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Resources - Residential Property Law Spot

  • Back to the Future


    I am considering buying a house, that's currently rented out as an investment. It's a large house and two families live there. I understand there are new rules on houses in multiple occupation. How will that affect my investment?

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  • Garage Dilemma


    I have built a large brick garage in my garden, but now the local planners say I should have applied for planning permission and I've broken the law. They want to inspect the building, but I have refused access. What should I do next?

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  • JBSP Mortgages


    I am a first time buyer and in order to be able to afford a property my Mum and Dad have offered to help me with paying the deposit. I have heard this is possible with a JBSP mortgage but I don't know what this is. Can you explain?

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  • Parking Poser


    People keep parking on the grass verge outside my house. It annoys me and it blocks my view. Can I erect wooden posts on the verge to stop the parking?

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  • Back to the Future


    I would like to build a large conservatory on to the back of my house, approximately 6m x 6m in plan. My house is semi-detached. Do I need to apply for planning permission?

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  • Lodgers' Rights


    My mother has had a lodger for the last five years and they have never had any written contract between the,. She now wants to sell her house and move, but the lodger is upset and refusing to find new accomodation. Does the lodger have any legal rights here?

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  • Access All Areas


    I live in a terrace of Victorian houses and we use a path through the gardens at the back to gain rear access. My new neighbour has taken to blocking this path with bins, bikes etc. Despite polite complaints from me, this problem is getting worse. It's clear they don't want us to use the path. What are my rights?

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  • Don't Chance It


    I was amazed to find out that a friend of mine is selling his house using a raffle. offering the property as the first prize! I'm concerned about whether this is legal and wha the risks are. Can you advise?

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  • Rural Conditions


    I have seen a lovely cottage that I would like to buy, but it has an agricultural restriction on it and I'm not employed in agriculture, is this likely to be problematic?

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  • Unfit Fittings


    I bought an apartment 'off plan' last year and construction is almost complete. I visited the block today and was horrified to see that the bathroom and kitchen fittings are poor quality and not what I thought had been agreed. What can I do?

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  • Unfit Fittings


    I bought an apartment 'off plan' last year and construction is almost complete. I vitied the block today and was horrified to see that the bathroom and kitchen fittings are poor quality and not what I thought had been agreed. What can I do?

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  • A Family Affair


    My father passed away recently and left a holiday home in Norfolk, which was bequeathed to my brother and myself. My brother wants us to keep the house, but I want to sell. My brother says he cannot buy my share. Where do I go from here?

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  • Go on a Junk It


    I have just completed on a property with a barn and a couple of workshops in the garden. When I went there today I found old, broken furniture in the barn and junk in the workshops. I was told this would all be cleared. It will be expensive to get this taken away. What can I do?

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  • Special Branch


    I have made an offer on a lovely home with a row of large trees in the front garden. My solicitor now tells me the trees are subject to 'tree protection orders'. What does this mean? Is this a problem?

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  • Land a Good Deal


    My local authority is planning a road widening scheme and has approached me to buy part of my large garden. I definitely don't want to sell, but now they are talking about a 'compulsory purchase order'. What are my rights?

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  • Is it Worth a Shot?


    I've seen an empty village pub for sale that I think would make a lovely house. Will I need planning permission to convert it?

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  • Don't be Alarmed


    I have just completed the purchase of a property. Once I was given the keys I found that the burglar alarm was still set, and I could not get into the house. I have not been given details of the burglar alarm system - is the seller now in breach of the contract?

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  • Get In On The Party Act


    We have exchanged contracts in the purchase of our new home. Our solicitor informed us that there is a party wall notice served by the neighbour who is building on the boundary between the two properties. We have not yet completed the purchase, and the neighbour has now started to build. Is there anything I need to do about this?

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  • In Deep Water


    I have found my dream house in the country, quite near a river. The agent mentioned that the property has flooded once, because of last years heavy rains, but it's not prone to flooding. I don't want to be put off by this risk. The agent mentioned a scheme called Flood Re: could that help?

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  • Home Business


    My neighbour seems to be running a business from his house. There are lots of customers visiting through the day and more cars parked outside. I'm not aware that he's applied for planning permission. Is he able to do this?

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  • A Gift or a Loan?


    My partner and I want to buy a home together, which will be a first home for both of us. My parents have very kindly offered to lend us enough money for the deposit. How can this gift, or loan, be protected?

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  • Home Truths


    My husband and I have been married for 10 years, but have recently separated. Our married home is in his name. I have heard from a friend that he is planning to raise a mortgage on the house - how can I stop that?

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  • Be Streetwise


    I am considering making an offer on a lovely Victorian house that seems to be on a private road. What does this mean in practical terms? What are the likely liabilities?

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  • Can I rent it out?


    I bought a home with the Government's Help To Buy scheme a couple of years ago. I'm now planning to move in with my girlfriend and rent out my home. Are there any problems with this?

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  • Adverse Possession


    I have bought a house with a large garden and it looks to me, from my deeds, that there is a piece of land that my neighbour has been using which is really my property. I asked him about this and he says he has "adverse possession" as he has lived there and used that land for 10 years. Is he right?

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  • First Impressions


    I want to convert my loft space into a spare bedroom and install a cormer window. I live in a Conservation Area, will this casue any problems?

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  • Who is responsible?


    I have recently moved house and my new neighbour pointed out to me that the fence that marks our boundary is very rotten and needs repair. He says it's my fence and so my responsibility. How do I find out who should mend the fence?

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  • Clearing Leaves


    It is that time of the year when I see that the leaves from my trees are falling onto the pavement outside. Am I responsible for clearing them to avoid any kind of risk to the public?

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  • Agricultural Land


    I would love a larger garden and the farmer who owns the field next door has agreed to sell me half an acre so I can realise my dream. A friend told me I would need planning permission to add that land to my garden - is he right?

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  • No Will - Who Will Inherit?


    My brother has sadly passed away and it seems he has not left a Will. He has no children: who will inherit his house and other investments?

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  • Victorian House Auction


    I have bought a large Victorian house at auction and I'd like to develop it into three flats and then put those on the market. Will I need planning permission, or any other permissions?

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  • Listed Houses


    I have bought a listed house and I'm planning some renovations, including new windows. I recently applied for listed building consent to my local planning authority, but they have refused to grant it. What can I do?

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  • Choosing a Solicitor


    I am in the process of purchasing my first house and the estate agent has asked me for details of my solicitor who will be acting for me in the transaction. I have obtained several quotes from Solicitors all at varying prices. How do I choose what is right for me?

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  • Buying Problems


    I've read in the media that many new homes are leasehold and that this is giving owners problems with ground rent. I'd like to buy a new build house. What is the difference between leasehold and freehold? Why are ground rents causing an issue?

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  • Exchange of Contracts


    My house has been for sale and I recently accepted an offer of the asking price and took the house off the market in good faith. Today I find that the buyer claims he has found a problem and has reduced his offer. I'm irate — can he do this?

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  • Ownership Rights


    My boyfriend wants to move into my house, which I bought five years ago. I'm concerned that he may have a claim over the property if we separate at a later date. Can you advise me on this?

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  • Am I Being Discriminated?


    I’d like to buy a leasehold flat in a retirement development, but I’ve been told I cannot as I am not yet 55 years old. Is this correct? Can they discriminate against me because of my age?

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  • Can I Guarantee It?


    My daughter wants to buy her first home. She has asked me to be a 'guarantor' on her rather large mortgage. I'm concerned about this — what are the risks?

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  • It’s a Taxing Issue


    I understand that the rules for inheritance tax have changed. My father has recently passed away, he bequeathed his home to me and it has been valued at £450,000. Will I need to pay inheritance tax?

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  • Buying in Jersey


    I have just had a holiday on Jersey and loved it so much I would like to buy a second home there.  I understand that the Channel Islands' property market is not open to all.  Can you explain?

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  • Bankruptcy Freehold


    The freeholder of my leasehold flat has gone bankrupt and apparently owes large sums to HM Revenue & Customs. We have just been informed that ownership of the property has now transferred to the Crown. Does that mean that the Crown now has the same responsibilities as the freeholder for repairs etc? What will happen now?

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  • I’m Banking On It


    I'm interested in buying a beautiful house with a garden that runs down to the River Cam. What rights or responsibilities do I have in relation to the riverbank?

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  • House Extensions


    I am using a building company to build an extension to my house and they are very slow and often absent.  They have not been on site for a week. What can I do? If I have a contract with them, can I employ another builder?

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  • Chains Need Glue


    I am thinking of selling my flat. What advantage is there in instructing an estate agent to sell the property for me, as opposed to selling it myself?

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  • All Decked Out


    My neighbour is building a large area of raised decking in his garden.  This would be fine, except it's so high, when my neighbour stands on it he can see right over the boundary fence and that makes me uncomfortable. There seems to have been no planning application – does he need permission?

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  • Taking a Flyer


    I'm interested in buying a lovely terraced home that's on the market, but part of it seems to be held as a 'flying freehold'. Can you explain how this works? Could this be a problem?

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  • Rate Expectations


    I have converted my garage into an office for my online business, but a friend told me that I have to pay business rates on that part of my property. Is he right?

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  • Agricultural Occupancy


    I'm thinking of buying a house with an agricultural occupancy condition on it. I work as a software developer but would be prepared to keep chickens and a few sheep too. Do I need to work full time in agriculture to live in the house?

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  • Under the Hammer


    I've viewed a house that being sold at auction soon and I'm very interested in making a bid. How does this work? Are there any pitfalls?

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  • A Problem Shared


    I’ve viewed a house on the market in one of the villages that shares its driveway with a neighbour. I'm concerned how this will work and whether there are any pitfalls. Can you advise before I make an offer?

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  • Listing My Concerns


    I own a seventeenth-century Grade II listed cottage. It's very pretty, but there is an ugly modern workshop built next to the house and I would like to get rid of it. Am I right that I can demolish it as it's not part of the historic fabric?

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  • In a Tangle


    I have a very large garden and a plant that looks very like Japanese knotweed seems to have invaded the far end of the garden. I know this plant is a problem – what do I need to do?

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  • Am I Free to Go?


    I have fallen in love with a beautiful flat that's on the market. It seems to be freehold rather than leasehold and a friend of mine who's a solicitor said that could be problematical and I should think again. What issues could I face?

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  • Things in Common


    I wish to buy a property with my partner, and our solicitor has asked whether we wish to own the property as tenants in common or as beneficial joint tenants. What is the material difference?

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  • Home and Away


    I own a long lease apartment and am currently working away. Am I able to sub-let to somebody else whilst I am away?

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  • Partner Moves In


    I own a property outright and my partner is now looking to move in. Am I able to add my partner to the property register?

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  • Holiday Let Risks


    I would like to rent out the 'granny' flat in my house as a self-contained holiday let online through Air BnB. I think it will be popular with tourists as I live in central Cambridge. What are the risks?

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  • Renting on Scheme


    I bought a home with the Government's Help to Buy scheme a couple of years ago. I'm now planning to move in with my girlfriend and rent out my home. Are there any problems with this, if I let my mortgage lender know?

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  • Stamp Duty Land Tax


    I own a villa in Spain and I would like to buy a home for the first time in the UK. Will I be liable for the surcharge on Stamp Duty Land Tax when I buy?

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  • Living Together


    I'd like to live with my girlfriend. She is renting and I own my home, so it makes sense for her to move in with me. What are the risks? Do we need any kind of formal agreement?

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  • Leaky Water Supply


    One part of my front garden is permanently wet and I think there may be a serious leak in my water supply pipe underground. Who is responsible for the underground supply – is it my responsibility or the responsibility of my water company?

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  • Honesty is the Best Policy


    Some years ago after my father passed away, my mother made a will that bequeathed her property to myself and my two brothers. She has recently remarried but says she has no plans to change her will. Does she need to renew her will now she has married again?

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  • Flooding Reassurances


    We have purchased our dream house. During the conveyancing process we were warned about localised flooding in the area, but understand that our house has not actually flooded itself. Now that Spring is here, and the risk of flooding over Winter is receding, is there any protection we can rely on and put in place before next Winter?

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  • Agricultural Occupancy


    I am thinking of buying a property with an agricultural occupancy condition on it.  I want to keep chickens and sheep - but not as a commercial business. Is this sufficient for me to occupy the house? If not, what action can the council take against me?

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  • Loft Conversion


    I would like to convert my loft into a couple of extra rooms. Will I need planning permission do to that?

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  • Let There Be Light


    My neighbour plans a large extension which will block most of the light from my kitchen windows. Could I formally object to his planning application based on my 'rights to light'?

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