Conveyancing and Property Law

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Property Solicitor, John Pearn examines the legal issues of entering into a solar panel lease It’s increasingly common for homeowners to lease part of their roof to an energy company who installs solar panels. However, there are a few legal points that a prudent homeowner should consider before going ahead. Owners often overlook the fact that they need the consent of their lender if they are to enter into such a solar power lease. Before consent is granted lenders will need to...

Squatting in a residential building as a long-term trespasser became a criminal offence as of 1 September 2012. How might this affect you? The displaced homeowner Before, squatters might take up occupation in your house when you were on holiday or in hospital. This was uncommon, but distressing. Bold squatters might assert ‘squatters’ rights’ and uncertain homeowners would at the very least have to swear an oath as to their position before bailiffs could be called in. Now such an act would...

Relaxation in certain planning restrictions have been announced (but not yet enacted) by the Government. Permitted development rights – the ability to extend existing buildings without planning permission – for both residential and commercial properties will be extended. The government hopes to raise activity in the construction sector. Homeowners will be able to build single storey extensions at the back of their properties up to 8 metres deep without requiring formal planning consent, double the current 4 metres. Commercial premises will be...

Landlord and Tennant Solicitor, Iain Robinson issues a warning to unsuspecting landlords following recent tightening of the law regarding deposits Recent changes to the law concerning the treatment of tenancy deposits could hit unwary landlords as hard as rogue ones. Since April 2007 most residential tenants’ deposits have had to be protected in government-approved schemes. Landlords who fail to do so can be taken to court by aggrieved tenants. The courts were initially lenient where landlords were slow in protecting deposits rather...

Naomi Ireson takes a look at an often misunderstood legal concept: Proprietary Estoppel What if someone is promised an interest in some land or property and relies on that promise (for example, by working without payment) only to find that the landowner has gone back on that promise? Is there anything he can do? Can he enforce the promise? It is in situations like this that the concept of proprietary estoppel can help. How did Proprietary Estoppel develop? Traditionally Proprietary Estoppel arose when a...

Mortgages are extremely common, but their legal significance is often misunderstood. What is a mortgage? At its simplest, a mortgage is an agreement between a lender and a borrower. The lender lends money to the borrower who promises to pay back the loan with interest. Usually the mortgage agreement will include a specified date for the loan and the interest to be repaid. How is a mortgage created? Most people who have bought a property with a mortgage will remember signing a mortgage deed...

Our property team take a look at leases and answers some commonly asked questions. What is a lease? A lease is a legally binding contract between a landlord, who owns the freehold of a property, and a tenant. The tenant should have 'exclusive possession' of the property which is the subject of the lease and the lease will be for a 'certain term', for example a lease for 6 months or for 999 years. What is a fixed term lease? Most leases are for...

Our property team take a look at easements What is an easement? An easement is a right to use land belonging to a third party in a particular way or to prevent the owner of that land from using it in a certain manner. An example would be a right of way. Can someone have an easement over their own land? No. There must be two parcels of land owned or occupied by two different parties. One parcel of land will have the benefit...

With the eviction at Dale Farm in the news, it would be timely to remind landowners of the legal position regarding trespassers entering land what steps can be taken to remove them. Prevention Obviously prevention is better than cure. It is advisable to secure land which may be vulnerable to attack now in order to prevent people from gaining access. If anyone does move in to occupy the land, you should act quickly to have them removed, before eviction costs escalate and lost...

Property solicitor, Iain Robinson reviews the new septic tank legislation Since April 2011 sewage treatment plant and septic tanks in England and Wales have been subject to a new system of environmental permits. Although the new rules replace uncertain old ones, the new scheme is costly and bureaucratic. It even creates new criminal offences. This new environmental permit regime and especially the new criminal offences, mean that however officious the system may seem it is more important than ever to have the...