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Apr
2020
Covid -19 Resources

We continue to be available to support you during these challenging times. Please find below our latest posts and articles relating to the Coronavirus and business and personal issues.  Resources for Individuals Family Courts and Covid-19 Separated Parents and Covid-19 Writing a Will During the Coronavirus Outbreak Moving House During COVID-19 Outbreak – Government Guidance How Could Covid-19 Affect my Sale and Purchase? Covid-19 and Litigation Covid-19 Mediation as an Alternative to Court Proceedings Resources for Businesses The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Furlough: An Update Working with Coronavirus – Update for Employers What to do if you are Experiencing Business Interruption due to the Coronavirus  Personal Guarantee Advice Do I need to Close My Business or Premises? COVID-19 – Company Accounts Filing Extension Covid-19 and Contractual Obligations Changes to Insolvency Law due to the Coronavirus Crisis Covid-19 – Issues for Landlords and Tenants of Commercial Property Covid-19 and Litigation Covid-19 Mediation as an Alternative to Court Proceedings Covid-19 A Guide for Dental Practices Covid-19 Suspension of voluntary strike-off process by Companies Proceed with caution: some issues for businesses returning to work The Continuing Impact of Covid-19 on Possession Proceedings Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have
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Jul
2020
Stamp Duty Land Tax on Residential Properties – Update July 2020

Thompson Smith and Puxon Residential Property Lawyer, Laura Finnigan, updates us on the recent changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). On the 8 July 2020 the Chancellor announced a ‘Stamp Duty Holiday’ on the first £500,000 of all property sales with immediate effect. Anyone completing on a main residence costing up to £500,000 between 8 July 2020 and the 31 March 2021 will not pay any stamp duty and more expensive properties will only be taxed above that amount. The temporary raise in tax threshold has been bought in to boost the property market and help buyers struggling because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new temporary rates can be found below. Purchase Price Rate Up to £500,000 0% £500,0001 to £925,000 5% £925,0001 to £1.5 million 10% £1.5 million + 12% If you are looking to buy additional property’s the 3% higher tax rate applies on top of the revised rates and will be in place until 31 March 2021. The new temporary rates for additional properties can be found below. Purchase Price Rate Up to £500,000 3% £500,0001 to £925,000 8% £925,0001 to £1.5 million 13% £1.5 million + 15% A calculator is available on the gov.uk website here which calculates
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Jul
2020
Restrictive Covenants: Companies Need to get it Right to Protect Against Competition

Companies should check that post termination restrictions go no further than reasonably necessary. If they do, they are unenforceable.    Restrictive Covenants, if properly written, act as a safety net.  For example, they can prevent a departing employee taking commercially sensitive information about operations, and customers, to a competitor.  The difficulty is these post termination restrictions must be no wider than is reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate business interest.  This has been illustrated in the case of Square Global Limited v. Leonard, a recent case heard in the High Court. In this case, a broker was contracted to give a six-month notice period.  There were also restrictions on working for a competitor for six months, after the end of his employment. The broker handed in his notice, with immediate effect, and left to work for a competitor. His former employer tried to prevent him from working for the competitor, and relied on the employment contract. In response, the broker claimed he had been constructively dismissed, arguing this released him from his obligation to give notice, and also from the non-compete clause. The High Court upheld the employer’s argument, and was persuaded that the six-month non-compete clause was reasonable. This
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Jul
2020
Japanese Knotweed: A Bigger Concern Than Most Realise

What is Japanese Knotweed? It is a fast-growing perennial which produces reddish-purple shoots. What is the problem? Japanese Knotweed grows incredibly quickly even if a small amount of root is left in the ground it can re-infest. It can cause physical damage to buildings and land, in turn reducing the value and marketability. It can also be expensive to control or eradicate. How can Japanese Knotweed affect you? You must disclose whether the property has Japanese Knotweed. If you are purchasing a property that has it, you must disclose it to your mortgage lender. If it has a detrimental effect on neighbouring properties the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 states you as the homeowner could be prosecuted. If it is present you will need to provide the buyer (or receiver if buying) a plan, from a licensed company for its eradication. This plan may be requested by your lender too. Essentially a plan is used to manage its eradication. My property has Japanese Knotweed, what do I do? Seek help from a professional using the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors website for a list of approved contractors. Remember, Japanese Knotweed must be disposed of in special licensed landfill
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Jul
2020
Delay in Service of Gas Safety Certificate no Longer a Bar to Landlords

A recent decision has been handed down which clarifies the harsh position that was previously in place in respect of landlord compliance with regulation 36(6)(b) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (Gas Safety Regulations), which requires landlords to provide a copy of the latest gas safety certificate to an incoming tenant before that tenant occupies the premises. A breach of this regulation has in the past precluded landlords from serving a section 21 notice pursuant to section 21A Housing Act 1988 (HA 1988), meaning that landlords potentially faced the untenable position of being able to recover possession of their rental properties in the absence of a breach of the tenancy on the part of the tenant. Previous Position The Court’s approach towards the gas certificate regulations mentioned above have been very strict in the past as a result of the case of Caridon Property Ltd v Shooltz [2018] EW Misc B9, in which the requirement to supply a gas safety certificate prior to the tenant occupying the premises was described as a “once-and-for-all-obligation”, in the sense that a breach of this regulation could not be cured retrospectively and providing the relevant gas certificate at a later date
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Jul
2020
Neither Better nor Worse: How TUPE Protects When Employees Transfer

The directors of a property management company ran into a brick wall when they tried to boost their benefits package before transferring to a new employer, under the TUPE regulations.  TUPE stands for the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. These rules are designed to protect jobs, and safeguard contractual terms of employment, when a business transfers to new ownership, or a contract is placed with a new service provider.  It has been clear that the new employer must not change terms to disadvantage an employee. Now the Employment Tribunal has ruled that changes made solely for the transfer should not advantage an employee either.    The case involved Lancer Property Asset Management. This company provided estate management services to one large client, Berkeley Square Estate, who decided to move to a new service provider. As a result, the directors of Lancer were to become employees of the new provider, Astrea Asset Management Ltd, under the TUPE regulations.  In preparing for the transfer, the directors decided to award themselves a salary increase, generous new terms for bonus and termination payments, together with a 24-month notice period. The new employer disputed the terms. It dismissed two of the directors for gross misconduct, and refused to
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