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Today a number of changes related to property law have come into effect. These include: 
  • HMO licensing and regulations – properties will now require a HMO licence if there are five or more people in two or more separate households. This includes two storey households and one storey properties, removing the requirement that a licensable HMO must be three storeys. There are also new room size requirements.
 
  • Section 21 notices – sections 33 to 38 and 40 of the Deregulation Act 2015 (related to retaliatory eviction, prescribed forms, and compliance with prescribed legal requirements) will now apply to all tenancies, as opposed to tenancies commencing on or after 1 October 2015 as previously was the case. This could cause difficulties for landlords with older tenancies in obtaining possession.
 
  • Suspended possession order – there is now no requirement to make a separate part 83(2) application for permission for a warrant for breach of a suspended possession order where the breach is failure to pay rent and/or arrears instalments. 
 
  • Rogue landlord database – a local authority may place any person on the database who has been convicted of a banning order offence or has received a fine in respect of a banning order within the same 12 month period. 

The PLA’s boundary dispute protocol has recently also come into effect. We’ll be blogging about that shortly…
2018 40 01 164
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 require compliance from 1st April 2018.
 
Do you know what they are?
Have you complied with them?
Do you risk facing financial penalties for non-compliance?
 

The Regulations apply to:

  • Domestic PR property which is legally required to have an EPC and which is let on an assured tenancy, regulated tenancy, or an agricultural tenancy; and,
  • Non-domestic PR property that has not been granted for:
  • A term certain not exceeding 6 months (unless a provision exists for renewing the term or extending it beyond 6 months, or, at the time it is granted, the tenant has been in occupation for a continuous period of more than 12 months); or,
  • A term certain of 99 years or more.
 

Unless subject to an exemption, the landlord of a property with EPS rating of less than E must not:

 
  • Grant a new tenancy of the property on or after 1st April 2018 (including any lease renewals, extensions or new lettings); or,
  • Continue to let the property on or after 1st April 2020 (domestic PR property) and on or after 1st April 2023 (non-domestic PR property).
 

Exemptions that will last 5 years and should be registered on the PRS Exemptions Register include:

 
  • Third party consent is refused or granted subject to conditions (e.g. from the local authority, current tenant, freeholder, planning or listed building consent); and,
  • Property devaluation (where the landlord has obtained a report from an independent surveyor who is on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the measures would reduce the market value of the property, or the building it forms part of, by more than 5%).
 
There is also a temporary 6-month exemption when a landlord has only recently become a landlord. 

 

Enforcement authorities are:

 
  • The local authority for a domestic PR property; and,
  • A local weights and measures authority for non-domestic PR property.
 
They may serve a notice on the landlord imposing financial penalties. The authority may also publish details of the breach on the national PRS Exemptions Register.

 

Financial penalties (domestic):

  • Breach less than 3 months, <£2,000
  • Breach more than 3 months £2,000<
  • Registered false or misleading information on PRS Exemptions Register, <£1,000
  • Failed to comply with compliance notice <£2,000



Financial penalties (non-domestic):

  • Breach less than 3 months, <£5,000 or <10% of the rateable value of the property (whichever is greater) subject to a maximum of £50,000
  • Breach more than 3 months, <£10,000 or <20% of the rateable value of the property (whichever is greater) subject to a maximum of £150,000
  • Registered false or misleading information on PRS Exemptions Register, <£5,000
  • Failed to comply with compliance notice <£5,000
 
 
2018 00 06 59
Money laundering is a huge concern for UK law firms who are required to handle large sums of money.

Ensuring compliance, the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 have transposed the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive into UK law. 

In an effort to further prevent money laundering, Law firms are now required to:

• Conduct money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessments;
• Implement systems, policies, controls and procedures to address money laundering and terrorist financing risks;
• Apply policies procedures and controls across the firm’s group structure;
• Adopt appropriate internal controls;
• Provide training to staff;
• Comply with new due diligence requirements;
• Comply with requirements relating to politically exposed persons; and
• Keep records of data protection systems, policies and procedures.

The Legal Sector Affinity Group have released Anti-Money Laundering Guidance for the Legal Sector in order to explain the new requirements and help law firms understand and comply with the regulations. 
2018 25 03 159
 
A recent report featured on radio 4 suggested that only 8% of UK businesses will be GDPR compliant by the 25 May 2018 deadline.

Whilst this may be of some comfort to those who are not compliant, it will not be a defence should the Information Comissioner's Office (ICO) take an interest in your business.

As I write, you have two months to get compliant but even if you are not fully compliant by the deadline, you may find that ICO is somehwat more forgiving if you are travelling in the right direction.

In short, it's never too late to start on the path to compliance. A good place to start is to email or call us and book one of our interactive training sessions for your directors and senior staff.

We'll help you understand the issues and cut through the jargon in a way you can understand so that you can identify what needs to be done. We'll also conduct a "mini-audit" with your input as part of the session.

After your training we'll follow up with our views and proposals on where you stand and what you need to do to get compliant.

Call Matt Dowell now on 0113 247 3801 or Jodie Wildridge on 0113 357 3250 to book.
 
2018 01 20 47
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 come into effect on 1 April 2018.
 
From that date, all landlords must ensure that their properties (both residential and commercial) must be at least For all new tenancies created from 1 April 2018, all landlords must ensure that their properties (both residential and commercial) must be at least an Energy Performance Certificate rating of ‘E’.
 
For all tenancies already existing before 1 April 2018, the requirement applies to all residential properties from 1 April 2020 and all commercial properties from 1 April 2023.
 
While there are limited exemptions to these requirements, it is important that all landlords start taking steps to get their properties into shape.

For help getting your properties into shape, contact our experts today.
 
2018 30 14 164

A boundary dispute often includes two parties fighting over a small strip of land, where neither party changes its standpoint and legal costs quickly increase due to their unwillingness to use ADR. When establishing a boundary, complex questions arise such as:
 

  • Is the boundary marked by a physical feature?
  • Is the boundary defined in legal documents?
  • Is the physical boundary followed exactly the same as the legal boundary?
  • Is there an agreement between the owners, a statute or legal presumption that defines the boundary?

These disputes can be notoriously complex and the final outcome can be uncertain. But there must be some other way to resolve this efficiently.

Now, there is.

A new Boundary Disputes Protocol has been created by the Property Litigation Association. The Protocol applies to both commercial and residential property within England and Wales and assumes that informal discussions have failed, and a more structured resolution is required. It is a FREE resource online for parties alongside relevant guidance.
 

What does the Protocol do?

There are a number of time limits and processes that the Protocol implements for parties in order to exchange information and resolve the dispute efficiently and consensually. Failure to comply with the Protocol could result in costs being awarded at court against the non-complying party.
 

What does the Protocol say?

1. When a dispute arises, neither party should interfere with the boundary or the disputed land, until the dispute is resolved.

2. Neither party should do anything which may impair the relationship between the parties or increase costs unnecessarily.

3. Both parties should agree to use the Boundary Dispute Protocol.

4. The First Conveyance should be interpreted to determine the location of the boundary. The words used, and the physical features referred to on the First Conveyance can assist the dispute. In some circumstances, subsequent conduct and services could be relevant.

5. Each party must consider the evidence that they can use. They must exchange documentary evidence they have, identify proposed witnesses and what they will say.

6. When appropriate, a joint expert should be instructed. If separate experts are justified, the experts need to write reports, meet up, identify the issues in dispute and set a strict timetable.

7. There should be an on-site meeting with the parties in dispute and any surveyors that have been instructed. An agreement on what the issues are needs to be made.

8. Any agreement reached must be set out in a written document and state clearly what has been agreed or what is required. It may refer to physical features on the ground. This will prevent future disputes. For certainty, it is wise to ask a lawyer to draw up this agreement.

9. Each party should apply to the Land Registry to note the agreement against their titles.

Following this Protocol will help you solve a dispute earlier, avoid unnecessary costs and can preserve a relationship between neighbours. We therefore suggest that you seriously consider the Protocol before pursuing litigation.

The easy to read Protocol can be found here

2018 08 22 164
 
Any individual living in the current technological age may have had some doubts about the protection of their personal data. When personal data is given over for social media accounts, automatic online sign-ins, employment contracts, legal claims, health records and other reasons so freely, it is understandable why these doubts arise.

The doubts are only provoked by seeing advertisements that relate so closely to search history patterns and the receiving of emails from businesses without giving explicit consent to them. Businesses process and control personal data on a daily basis for these reasons and only now have individuals been given further rights to protect them against this.
 
The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) has recognised the need for protection of personal data. It will apply from 25 May 2018 and makes sure that personal data flowing in, or from, the EU is protected under one harmonized law.
 
For any business processing data, or controlling data with businesses that process data, compliance is essential. There are new requirements under the GDPR that need to be followed. These include, but are not limited to:
 
  1. Ensuring that consent has been genuinely obtained for the processing. If consent is obtained from a child, parental consent must also be obtained. This must be freely given, obvious to the individual that it is the giving of consent, clearly separate from other information, a positive action and be in plain language. This means that the ticking of a box would be acceptable, but the unticking of a box would not be.
 
  1. Making sure that the whole business is educated and trained about the GDPR, carrying out impact assessments and documenting all processing activities that are carried out. Records of training and impact assessments must be kept as a Supervising Authority may ask a business to show proof of GDPR compliance.
 
  1. Allowing individuals extra rights after the processing. This includes:
     
    • A way to withdraw consent as easily as giving it;
    • A way to access personal data that a business has, in a readable format; and
    • A way to request that their data is completely deleted.
       
Information about how an individual may initiate these rights must be provided by a business such as within a privacy notice or at the time of giving consent.
 
And what if a business doesn’t comply? They can be fined over 20 million euros! For any business, this is huge sanction. Non-compliance is not an option when faced with this potential penalty.
2018 00 22 47
A recent poll commissioned to mark Cohabitation Awareness week revealed that out of 2,000 adults, 37% wrongly believed that unmarried couples can obtain a ‘common law marriage’ and 27% wrongly believed that if they separated they would have the same rights as a married couple. Whilst it might be seen as unromantic, this blog helps to clarify 4 myths about cohabitation so you can understand your rights as a cohabiting couple better and get back to enjoying your day!
 

Myth 1: Because you have lived together for so long, you are treated as husband and wife

WRONG 

A common law marriage does not exist in any form. Regardless of the duration of the relationship, the laws applied to cohabiting couples are completely different to those applied to married couples.
 

Myth 2: If we split up, the main carer of children will get the cohabited home

WRONG

This should not be assumed. Although a court considers the needs of the children, the main carer may not be able to keep the shared home. Once a child reaches the age of 18 years old, their needs are no longer prioritised and the house will usually be sold in order for the other parent to retain their rights in the house.

 
Myth 3: Cohabitation agreements are of no assistance

WRONG

A cohabitation agreement allows both parties’ promises to be recorded in a written agreement. This helps you to know the rights that you and your partner have, and allows the court to know what the parties intended.
 

Myth 4: The court will consider a fair outcome

WRONG

Because you are not married, the question is: “who legally owns the assets in dispute?”. The argument of fairness is not of any huge influence. Factors that do come into consideration are whether there was a common intention to share the property and there had been an express conversation stating this, or, whether the property is held jointly in proportion to the amount paid.
 
Whilst we sincerely hope that you never need to get into this kind of situation (and not on today of all days!), if you do want a free, confidential discussion regarding a co-habitation dispute, take a look at our Cohabitation Dispute page on our website, or get in touch with Matthew Dowell.
 
2018 30 14 47
Yes, ‘Don’t cry over spilled milk day’ is an actual day, and it’s today! So, in the midst of legal proceedings, issues, claims and disputes, we therefore encourage you to think of the positives and stay optimistic.
 
It may be hard to do so, due to the financial difficulty, time pressures, nerves and ambiguity that may surround your legal situation, but think of the benefits of your situation.
 
The Jackson civil litigation reforms have benefitted you in the following ways:
  • An extension of the range of funding mechanisms that are available to parties such as damaged based agreements, third party funding and legal aid funds;
  • Banning referral fees in personal injury cases;
  • Fixed costs in the fast track;
  • Controlling disclosure and e-disclosure more effectively so that costs are proportionate to the issues in dispute;
  • Part 36 offers; and
  • The promotion of ADR and out of court settlement.
 
These make your legal experience less time consuming, less expensive and can even help preserve the relationship between parties.
 
It may not be plain sailing in law for everyone, but we learn from mistakes. The legal proceedings will end at some point. The whole process and final judgement will help you understand how to avoid disputes and proceedings in the future or deal with them in an efficient way.
 
It could be worse, you could have finalised your dispute before the reforms.
 
After all, the glass is still half full (of milk).
 
2018 00 11 159
 
For the first year ever, Legal Studio will be one of the small number of law firms in Leeds to sponsor awards at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds.
 
Academic excellence in the “Cyberlaw: Law and the Regulation of the Information Society” module on the LLB Law course at the University of Leeds and in the “Best Extended Study at L6 – Employment” module on the LPC course at Leeds Beckett University will be rewarded by Legal Studio.
 
This is only one way in which Legal Studio are actively getting involved with the student community of Leeds.
 
The Legal Studio stall can also be found at the Stay in Leeds Law Fair in the Liberty Building on Wednesday 21st February 2018 where we will be speaking with students and collecting CV’s for work experience placements during the summer.
 
Legal Studio will also be conducting mock interviews for law students at the University of Leeds who require interviewing experience and assistance during their applications for placements.
 
We wish good luck to those studying on the modules and look forward to meeting the students that take advantage of these opportunities.
 
2018 27 09 159
The Winter Olympics Games are being held in PyeongChang in South Korea this year. Although a fun event, sporting ‘irregularities’ have become a much bigger issue in recent times. So, if you’d like to know more about how the Winter Olympics are regulated, have a read of this blog to see the rules that must be complied with.
 
There are 3 primary enforcement codes and conventions that implement the rules for the Winter Olympic Games. These are:
 
  1. Olympic movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions
 
This Code aims to provide sports organisations with harmonised regulations to protect all competitions from the risk of manipulation. Appropriate measures must be taken to comply with the Code by all National and International Olympic Committees, International Federations, their respective members and also IOC recognised organisations.
 
More information is available here.
 
  1. IOC Code of Ethics
 
The Code prevents participants of the Olympics from betting on the events and report any suspicious activity of manipulation, corruption and cheating. Each Olympic Games has its own edition of the Code. There is a strict review and disciplinary procedure for non-compliance.
 
The 2018 Code of Ethics can be found here.
 
  1. Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Competitions
 
This is a specific international convention on competition manipulation, signed by states around the world. It aims to prevent, detect, punish and discipline the manipulation of sports competitions including the Winter Olympic Games, alongside enhancing international cooperation with sports organisations.
 
More information can be found here.
 
2018 30 06 159
Following a few months’ worth of planning, we are delighted to finally reveal our new website!

What’s changed?

There are many elements to the website that have changed. These include:

•    More user-friendly information about the services that we provide;
•    Updated, easy-to-access blog content;
•    A newsletter sign-up;
•    Updated photos;
•    An easier method to contact us; and
•    Much more!

For clients

You will now be able to search our ‘For You’ and ‘For Businesses’ sections easily to find out more on the services we provide. 

For each service, you can also see the consultant who deals with the service, what other people have said about them, as well as their contact details.

You have access to our FREE online resources, blogs and newsletter sign up, which provides you with easy to understand, up to date, legal information. 

For consultants

We have improved our Careers page so you can see what Legal Studio is really like, what a consultant at Legal Studio really does, the stories of our current consultants and the rewards you receive working with us.

What’s next?

However, our new website is only the beginning of the big changes coming to Legal Studio!

Keep up to date with our blogs or sign up to our newsletter so that you’re the first to know. 

Navigate through our new website NOW and see the changes for yourself.
 
2018 14 09 159
 
 
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