There are many misconceptions about remortgages, what they are, why you should do it, and what the remortgage process entails. Yet Remortgages can be a beneficial process for a multitude of people in different situations. This guide aims to inform you about everything there is to do with remortgaging and whether it is a task worth completing in your situation.
What is a Remortgage?
A remortgage is where your mortgage product/deal has come to an end and you are looking to obtain a new product at a new rate for a specified term. You will require a Solicitor/Conveyancer to act for you in this regard. If you are simply carrying out a product transfer (continuing with your same lender) you WILL NOT require a Solicitor/Conveyancer.
Why Should I Remortgage?
If any of the following conditions apply to you, a remortgage may be beneficial;
- Your mortgage product is coming to an end
- You want to ‘lock’ in a fixed rate and you are within 3 months of moving onto your lender’s standard variable rate
- You want to borrow more money against your home
- You want to take money out of the property (release equity)
- You want to alter the term of your mortgage (reduce/increase the number of years remaining on your property)
Steps for the Remortgage Process.
To better understand a remortgage, it is useful to have an understanding of the remortgage process and what it entails. This can be broken down into 6 simple steps:
- Instructing a Solicitor/Conveyancer
Once you have obtained your new mortgage it would be prudent to instruct a Solicitor/Conveyancer to act on your behalf. This will involve filling out instruction forms (information about the property, current mortgage details and confirming you would like the Solicitor/Conveyancer to act on your behalf), providing your ID documentation, (your ID documentation can be submitted using a secure link online) and money on account (for searches) your file can then be opened to commence work.
- Current Mortgage Details
Your current mortgage details must be provided i.e. lenders name(s) and account number(s). This allows the Solicitor/Conveyancer to obtain a redemption statement(s) (amount owing figure) from your lender(s) to ensure your new mortgage is sufficient to repay the outstanding sums.
- Mortgage Offer
Once your new mortgage offer has been received, it will be reviewed to ascertain whether or not conveyancing searches (local authority search, drainage and water search, environmental search) is required. In the event these searches are not required, indemnity insurance will be obtained in lieu of the searches. Indemnity insurance will insure the lender for any adverse search results should they come to light and can be obtained at a small fee. Indemnity insurance will speed up the remortgage process for you. Indemnity Insurance is purely at the lender’s discretion and is not negotiable.
The title documentation is then investigated to ensure there are no untoward entries, to ensure the title is marketable and to ensure it meets your lender’s requirements.
When the above two points have been satisfied your mortgage offer is investigated. The mortgage offer must be received and addressed to the correct Solicitor’s Office. A copy from yourself is insufficient. The mortgage offer is then checked for;
- Any Errors – i.e incorrect name spelling, incorrect property address, postcode etc
- Special Conditions – i.e credit agreements that are needed to be repaid
- Any comments on the Valuation Report – i.e. any works that have been carried out and would have required planning permission etc
- Any adult occupiers – the occupier would be required to sign the mortgage deed as an occupier.
When the mortgage offer has been reviewed and the above points are satisfied, the remortgage report and mortgage deed will be forwarded to you for signature.
- Report to lender
If there are any discrepancies with your mortgage offer or any vital information missed this will be reported to your lender for their approval. Once the discrepancies have been dealt with, the request for mortgage monies will be requested via the Certificate of Title. Your lender will require a certain amount of notice to forward the mortgage monies to the Solicitor/Conveyancer. Each lender has their own notice period (some ranging from 3 working days to 7 working days)
On the day of completion, your verbal authority is required to confirm you are happy to proceed. This is a quick telephone call to confirm you are happy to proceed. This takes place on the day of the remortgage and cannot be taken before the remortgage. When your authority has been taken, the new mortgage advance will be used to redeem your current mortgage(s). Any monies owing to you will then be forwarded to you (this is where you have taken out more monies than is required to redeem the current mortgage).
- Post Completion
After your current mortgage has been redeemed an application is submitted to the Land Registry to have the new mortgage registered against the property. This can vary from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. It is down to the Land Registry as it is them that deal with this. Once the updated title information is received showing the new mortgage a copy is provided to you for your retention.
Talk To Tollers
If you are considering remortgaging your property …Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558, our experienced teams are on hand to assist.
Divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, and even with the introduction of a more straightforward no-fault divorce process which has been in effect since April 2022, ending a marriage or civil partnership can still be overwhelming. One of the biggest concerns for a couple going through a separation and the biggest questions our experienced Family Law team at Tollers gets asked is ‘What am I entitled to in a divorce?’ and ‘What are my legal rights from property to asset splits’?
In the UK, divorce law is governed by specific regulations that determine how spouses and civil partners divide their assets including their interest in the family home and any other property, their savings and investments, any business interests, their pensions and any other assets they may own. It can also consider what spousal maintenance may be payable.
To help you navigate this difficult and emotional topic, our family law team has compiled a list of frequently asked questions related to divorce entitlements in the UK.
What factors are considered when determining what I am entitled to in a divorce?
When determining entitlements in a divorce, the courts consider various factors, including the following:
- income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
- financial needs and responsibilities of each spouse;
- standard of living during the marriage;
- the duration of the marriage;
- age and health of each spouse;
- contributions made by each spouse (financially or otherwise);
- the welfare of any minor children.
Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (the Act) sets out the basic guidelines that the English and Welsh Courts apply when dealing with financial claims. In addition, the Court will also have reference to previously decided cases, known as case law, when making its decision.
How are assets divided in a divorce?
In the UK, assets acquired during the marriage are generally considered to be matrimonial property and are subject to division. The Court aims to achieve a fair distribution of assets, taking into account some of the factors mentioned above. While typically this will involve dividing assets equally, it may be possible to argue that there should be an unequal distribution depending on the individual circumstances.
Assets that were acquired before or after the marriage may be regarded as non-matrimonial property. It will depend on the type and value of these assets and both parties’ needs as to whether the court will take these into account and if so to what extent. If an agreement can be reached a financial and property settlement is often entered into upon divorce. This is a formal agreement designed to set out any financial responsibilities and fairly divide property and finances once a marriage or civil partnership has ended. Read our previous article regarding financial settlements: Property and Financial Settlements in Divorce: FAQs and Specialist Family Legal Advice.
If you cannot reach an amicable agreement then an application will need to be made to the court so that the matter can be considered by a Judge.
Are prenuptial agreements enforceable in the UK?
Prenuptial agreements are not automatically legally binding in the UK, but they can carry weight in Court proceedings. The Court will consider the terms of the agreement, the circumstances in which it was made, and whether it is fair to uphold it. It is essential to seek specialist legal advice to ensure your prenuptial agreement is drafted correctly and all of the relevant criteria are considered to make it as binding as possible.
How are pensions divided in a divorce?
Pensions are regarded as part of the matrimonial assets and can be subject to division in a divorce or civil partnership dissolution. The Court will assess the value of each spouse’s pensions and may make a pension sharing order so that one person receives a share of the other spouse’s pensions or they may offset the value of the pension against other assets or they can make a lump sum payment to achieve a fair division.
What about child arrangements and maintenance?
Child arrangements and child maintenance are considered separately from a financial settlement within divorce proceedings. Child maintenance will usually be dealt with through the Child Support Agency. If no agreement can be reached regarding child arrangements then an application can be made to the court under the Children Act. The Court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child. Factors such as the child’s welfare, relationship with each parent, and their wishes and feelings (depending on their age) will be taken into account when determining what the child’s living arrangements should be.
Do I need a solicitor for my divorce?
While it is not a legal requirement to have a solicitor, seeking the appropriate legal advice from a trusted solicitor specialising in family law is vital. A family law solicitor specialising in divorce and matrimonial finances can protect your rights and help you navigate the complexities of the divorce process and financial settlements.
Solicitors for Divorce and Matrimonial Finances
Having a comprehensive legal understanding of your rights, obligations and negotiation powers when going through a divorce or civil partnership dissolution is essential. In doing so, you will be best positioned to propose agreement terms that suit you and protect your future financial interests.
Talk to Tollers
If you are divorcing or facing a civil partnership dissolution and are asking yourself ‘What Am I Entitled to In a Divorce?’ and require the advice and guidance of an experienced matrimonial finance solicitor… Talk to Tollers on 01483 901 095 our expert family law team can assist you in providing practical advice on all aspects of your financial settlement agreement.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Family Law
Often separating from your spouse or partner can be a very difficult and stressful time in your life with many issues to resolve. For many couples, going through the courts is not always the best option as it increases animosity and can be lengthy and costly in nature. Different types of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can help parties try and resolve matters in a more cost-effective way.
What is alternative dispute resolution?
ADR is a process for resolving disputes without the need to go to court. In family law, this could involve mediation, negotiation, a private Financial Dispute Resolution Appointment, arbitration or a collaborative approach. ADR works well for people who are willing to resolve matters in an amicable and non-confrontational way.
The various types of alternative dispute resolution are:
Mediation involves you and your spouse or partner meeting with a trained independent mediator who will help assist you to explore and discuss issues, with the aim of finding solutions, narrowing the issues and/or helping people to reach an agreement. The mediator will remain neutral and will not provide either of you with legal advice. A mediator can help with arrangements for the children and/or financial division of assets following separation.
If you are able to reach an agreement in mediation, the mediator will record the agreement so that, where required, a solicitor can draft the agreed terms into a legally binding document which is submitted to the court.
Mediation may not always be appropriate for a parting couple especially if there is domestic abuse within the relationship. In these cases other types of alternative dispute resolution may be more suitable.
Negotiation through solicitors
Negotiation will require you and your spouse or partner to provide disclosure before entering into negotiations via solicitors’ correspondence which will hopefully lead to an agreement. Again, if an agreement can be reached, one of your solicitors will draft the agreed terms into a legally binding document which will be approved by both parties before being submitted to the court.
Arbitration is an alternative to applying for a decision from the court and involves a referral of your case to a skilled, trained arbitrator. They are usually someone who is legally qualified and has experience in family law. The appointed arbitrator will hear from your respective legal representatives and will examine the issues which require a decision. The arbitrator will issue a decision that is legally binding on you both which can be enforced through the courts.
The arbitrator can generally hear a case and will issue a decision more quickly than a court will be able to resolve a case.
Collaborative law requires both you and your spouse to be represented by collaboratively trained lawyers. At the outset, everyone signs an agreement setting out the ground rules and agreeing that the case will not be taken into court unless the process breaks down. If the collaboration does not succeed, both you and your spouse will need new solicitors to deal with court proceedings.
All of the discussions about settlement take place at round table meetings with both legal representatives and clients present. Generally, any experts such as valuers or accountants or pension experts are instructed jointly on a shared cost basis. This will enable both parties to discuss matters which are disputed and the aim is to reach an agreement which will then be drafted into a legally binding document which is then submitted to the court.
Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)
ENE involves the appointment of an independent, objective and neutral third party to assist the parties to understand the court process, identify what the issues in dispute are and give their opinion as to what a court might decide. This can be considered before proceedings have been started or during court proceedings. This decision is confidential and is not binding or enforceable, but is an indication from an experienced barrister or part-time Judge, of what the outcome may be. It is intended to help the parties to consider whether they are able to reach an agreement together and can be used to consider financial or children cases.
In particular, it is used in matrimonial finance proceedings where it is known as a private FDR. An FDR Judge will hear the case independent of the court process and can also be asked to just consider a discreet issue. The FDR Judge will review the financial disclosure which has been provided by both spouses and will hear from each spouses’ legal representatives. The Judge will give an indication as to what they believe to be the appropriate outcome if the matter was determined in court at a final hearing. Once the parties have heard the indication provided by the Judge, they will enter into negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement. This agreement can then be sent to the court for approval.
Talk to Tollers
There is no one size fits all and it is possible that a couple may need the help of one or more ADR process.
If you require assistance and want to consider ways of reducing conflict and would like to find the process most suitable to you … Talk to Tollers on 01438 901095. Our experienced family team is on hand to guide you through and help you to try and reach an agreement outside of the court.
Buy to Let Conveyancing
When buying a property, it is always best to have an experienced solicitor/conveyancer deal with the transaction for you. Especially when you are looking to buy an investment property, as there are several additional steps involved in the transaction that you do not have with standard residential purchases. In this article we explore buy to let conveyancing, with a focus on the conveyancer’s side of the transaction.
What does a conveyancer do when dealing with a Buy to Let?
As with all conveyancing, your solicitor/conveyancer will review the title to the property and raise any enquiries they consider necessary in respect of it. From the point of view of a Buy to Let property, they will need to establish early in the process that there are no restrictions stopping you from renting the property out; this is particularly important in the case of Leasehold or former Local Authority properties, which do sometimes have restrictions placed on them in regard to use.
Your solicitor will also need to check the results of the usual searches, such as Local Authority, Drainage and Water and Environmental searches, and report back to you on the findings.
If the property is being sold with a sitting tenant, your solicitor/conveyancer will raise queries with the seller’s solicitor to confirm the following:
- That the seller and the tenant are not in any sort of dispute;
- That the rent is paid up to date;
- That the seller will notify the tenant of the sale;
- The seller must provide confirmation that the tenant will be required to pay the rent to the buyer in the future.
It will also be necessary to check if the seller obtained a rental deposit from the tenant and where it is held. Any deposit taken by a landlord from the tenant should be held in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme; some of these schemes allow the deposit to be transferred if the property is sold and your conveyancer will check this for you.
It is not normal for your solicitor to review the ‘Assured Shorthold Tenancy’ on your behalf, as this a specialised area of law, unless specifically required by your mortgage lender. Please note, any tenancy agreement will need to be fully compliant with your mortgage lender’s requirements.
When reviewing the tenancy agreement, the solicitor will simply be looking to see if the terms are sufficient for the purposes of your lender; they are not, as conveyancers, in a position to comment on the remaining terms of the tenancy agreement.
On completion of the transaction, your conveyancer will submit the Stamp Duty Land Tax form and arrange for the payment to be sent to H M Revenue and Customs. Please note, if you own any other property at this time, you will have to pay Stamp at the higher rates. More information regarding Stamp duty can be found on the gov.uk website or by clicking here.
Finally, your conveyancer will submit an application to the Land Registry to register the property in your name and forward a copy of the completed title once received.
Talk to Tollers
Buy to let conveyancing has many similarities to regular conveyancing with extra measures to ensure the purchase is up to standard and suitable for letting.
If you are looking to purchase a property to let or are seeking advice on buy to lets in general… Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558, our experience conveyancing team are on hand to guide you through the process.
When divorced or separated parents find themselves in a dispute over arrangements for their children, seeking assistance from the family court may become necessary. In the UK, court orders relating to child law disputes, include Child Arrangements Orders, Specific Issue Orders and Prohibited Steps Orders.
In this article our Stevenage family law solicitors look at Prohibited Steps Orders and Specific Issues Orders and when they may be required.
What is a Prohibited Steps Order?
A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is a court order that prevents or restricts a party, usually a parent, from exerting their parental responsibility. For example, removing the child from the area where they live, travelling or moving abroad, or changing their school.
What is a Specific Issue Order?
A Specific Issue Order (SIO) is a court order that deals with a specific issue or concern regarding a child’s upbringing or welfare. It is used when parents or those with parental responsibility cannot agree on a particular decision, such as medical treatment, schooling, or religious upbringing.
How do you apply for a Prohibited Steps Order or Specific Steps Order?
If you are in dispute with a former partner regarding a decision over a child, such as in the examples above, a PSO or an SIO can be made under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 using Form C100. You may also need to attend mediation (see below) before making the application unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as domestic violence. The Court will then schedule a hearing to consider your application. Once the application has been issued, the Court will list the matter for a first dispute resolution hearing appointment.
Anyone with parental responsibility can make an application to the Court. If you do not have parental responsibility, you must first seek the Court’s permission to apply.
Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAM)
Before submitting an application for a child arrangements order, prohibited steps order or specific issues order, parents will be required to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) with a family mediator unless they are exempt. These meetings are aimed at resolving parental disputes through the mediation process. However, if, after attending this meeting, if mediation is unsuccessful or it is deemed that mediation is not appropriate, a MIAM certificate will be issued that allows the court order application process to continue.
What factors will the Court consider?
The Court’s primary consideration is the welfare of the child. They will consider various factors, including the child’s wishes and feelings (depending on their age and maturity), the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs, and any harm or risk of harm to the child.
Child Law disputes can be complex, so seeking early advice from a family law specialist is essential. Our Stevenage family lawyers will listen to your concerns, help you understand your legal rights, and ensure the correct procedures are followed to protect you and your children.
Can I apply for an Emergency Specific Issue or Prohibited Steps Order?
Yes, in certain circumstances, it may be necessary to take urgent action to protect a child. Under section 8 of the Children Act 1989, an application may be made without notice (ex parte) to the other parent. It should be noted that an order will only be made in exceptional circumstances and based on solid evidence.
Parental Dispute Legal Advice in Stevenage
We realise how distressing disputes regarding children can be, especially if you have concerns for their welfare. Tollers Child Law Solicitors in Stevenage can provide specialist advice and guidance on all child law matters or whether you need to apply to the courts for a Specific Issue or Prohibited Steps Order.
Our family solicitors aim to minimise conflict when dealing with your family matters. If you require assistance and want to look at ways of reducing conflict…Talk to Tollers on 01438 901095. Our experienced family team is on hand to guide you through and facilitate you.
Some important Employment Law updates came into effect on 1 January 2024, to make the workplace fairer. This article explains some of the key pieces of legislation coming into force, as well as the dates when they will take effect.
Changes to Holiday Pay and entitlement
From 1 January 2024, the government introduced changes to the Working Time Regulations 1998, particularly in relation to holiday rights for irregular hours or part-year workers. For more information on this, please see our article where are expert law team break the changes to holiday pay and entitlement and the impacts
Changes to the flexible working regime from 6 April 2024
There will be new requirements that Employers will have to comply with when The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 comes into force. This will:-
- Require an employer to consult with an employee if it is considering rejecting a request;
- Permit employees to make two requests in a 12-month period instead of one. The further request can only be made after the same employer has considered and rejected the first request and not during the consideration period;
- Reduce the time in which an employer must respond to a request from three months to two months (although the parties can agree to a longer consideration period should this be required);
- Remove the requirement for employees to specify how the employer might deal with the effects of the flexible working request. For example, the employee does not have to suggest a proposed working pattern in their request.
The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023 will also come into force on 6 April 2024. The Regulations amend the current Flexible Working Regulations provide that the right to make a flexible working application can be made when an employee begins employment. This means that employees no longer have to wait to be employed by their employer for more than 26 weeks before making the request. Any future applications made on or after 6 April 2024 will not require the 26 weeks continuous employment before making the application.
Extending redundancy protection to those who are pregnant and maternity leave returners from 6 April 2024
Currently, if you select an employee for dismissal on the grounds of genuine redundancy it will be automatically unfair on the grounds of discrimination if it is for a reason connected to pregnancy. This is because this category of people has a protected period in which, if they are selected for redundancy, it will automatically become unfair.
The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 came into force earlier in 2023 and the Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 were considered in Parliament on 11 December 2023 (‘The Regulations’). The Regulations are set to come into force on 6 April 2023 and at that point the following redundancy protection periods will be applicable.
Please see the table below.
|Protected period Start Date
|When an employee tells the employer, they are pregnant
|If entitled to statutory maternity leave – on the date the maternity leave starts.
If pregnancy ends and no entitlement to statutory maternity leave – two weeks after end of pregnancy.
|The date on which maternity leave starts
|If the employer is told the date of birth – 18 months after the date of birth
If not – 18 months after the expected week of birth.
|Date of child’s placement or the date they enter Great Britain (for overseas adoption)
|18 months after the child’s placement or the date they enter Great Britain (for overseas adoption)
|Shared parental leave
|Date of child’s birth, placement or date they enter Great Britain for overseas adoption
|18 months after the child’s birth or date of placement or date they enter Great Britain (for overseas adoption)
Employment Law update regarding Unpaid carers leave
The Carers Act 2023 gives entitlement for unpaid carers to take up to one-week unpaid leave per year. This new right will come into force from 6 April 2023. The draft Carer’s Leave Regulation 2024 sets out the details of the new right and has been laid before parliament.
An employee who has a dependant who has a long-term care need may take one week’s unpaid leave to provide or arrange care in each rolling 12-month period. The leave may be taken as unpaid days, half days or a block of up to one week.
Dependant = spouse, civil partner, child or parent of the employee, live in the same household as the employee (otherwise than by reason of being the employee’s boarder, employee, lodger or tenant), or reasonably rely on the employee to provide or arrange care.
Long-term care need = If one of the following is applicable:
- They have an illness or injury (whether physical or mental) that requires, or is likely to require, care for more than three months.
- They have a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.
- They require care for a reason connected with their old age.
Rolling 12-month period = a rolling 12-month period often counts backwards when being used to calculate the amount of leave an employee has accumulated. Counting backwards would mean that if the employee has already taken their full week’s entitlement within the previous 12 months then they cannot take any additional time off in this regard. If for example, they take the leave split into days and half days, for example, taking the first day on 1 May 2023, in May 2024 they will be entitled to take another day as part of their week as the 12 months since this leave was taken has lapsed.
The notice period for the leave request is either twice as many days as the period of leave required or three days whichever is greater. The notice does not need to be made in writing and there is no requirement for an employee to provide evidence to their employer to support the request.
An employer is unable to deny the request altogether but can postpone the request for one of the following reasons:
- The operation of the business will be disrupted, under the reasonable consideration of the employer, if allowed leave during the period required.
- The employee is able to take a period of carer’s leave for the same duration within a month of the period initially requested.
- The employee is given written notice within seven days of the request. This notice sets out the reasons for the postponement and dates where leave is agreed.
Where there is also a contractual right to take carer’s leave an employee will only be permitted to take advantage of the right that is more favourable to them. However, the employee will be afforded protection in that they will be protected from a detriment and a dismissal because they requested carer’s leave.
How can we help?
If you have any questions relating to any of the Employment Law updates mentioned or would like further information regarding these changes and how they may impact your business… Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558, our Employment team is on hand to assist you with all you need to know.
We’re here for you.
Find out more about our Employment Law services here.
Why is buying a ‘New Build Property’ different?
There are many reasons why buying a new build property differs from buying any other type of home, not least of which is that the house may not even be built at the point you are looking to buy!
You can find new build properties being constructed by small developers, who are looking to build only one or two bespoke houses, or by large national builders, such as Persimmon Homes, Redrow or David Wilson, who will usually build several hundred properties on larger estates.
Can you view your property before agreeing to buy it?
If a developer has not yet finished building any of the proposed properties on the site before marketing them for sale, you will be required to buy your chosen property ‘off plan’. This means you would choose your plot from the estate plan prepared by the developer rather than by viewing the property style you wish to purchase, like you would normally do. Once the developer has completed the first property on the site, this home becomes what is known as the ‘show home’ and buyers are able to view this property before deciding whether to buy a house on the estate. You may however, still be unable to view the property style you are actually buying, due to the fact that it may not have been built yet.
This is probably one of, if not the, biggest difference between buying a new build and buying an older property. It is usually the case that a new build property will not be ready for occupation when you agree to purchase the property. The developer will expect you to reserve your plot by providing them with a deposit and signing a Reservation Form/Agreement, which confirms the plot number and the price of the property. The reservation deposit is agreed at this time and can be any sum but usually no less than £500. If either party decides to withdraw from the purchase, it is likely that a proportion of the reservation fee is forfeited to the developer.
When do you have to exchange contracts?
Developers will normally impose a deadline by which you must exchange contracts and this tends to not be negotiable. It is usually 4 weeks from the date of the reservation and your conveyancer will be advised of the date by the developer’s solicitor as soon as possible. If you do not exchange contracts within that 4-week period, the developer is able to withdraw any incentives that they have agreed to give you. The developer will expect you to exchange contracts even if the house is not yet ready for you to move into and the contract will provide details of how and when completion will take place once the property is ready.
What is an incentive?
An incentive is just what is says on the tin, it is something that the developer will give you to make you want to buy their property. These incentives can be financial (a developer may offer to pay your Stamp Duty or moving costs, such as Estate Agents Fees) or physical (such as installing certain types of carpet or kitchen counter tops). These incentives must be reported to your mortgage lender, if you are buying with the help of a mortgage, and the lender must confirm they are aware of them and be happy to proceed on that basis.
Completion of your purchase
If you are very lucky, the house will be ready for occupation at the time you exchange contracts, and a fixed completion date will be agreed between you and the developer. It is more likely, however, that the property will be due to be completed several months after the contracts are exchanged. You will therefore be asked to agree to a completion ‘on Notice’. This means that when the property is ready, the developer will send a notice to your conveyancer confirming this and advising that the solicitors will have to complete the matter within 10 working days of receipt of the notification. There is no negotiating with the developer over the date and you must complete your purchase transaction within the stated timeframe.
New Build Warranty
Every new build property will have a new build warranty of some description, the most well-known of which is the National House Building Council (NHBC). This is a warranty given in respect of the building and can be relied upon in the event that there are major structural issues with the property within 10 years of the house being sold. Please note, the warranty does not cover minor issues such as ill-fitting doors or badly installed trims or issues of a similar minor nature.
There are many New Build Warranty providers from which developers can choose, however, you will need to ensure that your lender is happy with the provider as not all mortgage lenders accept all warranties. If the lender does not accept the particular warranty offered by the developer, you may need to change your mortgage lender in order to secure a mortgage on the property. It is helpful to let your conveyancer know as early as possible which lender you are using, so that they can double check this for you.
Talk to Tollers
When buying a new build property getting the best advice and guidance is invaluable. If you are looking to purchase a new build property…Talk to Tollers on 01604 258101, our experienced conveyancing teams are on hand to assist you through the process.
Changes to holiday pay and holiday entitlement from 01 January 2024
The government introduced changes to the Working Time Regulations 1998 (the Regulations) on 1 January 2024. One of the biggest changes is in regard to holiday rights and pay.
There will be changes to holiday rights for certain types of workers. Those workers are defined into two categories:
Irregular-hours workers – A worker’s hours will be irregular if, in that holiday year, the number of paid hours that they work in each pay period (during the term of their contract) is wholly or mostly variable. This may catch agency workers, casual workers, variable hours workers and zero hours workers.
Part-year workers – A part-year worker is required to work only part of the year and there are periods within that year (during the term of the contract) of at least a week they are not required to work and are not paid. This could include seasonal workers and some term time only workers. There are questions as to whether term-time workers who are paid monthly will fall under this category or not.
The three important changes to irregular-hours workers and part-year workers are as follows:
- Holiday accrual
There will be a new method of holiday accrual for both irregular-hours workers and part-year workers. This is due to the result in the Supreme Court’s decision in Harpur Trust v Brazel last year. In this case part-year workers and some casual workers had more holiday entitlement than workers on more regular contracts who worked the same number of hours on an annual basis.
Employers will be permitted to calculate holiday entitlement for irregular-hours workers and part-year workers as 12.07% of the actual hours worked in a pay period.
- Rolled up holiday pay
Employers will be able to choose from two systems for paying holiday pay and they are as follows:
- Pay holiday pay when holiday is taken calculated at the rate of a week’s pay for each week’s holiday. (A week being the average amount of weekly pay over the previous 52 weeks, and will consist of the average number of hours worked in each week of the same period); or
- Choose to pay rolled up holiday pay. Rolled up holiday pay will be an uplift of 12.07% to the workers’ remuneration for work done in each pay period. This is a simpler calculation, as many employers are already aware, than if holiday pay were being paid at the time holiday is taken.
- New method to calculate holiday entitlement
The government has published guidance on calculating holiday pay. Additionally, employers can also use a new method for calculating holiday entitlement for irregular-hours workers and part-year workers who are on long-term sick leave or statutory leave. An average over a 52-week reference period will be used to calculate the amount of holiday accrued during a period of sick leave or statutory leave (such as maternity leave). The government will not be implementing a 52-week holiday entitlement reference period for other employees and workers who are not currently on sick leave or statutory leave.
Restating aspects of the Regulations
Changes will also be made to the Regulations to restate some existing working time requirements that derive from EU case law. This is to avoid any uncertainty when the EU Retained Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 (‘REUL Act’) comes into force on 1 January 2024. On this date the special status of retained EU Law that is currently in our legislation will end.
The REUL Act gives the government the power to restate, revoke or replace law by statutory instrument. It intends to use this power to amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 to codify certain principles that have been developed by European case law and domestic case law under the Working Time Regulation. This includes the definition of what a week’s pay is and the right to carry over holiday.
A Week’s pay
The Regulations provide for certain payments to be included within the definition of a week’s pay. Under the Regulations, a week’s holiday pay will include:
- Payments including commission payments intrinsically linked to the performance of tasks which a worker is obliged under their contract to carry out;
- Payments for professional or personal status relating to the length of service, seniority or professional qualifications;
- Payments, such as overtime payments which have been regularly paid to a worker in the 52 weeks preceding the calculation date.
The right to carry over holiday
The Regulations provide for circumstances where workers have the right to carry over holiday into the next year’s leave. For example, long-term sickness or when the right to paid holiday has been completely denied.
The Regulations revoke legislation in which any accrued holiday can be carried over for two holiday years in specified circumstances. This was implemented in the COVID-19 pandemic. Any accrued holiday must be used by the 31 March 2024.
Definition of irregular-hours workers and part-year workers – pause for thought…
Irregular-hours workers and “Wholly and Mostly Variable”
There are questions surrounding the implementation of this definition and the limits on what wholly or mostly variable hours mean. Do the terms of the contract have to provide for such variation of hours?
This may mean that if any minimum hours are detailed in a person’s contract they may not considered to be an irregular-hours worker. Does this mean minimum hour contracts will be less desirable in the future?
For leave years starting on or after 1 April 2024 these workers’ holidays will no longer be governed by regulations 13 and 13A of the Regulations but will derive from Regulation 15B. Their holiday will be calculated in hours rather than weeks and will accrue on the last day of each pay period.
Leave year begins either as provided by a relevant agreement (for example a written contract) or on the anniversary of the start date of the worker. Therefore, in theory, if the leave year begins on the 31 March 2024 then the provisions under the Regulations 15B(1) will have no effect until 30 March 2025.
Talk to Tollers
These changes are more likely to affect employers who utilise irregular-hours workers and part-year workers. The re-introduction of the rolled- up holiday pay calculations could mean a smoother process when calculating holiday pay entitlement.
How can Tollers help you? We can review your employment contracts and holiday policies to ensure compliance with the latest case law and explain how the ruling might impact your organisation. If you have any other queries relating to employment law and HR, make sure to check out our employment law FAQs page or … talk to Tollers on 01604 258558, our experienced Employment Law and HR team are here for you.
How to choose a conveyancer that is right for you and your situation is a question anyone who has brought or sold property would have deliberated before. Furthermore, we know buying or selling a home can be a stressful time, which can be made worse if you select the wrong conveyancer/property solicitor. To help with the process, the Tollers conveyancing team have put together a few things to consider before making your decision, to ensure you pick the right person.
Consider online reviews
Checking online reviews is always a good thing to consider, you can look at an individual legal firm’s reviews on their own website. However, we also recommend checking with independent review sites, as these can often provide peace of mind before deciding on who to work with and hold no bias. There are a wide variety of both law-specific sites such as Review Solicitors or general ones like Google and Trustpilot.
Seek out recommendations from friends and family
Asking friends and family members to recommend a solicitor is a good idea and always more personal, especially those who have recently used a conveyancer to buy or sell a home. Asking for a recommendation not only allows you to get their view on who to use, but also means you can ask them more in-depth questions regarding their overall experience in order to help you decide and you can also ask them to make a personal introduction on your behalf.
Use a local firm
Another factor to consider when choosing a conveyancer/property lawyer is whether to use a locally based legal firm. Whilst online conveyancers may appear cheaper (primarily due to the volume of matters they undertake at one time to cover their costs), trying to save on costs can often mean they are less responsive, rarely accessible and lead to longer transaction times, as they juggle multiple cases simultaneously.
This however, does not happen when you work with a well-established local firm. With a local legal practice, you receive more of a personalised service and your local solicitor is more accessible, as they tend to have a team supporting them, who will and can provide regular updates via phone, face-to-face and email. A local solicitor/conveyancer will also know their local market, enabling them to provide the most relevant advice and guidance to assist you with your sale or purchase.
Ensure the Firm you choose is on the mortgage lender’s panel
Mortgage lenders tend to have a panel of trusted Firms that they are happy to work with and will allow to act for them. It is essential to check that your solicitor’s practice is on your specific lender’s panel, as a lender will only agree to work with them if they are. If you have already chosen a lender, the best way to check this is to call the firm and ask if they are on the conveyancing panel.
Timescale and capacity
Every law Firm will have its own Staff capacity and processes in place to facilitate your sale or purchase. Asking for an estimation of the timescale for your sale or purchase is important, as your solicitor will be aware of any delays that may be caused by external bodies such as the local council in relation to searches, delays from the other side’s solicitors etc.
The cost involved in dealing with your sale or purchase can vary depending on several factors such as the location of the property, the services you require and the Firm you choose to instruct. Understanding the costs involved is vital and getting a quote beforehand is always advised.
It is also important to understand the fee structure for any disbursements your conveyancer/solicitor may need to make to third parties in relation to your sale or purchase and that will be charged back to you. These disbursements could include searches, any other professional fees and other expenses and should be clearly set out in any quote that you receive before you instruct your solicitor.
Make sure the firm you choose does what you need
Whilst this may seem straightforward, some people have gone to a conveyancing solicitor when really what was needed was a Commercial solicitor. For example, if you are looking at a shop with a flat above the premises, in all likelihood you would require the services of a Commercial Property solicitor.
Talk to Tollers
Whether you are a first-time buyer or have bought and sold properties before, when buying or selling a property there may be other legal services you require. You may feel it is an ideal time to update your will, have a declaration of trust drawn up if others are involved in the purchase or generally deal with something unrelated to your property transaction.
These are just a few things to consider when deciding on the perfect conveyancer for you.
If you would like to discuss your property matter, have additional questions or would like a quote … Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558, where our highly qualified team of conveyancers are on hand to address any queries you may have and provide the information you need to ensure you have the right conveyancer on your side.
David Boobyer of Tollers Solicitors and appointed counsel, Chris Barnes KC and Chris Allen of Exchange Chambers, have reached a lump sum settlement of £10 million for their Client, who was involved in a road traffic accident (RTA) before birth. The Claimant, a 23-year old now based in the USA, was aged 33 weeks in-utero when the parents were involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle, resulting in the claimant suffering a serious brain injury and being born prematurely. Despite the serious and life-long impact of their injuries, the Claimant, hailed as a determined, diligent, and bright person by the Judge, has persevered to successfully obtain a degree at university and to further continue their studies.
The Claimant’s move to the USA brought additional complications to the claim, including; the costs of care and residing in the USA, whether a lump sum or Periodical Payment Order (PPO) was an appropriate award, consideration of multi-jurisdiction taxation and investment of damages, and sourcing appropriate reliable experts in a foreign country.
The claim was due to be heard at Trial in early 2024, however Tollers Solicitors and counsel successfully settled the matter at a Joint Settlement meeting (JSM) in late 2023 for £10million, translating into an award of around $12.5million based on current exchange rates. The settlement was approved by the court in November 2023 and the case is now subject to reporting restrictions and an anonymity order.
A brain injury is a complex and life-altering event that warrants the expertise of a specialist brain injury solicitor. Tollers in-depth understanding of medical, legal, and emotional aspects related to brain injuries allows the firm to provide comprehensive support, build a strong case, and secure the appropriate compensation. By engaging a specialist, individuals and their families can have confidence in the legal process and focus on the necessary steps towards recovery and rebuilding their lives.
If you think you might have a case or you want to find out more about the services Tollers Personal Injury team provide… Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558. Our highly experienced PI specialists are on hand to answer any questions you might have and possibly advise and guide you through the process of making a claim.