News & EventsArchive
What is Gas Safe?October 18, 2010 6:03 pm
Anyone carrying out gas work must have a Gas Safe Register ID card. If not, they are breaking the law and of course by doing so they are putting you at risk.
Gas safety is one of the most important factors in having a safe home. The dangers that surround unsafe gas appliances are deadly serious. Poorly maintained, faulty or badly installed gas appliances can lead to poisoning by carbon monoxide the effects of which can be fatal.
How do you know whether the gas engineer is safe? Always ask to see your gas engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card to make sure they are safe and legal. The Gas Safe register is here to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of paying for illegal gas work with your health, and possibly your life.
Remember, any work done by a suitably qualified Gas Safe engineer will be certificated and that certificate will be required when you come to sell your home.
Stamp Duty Land Tax and First Time Buyer’sOctober 2, 2010 10:07 am
Alistair Darling in his 24 March 2010 Budget introduced relief from stamp duty land tax for purchases of residential property at up to £250,000 where the purchaser or all the purchasers are first time buyers and intend to occupy the property as their only or main home. This relief is time-limited to two years.
The new relief is available for residential purchases where the effective date being normally the date of completion is on or after 25 March 2010 and before 25 March 2012.
What is and why disclose overriding interests?September 24, 2010 10:00 am
In order for the Land Registry to make their records more comprehensive, on sale homeowners are now being asked to specify whether or not certain matters known as “overriding interests” apply to their property.
When you are selling a property then you will be asked by your solicitor to provide details of any such matters.
Relevant questions are:
- Are there any arrangements allowing anyone else to use any part of your property for any reason. Examples of this would include rights to and fro over any part of the property or rights to use services?
- Have you leased any part of the property or the whole of it to anyone else?
- Does anyone have the right to enter onto your property and take something from it? For example rights to shoot and or take game or fish?
- Are there any customary rights or franchises – in other words historical or traditional matters allowing people to use he property or a part of it for something like holding fairs or grazing sheep?
- Does anyone else, other than you, who occupies your property have any rights in the property including any right to live there?
- Do you know of any rents, chancel repair liabilities, tithes or other sums of money that are either payable by you to somebody else or which are payable by somebody else to you? This is relevant whether or not the payment has ever been paid or demanded.
- Are there arrangements giving someone the right to mine the land or does anyone have a right to any minerals within the land?
- Is there a right in respect of an embankment, sea or river wall?
- Does any part of the property include land that you have acquired through long use and which is not included within the land identified in your deeds? This can be known as squatting or adverse possession.
Electrical Work Needs To Be Properly CertifiedSeptember 23, 2010 8:21 am
Why Electrical work needs to be properly certified? (and not only to ensure your own safety!)
Since 1st January 2005, all electrical work carried out in dwellings (which includes but is not limited to houses, maisonettes and flats) has had to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations.
Work which involves adding a new circuit to a dwelling needs either to be notified to building control, which will involve an inspection of the work, or to be carried out by a competent person who is registered under the Part P Self-Certification Scheme.
Replacing a socket-outlet or a light switch on an existing circuit does not need to be notified to a building control body although work involving installation of extra power points or changes to circuits in bathrooms or kitchens or indeed the addition of outdoor electrical fittings must be notified.
Persons registered with Part P Self-Certification Schemes are fully qualified electrical contractors with the ability to check a circuit for safety. They will be able to issue Building Regulations certificates of compliance.
What is Chancel Repair Liability?September 2, 2010 5:34 pm
Chancel repair liability is an ancient interest benefiting approximately 5200 prereformation churches (pre-1954) in England and Wales. The liability is to pay or contribute to the repair of that part of the church known as the chancel.
Who is Liable?
Potentially any owner of property or land in England and Wales. The main type of liability runs with the land and therefore any such claims are payable by the current owner of that land whatever the use. The interest can be registered on the title or be overriding interest (Under the Land Registration Act of 1922) which means it does not have to be registered on the title of a property to be enforceable and those liable would not be aware of any liability until they are asked for money to repair the chancel.
Who does it affect?
It affects approximately 3,780,500 acres of land in England and is enforced on the behalf of the Church of England by the Parochial Church Councils under the Chancel Repair Act 1932. Whilst the majority of chancel repair payments are settled out of court in the recent case of Aston Cantlow and Wilmcote with Billesley Parochial Church Council v Wallbank (2003) Mr and Mrs Wallbank were required to pay £95,260 for chancel repair.
How can I avoid it?
By obtaining insurance. An initial search as to liability costs around £15 with insurance for potential liability costing upwards of £40 if required.
Why do I need a Will?August 21, 2010 2:05 pm
It usually makes sense for you to make your will. Here’s why it’s a good idea:
1. You can make sure you don’t pay too much tax.
2. You control who receives your property and assets, rather than the law stepping in and deciding for you.
3. You can make sure a partner is provided for. If you’re unmarried, or in a Civil Partnership, your partner may not automatically inherit anything from you.
4. If there is no will, it will take longer and be more expensive to settle your affairs, causing unnecessary problems for loved ones.
What happens if you die without a will?
If you die without a will, you die as what is known as an ‘intestate’. There are rules which then control who receives your property.
We set out below the rules for deaths on or after 1 February 2009 in England and Wales, the law differs if you die intestate (without a will) in Scotland or Northern Ireland. The rates that applied before that date are shown in brackets.
If you’re married or in a civil partnership and there are no children
The husband, wife or civil partner won’t automatically get everything although they will receive:
- personal items, such as household articles and cars, but nothing used for business purposes
- £450,000 (£200,000) free of tax – or the whole estate if it was less than £450,000 (£200,000)
- half of the rest of the estate
The other half of the rest of the estate will be shared by the following:
- surviving parents
- if there are no surviving parents, any brothers and sisters (who shared the same two parents as the deceased) will get a share (or their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
- if the deceased has none of the above, the husband, wife or registered civil partner will get everything
If you’re married or in a civil partnership and there were children
Your husband, wife or civil partner won’t automatically get everything, although they will receive:
- personal items, such as household articles and cars, but nothing used for business purposes
- £250,000 (£125,000) free of tax – or the whole of the estate if it was less than £250,000 (£125,000)
- a life interest in half of the rest of the estate (on his or her death this will pass to the children)
The rest of the estate will be shared by the children.
If you are partners but aren’t married or in a civil partnership
If you aren’t married or registered civil partners, you won’t automatically get a share of your partner’s estate if they die without making a will.
If they haven’t provided for you in some other way, your only option is to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. See the section below ‘If you feel you’ve not received reasonable financial provision’.
If there is no surviving spouse/civil partner
The estate is distributed as follows:
- to surviving children in equal shares (or to their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
- if there are no children, to parents (equally, if both alive)
- if there are no surviving parents, to brothers and sisters (who shared the same two parents as the deceased), or to their children if they died while the deceased was still alive
- if there are no brothers or sisters then to half brothers or sisters (or to their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
- if none of the above then to grandparents (equally if more than one)
- if there are no grandparents to aunts and uncles (or their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
- if none of the above, then to half uncles or aunts (or their children if they died while the deceased was still alive)
- to the Crown if there are none of the above