Author Archive

No Stamp Duty on Property up to £500,000 until March 2021

August 03, 2020  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

The Government has scrapped stamp duty on property purchases of up to £500,000 until the end of March 2021 in a bid to boost the property market and help support home buyers and buy-to-let investors save on tax. These changes could save buyers thousands of pounds, so if you’ve been considering making a move this year, now’s the time to get the ball rolling! Here’s everything you need to know to take advantage of the new stamp duty threshold: Previously, stamp duty charges would apply to purchases over £125,000 (or £300,000 for first-time buyers) but the threshold has been bumped up to £500,000 for all purchases in England and Northern Ireland until 31st March 2021. (Scotland and Wales have ...

Do You Need A Post-Lockdown Cohabitation Agreement?

July 13, 2020  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

When lockdown was first imposed at the end of March, many people were forced into making a sudden decision about their living arrangements. Couples or friends who previously lived apart moved in together, families combined or expanded, and some people simply ended up cohabiting by default. No matter what the situation, it's fair to say that this whole new experience of close-quarters cohabitation has put all of us under strain. In a press conference on how couple should navigate social distancing, deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries replied: “If the two halves of a couple are currently in separate households, ideally they should stay in those households. The alternative might be that, for quite a significant period going ...

Family Court Backlog Could Cause Delays Until 2021

July 06, 2020  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

As Family Court delays stretch into 2021 (or beyond), private hearings may turn out to be a much quicker and cost effective alternative to resolving separation disputes and children's issues. At the beginning of June the President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane published ‘The Road Ahead’, a guidance document to provide ‘a broad framework’ for the Family Court over the next six months and beyond, which suggests that delays in dealing with family law cases may extend well into 2021. ‘The Road Ahead’ looks at how the Family Court has handled social distancing, remote hearings, timescales for full operation, and dealing with the backlog of applications and cases that have been adjourned or delayed since the beginning ...

How to save money (and time) on conveyancing

June 10, 2020  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

There’s really only one piece of advice in this blog, which is this: use an independent, professional, fully-qualified conveyancer. Simple enough – or so you’d think – but unfortunately all too often people end up with an impersonal, incomplete, and costly ‘package’ service. On the surface, it may seem easier and more efficient to keep everything in one place, but there are a number of reasons why it’s worth seeking out your own local independent service instead: You get a fixed price. While other services may seem appear cheaper on first glance, you’ll inevitably find there are additional charges for every form you fill in, every signature, and every minor change to paperwork… At ...

UPDATED Government Guidelines on Moving Home During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

June 08, 2020  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

At the end of May, the Government updated their guidelines on moving home during the Coronavirus outbreak, taking into account the changes to lockdown rules, stating that people who wish to move home can now do so – providing they follow the safety guidelines. This means that people are now able to view and inspect properties, conduct surveys, hire removal services and move home, so long as it is safe to do so. Some moves may be relatively low risk, for example if the property is already vacated, or if all parties can safely avoid contact with one another, while others may need special consideration or greater flexibility on dates to ensure everyone’s safety. Priority and flexibility should be given to people ...

What to expect from the property market during and after lockdown

June 07, 2020  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

If your home is currently on the market, or you were planning a move in 2020, you may be wondering what your next steps might be. With all the uncertainty about when lockdown measures might be lifted, and how the long term effects of the Coronavirus might impact all aspects of our lives, many of our property clients are looking for concrete answers on how to proceed. And while we may not be able to predict the future, we can give our best advice based on our knowledge of the property market. First, for context, it’s worth looking at where we were before lockdown began. Over the past few years there has been a considerable slowing of the property market ...

Divorce in the time of Corona

June 05, 2020  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

Our physical offices may be temporarily closed to the public, but we are still receiving a steady stream of new enquiries regarding divorce and separation. Lockdown seems to have compounded the relationship struggles many couples were already experiencing, or in some cases even provided the catalyst for the decision to separate. However, the family courts are also currently working at limited capacity, focusing on the most urgent cases, with children’s safeguarding issues as a priority, so some couples may feel as if they are stuck in limbo – wanting to separate but not sure how to proceed while everything is in shutdown. The situation is certainly difficult but not impossible, and the family law community is doing ...

Coronavirus Property FAQs – Mortgages, Rent & Moving House

June 03, 2020  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

Since lockdown measures were put in place we’ve had a lot of enquiries about mortgages, rental properties, and conveyancing issues. And while the situation is obviously continuously evolving, our property team has put together some general advice for anyone concerned about the effect of Coronavirus on the following property issues. Mortgages If you are struggling to pay your mortgage due to loss of work or income, the Government has made agreements with mortgage providers to offer a three month mortgage holiday to those in need of support. This offer should also be valid for residential and buy-to-let mortgages, but may be subject to restrictions and eligibility factors, so in all cases it’s best ...

Zoom Mediation During Lockdown

June 01, 2020  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

With the current lockdown situation, we’re having to work around social distancing rules to make sure we can still provide our clients with as much as support as possible, and have found Zoom mediation to be a useful alternative for couples going through separation during quarantine. Mediation is an effective method of dispute resolution, enabling couples to discuss their situation with an objective third party mediator and try to come to a mutual agreement about how to proceed. As an out-of-court alternative, mediation focuses on collaboration and cooperation as much as possible, which feels particularly important right now as we are all grappling with the enormous changes to our personal circumstances. Mediation offers a solid basis for ...

Leaving Home After an Argument During Lockdown

May 18, 2020  |   Posted by :   |   Uncategorized

According to the College of Policing (CPS), a ‘cooling-off’ period following an argument at home is likely to be considered a reasonable reason to leave home during lockdown. Updated guidelines on quarantine regulations from CPS provide a detailed list of what might constitute reasonable and unreasonable excuses to leave home, including information on exercise, shopping, helping others, and going to work, and dealing with a domestic dispute situation. Of course, police officers enforcing lockdown restrictions will consider each case on an individual basis and will “use their discretion and judgement in deciding what is and what isn’t ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances.” Wherever possible – and so long as it is safe for all those involved – it’s best to stay at home. However, ...

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