For many people, buying a property with a friend, group of friends or partner is the only option because of property prices, tight lending restrictions and the need for a large deposit. If you are going into a mortgage jointly, make sure you are both aware of your rights and obligations.

Types of Ownership

You can own property as either ‘joint tenants’ or ‘tenants in common’. The type of ownership affects what you can do with the property if your relationship with a joint owner breaks down, or if one owner dies.

As joint tenants, you have equal rights to the whole property and the property is automatically passed to the other owners if you die. This means individual owners can’t pass what they consider ‘their share’ of the property to a beneficiary in their will. Joint tenants must act as one in the eyes of the law. For example, individual tenants would not have the option of only mortgaging their share of the property. All of the tenants have to take out a joint mortgage.

As tenants in common, you can own different shares of the property and the property does not automatically go to the other owners if you die. Owners can pass ‘their share’ of the property to a beneficiary in their will or the rule of intestacy can apply.  Up to 4 people can jointly be registered as tenants in common for an individual property. This is a popular choice for friends or relatives who are buying together.

Joint owners have a legal right to stay in their home unless a court order rules otherwise. If one of the owners wants to sell the property or take a loan out against its value all of the owners have to give their consent, unless a court order rules otherwise.

How can I protect the money I put in?

You may wish to have a Declaration of Trust drawn up when purchasing a property to reflect that one of you holds a greater interest in the property over the other, such as where one party has put a greater deposit down or intends to contribute more towards the mortgage. Creating this declaration of trust when purchasing is important when the property is sold as it ensures that each homeowner gets a fair portion of what they put into the property.

What happens if I’m a joint tenant or a tenant in common and the other tenants stop meeting the mortgage payments?

A mortgage lender will always insist that borrowers are ‘jointly and severally’ liable. This means that if one of you stops paying his or her part of the mortgage the other (or others) will have to pay the full amount.

Who must pay off the mortgage if you decide to go your separate ways?

A cohabitation agreement can specify who should contribute what, including what proportion should be paid towards the mortgage. This can provide certainty to the individuals about where they stand in the event of a relationship breakdown. There is a common misconception that a cohabitation agreement, much like a prenuptial agreement, is legally binding. This is not the case, at least not in the jurisdiction of England and Wales. Whilst they are lawful, they are governed by the ordinary rule of a contract which means the individual terms or agreement can be challenged in court.

If you jointly own your home, you have several options about what to do with it when you separate. You might decide to:

  • Sell the home and both of you move out. You could use the money you’ve raised to put towards buying another home for each of you if you can afford to do this.
  • Arrange for one of you to buy the other out.
  • Keep the home and not change who owns it. One partner could continue to live in it, perhaps until your children are 18 or leave school.
  • Transfer part of the value of the property from one partner to the other so that your children have somewhere to live. The partner who gave up a share of their ownership rights would keep a stake or ‘interest’ in the home. This means that when it is sold he or she will receive a percentage of its value.

If you would like to discuss jointly purchasing a property in further detail, please contact the team via our main switchboard number 0121 778 2371 or alternatively email info@lplawfirm.com.

Countless homeowners may be completely unaware that their area is affected by Radon gas. The first time that many people hear about Radon is if they are planning to buy or sell a home and it is located in a designated radon affected area.

This guide is intended to help you understand Radon gas and the potential risks it might have if you end up living in a designated radon affected area, sometimes known as a Radon gas postcode.

What is Radon Gas?

Radon gas is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which is colourless and odourless, therefore it cannot be detected without specialist Radon testing equipment. Radon gas is formed by the radioactive decay of the small amounts of uranium that occur naturally in all rocks and soils. As this element decays, Radon gas is formed, which then rises to the surface. It is always at safe levels outdoors, however, it can be at dangerously high levels in buildings, depending on the part of the country, and the type of ground the building is on. For instance, levels may be higher in parts of the country rich in granite, such as Dartmoor in Devon and Cornwall. Many parts of Sussex, such as Shoreham-by-Sea, Hove and Brighton, also have higher levels of Radon gas as properties are built into hillsides. These properties are automatically at higher risk of radon as there are extra surfaces in contact with the ground through which the gas can permeate into the building.

Radon Gas House - The Law Practice UK

How can Radon gas affect your health?

If high levels of Radon gas are breathed in over a long period of time, this exposure can lead to damage to the sensitive cells of our lungs which increases the risk of lung cancer. Radon causes about 1,000 lung cancer deaths in the UK every year.

Property Searches Flagging Radon Gas

Property searches are one of the key parts of the conveyancing process. When buying a property, your solicitor will carry out property searches to find out more information about the property and, crucially, what the area around it also looks like.  The main searches when purchasing a property are:

  • Local authority search (LAS): This search is requested by your mortgage lender and applied for by a solicitor once you have made an offer on a property. It consists of several smaller search and requests information on any nearby contaminations, road schemes or planning works along with a number of other searches.
  • Drainage and water search: This search will reveal exactly where all drainage systems are around a property and show if these are at risk of affecting the property in the future. The search will reveal if any planning restrictions are in place relating to drains.
  • Environmental search: This search will cover you for any environmental issues within 500 metres of the property. An environmental search looks at everything from flood risk, Radon gas, to subsidence and is carried out by a company that maintains detailed information about previous land uses within the vicinity of a property.

Buying a House in a High-Risk Radon Area?

If the property search reports show that the property you looking to purchase is in a radon affected area, don’t panic! A large part of Great Britain is considered to be in a Radon gas-affected area but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t be buying your house there. Just like you would be cautious if a structural report came back with some warning signs, if a Radon gas risk report comes back high it simply means that you have been made aware of any potential risks and which you should try to resolve before continuing any further.

It is recommended that you ask the vendor whether any Radon testing has been carried out within the property and if so, request to see a copy of the results report. If testing has not been carried out, it would be a sensible precaution to arrange for the property to be tested. Testing for radon is simple and inexpensive. It involves placing small Radon testing devices in the home for at least ten days. This will ensure that an accurate reading is gathered. Radon is measured in units called becquerels, and these are calculated per cubic metre. A level below 100 Bq/m³ is considered low risk, and the UK average is far below this at 20 Bq/m³.

If the results show that there are dangerous levels of radon in the property, there are actions you can take to lower them to within the safe limits. High levels of radon can be reduced by carrying out remedial works to the property. The two most common methods are either the installation of a positive pressure fan inside the property or the excavation of a small hole beneath the property (called a radon sump) that is connected to an exhaust pipe and fan on the outside of the building. Every property is individual and so the remediation system needs to be designed for that particular property and then cost by a specialist.

If you are thinking of selling, re-mortgaging or buying a property, contact our specialist conveyancing departments today in Walsall, Great Barr Birmingham, London and Shoreham-by-Sea.

Money laundering is “the process by which criminal proceeds are sanitised to disguise their illicit origins”. It is estimated that up to £57 billion is laundered through the UK every year. There are large sums of money changing hands in the conveyancing sector making this an area of law heavily attacked by fraudsters as they can legitimise a large amount of money in one go.

The government have introduced compulsory checks to make it more difficult for criminals to illegally launder money. When instructing a solicitor to act for you in the purchase of a property you’ll need to:

  • Residential Sale (leasehold and freehold)
  • Provide Proof of Identity & Address

Proof of Identity & Address

In accordance with Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, you will be required to supply documentation that proves your identity and address. Your solicitor will insist on seeing photographic ID, such as a valid current passport, photocard driving licence, armed forces ID card, or National Identity Card.

Your solicitor will also need to see two separate pieces of evidence to prove you reside at the address you are living at. This is normally your main residence where you are registered on the electoral roll. A bank statement, PAYE tax coding notice, HMRC letter, utility bill or council tax bill can be used as evidence for proof of address. The reason for needing proof of address for the client’s current address and for limiting what types of correspondence are acceptable is that some fraudsters or money launderers will simply break into an empty property and use any mail addressed to the previous occupier to begin creating a new identity.

Your solicitor will ask to see originals of the documentation provided, of which copies will be taken and certified as being true copies of the original for the file. If you are unable to provide your solicitor with original copies of the required documentation to prove identity and address, your solicitor can accept copies certified as being true copies of the original by another solicitor, licensed conveyancer, accountant, teacher, post office, Minister of Religion, judge, barrister, police officer or a member of staff at a British embassy. The individual that certifies your documents must be FSA Regulated.

Proof of Funds

Proving your source of funds for the purchase of your property is the most important task in the conveyancing process. A solicitor cannot by law proceed with your purchase without knowing the source of your funds. This is to limit the potential for fraud, protecting the solicitor, the legal sector and most importantly, the buyer.

Proof of funds can be categorised into:

    • Savings

The best evidence of savings will be bank statements for the last 3 months showing an accumulation of funds in your bank account. If you have more than one bank account containing savings, you will need to provide statements for the last 3 months for those accounts.

    • Pension

A copy of your pension release document and a copy of your bank statement showing the money being received from the pension company.

    • Sale of Shares

A copy of the share release schedule and a copy of your bank statement showing the money being received from the shares.

    • Sale of another property

A copy of the completion statement from your solicitor and a copy of your bank statement showing the money being received from the solicitor following the sale.

    • Inheritance

A copy of the letter from the executors stating how much you are being paid as a beneficiary and a copy of your bank statement showing the money being received from the solicitor/executor’s bank account.

    • Dividends from a UK Company

A copy of your dividend certificate, a copy of the company’s accounts and a copy of your bank statement showing the money being received from the Company.

    • Gambling Winnings

A copy of your receipt proving your winnings and a copy of your bank statement showing the money being received.

    • Compensation Award/Court Settlement

A copy of your letter confirming your compensation settlement from a solicitor and/or Court and a copy of your bank statement showing the money being received from a third party/Court/solicitor.

    • Gift

We will require a letter from the person making the gift. The person making the gift will also have to prove the source of the funds in the same manner as you would have to. Read our blog post on Gifted Deposits here.

If the deposit/full funds are across separate accounts, we will need to see statements for ALL accounts and a final statement showing funds transferred to the main account for the deposit or full proceeds of the cost of the property.

The Law Practice UK Ltd is accredited by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme so you can be assured that you will receive a high standard of service and client care. For further information and advice, please contact us to speak to a member of our property team.

Brighton has been crowned the number one hipster hotspot in the world, beating Berlin, Brooklyn and even its near neighbour, London. The beach, vibrant nightlife and fabulous Regency architecture means Brighton offers an enviable lifestyle. Sandwiched between the South Downs and the English Channel, Brighton offers a pebbled beach, brilliant shopping, restaurants, nightlife, and some fabulous Regency architecture.

Brighton Pier
Photo: Brighton Pier

Brighton’s Regency architecture and premium sea view squares, such as Brunswick Square, Sussex Square and Royal Crescent, are well known. However, away from the bright lights of the seafront and its bright white Regency and Georgian townhouses, there are many other property pockets to tempt buyers and renters. Victorian property surrounding Preston Park is popular with young families, while residential Hove has Victorian, Edwardian and semi-detached rental and for sale homes on the current market. This distinct contrast between city and seafront property has created a vibrant property market that is inclusive for every generation. Families choose Brighton for its range of properties on the market in a distinct selection of property areas.

Brighton hasn’t always been a hipster magnet but the seaside city’s reputation for alternative lifestyles as well as its universities and art school have long been attracting young arrivals – who tend to settle. Fresh graduates from the University of Brighton, ranked in the UK’s top 25% of universities for world-leading research, can also live in the city after their degree thanks to its large amount of rental accommodation on offer. Due to its large volume of students, Brighton boasts a large buy-to-let market and was named the best place for the fastest-growing buy-to-let yields in the UK in 2014. Hanover is one of the best areas to find a large selection of student property.

i360
Photo: British Airways i360, Brighton Beach

Brighton began to attract more visitors following improved road transport to London and the opening of Brighton City Airport in the 1910. Brighton City Airport, also known as Shoreham Airport, is an airport located in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex. It is the second oldest airport in the UK and one of the oldest purpose-built commercial airports in the world. Shoreham-by-Sea is a seaside town and port in West Sussex dating back to pre-Roman times. The growth of neighbouring Brighton, Hove and Worthing prepared the way for Shoreham’s rise as a Victorian sea port, with several shipyards and an active coasting trade. Shoreham Harbour remains in commercial operation to this day.

Shoreham Airport
Photo: Shoreham (Brighton City) Airport

The house price surge in London has pushed new crowds to mover further south, thanks to the relaxed seaside lifestyle on offer within commutable distance of London. However, price increases in Brighton have also meant families are moving slightly further westward to areas such as Shoreham By Sea which offers a small village vibe but with fantastic café’s, nightlife, restaurants, large parks, excellent infrastructure and great public and private schools.

Shoreham By Sea offers easy access to main bypass roads, stunning architecture and a real community feel which has seen it’s popularity soar.

The recent development of the Ropetackle Centre offers leasehold properties overlooking the river and commercial properties which have attracted many businesses to Shoreham By Sea which has in turn opened up employment opportunities.

Adur Ferry Bridge
Photo: Adur Ferry Bridge, Shoreham by Sea

How can we help?

The Law Practice (UK) Ltd are an established, respected, award-winning national law firm with an office located in Shoreham By Sea. We truly understand the property market and so we can offer our clients the best and most informed advice every time. We may not be the cheapest conveyancer in the area, but we are trusted and our prices are always fair, reasonable and transparent to ensure what is often the largest expenditure for anyone in their life is done with the greatest levels of certainty and security that can be given. Our expert legal team pride themselves on their exceptional service, offering clear and practical advice at all times, working quickly and efficiently to complete your transaction.

These are just a few of the reasons that our clients, as well as other local businesses that are integral to the property market such estate agents and financial advisors, have endorsed our services and continue to use us as well as happily recommending us to their friends and family too for all of their legal matters.

To see what our clients say about us click here. 

To obtain a fully itemised and no obligation quotation please call and speak directly to one of our conveyancing solicitors on 01273 911190, alternatively out of normal business hours you can call Katie Lawley on 07522 723403 or email katie.lawley@lplawfirm.com

The Law Practice (UK) Ltd is fortunate to have offices based in prestigious and historic locations around the United Kingdom, one of which in Elstree, Hertfordshire. Elstree is a village in the Hertsmere borough of Hertfordshire. It is approximately 13 miles northwest of central London.

Elstree is perhaps best known for the Elstree Film Studios, where several famous British films were made. Studios have been located here since film production began in the area during 1914. Known as the birthplace of Star Wars, some of the most famous films in the world have been produced at Elstree Studios; the Indiana Jones and Star Wars trilogies, Superman, The Shining and Labyrinth to name just a few from an endless list. Elstree Studios is home to some of the top shows on British television today; The Crown, Strictly Come Dancing, Big Brother, The Voice, Celebrity Juice, A League of Their Own, The Chase, Pointless, Room 101 and many more.

Despite being called “Elstree Studios”, only one studio has ever been located in Elstree itself, the remainder residing in the adjacent town of Borehamwood. When the studios were being established, Elstree was significantly larger than Borehamwood. Nowadays, Borehamwood is the larger, but the old names have remained in use. Borehamwood is predominantly a post-war town, which in recent years has seen a bit of a boom in development due to its affordability. Neighbouring Elstree, on the other hand, owes its growth to the 1868 arrival of the Midland Railway station but has a history that can be traced back to the 5th Century and the Battle of Ailestreu.

Our Elstree office is located in the heart of Elstree, a stone’s throw from the A41, providing links to the M1, M25 and A1. Our experienced team all live in Elstree and surrounding areas and are part of the community, so they have extensive knowledge of the area. The Elstree team provide the following legal services:

  • Residential and Commercial Conveyancing
  • New Build Conveyancing
  • Civil Litigation
  • Family Law
  • Debt Recovery
  • Personal Injury
  • Employment Law
  • Wills & Probate
  • Landlords & Tenant
  • Regulatory Advice

The Law Practice (UK) Ltd is unique in the services we offer and the way we operate our firm as a whole. We offer a FREE home call service where we help our clients with the initial paperwork and can organise the meeting and greeting clients for ID purposes to limit the client making unnecessary journeys to the office. We believe in being proactive and not reactive.

Please feel free to pop in and see the team to discuss any legal requirements you may have, alternatively call us on 0207 167 4899 or email info@lplawfirm.com

Japanese Knotweed is prevalent in many areas of the UK. What should you do if you discover Japanese Knotweed on your property? How do you make sure a property you are buying isn’t affected?  Here are some helpful pointers to make sure you are clear on how to handle this inconvenient invader.

What is Japanese Knotweed and why is it such a problem?

When Victorian engineers were designing our railways, they imported Japanese Knotweed into Britain to hide, or possibly even stabilise, railway embankments. Japanese Knotweed is typically known for colonising volcanoes in Japan and is now known to be a significant problem across the country.

It spreads quickly and can grow up to 10cm a day between April and October with the roots extending up to three metres deep and up to seven metres laterally.  It is strong enough to crack tarmac, block drains, undermine foundations and invade homes. Its presence can be enough to cut a property’s value by up to 20% or prevent a mortgage lender approving a loan. It is estimated to be the cause of circa £170 million of home repairs every year and the government estimates that the costs of eradicating it across the UK would be £2.6 billion.

How do I identify Japanese Knotweed?

Mature Japanese Knotweed canes can be identified by their distinctive purple speckle and stand as high as three metres tall. This is when they are fully grown by early summer. Towards the end of summer clusters of small white flowers appear, which are loved by insects for their nectar. In Autumn, the leaves wither and fall off and the canes die and go brown. The rhizome is the part of the plant that is submerged under the soil. It has a dark brown bark and under this external layer, is orange or yellow.

How close is it to me?

Five years ago, the Environment Agency commissioned a new app to track Japanese Knotweed, using the crowd-sourcing principle. More than 20,000 people have now downloaded it, and their data has pinpointed over 6,000 knotweed locations. View the full map at http://www.planttracker.org.uk/map/knotweed where you can zoom into your area. So far, the results show a particular concentration in South Wales, Midlands, London, Scotland’s central belt and Cornwall – where the plant was also introduced by Victorians into ornamental gardens.

What should I do if I have Japanese Knotweed on my property?

Japanese Knotweed is extremely difficult to treat because the roots or rhizomes spread rapidly underground and can regenerate from tiny amounts of material. There are strict regulations which control the its disposal. The Knotweed must be treated at the root and by cutting it down.

Digging it out of the ground can just spread it terribly,” warns Stephen Hodgson, the chief executive of the Property Care Association (PCA).”If you’ve got it in your garden, either leave it alone, or treat it properly.

The advice is as follows:

  • Do not try to dig it up: Tiny root fragments can regenerate into another plant
  • If you cut down the branches, dispose of them on-site. Compost separately, preferably on plastic sheets
  • Do not take it to your local council dump. It needs specialist waste management
  • Do not dispose of it in the countryside. This is against the law
  • Do not spread the soil – earth within seven horizontal metres of a plant can be contaminated
  • Take advice from the Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association (INNSA) or the Property Care Association (PCA) on local removal contractors. Many treatments don’t work

In an experiment being conducted in South Wales, thousands of plant lice were released in the summer of 2016, in the hopes that they would help destroy some of the knotweed along river banks. Scientists hope the insects, brought from Japan will stunt the super weed, allowing native species to flourish. However, it is still recommended to seek professional advice on how to eradicate it to ensure that the plant does not get out of control or spread to adjoining properties. Professional knotweed treatment involves injecting the plant with industrial-strength weed killer -Glyphosate.

David Layland, the joint managing director of Japanese Knotweed Control, based in Stockport, says it is the only thing that works. “Once we inject into it, it transfers into the root system pretty quickly, and then it binds with the roots. Over time, it rots away into the subsoil.”

Professional treatment is costly, starting at about £2,500, and going upwards to £30,000 for a major infestation.

Am I liable for knotweed spreading to adjoining properties?

You must deal with Japanese Knotweed straight away.  If you fail to do so, then you could be faced with a substantial claim from any adjoining landowner.  This claim could be not just for the costs of removing the knotweed from the adjoining property but also for the decrease in value of the adjoining property.

In the recent case of Smith v Line where knotweed was found by the Smiths on property they had acquired from Ms Line. When they discovered the knotweed, the Smiths acted to remove the knotweed from their land and, having successfully eradicated it from their property, requested Ms Line to take action to prevent it spreading back onto their property as it was growing close to the boundary.  Ms Line refused, and the judge granted an injunction requiring Ms Line to get a reputable contractor to treat the knotweed on her land and ordered her to pay the Smiths’ costs.

Similarly, in the case Williams v Network Rail, two homeowners in South Wales were awarded £15,000 to compensate them for knotweed which had spread into their gardens.

These cases highlight the possibility of further claims being made more frequently in the future.

What should I do if I am buying a property?

Where sellers of existing properties are aware that the property or garden is, or has been, affected by Japanese Knotweed, they must declare it on the property information form (known as a Form TA6) as part of the conveyancing process.  However, developers and builders are not obliged to complete this property information form and if you are buying from a developer or builder then you should make sure your solicitor requests specific enquiries are written to confirm both the current and the historic knotweed position. A buyer should always get a survey of the property carried out and should ensure that the survey includes the garden and, where possible, gardens of adjoining properties.

Can I get insurance against Japanese Knotweed?

Whilst most buildings insurers don’t ask about Japanese Knotweed, they may not cover any treatment so check your buildings insurance policy carefully to see if it is covered.  A mortgage lender may also not be willing to lend if the buildings insurance policy won’t cover knotweed.

Indemnity insurance cover can be taken out to provide protection for buyers and mortgage lenders if Japanese Knotweed is discovered.  This will generally only be available if no knotweed has been discovered on your property or if it has been successfully treated in the past. This insurance could cover the cost of a survey report to confirm the presence of knotweed, the cost of treatment, repair of any damage caused and could also extend to defending any legal proceedings in the event of any third party being affected.

 

Who is eligible for a Help To Buy ISA?

Only first-time buyers can open a Help to Buy ISA.

How much can I deposit into a Help to Buy ISA per month?

The maximum you can deposit a month is £200, with a one-off the maximum initial deposit of £1,000.

When can I use the money in a Help To Buy ISA?

You can use the money toward the deposit fund or completion funds, but the bonus will not be claimed until completion.

Is there a maximum/minimum property purchase price required to claim the Help to Buy bonus?

There is no minimum amount required. However, if you are purchasing for more than £250,000 outside of London, you will not be able to claim the Help to Buy bonus. The maximum you can buy in London is £450,000 to claim the bonus.

What is the maximum/minimum required to have in my Help To Buy ISA so I can claim the bonus?

The maximum amount you can have in your Help to Buy  ISA in order to claim the government bonus is £12,000. The minimum you must have to qualify for the bonus is £1,600.

How is the bonus calculated?

The bonus is calculated on the total amount that you have saved in your Help to Buy ISA and the bonus will be 25% of the balance. For example, if Rob has £10,000 in his ISA, he will receive a bonus of £2,500. The maximum bonus you can receive is £3,000 and the minimum is £400.

How and when do I close my Help To Buy ISA?

You must close your Help to Buy ISA at least two weeks before you wish to use the funds & claim the bonus, this is so enough time is given to the ISA manager in order for them to transfer the money that’s in your Help to Buy ISA Account and provide you with a closing statement (which can take a few days and is sent in the post usually).

Step 1 – Ask for your ISA to be closed

Step 2 – Request a closing statement

Step 3 – Transfer the money to your normal account

Step 4 – Provide your conveyancer with the closing statement immediately upon receipt

How and who claims the bonus on my behalf?

The solicitor/conveyancer you have instructed to act for you in respect of your purchase will claim the bonus on your behalf and is usually sent to your solicitor/conveyancer on completion. You will need to provide your solicitor/conveyancer with the closing statement as soon as possible so they can apply for the bonus using the online portal, usually a bonus is claimed 7 days prior to completion.

Your conveyancer/solicitor will apply for the bonus via the Help to Buy online portal. They will then receive a notification to let them know the bonus has been approved. This will be paid into your solicitors/conveyancer’s client account on the date they have selected (this is often the day before completion).

What can I use the government bonus towards?

This can be used towards the purchase price of the property you are buying.

 

We are delighted to announce that we have achieved national recognition winning the Modern Law Awards for ‘National Conveyancing Firm of the Year’.

This award win is a testament to the incredible work and great talent we have as a firm. We are continuously striving to deliver the best conveyancing service and to be at the forefront of change within the industry. We are extremely committed to the service and experience our clients and referrers receive when instructing The Law Practice UK Ltd which shows in our fantastic Google and Facebook reviews across our all our offices – Walsall, Great Barr, Birmingham, Stratford Upon Avon and London. Clients and referrers continually contact The Law Practice UK Ltd through recommendations and we act for them in all legal capacities.

It is an honour to win this award and we are incredibly proud. We thank all our valued clients as without you we would not be here or have achieved this award.

By now most landlord and letting agents should be aware of the ‘prescribed form’ of Section 21 Notices –which was first introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015. The new prescribed form must be used where an assured shorthold tenancy was granted on or after 1 October 2015 in England. In order to serve a valid notice, there must also be compliance with the prescribed requirement (discussed in more detail at https://www.lplawfirm.com/gas-certificate-rights/).

We still receive a large number of enquiries from landlords who have served notice only to realise several months down the line that they have done so incorrectly and must start the whole process again. We would always advise that any notice served on a tenant should be professionally prepared from a reputable source.

The law in this area continues to evolve and from 1 October 2018, some of the requirements of the Deregulation Act will apply to all assured shorthold tenancies in England even those granted before 1 October 2015;

  • The ‘retaliatory eviction’ provisions will apply to all assured shorthold tenancies in England from 1 October 2018
  • Removal of requirement to expire notice at the end of a period
  • Time limits when section 21 can be served – A section 21 notice cannot be served within the first 4 months and must be used within 6 months of service
  • All Section 21 notices should be in the prescribed form

For further information, guidance or advice please contact Ashley Byrne of The Law Practice Landlord and Tenant team on 0121 778 2371 or email ashley.byrne@lplawfirm.com


The purpose of this blog is to provide information and discussion. Nothing on this blog should be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice from a qualified solicitor regarding any actual legal issue or dispute. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice or perceived as creating a solicitor-client relationship. Please note that we cannot give advice on individual’s situations or problems on this blog.

There is a multitude of benefits to buying a New Build home. Buying into such developments can be opting into a lifestyle rather than just purchasing a home, with fitness suites, shopping amenities and communal spaces becoming common features of new build developments. The developers will do solid research on an area and look at proximity to local schools and transport links.

When buying a New Build home, ensure you research the developer that you are purchasing from and ask to see the developer’s portfolio of work. Whether it is a well-known developer or a private developer, it is essential that they have a proven track record and you can see their work stands the test of time. New Build properties are generally built to the highest specifications using high-quality, new materials, which mean that they are more energy efficient, cheaper to maintain and have the latest safety and security measures in place. A 10-year National House Building Council Warranty (NHBC) comes with most new homes and acts as a guarantee.

Construction of the property you plan to purchase may not have started and you may commit to the purchase based on the viewing of a show home. This is what’s known as buying ‘off-plan’. Buying off-plan also gives buyers the opportunity to choose finishes throughout the property so that it is bespoke to the buyer’s personal taste – from flooring to tiles, to worktops and wardrobes. Investors often buy New Build homes off plan as this allows them to focus on generating capital growth without concerning themselves with maintenance costs. New Build homes are often a preferred choice for tenants who are looking for ease, convenience and the great locations that New Build homes typically offer.

There are Help to Buy schemes offered by the government, all aimed at helping buyers with the cost of securing and maintaining a New Build home. Naturally, New Build homes are an attractive option for first-time buyers because of the government Help to Buy schemes available and the convenience of moving into a brand-new property which requires no renovation – something which can be very costly.

Things initially move quickly in the world of New Build conveyancing. When you decide that you are ready to make an offer on a prospective property, the developer will require a reservation fee before accepting. Often, this is non-returnable. You should also make sure you have an agreement in principle from the mortgage company before committing to paying the reservation fee. Once this fee has been paid you will have a limited amount of time to exchange contracts – usually around 4 weeks. You should, therefore, have researched experienced New Build conveyancers and be prepared to instruct them as soon as the reservation fee has been paid. Developers can be strict when it comes to deadlines for the exchange of contracts, particularly if there is a lot of interest in the property. If these aren’t met, then you are at risk of losing your would-be home and your reservation deposit. The developers’ conveyancers will give your conveyancing lawyers notice of when the property is ready. Completion must then happen within a specified period.

Due to the strict deadlines and complexities of New Build conveyancing, it’s important that you choose a solicitor who has considerable experience in this field. Our team of expert conveyancing solicitors have decades of collective experience in this specialist area and are committed to delivering a smooth and stress-free service.


If you would like to discuss New Build conveyancing in further detail, call us on 0121 778 2371 to speak with a member of the team. Further, advice can also be found on our dedicated new build conveyancing team page.