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We aim to provide practical guidance on useful areas of busness law.  

By brocs1, Sep 14 2020 09:15AM

Research by the housing charity Shelter, found that nearly 230,000 private renters in England have fallen into arrears since the pandemic. Some predict that the number of new eviction claims, by landlords, are likely to rise by 40 percent. Prompting concerns over the number of eviction claims courts will face once the furlough scheme ends.

Landlords currently can still give tenants notice to leave. However, since 26th March, the notice period tenants are entitled to, is a 3-month notice period. Once the notice period ends, the Landlord is required to get a court order for eviction but all court action for evicting is on hold until 20th September 2020.

From 29th August most notices will have to be at least 6 months (landlords can give a shorter notice where there is antisocial behaviour).

The courts have new social distancing measures in place, which means, in some courts, the number of hearings has been reduced. This will mean an increase in the waiting time and with the new wave of hearings, some expect Landlords could have to wait up to 9 to 12 months before their claim is heard. The true extent of the delays will not become clear until the furlough scheme ends in October.

Whilst the new measures are designed to protect tenants, it could have a devastating effect on some Landlords.

If you are affected by these changes and need advice, we have solicitors who can help you, contact Summerfield Browne Solicitors on 0800 567 7595.

By brocs1, Sep 7 2020 03:00PM

To reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) we are spending more time at home for prolonged periods, consequently this means that we will be hearing more from our neighbours than we are used to. This may lead to frustration or annoyance with noise we do not want to hear.

To reduce noise nuisance from houses and premises, the law defines a maximum amount of noise which is acceptable during night hours. Night hours are 11.00 pm until 7.00 am. When noise exceeds the permitted level, the district council can investigate and take action against the neighbour or other noise source.

When it comes to complaints of nuisance neighbours, noise is the most common complaint however people are often surprised by what is legally deemed a nuisance. Some examples of common complaints are:

• Home Improvements - There are no set times between which work can or cannot be done but you should always make sure you do the work during reasonable times, it is usually suggested 08:00 to 20:00 Monday to Friday, 09.00 to 17:00 Saturday and 10:00 to 16:00 on Sundays and Bank Holidays although the recommended hours vary due to the local authority and you should check with them if you have any concerns.

• Smoke - There are strict rules surrounding bonfires, for example when they can be lit. Safety concerns also come into play, as allowing smoke to drift across the road can be dangerous for drivers. If a neighbour is frequently lighting bonfires or a chiminea this can be considered a nuisance and the council can issue an abatement notice.

• Trees and hedges - A neighbour’s tree should not be hanging into your garden and whilst they can be annoying, you can only cut it back as far as your own fence. Throwing tree cuttings back over your neighbours’ fence without consent could be considered fly tipping and you cannot take fruit from a neighbour’s tree, even if it is overhanging, as this could be considered theft.

• Invasion of Privacy - Make sure any CCTV cameras do not point at your neighbour’s land, this could breach privacy laws and could be seen as harassment. With the closure of children’s playgrounds during the pandemic many people invested in a trampoline for their children. If they can see into your neighbour’s garden, this could also be an invasion of privacy

• Pet Complaints - if an animal is making noise until the early hours of the morning, or using your garden without permission, you have grounds for complaint.

If you are encountering any issue with your neighbour you should try and discuss them directly with your neighbour, they may not realise they are being a nuisance. If this does not resolve the matter you could try mediation or make a complaint to the council. To assist with any complaint, you should keep a record of the nuisance, how many times it occurs, when and how long for. If you are able to take photographs or video, without causing a nuisance yourself, this will assist with your complaint. Councils have a duty to investigate excessive noise, anti-social behaviour, intimidation, and petty vandalism affecting local communities.

If you are encountering any issues with your neighbour and need advice on how to proceed please contact Summerfield Browne Solicitors on 01858 414 284 or [email protected]

Summerfield Browne have offices in Leicester, Birmingham, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Market Harborough and assist with cases all over the UK.

By brocs1, Jul 29 2020 12:45PM

Do you have an issue of mis selling or mis billing with an Energy Provider? There have been previous issues in this industry – in 2015 Npower was fined a record £26 million after the company issued 500,000 late/inaccurate bills during 2013 and 2014.

If you have an issue with a Energy provider here are some simple steps that you need to follow:-

Contact your supplier

Initially if you have an issue with your energy provide then try to contact them directly by telephone or email. This information is normally provided on their website. If talking to them by phone: -

• make a record of the time and date you called them.

• Ask the person their name

• note and record the outcome of the conversation.

If contacting them by email, then keep a copy of the correspondence.

Make a Complaint

If you are unsatisfied with the outcome after contacting your supplier, then make a formal complaint. The energy provider should publish their complaint procedure on their website. When making a complaint: -

• Put the complaint in writing

• Take photos of your meter readings, where required

• Attached any previous communication

• Included details of any telephone conversations (who you spoke to and date and times)

• Attached any previous bills

• Include any notes recorded from telephone conversation

• Ensure you keep a copy of your complaint and any attachments

The Energy Provider needs to respond to you within 8 weeks.

If you are not happy with how your complaint has been handled then contact us for further assistance.

If you have an issue regarding an Energy Provider and require legal advice, please contact our offices on 01858 414 284 or [email protected]

Summerfield Browne have offices in Leicester, Birmingham, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Market Harborough and assist with cases all over the UK.

By brocs1, Jul 1 2020 11:01AM

What is a boundary dispute?

There is an adage that “an Englishman’s home is his castle”. Boundary disputes between neighbours can often become highly charged as they involve perceived violations of personal space. At Summerfield Browne Solicitors, we have the experience to deal with the most troublesome of neighbours and have years of experience in advising clients on their rights as property owners (be that as freehold or leasehold property owners).

Boundary disputes between neighbours can arise because a physical boundary (a fence or hedge) does not match the boundary that is officially recorded at the Land Registry and can also arise when a property is bought or sold as the new owner may not understand where a boundary lies.

What to do if you have a boundary dispute

The first port of call in determining where a boundary lies will be in the Title Deeds. We frequently contact the Land Registry on behalf of clients to retrieve the deeds that show where the location of a disputed boundary. The Title Deeds will usually also include a plan that will allow the person reviewing the deeds to understand what land is being conveyed to the purchaser.

A common dispute that we have advised upon is where the Property being transferred includes a right of way over another person’s land. The other property may be a garden or a driveway (for example to enable vehicular access). If the right of way is blocked or your land is not accessible due to a neighbour blocking your right and you cannot resolve the matter amicably you may wish to consider seeking legal advice.

How can we help

We find that clients prefer to have written advice on their Property rights “in black and white” but face-to-face consultations can also be arranged at any one of our offices (by appointment only).

We frequently advise clients on alternative dispute resolution which can save time, money and stress.

If court proceedings are necessary, we will advise on the potential costs. A common remedy that is sought in relation to boundary disputes or neighbour disputes is an injunction to prevent the party in breach from performing a certain action (for example preventing trespass).

Going to court can be a daunting experience and as well as preparing the necessary application Summerfield Browne Solicitors can arrange for you to be legal represented at the hearing. Representation at the hearing can often be arranged on a fixed fee which can help minimise legal costs.

If you require assistance in relation to any of the above matter please do not hesitate to call us on 0845 567 7595 or email us on [email protected] Summerfield Browne Solicitors have offices in London, Birmingham, Cambridge, Oxford and Market Harborough, Leicester

By brocs1, Jun 25 2020 11:03AM

Car dealers are being targeted with mis selling claims as customers taking out finance arrangements have not been told that the car dealers are earning commission. Consumers would expect to have details provided in key facts documents stating that they were making commission.

Regulations requirements

Financial Conduct Authority’s consumer credit source book rules require that if sales staff are acting as finance brokers, they must tell customers if they are being paid for doing so, how much they are getting.

The main area for concern is that sales staff are offering financial products that are not always the most beneficial to the customers but offer the higher commission levels to sales staff. Consumers should be told all the details regarding a finance deal and all risks should be made clear, so the consumer can decide if it is the right deal for their financial needs.

If they have not done this, then you may be eligible for compensation.

How can we help?

If you have a complaint regarding finance arrangements, please do not hesitate Summerfield Browne Solicitors on 0800 567 7595 or email us on [email protected]

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