Here are some of July's recent stories regarding the law, including HS2, Divorce and Lasting Powers of Attorney.
All links to original articles are linked.
The Supreme Court is to rule next week on whether Graham Mills, a surveyor, will have to continue paying maintenance to his ex-wife for the next 16 years. When they divorced in 2002 Mr Mills agreed to pay a lump sum of monthly payments and that Mrs Mills lost the lump sum through “gross financial mismanagement”. The announcement will be made on Wednesday.
The Times - 13th July
HS2 are being criticized for delayed payments to land owners on compulsory purchase deals. HS2 have acquired around 30% of the land for the first phase and have already spent £1.6bn of the £2.8bn budget.
Some businesses owners are considering legal action, including Ali Yadzi whom owns a takeaway chain. His West London warehouse was requisitioned and 6 months later he has still not been paid despite the rules stating 90% of the compulsory price should be paid upfront.
Charted surveyor and development consultant David Baker is acting for around 22 businesses and investors and said “These are statutory payments that people are owed, having lost property or incurred serious costs relocating. These are not even the disputed sums. These are professionally agreed sums and statutory entitlements.”
HS2 have responded to criticism by saying “Each case is unique and is managed accordingly, ensuring a fair deal for both the property owner and the taxpayer.”
Financial Times - 13th July
Divorcing couples have been warned that they could face future challenges if they do not sort out their financial affairs when they separate and even their estates could come under scrutiny.
This warning has arisen from a case at the High Court which has seen a divorced couples home in the centre of a row, despite having separated 40 years earlier. Mr Wall and Mrs Munday divorced in 1974 and maintained joint ownership of their house in Kent. On Mr Wall’s death each estate was awarded 50% but this was disputed by his brother.
The Sunday Telegraph - 15th July
More and more younger people are getting onto the property ladder by buying with friends and family, but not all are aware of the complications it can bring, especially if circumstances change.
Issues can arise if one of the buyers dies. Properties can be held as either joint tenants or tenants in common and both can have implications depending on if a Will has been made and the contents of the Will.
If a buyer gets married and wishes to move out – they either have to rent their ‘side’ of the property out to carry on contributing to the mortgage, or sell their share to the other owner(s), or sell altogether and split the proceeds. This can also bring up issues if one person put down a bigger deposit than the other and this was not taken into account by producing a Deed of Trust or Deed of Mortgage.
The Times - 13th July
Government investigations have shown a surge in the misuse of Lasting Powers of Attorney with figures from the Ministry of Justice showing inquiries into the actions of appointed attorneys jumped from 876 to 1729 from April 2017 to March 2018.
JMW Solicitors have told of a case where a son took £30,000 from his mother, placed her in a residential care home where she was unhappy and he did not pay the care home fees.
Separately, 1.6 million people are still to apply for a partial refund for the fee they paid to Office of the Public Guardian to have their LPA’s registered. If you have not yet claimed for your refund and you made a Lasting Power of Attorney between April 1 2013 and March 31 2017 please visit https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney-refund
The Times - 15th July
Authorities are attempting to crack down on rogue landlords by introducing further Landlord licences.
A typical licence requires landlords to pay a licence fee (which lasts around 5 years) and from then they are subjected to legal checks, with heavy fines if they do not comply. They are aimed at weeding out landlords who put tenants at risk, reducing crime and antisocial behaviour
Some homeowners are accusing councils are claiming this to just be a money-making scheme and a brief glance shows that Nottingham could raise between £14m and £23m and some argue rogue landlord will carry on operating under the radar.
The Guardian - 14th July
1500 letters are being sent to second homeowners and landlords by HMRC regarding them not declaring a profit on which Capital Gains Tax is potentially liable during the tax year 15/16. “Chas Roy-Chowdhury of the ACCA said the HMRC initiative should serve as a "wake-up call" to existing and former landlords or owners of second homes, some of whom may not realise they owe tax.”