November 2012 Archive

Know your building regulations when buying or selling property

Hannah Carey, head of the conveyancing team at Midland law firm Wright Hassall, stresses how important it is to be aware of building regulations when buying or selling a property. “Specialist knowledge of building regulations and their enforcement is an essential part of transferring a home. Conveyancers have a professional duty to ensure that necessary building regulations have been obtained."

Car cash allowances might be an opportunity to claim an NIC refund

The Court of Appeal (“CoA”) has decided in favour of the taxpayer in Cheshire Employer and Skills Development Ltd (“CESDL”) (formerly Total People Ltd) v HMRC. CESDL paid motoring expenses to its employees for the business use of their own cars. Employees were paid either (i) 40 pence per business mile or (ii) 12 pence per business mile for fuel plus a monthly cash allowance. CESDL argued that the monthly cash allowance, in so far as it did not exceed an amount equivalent to the number of business miles multiplied by 28p (40p-12p), should not be regarded as earnings subject to NIC.

Obligations relating to disabled parking facilities

If your business occupies premises which have car parking facilities for visitors or customers, then you will be subject to specific duties under the Equality Act 2010 as an employer, a tenant or a service provider. There are no specific requirements to make provision for a certain number of disabled car parking spaces, but consideration should be given to ensuring that there are an appropriate number of spaces that are in a sensible proximity to the relevant building and that their use is policed in some way.

Charity fined £70,000 for data protection breach

Social care charity, Norwood Ravenswood Limited, became the first charity to be fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) for a serious breach of the data protection rules and was ordered to pay £70,000. A social worker, working for the charity, had visited the house of prospective adoptive parents with the intention of delivering a file of sensitive information about four young children. Finding no one at home, the files were left outside the house and were missing by the time the owners returned.

Charges over rent deposits

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published draft regulations amending the regime currently in place under the Companies Act 2006 (the “2006 Act”) in respect of registering security, such as rent deposits, at Companies House. If the regulations come into force, they will remove the need to register a rent deposit deed with Companies House.

New laws regarding wheel clamping and surveillance cameras

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 ("the Act") received Royal Assent on 1 May 2012. Certain sections of the Act came into force on 1 October 2012. The aim of the Act is to protect civil liberties and vulnerable groups. This may not at first ring alarm bells for the property industry, but there are some changes that property owners need to be aware of.

Common Party Wall Issues

Generally, a breach of a statutory obligation under the Party Wall Act 1996 (“the Act”) gives rise to a tortious claim. If someone does not serve the right kind of notice in the right way under the Act, then he deprives his neighbour, the adjoining owner, of the right to invoke the dispute procedure under section 10 of the Act and have a Party Wall Award made. That is a major disadvantage to the adjoining owner who otherwise would be able to rely on the Party Wall Award and have the certainty of knowing what works could be done under it and in what manner.

Changing land from agricultural to commercial use

If landowners want to change the use of their property from agricultural to commercial or residential then it is important to ensure that they have the correct easements in place to support that change of use. One key consideration for landowners in this situation is whether they are able to continue to drain the surface water from their developed site into existing ditches and to use other forms of drainage that run across neighbouring properties.

Freezing injunctions

If you think a fraud has been committed and want to make sure the fraudster does not remove the stolen monies from your reach, or if you are making a court claim and are concerned assets will be removed to prevent you getting them when you win your case, a freezing injunction might be the answer. A freezing injunction is an order that prevents someone from disposing of or dealing with assets. The purpose of the injunction is to preserve those assets until a final judgment can be obtained to be enforced against those assets.

Shared equity and consumer credit legislation

There are a raft of shared equity schemes currently being offered by house builders but, in order to offer sales incentives, they must have a consumer credit licence. Under current consumer credit legislation any house builder offering “shared equity” sales incentives must have a consumer credit licence issued by the OFT. Builders should know their obligations and be aware of the consequences of non-compliance.
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