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 them for more than £250,000 outside of London you will not be able to claim the HTB bonus. The maximum you can be purchased for in London is £450,000 in order 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.

What It Means To You


After 4 years of preparation and debate the GDPR was finally approved by the EU Parliament on 14 April 2016. On 25th May 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) will come into force. The GDPR replaces the existing Data Protection Act 1998 governing how data is managed. It applies to all businesses in the European Union (EU). The GDPR will form part of UK law following the countries withdrawal from the EU. The GDPR was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe because of developments in internet and cloud technologies. There are now so many ways to collect and store personal data that new measures are required to ensure that personal data is kept safe and is only kept for legitimate purposes.

What Constitutes Personal Data?


Any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’, that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer IP address.

GDPR Timeline Of Events


Penalties For Non-Compliance


GDPR places a strong emphasis on accountability and transparency, holding businesses accountable for safeguarding the collection, usage and storage of client personal data. Companies that use 3rd party software such as payroll or accounts packages will need to ensure these systems are GDPR compliant. Businesses are required to identify a lawful basis for processing client personal data fairly, accurately and be kept in a form which permits the identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary. It is advised that businesses ensure that they have detailed procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach. Failure to prevent a data breach can result in fines up to 4% of the total annual worldwide revenue or €20 Million. There is a tiered approach to fines e.g. a company can be fined 2% for not having their records in order, not notifying the supervising authority and data subject about a breach or not conducting impact assessment. It is important to note that these rules apply to both controllers and processors — meaning ‘clouds’ will not be exempt from GDPR enforcement.


TLP has outsourced a professional GDPR audit company to make sure our client have peace of mind that their data is secure. Further guidance in relation to complying with the GDPR requirements can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website – https://ico.org.uk/

The Law Practice UK Ltd is delighted to announce the official opening of its 4th office in Stratford Upon Avon.

Stratford upon Avon is set in the beautiful rural countryside of Warwickshire and is most famous for its association with William Shakespeare. Shakespeare was born in 1564 in a half-timbered house on Henley Street. He attended the local grammar school and after a successful life in London returned to Stratford to the house known as New Place, where he died in 1616. Shakespeare lays to rest in the parish church of Holy Trinity.

Stratford upon Avon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Britain offering visitors a superb riverside setting, historic houses, a famous theatre, thriving street market, excellent shops, and restaurants. The town is easily accessible by road and by water along the River Avon. Stratford is situated on the edge of the Cotswolds which allows residents and visitors to explore some of the most beautiful villages in England.

The Stratford Upon Avon office is located in the center of town in the new Elizabeth House development next to the council offices. Victoria Whistler heads up the conveyancing department and lives locally so has extensive knowledge of the local property market and the legal knowledge required to deal with all manner of conveyances.

The Stratford Upon Avon office is a natural addition to the Law Practice UK Ltd other offices in the Midlands including the head office in Walsall and a branch in Great Barr.

Areas of Law we cover:

  • Conveyancing
  • New Build Conveyancing
  • Civil Litigation
  • Family Law
  • Debt Recovery
  • Personal Injury
  • Employment Law
  • Wills And Probate (including Jewish Halachic and Islamic wills)
  • Landlords & Tenants
  • Regulatory Advice

Please feel free to pop in and see the team to discuss any legal requirements you may have, alternatively call us on 0121 778 2371 or email Victoria.whistler@lplawfirm.com

Landlords should now be familiar with the prescribed legal requirements introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015 that must be provided before they are able to serve a Section 21 Notice. These are namely

– The requirement to provide the ‘How to Rent Guide’

-The requirement to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) to a tenant free of charge;

-The requirement to provide a tenant with a gas safety record.

Landlords should be aware that the three-year transition period is due to end in October 2018 and therefore may affect tenancies granted before 1 October 2015.

Since the introduction of these requirements, there has been question’s about whether a failure to provide a gas safety certificate at the beginning of a tenancy can be rescued by a later certificate. Recent case law has held that it cannot (however there is debate whether this approach is a true reflection of the legal position, see here.

Therefore, it may be that if there is a failure to provide the gas safety record to any new tenant before that tenant occupies the property then this could be an absolute bar on serving a Section 21 Notice. In these circumstances, the landlord would need to rely on one of the grounds for serving a section 8 notice such as rent arrears.

The message to Landlords is clear, fail to comply with the prescribed requirements at your peril as it may leave you with no route to regain possession of your property unless the tenant has broken the terms of their agreement.

For further information, guidance or advice 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.