Conveyancing Quality Scheme Accreditation
We are pleased to announce that Alletsons has been awarded Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation by the Law Society for a fifth year. This serves as recognition of the consistently high standards our conveyancing clients have come to expect from us and of the excellent service level we provide at what is often a stressful time for many people.
Alletsons underwent rigorous assessment by the Law Society in order to secure CQS status, which marks the firm out as meeting high standards in the residential conveyancing process.
Law Society President John Wotton said that the Law Society introduced CQS to promote high standards in the home buying process.
"CQS improves efficiency with common, consistent standards and service levels and enables consumers to recognise practices that provide a quality residential conveyancing service.
"Buying a home is one of the largest purchases anyone will make in their lifetime, so it is essential that it is done to the highest standard by a solicitor. There are many different conveyancing service providers out there, making it difficult for home buyers to identify those which can ensure a safe and efficient level of service."
Will Aid 2016
Alletsons is delighted to announce that we will once again be participating in the Will-Aid scheme this November, having raised nearly £11,000 for the scheme through generous donations by our clients.
We will be offering clients old and new the opportunity to have a simple Will professionally drawn up without charge, in the hope that our clients will make a donation to the Will Aid charities. The suggested donation level is £90 for a single Will, £135 for a pair of Wills or £40 for a codicil to an existing Will. Will Aid is a campaign run by nine of the UK's best known charities: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (N. Ireland). Making a Will is one of the most thoughtful and important things we can do to protect those we love. Yet it is surprising that fewer than half the population have made one. Most say they simply haven't got round to it and yet it can take years to sort out someone's estate if they die without a Will, leaving their nearest and dearest in great distress.
Will Aid has raised more than £11 million in donations and very much more from gifts in Wills since its launch in 1988. The last campaign in 2012 raised £2.1 million in donations (including Gift Aid), of which Alletsons' Will Aid clients contributed £3,966. The money raised is shared by the Will Aid charities and is used to transform the lives of people in the UK and around the world.
As you will no doubt have seen the Government has sought to mitigate the effect of Inheritance Tax as between spouses or Civil Partners. Some details are available in our Wills Information Sheet but we will be happy to advise further and in greater depth as to how the arrangements might affect your estate and your existing Will.
The installation of Solar Panels is subject to Building Regulation control. To avoid having to submit an application to your local authority you must ensure that the work is carried out by a qualified person who belongs to an appropriate Competent Person Scheme that covers all of the work undertaken (including the structural assessment of the roof). If it has not been carried out by a Competent Person you must apply to your local authority for Building Regulations approval.
Energy Performance Certificates
The Energy Performance Certificate gives owners, buyers and tenants of both residential and commercial buildings information on the energy efficiency of their property. It gives the building a standard energy and carbon emission efficiency grade from 'A' to 'G', where 'A' is the most efficient and G the least. The government states that "An EPC is required when a building is constructed, rented or sold, including holiday lettings. A building will need an EPC if it has a roof and walls and uses energy to 'condition an indoor climate'. This means it has heating, air conditioning or mechanical ventilation. For example, a garden shed would not need an EPC if it doesn't have any heating. The building can either be a whole building or part of a building that has been designed or altered to be used separately. If a building is made up of separate units, each with its own heating system, each unit will need an EPC." However, an EPC is not necessary in:
temporary buildings that will be used for less than two years
places of worship
standalone buildings with total useful floor area of less than 50 square metres that aren't used to provide living accommodation for a single household
industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that don't use a lot of energy
For more information on Energy Performance Certificates please visit the GOV website
Changes to the rules on septic tanks
The Government is planning a consultation concerning the need to register small sewerage discharges in England. Providing you comply with the requirements below, registration is unnecessary whilst the consultation is being planned:
To find out more information, including whether you live in a Source Protection Zone, please visit the Environment Agency website
As a greater number of people find themselves facing the prospect of long term residential or nursing care, protecting your assets to assure both your own long term future and that of those you care about is becoming increasingly complex yet increasingly important. Having in our firm solicitors who are members of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners and of Solicitors for the Elderly, we have a great deal of experience in advising on Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Care provision and all other aspects of short and long term asset protection. More information can be found in our information sheets in the 'Our Services' Section of the Website or by visiting our offices.
Adoption of private Sewers
As of the 1st October 2011 sewerage providers across the country took ownership of thousands of private sewers and drains. Here in the West Country, Wessex Water adopted an additional 10,500 miles of sewers and drains that were the responsibility of individuals, groups, businesses or housing associations. Affected properties should have received information directly from Wessex Water, but to find out more information on the adoption of private sewers and to check whether sewers on properties such as yours have been affected please or visit Wessex Water's website.
Whilst this certainly provides advantages in terms of the maintenance of such drains, it is important to note the negative implications. If there is a publically adopted sewer or drain running under your land you may require special permission from the adopting authority if you ever want to build upon it. This is compounded by the fact that the boundary used to define where sewers will have been adopted is generally accepted to be the edge of the 'dwelling'. For residential properties this is usually the boundary of the whole property including the garden but for other properties such as farms it may only be the boundary of the dwelling (e.g. the farmhouse and garden but not including the surrounding fields). The result of this is that many more people may now need special permission from the adopting authority to build upon their own land and we would advise anyone wishing to build to take special care to check for publically adopted sewers.