Retirement for Mark Boon

McCarthy Bennett Holland Solicitors (MBH) would like to announce the retirement of their Consultant and former senior Partner, Mark Boon as from 1st November 2019.  We are sad to see him go but wish him all the best in his retirement.  Mark was a key member of MBH for over 30 years and has an excellent reputation and standing in the community.

As most of Mark’s clients will be aware, Gemma Eastham joined us in May 2019 and is also assisted in the commercial department by Louise Jones who has worked alongside Mark for a lengthy period of time prior to his retirement. Moving forward, Gemma & Louise will continue to grow the commercial department and are both available to all clients, old and new.

Paul Aynsley, Senior Partner, paid tribute to Mark:

“I am honoured to have worked alongside someone of Mark’s talent. Not only an exemplary lawyer, he combined a warmth, charm and compassion which benefited all staff and clients alike.  He is respected by all who have had the pleasure of working with or knowing him.

“On behalf of the whole firm, I thank him for all that he has given to us and our clients over the years.

About MBH Solicitors

MBH Solicitors has been in business since 1971 and has a widespread and diverse client base. The firm is forward thinking and offers electronic or traditional ways of conducting your case.  A modern approach is taken to ensure that you are provided with an efficient service.

MBH offer the following services:

  • Commercial Advice & Litigation
  • Commercial Property
  • Company Share Sale & Acquisition
  • Landlord & Tenant
  • Commercial Leases
  • Business Acquisition & Sale
  • Shareholder Agreements
  • Wills & Probate (Estate Management)
  • General Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
  • Residential Conveyancing
  • Family, Children & Divorce Law
  • Employment Law

MBH’s prices are competitive and fixed fees can be offered where appropriate.

Contact MBH Solicitors on 01942 206060 or by e-mail to mbh@wigansolicitors.com  For further information please visit our website www.wigansolicitors.com

 

What is an option agreement and how can it benefit you?

What is an option agreement?

An option agreement is a contract between the landowner and a potential purchaser / developer of the land or property, which grant the purchaser / developer an option to purchase the land / property at anytime during an agreed ‘option period’ in return for an ‘option fee’.

When is an option agreement used?

Option agreements are used where a purchaser / developer is interested in purchasing a property / land for residential and/or commercial development and it is common for the purchaser / developer to use the option period to apply for and secure any necessary planning permissions required to proceed with their development, in addition to any finance.

Are there any benefits of an option agreement?

Yes. There are many benefits for both the landowner and the purchaser/developer:

Landowner:

  • A landowner can secure the final purchase price. If the value of the property decreases before the option agreement comes to an end, this will not affect the seller – the price agreed will remain (subject to the clauses stated in the agreement)
  • The landowner can continue to use the property during the option period
  • The purchaser/landowner is liable to pay the cost of obtaining any planning permission / surveyors during the option period

Purchaser/developer:

  • A purchaser/developer can secure the final purchase price. It can be negotiated that the buyer pays the agreed purchase price, even if the value of the property increases during the option period
  • A purchaser/developer has time to instruct surveyors / architects, apply for planning permission and / or raise finance during the option period
  • An option agreement prevents the landowner from selling the land / property to anybody else during the option period

What are the risks?

Planning permission may not be granted to the purchaser / developer to develop the land. In this case, the purchaser / developer is unlikely to exercise their option to purchase the land / property within the option period, therefore a sale is not guaranteed at the end of the option period.

This is a risk for the seller as they will be entering into an agreement for a number of years, restricting the landowner from selling the property / land to any other potential purchaser / developer, without the guarantee of a sale at the end of the option period.

Careful consideration must be given when drafting and negotiating Option agreements. It is strongly recommended that any buyer or seller works with a trusted commercial property solicitor.

For further information, please contact Gemma Eastham, Commercial Property Solicitor at MBH Solicitors who will be pleased to assist you:

www.wigansolicitors.com Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.

Landlords need to be aware – Plans to abolish Section 21 evictions

The government intend to abolish section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (also known as ‘no fault’ repossessions).

What is a section 21 notice?

A section 21 notice allows a landlord to evict a tenant from the property without providing an explanation.

A tenant may not have caused the landlord any problems, however, a landlord can serve a section 21 notice on the tenant during a periodic tenancy (no fixed end-date) or at the end of a fixed term tenancy (a written agreement with a fixed end-date). A landlord must provide at least two months’ notice.

A landlord may want to remove a tenant from a property for many reasons, such as renovating the property, sale of the property or the landlord may wish to occupy the property.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) say that landlords should be able to use a Section 8 possession notice to evict a tenant who has broken the terms of their tenancy, for example by not paying rent or causing damage to the property.

This usually involves the landlord paying money to take the matter to court, if the tenant refuses to leave the property.

NLA say that landlords have been forced to use section 21 notices’ because they had ‘no confidence’ in courts to deal with a possession claim (breach of tenancy) quickly.

Will the proposed changes effect landlords?

If the changes are implemented, landlords will have to provide a concrete, evidenced-based reason already specified in law, in order to bring a tenancy to an end.

The government insist that landlords will be able to repossess their property for different reasons, specified in law, and in genuine cases, however the changes will protect responsible tenants from unfair evictions and unethical behaviour.

Shelter, a charity which helps people struggling with bad housing or homelessness, said the proposals would “transform lives”.

If you are a landlord and you would like to be notified if and when any of these changes come in to force, please do not hesitate to contact Gemma Eastham, Commercial Property Solicitor, at MBH Solicitors who will be pleased to assist:

www.wigansolicitors.com Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.

Family courts ‘running up a down escalator’ due to increase in cases

In recent years, particularly since 2016 onwards, the family Courts in England and Wales have seen a sudden surge in private law childcare matters. Sir Andrew McFarlane (The President of the Family Division of the High Court) compared the process of the overloaded Family courts to “running up a down escalator”.

Recent reports tell us that the result of such an increased demand in applications means that the Courts are becoming strained and overburdened as their time is being stretched to its maximum in order to hear more cases. This is leading to some lengthy delays which can be very frustrating for those involved in proceedings.

After a recent review of the Family Court system, it was found that in most cases it would be more beneficial for families to avoid an application to the Court altogether and settle issues outside of Court. Reports suggest that in the region of 25-33% of family law cases do not involve safeguarding issues, such as domestic abuse, and applications can simply be as a result of a dispute between the parents. Further, the outcome of a case may not necessarily be the most desirable for the parties involved and a better more flexible agreement could have been formed through other dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. This is because only a limited amount of the Court’s time can be afforded to any one case. The advantage of out of Court resolutions such as mediation is that any arrangements can be more flexible and will often offer a better solution while avoiding any resentment that can occur from Court proceedings. The Court will always say that they seek to focus attention on the parents to be able to work together in the interests of their children and that an application to the Court should always be a last resort.

For more information regarding mediation or the Court process in relation to children matters, do not hesitate to contact our experienced family team at McCarthy Bennett Holland who will be pleased to assist.

We offer 30 minutes free initial advice appointments and also offer payment plans. 

Please contact our Head of the Family Department, Gillian Lavelle if you wish to discuss any of the above further.

www.wigansolicitors.com Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD Twitter: @MBHSolicitors

 

I’ve been ordered to attend a Separated Parents Information Programme – What Does This Mean?

A Separated Parents Information Programme (commonly known as a SPIP) is a course which parents can be ordered to attend as part of family Court proceedings regarding their children.

When this is ordered by a Court, it is free to attend and usually lasts in the region of about 4 hours. In some areas courses can even be attended at the weekends so this can be arranged around work commitments. Both parents will be ordered to attend the course. However, you do not have to attend the same session as the other parent, meaning you are free to fully engage with the course material separately.

The purpose of the course is not to tell anyone about how to be a parent but is intended help parents understand how to put their children first, even when they are separating and in dispute with the other parent. The course intends to provide guidance to parents as how to manage any dispute and difficulties when they arise so decisions can be made by parents jointly and in the best interests of the children.

Recent guidance and research tells us that when parents are not able to manage conflict this can lead to parental alienation for a child. This can make a child feel unloved by one parent, mean that they have limited contact or make them feel like they have to choose between their parents. This can lead to issues for the child as they grow older with personal relationships, mental health and their education.

The purpose of the SPIP is to provide helpful guidance to parents to prevent the children from being at any risk of any such harm following the breakdown of their parents’ relationship and to allow parents to minimise conflict, co-parent and to ensure that their children retain their own voice to express their wishes and feelings in the two separate households.

For more information regarding the SPIP please visit https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/divorce-and-separation/separated-parents-information-programme/ or contact our experienced family team at McCarthy Bennett Holland who will be pleased to assist.

We offer 30 minutes free initial advice appointments and also offer payment plans. 

Please do not hesitate to contact our family solicitors Gillian Lavelle or Kim Busby if you wish to discuss any of the above further.

www.wigansolicitors.com Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD Twitter: @MBHSolicitors

 

LEASEHOLD AXED FOR ALL NEW HOUSES

The Government following a lengthy review have concluded that all new build houses will now be sold as Freehold to tackle the unfair leasehold practices that have been prevalent in the housing market within the last few years.

Ground rents on all new leases will be reduced to zero preventing Leaseholders being stuck with unfair rent reviews and will therefore prevent future home owners from being trapped with houses which cannot be sold as mortgage lenders will not accept the rent reviews or having to incur considerable expense to have the Lease changed.

All new houses will be sold on a Freehold basis unless there are exceptional circumstances and there will be immediate action to ban Help to Buys being used to support Leasehold houses.

The Government have also indicated that there will be a time limit of 15 working days and a maximum fee of £200.00 to obtain information from a Freeholder and/or Managing Agents in providing Leaseholders with information needed to sell their homes. This will hopefully speed up the selling/buying process on all leasehold property.

Buyers which have been incorrectly sold a Leasehold property will also be able to obtain their freehold outright at no extra cost. However, there has been no further guidelines in relation to how this will be.

Most older Leasehold properties are on a long lease, many being 999 year. However, newer properties can be on shorter leases of 250 or 99 years and have unfair rent reviews that can mean that the rent can be doubled every few years.  Hopefully the Government’s announcement will bring an end to this unfair practice.

If this has affected you, contact Sammy-Jo Woodward, solicitor or Caroline Rooks / John Petrie, Partners at MBH Solicitors, to discuss your conveyancing needs at:

www.wigansolicitors.com Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD

Twitter: @MBHSolicitors

What Happens to my Digital Information When I Die?

In an age of increasing digital progression, it is more important than ever to ensure that you have a Will. Whereas once upon a time, your loved ones would have accessed to photo albums and video tapes, many of our treasured memories are now stored electronically.

The recent case of Rachel Thompson highlights this important area. Her husband sadly died without making a Will. He was aged just 39 and left behind Rachel and their young daughter. Her husband, like most of us now, was keen on taking photographs and videos of the family using his mobile phone. When he died, Rachel did not have access to his passwords meaning that she was unable to access treasured memories of over 4500 photos and 900 videos of the family. After 3 years of pursuing legal action, Rachel has now won her case with Apple for this information to be released to her.

So what can we do to protect our loved ones from a similar fate?

Firstly, it is important to make a Will. This will mean you are able to appoint a trusted person to deal with your estate upon death. When making your Will, ensure you make your legal representative aware of any information you store digitally e.g. on your mobile phone, computer or cloud. You should ensure that you collect and collate as much information regarding your online accounts as possible, including user names and passwords. These will not form part of your Will which will become a public document upon your death but will be stored separately. You must ensure that these are regularly kept up to date. You should ensure that your passwords are stored securely and discreetly and ensure that it is not in breach of any terms of service with the chosen provider. 

You may also wish to consider preparing a letter of wishes to go with your Will explaining how you would like your digital assets to be dealt with on your death and who you wish to have access.

We are sure that the law will develop in time as the importance of digital assets become more and more recognised. However, until a more unified process is put into effect, you need to ensure that you have a well worded Will which reflects you wishes and feelings not only in relation to your physical assets, but also your digital ones.

To arrange an appointment with our private client team, please contact Paul Aynsley or Kim Busby on 01942 206060.

www.wigansolicitors.com Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD

Twitter: @MBHSolicitors