The continuous parking of cars by the neighbours was causing a nuisance to our clients.

In our clients’ case despite receiving our letters and responding to the letters the neighbours continued to park so as to obstruct our clients’ access and court proceedings were issued for injunctive relief. Applying for an injunction is not a step to be taken lightly and our clients obtained detailed legal advice from us and painstakingly gathered the required evidence to support the application for the injunction.

At the court hearing we put forward a strong case that the neighbours had obstructed our clients’ right to access their property and the Judge agreed to grant an injunction prohibiting parking on the land in question. The injunction will mean that our clients have unimpeded access to their driveway and that if cars are parked on the land in question by the neighbours the neighbours would be in breach of the injunction and face possible criminal sanctions.

The clients are happy with the injunction which will mean that their neighbours will no longer be able to park wherever they like.

If you have concerns regarding your neighbours and believe that your rights have been infringed, please give us a call today for specialist property legal advice.

Summerfield Browne have offices in Leicester, Birmingham, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Market Harborough.

By sfb solicitors, May 29 2019 10:38AM

There is a new act of parliament called Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 that came into force in March. The new law is designed to ensure that all rented accommodation in England and Wales is fit for human habitation. The law is there to enhance a tenant’s ability to obtain redress (including compensation) against those landlords whose properties fail to meet the minimum requirements.

For those landlords that already rent out properties to tenants to a high standard there should be nothing to worry about. The law may prove troubling for a small minority of landlords that fail to rent out properties that do not meet the minimum standard.

In all tenancy agreements from 20th March 2019 there is now an implied term that the property being rented out will be “fit for human habitation”. The law gives tenants the power to seek redress from their landlords without having to involve local councils who may already have overstretched resources.

The law will allow a tenant to take action in the courts for breach of contract and the remedies that the tenant can obtain include the following:

1. An order requiring the landlord to act to reduce or remove the “hazard”; and

2. Damages to compensate the tenant for having to live in a property that is unfit for human habitation.

There are some notable exceptions for when the landlord will not usually be liable, and these include (but are not limited to):

1. When the problem is caused by the actions of the tenant; and

2. Acts of god

This is a new law designed to protect tenants and the court will ultimately decide in each case whether a property is ‘fit for human habitation’. The following are factors that the courts will look at in each case:

1. Condition of the property e.g. neglect

2. If the building is unstable or structurally unsafe

3. Damp problems

4. Unsafe layout

5. Not enough natural light

6. Not enough ventilation

7. Problems with hot and cold running water

8. Drainage problems

The above is not an exhaustive list and gives you an idea of what the courts will assess in each case.

How we can help

If you are a landlord and you have been sent a letter referring to the new law we can assist you by providing you with advice on how to respond as well as letting you know your legal obligations. If you are currently in court proceedings and need advice on how to proceed we can assist.

Summerfield Browne have offices in Leicester, Birmingham, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Market Harborough.

Also published on Law Plain and Simple

By sfb solicitors, May 16 2019 09:19AM

This legislation is the principle remedy for relief in situations where there is a dispute as to whether a jointly owned property should be sold and/or to determine the amount of beneficial shares each owner has. The act can also be used where a property is registered in a sole name but another person claims to have a beneficial interest. Applications are made under Section 14 of the Act.

Buying a property with a friend or partner always seems like a good idea. You can buy a property in two ways either as joint tenants where each party owns an equal share of the property or alternatively as tenants in common where although each party has a beneficial interest, that interest has not been stipulated in percentage terms. When buying a property, you should seek clarification from your solicitor as to how your beneficial interest is apportioned.

When a dispute happens, the easiest way of resolving matters is for one party to buy the other out or decide on the best way to dispose of the property that works for both parties.

If an agreement is not possible, you can make an application to the Court under Section 14 for an Order for Sale and for the Court to determine what apportionments should be made.

In deciding whether to make an Order, the court will look at:

• The intention of the parties when the property was purchased.

• The welfare of any children who live in the property

• The interests of any secured creditors

• The value of the property

The process for these applications are often complex and it is imperative that procedure is followed precisely as a Court may refuse to grant the application or impose sanctions and costs orders in the event of errors being made.

If you are involved in a dispute over the ownership of a property, our specialist team are able to advise you and deal with any applications made to the Court.

Summerfield Browne have offices in Leicester, Birmingham, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Market Harborough.

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