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Resources - Residential Property Law Spot

  • Garage Demolition

    01.04.2020

    My neighbour and I have semi-detached garages. He plans to demolish his garage and rebuild it on a larger footprint. I'm concerned that this may damage our shared wall. What can I do?

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  • Air B&B Parking Concerns

    26.03.2020

    There are a couple of homes on my street that are let all the time via Air B&B. We have concerns over noise and parking issues. People are always coming and going. Is this a change of use from residential to commercial? Do the owners need planning permission?

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  • Enforced Sale of Garden

    12.03.2020

    My house has a large garden on a corner plot. The local authority have written to me to say they want to build a mini roundabout and need to widen the road by purchasing a piece of my garden. I'm not happy about this, can I refuse to sell?

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  • Who's Fence is it?

    05.03.2020

    The fence that divides my garden from my neighbour's property has blown down. I approached my neighbour to discuss sharing the cost of repair, but he said he had always understood that it was my fence and therefore my responsibility. How can I find out if he's right?

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  • Tax an Overseas Property Sale

    27.02.2020

    I own a holiday home which I let out for part of the year. I want to sell it and buy a larger holiday property which I will also rent out. Will I need to pay capital gains tax on the sale?

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  • Building without permission

    20.02.2020

    I have fallen in love with a house on the market, but the owner seems to have built a large extension without planning permission. They have now applied for retrospective permission, but its not yet granted. Is there a risk to me if I buy the property?

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  • Beating Mortgage Fraud

    13.02.2020

    I'm alarmed at the mortgage fraud that I read about in the media, which seems especially common for properties that don't have a legal charge registered against them. Is there anything I can do to protect my property?

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  • Brexit Impact on Homes Abroad

    06.02.2020

    I am thinking about buying a house in France, but I'm concerned about the EU exit. Is there any information yet about how Brexit will impact on UK home owners in France or how it will change the purchasing process?

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  • House Conversion Plan

    30.01.2020

    I have bought a five bedroom house and I would like to convert it into three flats, which I then plan to rent out. I am not extending the house but will I need planning permission?

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  • Building in Conservation Area

    23.01.2020

    I want to demolish my freestanding garage as I would love to have more garden space. Our home is in a Conservation Area. Does this affect my plan in any way?

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  • CCTV or not CCTV

    16.01.2020

    I have installed cameras at the front of my house as I'm concerned about security. However a friend tells me I cannot film individuals without permission as it is an invasion of privacy. Is he right?

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  • Composting Toilet

    09.01.2020

    My neighbour tells me he has just installed a composting toilet and I'm a bit concerned that he will be spreading human waste on his garden and this could be a health hazard. Is he in breach of any regulations?

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  • Small Studio Construction

    12.12.2019

    I am building a small studio in my garden. It's a wooden construction about 3m by 3m in plan. My neighbour seems to be annoyed by the works and she says I need planning permission. Is she right?

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  • Garage Sale Could Prove Costly

    05.12.2019

    My son has a detached garage at the edge of his garden and his neighbour has offered to buy it from him. My son would really like to take up this offer, but his mortgage lender is refusing to agree to the deal. Is there anything he can do?

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  • Out of Business New Build

    28.11.2019

    We bought a new home on a small development, but the developer has not erected the garden fencing, laid turf, finished footpaths etc. The company doesn't respond to my calls or emails and I think they may have gone out of business. What can I do?

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  • Responsibility for Ditches

    21.11.2019

    The ditch next to the road is full of water and is now flooding into my front garden, damaging the planting. It hasn't been cleared out for many years. Is the local highways authority responsible for maintaining it so that it can drain properly?

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  • Modern Method of Auction

    14.11.2019

    I have seen a perfect cottage for sale by 'modern method of auction'. I've not heard of this before. Can you explain?

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  • Home Business

    07.11.2019

    I want to start a dressmaking business at home and meet customers there for fittings etc. Do I need any planning permission for the commercial use? Will I need to pay business rates?

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  • Stamp Duty Tax Relief

    02.10.2019

    My husband and I want to buy a house. I owned a house which I sold five years ago, but my husband has never owned property. If we buy a house together, do we count as first time buyers and so could we qualify for stamp duty tax relief?

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  • Proving Your Identity

    25.09.2019

    I am buying a house, but my new solicitor says I can't prove my idnetity because my passport has run out and I have no photo id. Why is it so important to prove my identity and what can I do to satisfy the rules?

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  • Forms of Completion

    18.09.2019

    I'm confused about the various forms of completion that can follow on from exchange of contracts in a property deal. What is completion on notice? What are long stop dates? Can you advise?

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  • New Build House

    11.09.2019

    I want to buy a new build house, but many seem to be sold leasehold rather than freehold. I'm confused as I thought houses were usually sold freehold. What will it mean for me if I buy a leasehold house?

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  • Create a Larger House

    22.08.2019

    We wanted to move to a larger house, but now the house next door has come on to the market. Our home is one half of a semi-detached pair of listed cottages - could I buy the house next door and simply knock through some doorways to create a larger house?

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  • Back to the Future

    14.08.2019

    I have applied for planning permission to my local authority to build a large ground floor extension. It's been almost three months now and no decision has been made. I'm getting frustrated! Why is it taking so long?

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  • Back to the Future

    24.07.2019

    My mother has passed away and in her will she has bequeathed her home to me. My sister is also a beneficiary, but not to the same value. Now she wants to contest the will, demanding a share in the property, as she feels this is very unfair. Can she take this to court?

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  • Solicitors Fees

    18.07.2019

    My daughter has been in the process of buying a house, but suddenly the seller has taken the house off the market. Will my daughter have to pay solicitors' fees, even though the deal has fallen through and it's not her fault?

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  • Public Footpaths

    10.07.2019

    I want to make an offer on a lovely house with a large garden, but I was dismayed to see that a public footpath runs along the edge of the garden and into the fields. Can I get the footpath relocated?

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  • Pitfalls of Buying Leasehold

    03.07.2019

    I'm a first time buyer and would like to buy a leasehold flat, but a friend of mine has cautioned me saying there can be huge hikes in ground rent and generally the costs are hard to predict. Is she right? How can I be sure what the charges will be over the next few years?

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  • Change of Use

    26.06.2019

    I have seen a beautiful Victorian house on the market and I would love to buy it. Recently it has been used for offices, although it's unoccupied at the moment. Is there any reason why I can't convert it back to a family home?

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  • Noisy Neighbours

    19.06.2019

    I have just moved house and find to my dismay that my new neighbour is difficult and aggressive, causing problems with late night noise, parking issues etc. Should the previous owner of this house have informed me about the problems?

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  • Residential Care

    11.06.2019

    I'm elderly and may need to move into residential care soon due to mobility issues. Will the local authority force me to sell my home to pay for the care? I'm very concerned as that will mean my husband could be made homeless. Can you advise?

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  • Renting Regulations

    30.05.2019

    I own two houses in Cambridge that I currently rent out. I have heard there are some new regulations on the fees that can be charged to tenants. I don't want to fall foul of any new rules - can you advise me how the rules have changed?

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  • Holiday Apartment with Brexit

    23.05.2019

    I have just come back from a wonderful holiday in Spain and would love to buy a holiday apartment on the Costa Brava. Does the purchase process work differently out there? Are there any risks related to Brexit?

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  • Blocking the Sale

    04.04.2019

    I share my home with my daughter, who is 21 years old. I want to sell my house and move to the West Country, but my daughter is unhappy and she is threatening to block the sale. Can she do that?

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  • Tree Preservation Orders

    28.03.2019

    I have a large, mature tree in my garden that my neighbour tells me is subject to a Tree Preservation Order. I would like to trim back some of the branches to allow light on to my decking. Are the local authority likely to take any action if I trim the branches and I don't cut down the whole tree?

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  • Listed Cottages

    22.03.2019

    I have made an offer on a beautiful listed cottage. I noticed that it has recently had all new doors and windows installed. However, when I checked on the planning authority's website, there was no record of any listed building consent for the work. Is this a risk for me if I complete on the deal?

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  • Tales of the Riverbank

    21.03.2019

    I am interested in buying a house by a river which is for sale. Will I own the riverbank? What responsibilities will I have for maintenance?

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  • Planning Permission

    18.03.2019

    My neighbour is building an extension to his house and he has secured planning permission. The extension is now nearing completion and, to my horror, it seems much larger and the roofline is much higher than described on the original plans. I don't think he has consent for this huge extension. What can I do?

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  • Stamp Duty Land Tax in London

    08.03.2019

    I am thinking of buying a flat in London for my daughter who is going to start university in September. If I buy the property in the name of a trust will the trust have to pay normal Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) or will it have to pay the 3% surcharge on top of the normal SDLT. Please advise.

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  • Installing Solar Panels

    07.03.2019

    I have a south-facing garage and I would like to install solar panels on the roof. Would I need planning permission, or can I just go ahead?

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  • South Facing Garage

    28.02.2019

    I have a south-facing garage and I'd like to install solar panels on the roof. Would I need planning permission, or can I just go ahead?

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  • Tax Complications

    21.02.2019

    I own a flat which I rent out to a tenant. I'd like to give the flat to my son so he can manage the property and benefit from the profits of the tenancy. If I do that, will he end up with a large tax bill?

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  • Cohabitation Agreement

    14.02.2019

    I own my home and my partner is soon to move in with me. A friend suggested a cohabitation agreement. Do you think that’s really necessary? What are the benefits?

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  • Neighbours Hedge is an Issue

    07.02.2019

    My neighbour has a hedge of evergreens on the boundary which is approaching nine feet in height. It blocks out much of the sunlight from my garden. I have asked him to reduce the height but so far no response. What can I do?

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  • Back to the Future

    03.10.2018

    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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  • Back to the Future

    03.10.2018

    I am considering buying a house that's currently rented out, as an investment. Its 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

    29.08.2018

    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

    28.08.2018

    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

    02.08.2018

    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

    22.07.2018

    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

    20.06.2018

    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

    13.06.2018

    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

    06.06.2018

    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

    23.05.2018

    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

    16.05.2018

    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

    16.05.2018

    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

    09.05.2018

    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

    25.04.2018

    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

    18.04.2018

    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

    16.04.2018

    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?

    28.03.2018

    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

    22.03.2018

    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

    15.03.2018

    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

    12.03.2018

    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

    26.02.2018

    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?

    22.02.2018

    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

    15.02.2018

    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

    25.01.2018

    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?

    18.01.2018

    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

    21.12.2017

    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

    06.12.2017

    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?

    30.11.2017

    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

    08.11.2017

    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

    02.11.2017

    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?

    25.10.2017

    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

    19.10.2017

    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

    11.10.2017

    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

    06.09.2017

    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

    29.08.2017

    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

    23.08.2017

    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

    16.08.2017

    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?

    09.08.2017

    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?

    02.08.2017

    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

    26.07.2017

    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

    19.07.2017

    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

    11.07.2017

    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

    05.07.2017

    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

    28.06.2017

    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

    21.06.2017

    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

    14.06.2017

    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

    08.06.2017

    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

    31.05.2017

    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

    24.05.2017

    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

    17.05.2017

    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

    10.05.2017

    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

    03.05.2017

    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

    03.05.2017

    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?

    29.04.2017

    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

    26.04.2017

    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

    19.04.2017

    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

    12.04.2017

    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

    05.04.2017

    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

    22.03.2017

    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

    17.03.2017

    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

    09.03.2017

    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

    11.02.2017

    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

    29.12.2016

    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

    05.12.2016

    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

    07.09.2016

    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

    28.05.2016

    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

    08.02.2013

    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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  • Future Profit

    My neighbour wants to buy my two acre paddock. I'm happy to sell the land as I'm not currently using it, but I have a suspicion that he may want to sell it as a housing plot at a later date and make a significant profit. If that happens in the future could I secure any of that profit?

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