Blog

Welcome to our news page and comments keeping you up to date on matters relevant to our clients.

Update on HM Land Registry Direct Services

A new direct service courtesy of HM Land Registry is hoping to save both clients and conveyancers hours by directly updating lenders about applications. The service allows lenders to monitor the progress of their mortgage registration. Currently, HM Land Registry answers 20,000 calls a month from lenders checking on applications, so this new development should…
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Think! before you use the post for serving documents

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a charge that local authorities can set on certain new developments in order to raise funds to help infrastructure such as schools and transport improvements. The liability for payment of CIL arises on the commencement of a qualifying development under a planning permission. Thus, a Liability Notice specifying the amount…
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Proposals for Property in the 2023/24 Parliamentary Session

On the 7th of November, the King delivered his first King's Speech setting out the Government's planned legislative agenda for the 2023/24 parliamentary session. While once again, not receiving the attention the well-documented housing crisis requires, there was at least a commitment to reform some areas of the housing and property sector. The King announced…
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Frank Smith & Co Solicitors – The Autumn Statement 2023

This week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, announced the November budget. From a property perspective, one of the promises made by the Chancellor is to reform the planning system. He argued that it takes too long to approve infrastructure projects and business planning applications. As such, from next year councils will be able to…
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The MEES Trap

Expiry dates of MEES exemptions in commercial property Landlords beware!  You will no doubt remember that from 1st April 2018 the MEES Regulations came into force, making it unlawful for landlords to grant any new lease or renewal of a property that is deemed “sub-standard” under the MEES Regulations (i.e. where the EPC rating falls…
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Whose tree is it anyway?

A tree may be on your land including your back garden, and you may think that it is your property, therefore you can do with it whatever you wish. However, if that tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), this limits what you can do, because the tree has been protected by the…
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Agricultural change of use – The importance of descriptive words

In a recent appeal, the form of words used in the description of a development allowed Dorset Council to refuse granting a certificate of lawful use and development.  The appeal concerned using an existing rural dwelling without any agricultural occupancy restrictions. Records of the original 1973 outline planning permission did not exist on the Council’s…
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My first experience in an office/law firm

By Emily Knowles My experience over the last few days has not only given me a view of what an office is like but has also changed my view of solicitors and people in the law industry. I have always had an interest in law but mainly the criminal side of it, as before coming here,…
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Agricultural Property Relief – is planting trees the best option for your estate?

For those farmers engaging in succession planning, it’s well known that farmland in the UK is eligible for Agricultural Property Relief (APR) which provides 100% relief from Inheritance Tax (IHT) and that Tenancies under the 1986 Agricultural Holdings Act, are afforded 50% Inheritance Tax relief.   What remains less-well known is that land which is turned…
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Upcoming EPC changes to rental properties

The Government has published plans to change the minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating required for rental properties. The current regulations state that only properties with an EPC rating of A to E are legally allowed to be rented, and it is now being proposed that all rental properties will need an EPC rating of…
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Tied to the Mast

Landowners who accommodate mobile masts on their land have recently responded to a survey describing a substantial drop in received rental payments. Although something of an eyesore, not to mention an inconvenience, these masts were once a good source of income for landowners.  In recent years, however, the needs of the public have eclipsed the…
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Building Safety Act 2022 – Protecting Leaseholders from building safety costs

Leaseholder protections in the Building Safety Act came into force on 28 June 2022. It looks to deliver protections for qualifying leaseholders from the costs associated with remediating historical building safety defects, and further measures that will allow those responsible for building safety defects to be held to account. The Act makes it clear that…
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Does a mobile home have to be mobile?

Disputes between caravan owners and local council planning officials over the status of mobile homes are something of a longstanding concern. Are these caravans mobile homes or developments? Recently, in the Appeal of Sally Turner a lawful development certificate was refused by Canterbury council for siting a mobile home for use ancillary to the main…
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Grants Available for Farming in Protected Landscapes

Farmers and landowners are now able to apply for funding, through the Farming in Protected Landscapes (FIPL) programme, for one-off projects. If your proposed project delivers a fundable outcome for the climate, nature and people – you may be eligible for a grant. The programme has been developed by DEFRA with the support of AONB…
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Bird Flu Outbreaks

The Government has announced a poultry lockdown from the 7th November 2022 affecting all poultry and captive birds which will need to be housed until further notice.  This is in response to the biggest ever outbreak of Avian Flu.  Birds are required to be shut indoors and their keepers are to implement strict biosecurity measures…
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Capital Gains Tax on second homes

Tax implications, in respect of property, vary depending on numerous factors such as whether you are buying or selling and whether it is your main or secondary home. Generally, you won’t need to pay tax on the sale of your main home. However, second homes and buy-to-let properties are subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT).…
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Meet the MD – Cotswold Life

Frank Smith, Managing Partner of Frank Smith & Co Solicitors reveals what it is he loves about his job. I am the managing partner of Frank Smith & Co Solicitors in Cheltenham.  I set the business up on 2016 to deal with a range of legal matters. We cover all legal matters from agriculture to…
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Join Us! We are recruiting a Paralegal with a keen interest in Agricultural Law

➡The roleWe’re offering a friendly supportive environment, with super career progression for an ambitious and talented Paralegal. Surrounded by people you will learn from, you will be involved in a wide range of legal transactions within Commercial Property/Agriculture, becoming thoroughly engaged with our business and have a caseload working with clients ranging from local businesses,…
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