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05 July 2021 Residential property

If your home is leasehold, you could soon find it cheaper and easier to extend the term of your lease. This will usually make your property more valuable and, depending on how many years your lease has left, it can also make it easier to remortgage and more marketable when you come to sell. As part of its reform of the leasehold property regime, the Government plans to improve the statutory mechanism for lease extensions. Here Philip Taylor, a Head of Residential Property in the residential property team with Pearsons & Ward looks at the latest proposals and considers your options if you are a leaseholder. If you purchased a house or an apartment on a leasehold basis then, unlike with a freehold property, you do not own it outright. Instead, you have the right to…
05 July 2021 Employment advice

Despite the success of the vaccine programme, the impact of the pandemic on businesses will continue for some time. For example, when the furlough scheme ends in the autumn, it is expected that the number of employment tribunal claims will rise and case law will take even longer to filter through to policies and practice. ‘Meanwhile, we are starting to see tribunal cases relating to the Covid risk in the workplace and, so far, the outcomes are generally encouraging for employers,’ says Gillian Reid, a Solicitor in the employment team with Pearsons & Ward. ‘Although these are only tribunal decisions and other tribunals do not have to follow them, they offer some reassurance to those employers who have brought in Covid-secure measures.’ In our latest round-up of key employment law cases, Gillian Reid also looks at…
21 June 2021 Wills and estates

At present, gifts to charities in your Will are exempt from inheritance tax and would be taken off the value of your estate before inheritance tax is calculated. Leaving money to charity in your Will could also reduce the rate of inheritance tax you pay. The reduced rate of inheritance tax was introduced by the Government in 2012 in order to encourage people to leave money to charity in their Wills. If the estate qualifies, it reduces the inheritance tax rate which is charged from 40% to 36%. To qualify, at least 10% of your net estate (or baseline amount) must be left to a charity or charities. The net estate is, generally speaking, the value left after the inheritance tax nil rate band (which is currently £325,000 and frozen at that level to 2026 or…
11 June 2021 Employment advice

The official government message encouraging people to work from home is expected to end with the final step out of lockdown. For many employees though, homeworking is here to stay. According to a recent BBC survey, 43 of 50 big UK employers will not bring staff back to the office full time. Instead, employees will mix homeworking and coming into the office. For businesses considering hybrid working, Gillian Reid, Head of Employment with Pearsons & Ward explains how to build on the lessons learned during the pandemic, as well as practical and contractual issues to consider and pitfalls to avoid. Feedback and reflection A really worthwhile exercise is to find out from employees about their experience of homeworking. This can be done through an anonymous survey, team meetings or employee representative groups. Important questions include which…
08 June 2021 Family Matters

Recent research by Loughborough University shows a sharp rise in the so called ‘boomerang’ generation of young adults returning to live at home until their late twenties or early thirties.  This trend has continued as a result of the pandemic causing job losses, furlough, and university closures.  ‘With the shape of family life changing, we are seeing an increase in queries about whether adult children living at home have any rights in a divorce,’ says Robert Bellhouse, a Solicitor in the family law team with Pearsons & Ward in Malton. ‘The law makes a number of provisions to ensure minor children continue to be cared and provided for following divorce, but more recently the children living at home are older.  Unlike a tenant or lodger there is unlikely to be any legal formalities in place, such…
08 June 2021 Commercial property

As we emerge from lockdown and things slowly begin to return to normal, many farmers may be considering renting out part of their property, raising much needed cash to counter the devastating economic effects inflicted by the coronavirus and Brexit. Most private properties are rented out on an assured shorthold tenancy basis, but as Andrew Little, commercial property law and agricultural specialist at Pearsons & Ward Solicitors in Malton warns, some restrictions on such rentals have been introduced recently which potential landlords should be aware of.  The Tenant Fees Act 2019 Under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, landlords and agents are now banned from charging fees to tenants other than those specifically permitted by the Act. A cap is also placed on the amount of security deposit a landlord or agent can collect and outlines a…
28 May 2021 Employment advice

Easing out of lockdown will prompt employers to focus on how to manage a return to the workplace, especially for reluctant returners after long absence during the pandemic. In the recent case of Rodgers v Leeds Laser Cutting Limited an employee was dismissed when he refused to return to work because he was worried about COVID-19. The employment tribunal dismissed his automatic unfair dismissal claim for two main reasons: his employer had followed government guidance on making its workplace COVID secure; and the Claimant had not raised any meaningful concerns about workplace safety, and so did not hold a reasonable belief that there was serious and imminent danger, for the protection from dismissal under sections 100(1)(d) and (e) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to apply. Please note that this decision relates to the specific facts in this…
19 May 2021 Family Matters

For the majority of people, their most significant asset is the family home. So, it is not surprising that when it comes to dealing with the financial consequences surrounding divorce, questions about what will happen to the matrimonial home are usually top of the list.  In most cases the home will be dealt with in one of two ways – either it is transferred to one spouse, and the other spouse will receive a lump sum of money or an asset such as a pension pot or holiday home in exchange, or it is sold and both spouses receive a division of the sale proceeds. Where a property has to be sold, external factors come into play, such as the property market, the economy, a pandemic, or tax incentives such as the stamp duty holiday. These…
18 May 2021 Employment advice

This article covers: Working from Home Fire and Rehire Gig Economy Sleep ins Line of Duty? 1. Working from Home The popularity of remote working is on the rise but there are pitfalls for both employer and worker. The Office for National Statistics in its report Homeworking hours, rewards and opportunities in the UK: 2011 to 2020 found that 35.9 percent of the UK workforce worked some of their time at home in 2020, an increase of 9.4 percent over the previous year. But this was not spread evenly over the country or the economy. For example, those who worked at home earned about 20 percent more than those who didn’t, and there was more homeworking in the South East than in the North East of England. IT, professional, scientific and technical, and financial…
18 May 2021 Employment advice

ACAS has published new guidance for employers and workers on the impact of long COVID in the workplace. The guidance highlights the significant effects which long COVID can have on workers, such as fatigue, memory loss and difficulties with concentration, all of which can have a detrimental effect on their ability to carry out their roles effectively. Employers will need to plan how to manage long-term absences and the impact of long COVID.
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