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Up to date equalities training is key

Up to date equalities training is key

Many employers take steps to ensure that their staff undertake equality and diversity training within their organisations. Employers can also use this as a defence in any discrimination claims to say they have taken all “reasonable steps” to ensure that no discrimination takes place within their organisation.

However, a recent case of Allay (UK) Ltd v Gehlen, the EAT has held that an employment tribunal was entitled to reject an employer’s ‘reasonable steps’ defence to a claim of racial harassment. Although the perpetrator of the

Will employers be able to insist employees are vaccinated against Covid-19?

Will employers be able to insist employees are vaccinated against Covid-19?

The past few months has seen the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination across the UK and while the availability and speed of the process is being questioned daily in the press, one issue which we have seen brought the foreground of discussions amongst clients is whether or not they can mandate their staff to have this vaccination.

Many employers are likely to encourage their staff to take up the vaccine, but the issue of whether this can become mandatory is an interesting one from

Ground 2 Eviction - Significant Decision

Ground 2 Eviction - Significant Decision

The Sheriff Appeal Court has just issued a decision which will be of significance to RSLs throughout Scotland. It concerns the operation of the “streamlined” eviction process in terms of ground 2 in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 designed to be used when tenants are convicted of criminal offences committed in or near the rented property.

Since May 2019, 2019, the “reasonableness” test has been removed from this ground meaning that the court must grant an eviction where the ground is established. However the government

New SIC Decision on RSL’s handling of FOI request

New SIC Decision on RSL’s handling of FOI request

The Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) has recently published one of the first decision notices on a RSL’s handling of a FOI request.

Whilst the decision notice (which can be viewed here) does not answer some of the bigger questions the sector has about their new FOI duties it does act as a reminder of some key aspects of FOI compliance. So, what can RSLs learn from this decision?

What was the decision about?

The decision concerned a failure to respond to a request for

Guardianship for young adults

Guardianship for young adults

Young adults who lack capacity – guardianship orders

Any parent of a young adult who lacks capacity and is approaching 16, or has just turned 16, should take advice on whether they should apply for a guardianship order.  Until the age of 16 you have been able to make decisions on behalf of your child.  On turning 16 that automatic delegation of decision making to you, as their parent, comes to an end.  

There may be various matters you have to assist with. For example

Regulations Facilitate Adaptations to Common Parts

Regulations Facilitate Adaptations to Common Parts

Historic position

Historically when a disabled proprietor wanted to make an alteration to the common parts of a tenement to allow them to continue to use and enjoy their home by, for example, introducing a stair lift, access ramp or additional handrails by dint of the Common Law they required the consent and agreement of all other owners in the tenement to permit the change.  The introduction of the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004 failed to provide a simplified mechanism for approving such improvement or alteration

COVID-19 and Powers of Attorney

COVID-19 and Powers of Attorney

None of us could have imagined that almost a year after we first heard the words “Covid-19” that we would still be under such restrictions, the impact this would have on the NHS and the long term effects of Covid-19.

Hearing so many families losing loved ones and the long-term effect Covid-19 has had on their lives is distressing.  However it does highlight the importance of having a Power of Attorney in place.  Too often we hear of a husband and wife with separate bank

Eviction Ban Extension

Eviction Ban Extension

We recently sent an update to confirm that evictions were being banned until 22 January 2021 - unless your Decree was granted on ground 2 and/or 7 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, as amended. This is where Decree was for Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) and/or where there was a conviction.
 
It has now been announced that the existing ban will be extended until 31 March 2021. Like the previous ban it will not apply to Decrees for eviction which are granted on the ground of ASB or a conviction.

Ban on Evictions in Scotland

Ban on Evictions in Scotland

The Scottish Government announced that between 11 December 2020 and 22 January 2021, there is to be a full ban on evictions being carried out in Scotland. The ban will last for a period of six weeks and will apply to all evictions (except in cases of anti-social behaviour relating to Ground 2, Ground 7 or Ground 8 detailed in the Schedule 2 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001).

What does this mean?
No evictions on other grounds can proceed during the six-week period.
 
However, where

New Year To Do List - Will and Power of Attorney

New Year To Do List - Will and Power of Attorney

To do list:           

Prepare a Will                                 Tick                                      

Prepare a Power of Attorney     Tick

For most people preparing a Will and Power of Attorney are tasks that are on their never ending “to do” list and, for some, it is one task that continually gets pushed to the bottom of the list as day

Getting your affairs in order during a pandemic - the new “normal”

Getting your affairs in order during a pandemic - the new “normal”

Life has changed dramatically for us all since March 2020.  We had hoped that we would be getting “back to normal” sometime soon – would any of us have thought we would still be living under restrictions more than 8 months later?!

Many of us have put things off, vowing that we will do this “when we get back to normal”.  

For now the new “normal”, for a large proportion of us, means:

  • working from home
  • adapting to new ways of working
  • flexible

Furlough to be extended to March 2021

Furlough to be extended to March 2021

This lunchtime, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will remain open until 31 March 2021, which will allow employers to furlough employees until that point. For claim periods running to January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. This means the Scheme is more generous than the scheme running in September and October. The percentage may be reviewed for February and March, presumably reducing on

First-time buyers should consider Lifetime ISA

First-time buyers should consider Lifetime ISA

A Lifetime ISA, or ‘LISA’ as they’re regularly referred to, offers a similar deal to Help to Buy ISAs but with considerable differences which you should watch out for or take advantage of. Some people may be taking advantage of a LISA to save for later in life (over 60), however there are benefits of using a LISA to purchase a property as a first-time buyer. If you wish you can always keep your LISA after purchasing your first property and continue to save

New reforms to boost hearing capacity in employment tribunals

New reforms to boost hearing capacity in employment tribunals

New reforms to boost hearing capacity in employment tribunals have been introduced at Westminster with the aim to hear more cases and allow for greater flexibility in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the changes being made will allow the judiciary the option of deploying non-employment judges into employment tribunals and will also allow employment judges who normally sit in England and Wales to sit in Scotland and vice versa.

Announcing the reforms, Business Minister Paul Scully said: "The employment tribunal system has held

Short Term Lets and Airbnb - Update

Short Term Lets and Airbnb - Update

Airbnbs and Short-Terms Lets have become a contentious matter in Scotland in recent times. The Scottish Government have recently conducted research into Airbnbs and Short-Term Lets in Scotland which confirmed there are 31,884 active Airbnb listings, three times as many compared to 2016.

It was found that in Edinburgh’s City Centre 16.7% of properties are being used as Short Term Lets equating to an estimated 140,000 visitors to the area per year, around 4.5 times the local resident population.

The increasing popularity of Airbnbs and

Enhanced Redundancy Payments and Settlement Agreements

Enhanced Redundancy Payments and Settlement Agreements

If an employee is being made redundant they will be entitled to a period of notice and, for those with at least two years’ service, a statutory redundancy payment.  They should also be paid in respect of accrued but untaken holidays, if appropriate.

Statutory redundancy payments can be relatively small therefore some employers offer a payment in excess of the statutory minimum – usually called enhanced redundancy payments.  This can be offered for a variety of reasons: 

  • it may be that it forms part of

Covid-19 Update for Private Rented Sector Tenancies

Covid-19 Update for Private Rented Sector Tenancies

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (Eviction from Dwelling-houses) (Notice Periods) Modification Regulations 2020 are expected to come into force 3 October 2020. 

We previously blogged about the extension of notice periods introduced by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. The link can be found here.

The purpose of these new Regulations is to reduce the extended notice periods for eviction grounds relating to antisocial behaviour and criminal convictions to 28 days in both the private and social rented sector.

New proposed notice periods for:

Private

Notice Period Update for Registered Social Landlords

Notice Period Update for Registered Social Landlords

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 (Eviction from Dwelling-houses) (Notice Periods) Modification Regulations 2020 are expected to come into force 3 October 2020. 

We previously blogged about the extension of notice periods introduced by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. The link can be found here.

The purpose of these new Regulations is to reduce the extended notice periods for eviction grounds relating to antisocial behaviour and criminal convictions to 28 days in both the private and social rented sector.

The new proposed notice periods are:

  • 4

Eviction Ban in Scotland - myth buster

Eviction Ban in Scotland - myth buster

A number of  RSL clients have been in touch with us recently to enquire whether there is a current ban on evictions in Scotland.

The extensive publicity suggesting that such a ban exists is misleading. There is no law in Scotland which prevents evictions taking place.

The most recent publicity has stemmed from the Scottish Government’s plans to consider extending the application of the extended notice periods beyond the original end date of 30 September 2020.

Currently the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 provides that our

What is guardianship in Scotland?

What is guardianship in Scotland?

Many of you may have seen the latest headlines regarding the #FreeBritneySpears movement where her fans are concerned about her father acting as her Conservator. Conservatorship is an American legal concept whereby the court appoints a person to manage a person’s affairs if they are deemed to be incapable.

The equivalent of Conservatorship in Scotland is known as Guardianship. A Guardianship Order is a court order which authorises a person to act and make decisions on behalf of an Adult with incapacity. In Scotland, an

Statutory Notice and Statutory Redundancy Payments Based on Full Pay not Furlough Pay

Statutory Notice and Statutory Redundancy Payments Based on Full Pay not Furlough Pay

The government has recently legislated to ensure that if a furloughed employee was made redundant, certain statutory payments would be calculated with reference to the employee's normal pay and not with reference to their reduced furlough pay.

The government suggested that throughout the pandemic it had urged businesses to do the right thing and calculate payments for employees being made redundant with reference to their normal pay, rather than their reduced furlough pay. While the majority of businesses had done so, the government was aware

Scottish Housing Market – changes for RSLs

Scottish Housing Market – changes for RSLs

As the Scottish Housing Market is set to re-open, guidance has been issued by the Scottish Government to ensure that this process is as safe as possible.  Whilst the requirement to maintain social distancing, regular hand washing, and the recommendation to wear a mask are still in effect, the following practical advice for the Social Rented Sector has been set out:

House Viewings

Before arranging any viewings, the RSL must determine if any members of the household are either shielding, or displaying symptoms of COVID-19

Living with dementia - putting your affairs in order

Living with dementia - putting your affairs in order

Now, possibly more than ever, it is important that those living with dementia and their families look at getting an individual’s legal affairs in order to alleviate the stresses that can arise when their condition worsens. 

An individual with a dementia diagnosis can (depending on the stage of their condition) instruct a solicitor to assist them in putting their affairs in order whether this be in the preparation of a Power of Attorney or a Will.  The lockdown has not resulted in solicitors being unable

Separation and Divorce: what children say

Separation and Divorce: what children say

The Law in Scotland says that if anyone has to make a decision about a child involved in a separation or divorce, account must be taken of the child’s views, if the child wishes to express them.  

We usually think of this as a child being asked where, or with which parent, they want to live.    That can place a huge burden on a child.    There are lots of other things that children want their parents to know. Here are some of the things that

How can I get divorced in Scotland and how long will it take?

How can I get divorced in Scotland and how long will it take?

You can get divorced in Scotland if your marriage has broken down irretrievably and that can be for one of four reasons:-

  • Your husband or wife has committed adultery
  • Your spouse’s behaviour towards you has been unreasonable
  • You have been separated for more than one year and your spouse consents to divorce
  • You have been separated for more than two years (no consent from your spouse is required)

Adultery

If your husband or wife has committed adultery you can raise a divorce action immediately. However,

The impact of Covid-19 on guardianship applications and renewals in Scotland

The impact of Covid-19 on guardianship applications and renewals in Scotland

Although lockdown restrictions have eased slightly there is still a significant impact which will be felt by us all for the coming weeks and months.

Where someone has been assessed as lacking capacity and has not put in place a power of attorney, an application requires to be made to the Court for a guardian to be appointed where someone requires to have legal authority for decision making in respect of the incapax adult’s health, welfare, finances and/or property. This was brought into effect some

Coronavirus: further legislative changes in the private rented sector

Coronavirus:  further legislative changes in the private rented sector

On 26 May 2020 the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act was given Royal Assent.

In our previous blog we discussed the emergency and temporary legislative changes to residential tenancy law made by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 in response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

This new Act seeks to implement further emergency measures.

What does the Act do?

  • Introduces pre-action requirements
  • Early termination of student tenancies
  • Creates a new Council Tax exemption

Pre-action requirements in the Private Rented Sector

The Act introduces the concept of pre-action requirements

Dementia Awareness Week 2020

Dementia Awareness Week 2020

Today sees the start of Dementia Awareness week in Scotland, which would usually culminate with Alzheimer Scotland’s annual conference.  Sadly, the conference will not be taking place this year due to lockdown.  However, during this time we can all continue to show support and continue to raise awareness for those living with dementia, their carers and families. 

Now, possibly more than ever, it is important that those living with dementia and their families know that getting an individual’s legal affairs in order can alleviate the

Should I consider an online Will?

Should I consider an online Will?

The Covid outbreak has led us all having to adapt to different social and working practices. It has also led to many of us considering our mortality and (finally) getting round to that New Year’s resolution of getting our affairs in order. Since lockdown commenced there has certainly been an increase in enquiries about and people preparing or updating their wills. Preparing a will, as many of us know, allows you to decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death. So

Covid-19 — Death of a loved one - Estate administration — Large Estate

Covid-19 — Death of a loved one - Estate administration — Large Estate

You have registered the death, organised the funeral and now that you have identified all of the assets your loved one had (and established whether or not they have a Will), you are ready to progress with the administration of the estate. This blog focuses on the procedure where the value of the estate is over £36,000.

You need to now progress with obtaining Confirmation (known as Probate in England & Wales). As detailed in our earlier Blog this is the legal document that gives

Covid-19 — Death of a Loved One - Estate Administration

Covid-19 — Death of a Loved One - Estate Administration

You have registered the death, arranged the funeral and now it is time to look at estate administration. The current lockdown period has had a significant impact on the process of administering a deceased person’s estate. The Courts in Scotland, at the time of preparing this Blog, are not currently progressing Commissary work (estate administration). They are, however, looking at how to restart Commissary business soon via remote working. However, even once the Courts have finalised appropriate procedures to restart this business, there will inevitably

Covid-19 — Death of a loved one - Arranging a Funeral

Covid-19 — Death of a loved one - Arranging a Funeral

In our first blog we advised on how to register a death. Now you (and the funeral director) have the death certificate, you can go about arranging a funeral. Funerals are continuing to take place as normally as possible and families are being encouraged not to delay funerals. The Scottish Government have provided guidance for funeral services during the pandemic and funeral directors are being asked to ensure that social distancing is adhered to.

Some helpful tips:

  • If the deceased had a funeral plan, contact

Covid-19 — Death of a Loved One - Registration of Death

Covid-19 — Death of a Loved One - Registration of Death

The death of a loved one is a difficult time for everyone. Not only are they grieving but for many they may have never had to register a death or deal with the winding up of a loved one’s estate.  It can all become quite overwhelming.

The Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown of the nation has brought a whole new level of uncertainty. A short series of blogs will follow providing guidance from registering a death, dealing with the funeral arrangements and winding up an estate.

“They want to take my child away” - Social Work Intervention and Children’s Hearings

“They want to take my child away” - Social Work Intervention and Children’s Hearings

During these unprecedented times, obligations are imposed on families to remain together at home. Keeping the parent and child bond intact is often treated as a given. There can however be circumstances in which the State, in the form of the Local Authority, might seek to interfere with that. Where a child could be removed from the family home, the correct legal advice is crucial.

An individual with parental rights for a child has the right to decide where the child lives. The mother has

Domestic Abuse — Where can I get help during Covid 19?

Domestic Abuse — Where can I get help during Covid 19?

As we have entered into a further period of at least 3 weeks ‘lockdown’ with the continued restrictions in place requiring everyone to ‘stay at home’, it can be a frightening time for anyone who is suffering domestic abuse.

If you are experiencing physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse or being intimidated or threatened by a current or previous partner, you are being subjected to domestic abuse.

The Chief Executive of Scottish Women’s Aid, Dr Marsha Scott, when discussing the impact of the current pandemic

Family Law: Covid 19 — Contact & shared care arrangements

Family Law: Covid 19 — Contact & shared care arrangements

With the current Covid 19 situation and imposed ‘lockdown’, we are experiencing uncertain and challenging times. Normal routines have been severely impacted. Children are being home schooled and are missing out on extra circular activities, and visiting friends and family. Maintaining a level of consistency is key, but it can be very daunting to try to keep to prior agreed arrangements for children when other factors come into play.

It is natural for a parent to be concerned how best to safeguard and protect their

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme — UPDATE 16 April 2020

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme — UPDATE 16 April 2020

Following our previous update, yesterday (15 April 2020), HMRC has issued a further update to its employer and employee guidance on the Job Retention Scheme (the Scheme). We now have the following recommendations:

  1. The eligibility date, being the date when the employee has to have been on the employer's payroll to qualify for the Scheme, has changed from 28 February to 19 March 2020. This means that a large number of employees who started employment after the 28th February will now qualify for the Scheme

Coronavirus and Domestic Abuse — the risk of isolation

Coronavirus and Domestic Abuse — the risk of isolation

With the latest Government guidance sending the message of ‘staying at home’ in a bid to fight the virus, for many the danger is not only what is outside. The Office for National Statistics reported that 1.6 million women and 786,000 men were the victims of domestic abuse in the year ending March 2019. It is anticipated that figure will rise as the COVID-19 situation continues.

Domestic abuse is not always physical. Abuse can be psychological (including threatening and coercive behaviour), emotional, financial or sexual.

Scottish Wills - we are here to help

Scottish Wills - we are here to help

We will donate 10% of the fee to local foodbanks.

Ensuring you have a Will in place not only means that you can decide who you wish to inherit your estate, but it also provides peace of mind and comfort for both you and your family, knowing that your affairs are in order.

The current Coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of providing for our families should the worst happen. Just because you cannot meet face to face with a solicitor at

Coronavirus (Scotland) Act - the impact on Scottish Residential Tenancies

Coronavirus (Scotland) Act - the impact on Scottish Residential Tenancies

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 has now come into force.  This Act proposes significant temporary changes to residential tenancy law in the private and social rented sectors.

What are the changes?

Private Residential Tenancies

-    Increased Notice Periods
The Act increases the notice period for the Private Residential Tenancy. The current notice period is either 28 or 84 days depending on either the duration of the tenant’s occupation or the ground relied upon.

The Act extends the notice period to 6 months for all grounds

Private Residential Tenancies: Abandoned Belongings

Private Residential Tenancies:  Abandoned Belongings

We are aware of increasing instances where tenants, in particular student tenants, are giving Notice to Leave and returning home. On occasion, these tenants are leaving and have abandoned belongings in the property.

While the tenancy agreement will usually oblige tenants to remove their belongings on departure, difficulties arise where the tenancy agreement omits to contract for what will happen with belongings once the tenancy has come to an end.

What is a landlord to do where there is no contractual provision for abandoned belongings

Reduction of a Residential Lease

Reduction of a Residential Lease

Since 25 May 2015 it has been possible to raise an action challenging the existence of a lease in the Sheriff Court by way of an action for reduction.

In the recent case of SW v Chesnutt Skeoch Limited the Upper Tribunal considered whether the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber) had jurisdiction to consider reduction of an assured tenancy.

The case concerned an application for payment of rent arrears and losses following termination of an assured tenancy. The tenant initially argued that the tenancy

Energy Efficiency Regulations to Come Into Force - Update

Energy Efficiency Regulations to Come Into Force - Update

The Scottish Government has published a parliamentary report in connection with the forthcoming Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019.

Our earlier blog stated that the Regulations were proposed to come into force on 1 April 2020. However the report confirms this will be postponed until 1 October 2020.

What are the new key dates?

From 1 October 2020 any new tenancies will require to have a minimum EPC rating of E.

On 31 March 2022 this requirement will extend to existing

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme - UPDATE

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme - UPDATE

Following on from the Government’s announcement of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, we now have some further information about the scheme following updated guidance issued by the Government (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme).

In summary, the following will apply:

-  Employers will be able to apply to HMRC for a grant to cover 80 per cent of an employee’s regular wage or £2,500 per month (whichever is lower) plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions for employees who are not working but

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme

Employer Support: Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme

In the midst of a period of uncertainty for all sectors across the U.K, it was a welcome change for us all to hear the Chancellor’s announcement on Friday 20 March that the Government will cover up to 80% of employee costs if your business has no work for them.

Guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

This is an incredible and unprecedented lifeline for employers but there are obviously some conditions attached to this which we try to iron out below. This is a new scheme and new information for

Coronavirus and Powers of Attorney

Coronavirus and Powers of Attorney

Now more than ever, we should be asking the question: “are my affairs in order?”

In these uncertain times, it is prudent planning to consider putting a Will and Power of Attorney in place. A Will, of course, allows you to state what you wish to happen to your assets upon your death and provides your family with some comfort in knowing your affairs will be in order upon your death. A Power of Attorney, on the other hand, allows you to appoint someone to

Coronavirus - landlord and letting agent update

Coronavirus - landlord and letting agent update

Following on from our blog on Monday regarding the Coronavirus and its impact on the private rented sector, it is abundantly clear that the pandemic is causing unprecedented worry to both landlords, letting agents and tenants.

There appears to be a lot of speculation and panic about what the government will do to help tenants.  We will continue to blog and provide informed updates at this difficult time with a view to putting an end to some of the worrisome speculation.

Below is a short

Life as a Modern Apprentice - A first step into my professional career

Life as a Modern Apprentice - A first step into my professional career

All throughout my high school years I was asked what I wanted to do when I left, my answer was always “I’ll just go to college or university.” I left high school still undecided in what I was to do. Looking for work is always a daunting process, and I had no idea that modern apprenticeships even existed. After hours of internet research I came across the modern apprenticeship scheme. I signed up and instantly received notifications about potential interviews.

Transitioning from seeing my

Coronavirus - Guidance for Landlords and Letting Agents

Coronavirus - Guidance for Landlords and Letting Agents

Each day our news feed is filled with updates and reports regarding the spread of the coronavirus.   Guidance from the UK Government is to stay at home for 7 days if you have a high temperature and a new continuous cough.

Government Guidance

What can landlords and letting agents do if tenants are self-isolating?

The key here is to ensure you open effective lines of communication.  Landlords and agents should ccommunicate with tenants to let them know what they can expect from their landlords/letting agents

Will Covid-19 affect your FOISA deadlines?

Will Covid-19 affect your FOISA deadlines?

Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) may already be concerned about their ability to respond to requests within the statutory 20 working day timescale due to the possible implications of Covid-19. Will Covid-19 affect your FOISA deadlines?  In light of the continued spread of the virus, the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) has published a statement addressing the obligation on public authorities to comply with the timescales set out in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) and the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs).

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