Q: Despite asking for our house purchase to be rushed through to take advantage of the COVID stamp duty holiday, we took the time to get a full structural survey done as we were cash buyers with no lender’s survey being done. Now we are in the property and a builder engaged to do some alterations has found several defects the surveyor should have picked up. Among these is a manhole that has been concreted over, severe damp in two ground floor rooms, rot to a couple of roof joists and a ‘missing’ soil vent pipe. How should we go about trying to get some compensation from the surveyor, who we were told was RICS qualified?Read more
Q&A - My sister is mentally ill due to COVID – can I get help to look after her kids while she recovers?
Q: My sister has suffered mental health problems since the COVID pandemic began. As a single mum she is finding it very hard to cope with her children aged seven and four. The children have not seen their father since he walked out three years ago. My sister needs help to get better but is terrified the children will be taken away if she asks for it. I could take care of them until she gets better, but I would need some financial help. Could I apply for temporary custody and get financial help to look after them?Read more
Q: I arranged to show a client around an empty property but when I met him, he wanted the keys and to go round alone. I refused and explained it was company policy that clients must be accompanied. He became verbally abusive and said he was an important client so he could do whatever he wanted. He threatened to put in a complaint and have me sacked. Frightened, I gave him the keys and waited in my car.Read more
Q&A - Historic debts can have serious consequences when someone dies so it is worth seeking legal advice, both before taking such a loan and before settling an estate.
Q: Due to the coronavirus pandemic my father’s business has suffered greatly and he has borrowed money as the government aid did not meet his needs. The stress has taken a toll on his health and we don’t really know even now if the business will survive. This, together with the fact that COVID-19 is still a potential death threat hanging over us, has made me wonder what would happen to the debt if he should die before clearing it, as mum doesn’t really understand it all. Could my mother inherit the debt?Read more
Q&A - My sister is joint attorney with me for our mother but refuses to agree to live-in care. What can I do?
Q: Our mother became frail and asked me to arrange a lasting power of attorney to handle her affairs as my sister lives abroad. Mum wanted to stay in her own home, so I organized private carers to visit daily. However, before the COVID pandemic began my sister visited Mum with a lawyer friend, demanding that she be made joint attorney with me so that I could not make decisions alone and she could ensure I wasn’t syphoning off mother’s money. Mother was upset but agreed. Now mother’s health has deteriorated. She has fallen twice whilst on her own. I’ve suggested live-in care and Mum likes the idea, but my sister says it is unnecessary. I think she wants to keep mother’s money in her estate. What can I do?Read more
Britney Spears’ mental capacity documentary highlights safety net of the British court system, says local lawyer
A documentary aired in the US earlier this month which highlighted the ‘control’ of Britney Spears by her father has, according to one local lawyer, served to highlight the excellent level of protection available for people in England and Wales who suffer mental health issues resulting in temporary or long-term loss of capacity.Read more
Q&A - How can we be liable for council tax on a property that we were not legally entitled to enter?
Q: Two years ago, we evicted tenants whose twelve-month AST started in January, but who stopped paying rent 3 months later in April. On June 30th that year they verbally agreed to surrender the lease, pay the arrears, and vacate the property by July 31st. After that they ignored our calls and letters and would not open the door to us. A council officer advised us that without proof of them having vacated we could not legally enter the property.Read more
Q: I am employed by a local builder. Last week he sent me on a job that involved me working off a flat roof. The roof gave way and I fell through. I landed awkwardly and broke my ankle in three places, which means I cannot work. I said to him I hoped he was insured because I would be claiming compensation. He said I should consider whether I wanted to keep my job. In other words, he was threatening that I would lose my job if I tried to claim. With COVID and the unemployment situation I cannot afford to lose my job. What should I do?Read more
Q: Our uncle has been given just weeks to live. Widowed and without children he has left everything to us. As COVID means selling property is currently a lengthy process, we want to put Uncle’s house up for sale as soon as possible. I know when my parents bought their last house the sale completion was delayed because it transpired the property was still waiting on Letters of Administration. Will we need to wait for probate or could we get it on the market while we are waiting?Read more
Q: My husband and I were together for nine years. He left me and our two children when the first coronavirus lockdown ended and we have carried on living in the home that was his before I married him. Since moving into the house I have always worked and contributed to the mortgage and bills. After he left, as well as paying all the bills I continued to pay half the mortgage into his bank account. He agreed to pay the rest and also gives me money for the children.Read more