What rights do UK tenants have?

All tenants renting property from private landlords have certain rights which are protected under UK law. The extent of these rights depends on the type of tenancy agreement, as well as the location of the property within the UK. But broadly speaking, the rights themselves may be subdivided into the key sections itemized below:

Condition of the property

Firstly, all tenants have the right to inhabit a property that is safe and in good condition. Usually, that means a health and safety assessment will need to be undertaken before the property is rented out. This is applicable throughout all the countries of the UK

Unreasonable disturbances

You also have the right to live in the property without frequent and unreasonable disturbances from your landlord or other external elements. As above, this is applicable everywhere in the UK.

Protecting your deposit

The deposit paid to your landlord should be retained in a centralized tenancy deposit scheme. While these vary in name depending on where you live in the UK, their basic function is the same: to keep your deposit safe. All tenancy deposit schemes are approved by the government.

Energy consumption

As a tenant, you have the right to know the level of energy consumption for the property you are renting. Wherever you are based in the UK, you can request to see an Energy Performance Certificate.

Rent increases

It also your right to challenge any proposed rent increases made by your landlord if you find them to be unfair. For instance, if the increase is out of proportion when compared to other properties in the area, and there is no specified reason for the increase, then you would be within your rights to challenge it. In such cases, your dispute would likely be taken to a tribunal. Regardless of where you live in the UK, your best bet in this situation would be to consult with your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, as they will be well-equipped to guide you through the process.

Unfair eviction

You also have the right not to be unfairly evicted from a property. Typically, that means the landlord needs to provide you with sufficient notice and, in some cases, a specific reason for the eviction.

While your rights as a tenant are considerably different at a technical level depending on where you are in the UK, all of the above key areas are covered. If you are in doubt, your first recourse should be to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau for further guidance.

What to do after a car crash

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, the last thing anyone wants to do is deal with the aftermath. It’s natural to be very emotional and scared about what might have happened to yourself or your loved ones.

The best thing that you can do at this point is to contact emergency services and hospital staff immediately and then make sure you and those traveling with you are safe. You’ve come away from the accident alive, and it’s important to give yourself some time to process what just happened and try to relax.

Once you’re safe, have been treated, make sure you contact a lawyer. They can help in two ways: they can help you receive compensation for your injuries; they can ensure you will be compensated for the damage done to your car.

Once you’ve done all of that, there are some things you should know before leaving the accident scene.

The first and most important thing to do is to write down everything that happens in the accident. Do not leave the area before writing down what happened from your point of view, who was involved, how fast you were going at the time of the accident etc. If you are able to get into your phone or camera and take pictures of the accident scene, make sure that you do so. This information could be useful later when insurance companies and law enforcement begin their investigations into what happened.

Once everything is taken care of, and you’re ready to leave, it’s important to discuss the accident with your insurance company. They may tell you that it’s in your best interest to leave the area before they arrive, as your presence may be interpreted as a sign that there could have been some fault on your part. It’s not in your best interest to leave the scene of an accident, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you do leave, be sure to call your insurance company on a secure line and inform them that you left and exactly why.

If you’re unsure of whether or not you should stay at the scene of the accident, consider whether or not there are any injuries involved. If someone has been injured in the crash, leaving would be considered abandonment. If no one is injured, you are allowed to leave, and you should make note that there is no one in need of emergency aid.

If you have been injured in an accident, it’s very important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Your insurance company can help you with this step and can provide advice on what to do next. If you weren’t injured but saw someone with extreme injuries at the scene of the crash, obtaining care could be considered a good move. However, waiting until the medical personnel arrives before seeking care for non-injury-related problems is probably a good idea if you aren’t injured. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, ambulances may not be able to provide service within a timely manner.

How much does a divorce cost?

Are you thinking of getting a divorce? You undoubtedly have numerous questions, one of them is how much does divorce cost. There are several aspects to consider while contemplating divorce. Nevertheless, most people consider divorce to be an expensive undertaking. However, divorce may also be inexpensive; it all depends on the parties divorcing.

What is the average cost of a divorce?

The cost of divorce might vary depending on several things. Divorce prices vary depending on several circumstances, including whether or not a lawyer is employed, the type of the divorce lawyer, and whether or not the divorce is challenged. Divorce, from a legal standpoint, is essentially the termination of a legal contract. For the procedure to be effective, papers must be completed and filed with the court.

For any paperwork handled by the court, a fee ranging from £550 to £1,500 VAT included is charged. If you want to hire a family lawyer, you can be certain that the cost will be more than £550, since there will be other expenses to consider. Each lawyer in the United Kingdom will charge their fees based on their terms. Divorce does not have to be costly if you do not wish for it to be. You may always compare lawyers’ legal fees and find one with whom you are comfortable working.

When solicitors are engaged, the cost might be confined to £5,000 to £10,000 plus VAT. However, if the divorce discussions fail, they will have to go to court, and the money paid to the solicitors will be little. This means that divorce costs will rise. Going to court is one thing; going for arbitration is quite another. You will have to pay for someone to make the ultimate decision on all of the discussions, which everyone must be happy within the end. Arbitration can never be appealed; instead, the parties must live with the conclusions made. Divorce court expenses can range from £10,000 to £15,000 plus VAT, depending on the methods utilized.

Mediation costs on average

Mediation is significantly less expensive than the significantly more expensive process. If the thought of litigating in court frightens you, it could be a better option to opt for mediation. A mediator will assist you in reaching an agreement but will not tell you what you must do. However, before and after the mediation process, both parties should consult legal counsel. However, the cost will constantly rise, especially if one decides to hire an attorney to safeguard their interests. The fee may also vary based on whether the mediation is completed completely or whether the divorcees must go to court.

The payment of the charge

The individual who gets to apply for the divorce must pay a nonrefundable cost of £550. You can, however, obtain assistance if you are unable to pay for your divorce via the government. There is always a box on the divorce form that you may check if you want your partner to pay the divorce fees, which you will get after the divorce is complete. Divorce is not an easy thing to face, and you can only do it where you reside, not where you married.

Renting Your Family Home? Here’s how to get your deposit back

Guest blog from Natasha Batty, Principal Solicitor at Natasha Hall Law.

How to get your deposit back

If your family has an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, then you could be eligible for a “no win, no fee” claim. Your family can also claim up to three times the amount of your original deposit. This applies to any form of family home accommodation from a private landlord.

At the start of your tenancy, once you legally hand over your deposit to your landlord, they have 30 days to put your deposit to one of the three authorised deposit protection schemes.

The purpose of these government-approved tenancy deposit schemes is to make sure that you get your deposit back, only if your family:

  • Meets the terms of your tenancy agreement.
  • Did not make any damages in the property.
  • Paid the necessary rent and bills.

Making a claim against a landlord

Your family is entitled to make a claim once your landlord fails to do one of the following:

  • Put your deposit to an authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme.
  • Send you any of the prescribed information within 14 days of receiving your deposit.
  • Send a written confirmation from a scheme administrator (where your deposit is being held).

Prescribed information

Prescribed information is information related to your tenancy. Your landlord is required to provide these details to your family, these are:

  • The amount of the deposit.
  • The property address.
  • The contact details of the scheme administrator (where your deposit is being held).
  • Procedures relating to the tenancy deposit scheme, e.g. when should the deposit be paid or repaid to the tenant at the end of the tenancy.
  • Contact details of your landlord and any other parties who have contributed to your deposit.

What will the impact of Brexit be on family law?

impact of Brexit on family law

Some of the potential problems with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union (EU) may be addressed by incorporating EU law into domestic legislation. This is not an ideal resolution, though, as it doesn’t address the requirement for reciprocity and cross border recognition of Family Law Orders.

Provisions for transitionary arrangements must be taken into great consideration to ensure legal certainty for families during the transition stage. Much more so in giving consideration to issues or concerns affecting those engaged in family law proceedings, specifically those who are negotiating and legislating in advance of Brexit.

With the freedom of movement and of residence (right of every citizen of the Union to move and reside freely within the territory of the member states) in place, it means that there are nearly 4 million EU citizens living in the UK and around 1.5 million UK citizens living in the EU.

If, for example, a couple who are citizens of one member state but are currently living in another member state gets divorced, the issue of which country they get divorced in is governed by the EU Council. Various European instruments are applicable to when such couples get divorced.

In accordance with Regulation 2201/2003 (also known as “Brussels II A” or “Brussels II bis”), there is a race to the court called the “Lis Pendens” rule. The rule holds that the first party in time to issue proceedings at court secures the jurisdiction for their divorce in a particular country. The law only works because of reciprocity between all EU member states.

UK and EU

In accordance with the EU Maintenance Regulation (Council Regulation 4/2009), a framework for jurisdiction and enforcement of maintenance awards between the EU member states should be provided. In some instances, couples may also agree in advance where any dispute about maintenance should be decided upon.

 Same-sex couples

There are already existing issues and concerns within EU countries when it comes to the great jurisdictional difference between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples. With Brexit in place, this issue will further be exacerbated specifically for those couples who are looking to leave the EU.

Domestic violence

The current EU regulation provides protection to victims of all ages from domestic abuse. Individuals are ensured that they will be able to receive protection orders to be recognized and introduced across the EU. With Brexit in place, this approach across the EU will no longer be relevant and each country should be able to have their own requirements and laws relating to domestic violence.

What is the Children’s Act?

Children's Act

The Children Act 2004 holds:

The interests of children and of young people are substantial when taking safeguarding and welfare into account.

It is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard children.

Safeguarding children and young people is achievable through the improvement of their:

  • health;
  • education and development;
  • safety; and
  • economic circumstances.

In accordance to the guidelines enacted by the Children Act 2004, people specifically working closely with children should be able to determine how a child should be taken care of, regardless if they are in an educational or non-educational environment.

The purpose of this Act is to make the UK a safe environment for children by creating a Children’s Commissioner—in which each local authority will need to appoint a director for children’s services. In line with this, the government may create electronic records for each and every child in England, Scotland, and Wales to centralize tracking of children in different local authorities and government services.

For professional advice on laws affecting children, contact Sanders Witherspoon.

The principles of the Act focuses on:

  • allowing children to be healthy;
  • helping children to be happy and enjoy their lives;
  • allowing children to be safe in their environment;
  • helping children succeed;
  • helping children achieve economic stability for their future; and
  • helping to make a positive contribution to the lives of the children.

Generally, the Act is prioritizing the wellbeing of children. If in case a child suffered from maltreatment, it is a must to let it be known to relevant local authorities. In several areas of the Act, it is emphasized that inter-agency cooperation is a must when dealing with matters relating to the welfare of children. This element of the Act particularly ensures that when an agency becomes aware of a child’s maltreatment, other agencies that might be of help in protecting the child will also be informed.

Children’s Trusts

The Act also deals with agencies that were set up independently of Health and Social Services together with government agencies wherein there’s an introduction of extended cooperation between agencies, teachers, parents, guardians, and children. This is to prevent dismissal of intervention coming from outside sources.

Children’s Funds

The Act also made a provision for a Children’s Fund designed to help or assist in eliminating poverty and financial struggles of children and their families who aren’t privileged enough because of their financial situation and capabilities.