Changes to the Use Classes Order to give greater clarity and reflect the diversity of uses

The Government is making a number of changes to the planning process and one significant update is the changing of the categories of use in the Use Classes Order from 1 September 2020 in England. The aim is to make the Use Class a better fit to the current needs and diversity of uses on the high street and in town centres. The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 will be amended to include 3 new classes and remove a number of the well-known ones. (See the chart…

Landlords must comply with latest energy standards

Landlords of residential property could face high fines if they do not meet the latest energy efficiency standards.  On 1st April 2020, the latest stage of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards was implemented, making it unlawful for landlords to continue domestic residential tenancies where the property has a rating of F or G on its Energy Performance Certificate – commonly known as an EPC. Two years ago, the first stage of implementation introduced the requirement for an E rating or above for all new tenancies granted. Now, that is extended…

A toolkit for family breakdown in the lockdown

The coronavirus crisis is redefining lifestyles and the boundaries of our interactions; a situation that can challenge even the strongest bonds.  For couples who are struggling in their relationship, or trying to manage co-parenting, anxiety levels are likely to be heightened if it seems there is nowhere to turn, while personal movements are restricted and even the family courts are working remotely.  "For myself, and my colleagues across the country, being a family lawyer means being there for all the challenges, not just the day in court, and at this…

Mum and Dad need to get with it

Parents who help their children get on the property ladder are being urged to adopt a more professional approach when it comes to handing over the cash.  Faced with high rental costs and soaring property prices, more parents are dipping into savings or releasing capital from their own property to support the next generation. Research by Legal & General estimates that a massive £6.3bn was provided last year by the Bank of Mum and Dad – or BoMaD - as it’s known.  The figure effectively makes BoMaD the 11th largest mortgage…

Bump in the night for Airbnb landlords

Rule changes on short term lets could see part-time landlords hit by a new tax bill from next year if they let out their whole property. Homeowners can earn up to £7,500 per year tax free by renting a room to a lodger, but the rise of the sharing economy and sites like Airbnb has seen many hobby landlords come into the market and use the tax break to offset income when they let the whole of their home out for short stays. Whether it’s property owners in SW London…

Civil partnership or cohabit – which is better?

Not everyone wants to get married in a church or registry office. For many cohabiting couples, a civil partnership is far more attractive – it moves away from the idea of women being the ‘property’ of their husbands and is infinitely more acceptable to those who do not follow any particular faith. Civil partnerships have been available for same-sex couples since 2004, yet they are still not available for heterosexual couples who cohabit. In June the legality of denying heterosexual couples the right to have a civil partnership was challenged…

Tree Hugging: What is the law surrounding Tree Preservation Orders

Barely a day goes by without a local newspaper recording the infringement of a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). These are often accompanied by protestations from the accused claiming they had no idea that a TPO was in place and, more frequently, detailing the fines imposed against them. TPOs were introduced in 1947, giving local planning authorities the power to protect and preserve individual trees and woodlands. However, given the amount of prosecutions brought by local councils, it appears that this piece of legislation may not be fully understood by the…

An update on residential tenancies

Following our article on the Deregulation Act 2015 and what it means for landlords, we set out below the major changes coming into force as of 1 October 2015. In relation to Assured Shorthold Tenancies granted on or after 1 October 2015 One of the most important changes coming into force is the prescribed form of Section 21 Notice. This form is annexed to the new regulations and must be used. The days of serving Section 21 Notices when the tenant signs the tenancy agreement will also be long gone.…

Selective Licensing

The London Borough of Waltham Forest has given notice that the borough will be designated for selective licensing starting today, 1 April 2015. Where a property is a house in multiple occupation and licensed as such, selective licensing will not be required. Once selective licensing comes into force, any person operating a licensable property without a license will be guilty of an offence under section 95(1) of the Housing Act 2004 and shall be liable to prosecution. When managing your rental properties, please be aware that in order to issue…

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