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Dying Matters Awareness Week

Dying Matters Awareness Week

No-one likes to contemplate their own death or think of the death of a loved one. It is however an important topic of conversation to have with your family and friends and is encouraged as part of the Dying Matters Awareness Week. Doing this at an early stage allows you to have an unpressured conversation at a time that suits you and not at a time of ill health or crisis.

Conversations of this nature are a prompt to discuss your affairs and the

What are the Duties of a Financial Guardian?

What are the Duties of a Financial Guardian?

Once appointed by the Court to act as Financial Guardian there are certain administrative responsibilities which you will have to fulfill, these are detailed below. By taking on this role you are accepting this responsibility and it is therefore important that you consider if you have the time and ability to carry out the duties of a Financial Guardian.

Caution (pronounced Kay-shun)

The Sheriff may order that you obtain a Bond of Caution (usually within 4 weeks of your date of appointment). A Bond of

When is a 'holiday let' not a 'holiday let'?

When is a 'holiday let' not a 'holiday let'?

Holiday lettings sit outwith the standard regulatory framework of the private rented sector. A holiday let is excluded from constituting a Private Residential Tenancy.

There is no requirement for such landlords to register or pay over a deposit to a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Furthermore, the Repairing Standard does not apply to holiday lets of less than 31 days.

The Scottish Courts considered holiday lets in the case of St. Andrews Forest Lodges Ltd. v Jeremy & Iona Grieve at Dundee. In this case, the Pursuers

Gifting Your Property to Avoid Care Costs

Gifting Your Property to Avoid Care Costs

Many families wish to ensure that their family are provided for in the future. They have worked hard to be able to own their property and do not want their estate to be exhausted by paying care costs. Beware, there are many things to consider before gifting your property to avoid care costs.

  1. Should you require a move to residential care accommodation the local authority can look at assets you had previously, the time of gifting and the reasons for gifting. There is the potential

Care Home Fees - Deferred Payment Schemes

Care Home Fees - Deferred Payment Schemes

Since 2002 deferred payment schemes have been available for care home residents however, many are unaware of their availability.

Care home residents who have insufficient income and capital (excluding the value of their property) to meet care home fees may enter into an agreement with their local authority to defer payment of part of their contribution towards care costs. They can settle these sums with the local authority at a later date when their home is eventually sold. A deferred payment agreement is an agreement

The Search For A Trainee - a view from the other side

The Search For A Trainee - a view from the other side

Trainee recruitment is a part of my job I really enjoy. I love meeting new people and trying to find someone that I think will bring an extra dimension, while assessing whether they will work well alongside the existing team.

Our latest search for a trainee produced nearly 100 applicants. But of that 100, how do we whittle them down?

First of all we decide what our key criteria will be. That will vary each year depending on the priorities we place on certain skills,

Scotland Introduces Free Personal Care For Under-65s

Scotland Introduces Free Personal Care For Under-65s

In September 2001, the Scottish Government introduced legislation to provide free personal care for those who were assessed as requiring it and were over 65. 'Personal care' means care which relates to day to day tasks and the needs of the person cared for (for example, washing, eating etc.).

1st April 2019 sees the introduction of 'Frank's Law', which will broaden the availability of free personal care to those under 65. This means that those living with early onset dementia, Parkinson's Disease,

Annual Gas Safety Checks - are you still paying too much?

Annual Gas Safety Checks - are you still paying too much?

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use)(Amendment) Regulation 2018 came in to force on 6 April 2018. A year on, it is worth reminding landlords of its terms. This amendment addressed the often unnecessary and unintended financial burden of over-compliance with the 12 month gas safety check.

Instead of having to begin the process early, in anticipation of access problems, landlords were given more flexibility in meeting the requirements of the legislation. An MOT style system was introduced which allowed landlords to carry out their

Wills and Powers of Attorney - Do You Have Your Affairs in Order?

Wills and Powers of Attorney - Do You Have Your Affairs in Order?

It's Lent - the Christian period of time for reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. With that in mind, what better time than to focus your mind on your affairs and having everything in order so that you and your family have a secure and comfortable future. This can be sorted with both a Will and Power of Attorney.

Your Will

Your Will is probably one of the most important documents that you can make. It is vital if you wish to protect

Arrangements After Death - The Importance of Preparing a Will

Arrangements After Death - The Importance of Preparing a Will

No one likes to contemplate their own death or the death of a loved one. The importance of preparing a will is often overlooked or postponed or those who do have wills overlook the importance of reviewing their wills.

In preparing a will you provide written instructions on how your estate should be distributed on death and who should do so. Often the Executor will be the person who will make funeral arrangements. This need not be the case. Should you wish, you can make

Changing Your Name on Your Title Deeds Following Gender Reassignment

Changing Your Name on Your Title Deeds Following Gender Reassignment

If you have undergone gender reassignment surgery, you will be dealing with an overwhelming number of changes and will be starting to create your new identity. To make things easier, the Registers of Scotland (ROS) will change your title deeds to reflect your new identity. They will not only change your name as owner, they will also change your name as borrower in respect of any securities registered over your title. Please note however you will also have to inform your security lender of the

Removal of an Executor - A Change in the Law?

Removal of an Executor - A Change in the Law?

You have made a Will. Congratulations! This puts you ahead of the almost 60% of the Scottish population who do not have Wills in place.

In your Will, you have appointed an Executor; the person charged with implementing the terms of your Will and carrying out their legal duties as your Executor. However, in light of the recent case involving a man who murdered his mum, but because he is named as the Executor in her Will he can attend to administering her estate, some

Loft Conversion - 5 Things to Consider

Loft Conversion - 5 Things to Consider

Many people choose to convert their loft area as a means of obtaining more space without having to move home. This blog provides some advice on what you should be thinking about before making the decision to extend and how to ensure that the loft conversion is safe and legal.

1. Check you own the roof and roof space

If you live in a house this shouldn't be an issue but for top floor flats (including upper cottage flats) you should check the title deeds

Business Development Mistakes

Business Development Mistakes

'It's in the diary.' 'Let's catch up over coffee.' These are typical phrases which are uttered when we hear the words - 'business development'. What are we really looking to gain from having countless lunches and coffees with contacts we may not have seen or heard from in a while?

The purpose

In these uncertain times, businesses can no longer afford to cherry pick where their business comes from. Work may be referred continuously from one reliable source or may come from the man in

Your Rights as a Carer in Scotland

Your Rights as a Carer in Scotland

There are many people who are providing care for loved ones in their own homes. The Scottish Government recently circulated an updated Carers' charter explaining the rights of adult carers or young carers in Scotland. This came on the back of the introduction of new legislation, The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, which came into effect from 1 April 2018. What are your rights as a carer in Scotland?

The legislation was introduced to enhance the rights of carers in Scotland to help improve their

Top Tips: Practical aspects of registered Power of Attorney with a Bank

Top Tips: Practical aspects of registered Power of Attorney with a Bank

You have been appointed as a Continuing (financial) Attorney and now need to trigger the powers granted to you.

  1. Check the document has been registered with the Public Guardian's Office. The document requires to be registered to be operational.
  2. Check the powers you have been granted. Ensure you have specific powers to deal with managing bank accounts.
  3. Attend the bank to register the registered Power of Attorney (POA) document. Call the bank or drop in to check if they have a staff

Changes to the Repairing Standard

Changes to the Repairing Standard

It is all change right now in the world of repairs for private landlords in Scotland.

We recently saw new Gas Safety Regulations come into force on 6 April 2018 and more changes have been implemented with the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (Modification of the Repairing Standard) Regulations 2019. Please find below a summary of the changes that came in to force on 1 March 2019.

At first glance, the changes to the repairing standard seem to look like a loosening of the requirements, particularly

Brexit what are the employment implications for businesses?

Brexit what are the employment implications for businesses?

As we approach 29 March there are changing levels of uncertainty around what might happen when the UK leaves the European Union, it is a good time to consider what options your business might have to take ahead of a possible Brexit.

The current position is that at 11pm on 29 March 2019 the United Kingdom will leave the E.U. This is known as the 'withdrawal date'. A European court has ruled that the UK can decide to halt the process and stay in the

Changes to the Property Factor's Code of Conduct: Factoring in the Equation

Changes to the Property Factor's Code of Conduct: Factoring in the Equation

Are you a Registered Social Landlord engaged in property factoring? Are your factoring practices robust and ready for upcoming changes to the Property Factor's Code of Conduct?

The Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 is 6 years old and created a statutory framework providing protections for homeowners who receive services from a property factor. As part of that framework, a Code of Conduct was introduced which sets minimum standards of practice for registered property factors in their business with homeowners.

The Scottish Government has been active

Age Discrimination - a timely reminder of this issue

Age Discrimination - a timely reminder of this issue

Earlier this month, Acas issued guidance on age discrimination and information for workplaces outlining important points for businesses to consider including steps to take to avoid age discrimination in the workplace and examples of how age discrimination might occur.

Age is one of the nine protected characteristics within the Equality Act 2010. This means that an employee is protected against discrimination because of age. It is important to remember that this discrimination doesn't only occur when a 'young person' receives better treatment than an 'older

In these increasingly health conscious times is it time for servitudes for recreational purposes?

In these increasingly health conscious times is it time for servitudes for recreational purposes?

A servitude is a right that a landowner has over neighbouring property which allows the holder of the servitude (or benefitted proprietor) to do something with another person's property, which would not normally be allowed. Whether created by a specific grant, by reservation, or indeed through uninterrupted use for the prescriptive period of 20 years the servitude right runs with the land. Common examples include:

  1. Pedestrian and vehicular access; or
  2. The right to run pipes and cables over neighbouring property.

Servitudes were once restricted to

Clancy Docwra v E.On Energy Solutions - The Need for Consistency in Contracts

Clancy Docwra v E.On Energy Solutions - The Need for Consistency in Contracts

The recent case of Clancy Docwra Ltd v E.On Energy Solutions Ltd has highlighted the need for consistency between a contract and any additional documents appended to it.

E.On appointed Clancy Docwra as a sub-contractor to excavate trenches for the installation of an underground district heating network. They had started the works when they encountered adverse ground conditions which consisted of underground brick walls and rubble. The parties disputed what entitlement, if any, Clancy Docwra had to receiving additional costs in relation to the further

Updated Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement

Updated Model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement

The Scottish Government has recently published updated versions of the model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement, Easy Read Notes, and Statutory Terms Supporting Notes. This update takes account of changes to data protection laws, as well as other minor edits and clarifications.

The new versions should be used going forward.

You can access the updated information at the Scottish Government's website links below.

Model Tenancy Agreement:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-government-model-private-residential-tenancy-agreement/

Easy Read Notes:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/easy-read-notes-scottish-government-model-private-residential-tenancy-agreement/

Statutory Terms Supporting Notes:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/private-residential-tenancy-statutory-terms-supporting-notes-essential-housing-information/

The downloadable output of the Scottish Government's model tenancy agreement

Nine months and counting until Freedom of Information comes to the RSL sector

Nine months and counting until Freedom of Information comes to the RSL sector

On 11 November 2019 all Scottish RSLs will become subject to Freedom of Information (FOI). This will give members of the public the right to request information that RSLs hold.

Whilst RSLs are currently required to respond to public requests for environmental information, the draft 'Order' published by the Scottish Government on 08 February will mean that RSLs (and in some cases their subsidiaries) need to provide a wide range of information if requested, subject to that Order being approved by parliament. This is

I've paid off my mortgage, why do I need to discharge it?

I've paid off my mortgage, why do I need to discharge it?

So the day is finally here; you've worked hard, made years of payments and now you've got that all important letter from the bank/lender confirming that you have fully paid off your mortgage. So pop open the champagne, enjoy the moment and have a think about how you are going to spend that extra money each month. But wait, you notice on the letter there's something about discharging the mortgage, what does this mean?

The concept is fairly simple, when you use a mortgage to

Evicting Criminal Tenants in 2019: What is Changing for RSLs?

Evicting Criminal Tenants in 2019: What is Changing for RSLs?

Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) are entitled to terminate a Scottish Secure Tenancy and recover the property where a tenant (or someone residing with or visiting them) has been convicted of a criminal offence. Provision for this is made in Ground 2 of Schedule 2 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001. What changes are coming into force regarding evicting criminal tenants in 2019?

There are currently two conditions which must be met before an RSL is entitled to serve a Notice of Proceedings and begin eviction

First-time buyers consider Lifetime ISA for free cash

First-time buyers consider Lifetime ISA for free cash

As most people are aware, the government set up a very generous scheme at the end of 2015 known as Help to Buy ISAs where young people who had never owned a house before (first-time buyers) could save for a house and be given a free 25% bonus on top of their savings when they became able to purchase of a property. A Lifetime ISA, or 'LISA' as they're regularly referred to, offers a very similar deal but with considerable differences which you should

There's No Smoke Without Fire: Fire Safety Changes on the Horizon

There's No Smoke Without Fire: Fire Safety Changes on the Horizon

The Scottish Government is due to introduce new legislation regarding fire and smoke detectors in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (Tolerable Standard) (Extension of Criteria) Order 2019 is due to come into force on 1 February 2021 and will extend the 'tolerable standard' set out in section 86 of the 1987 Act.

The changes in the Order will apply not just to properties which are occupied by tenants, but all residential properties. Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and owner

From LIBOR to SONIA - Technical Adjustment or Substantive Shift?

From LIBOR to SONIA - Technical Adjustment or Substantive Shift?

LIBOR (the London Inter-bank Offered Rate) is at the heart of private funding to the housing sector. Post-2022 however, banks will no longer be required to provide LIBOR quotations and thought needs to be given as to how that may affect Registered Social Landlords who have loans that continue beyond 2022 or indeed are taking out loans now.

Is there a proposed replacement for LIBOR?

The most likely replacement is the Sterling Overnight Interest Average (SONIA) administered by the Bank of England. SONIA is based

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Additional Dwelling Supplement - Update

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Additional Dwelling Supplement - Update

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) replaced Stamp Duty Land Tax on the purchase of property in Scotland on the 1st April 2015. Since then there have been many updates, amendments and guidance notes issued. The purpose of this blog is to provide an update on the current threshold and tax banding for LBTT, the new First Time Buyers Relief and the increase to the Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS).

LBTT Threshold and Banding

The threshold for paying LBTT on the purchase of residential

Equity Release Mortgages

Equity Release Mortgages

Why consider an equity release mortgage?

The average person can expect to live for around 20 years following retirement and for many people equity release is an attractive option as it offers either a lump sum or a regular income which could be used in a number of ways:

  • To supplement your pension
  • To pass on money to your family while you are still alive
  • To go on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday or trip
  • To redecorate or renovate your home
  • To pay off a loan, clear

Laying Strong Foundations: Qualifying Occupiers

Laying Strong Foundations: Qualifying Occupiers

It is a well known principle that any construct must be built on solid foundations in order to stand the test of time. Well, the same can be said for raising an action for recovery of possession of a Scottish Secure Tenancy. In order for proceedings to be initiated the first step is to serve a Notice of Proceedings.

This prerequisite document essentially supports the action through legal proceedings in the courtroom and certainly is the initial bedrock of a pursuer?s position before a Statement

Legal Rights

Legal Rights

'But I've not spoken to my children in 10 years!!' Whether or not you choose to make a Will, there exists what are known as 'Legal Rights' in Scotland. Some argue that if they have chosen to make a Will and expressed a clear wish that their children are not to inherit any of their estate, then why should their children, who they, perhaps, have not seen nor spoken to for many years, be able to lay any claim against their estate? The theory behind

First-tier Tribunal - amendments to the Procedural Rules and Legislation

First-tier Tribunal - amendments to the Procedural Rules and Legislation

Previously, we blogged on the problems with service of actions raised at the First-tier Tribunal - Housing and Property Chamber (FTT-HPC) where the address of the tenant was unknown.

Proposals to amend the FTT-HPC procedural rules to correct this problem and revise the procedural rules more generally were laid before Parliament in December 2018. The amending provisions are contained within the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (Procedure) Amendment Regulations 2018 and The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (Incidental Provisions)

HR Resolutions for 2019

HR Resolutions for 2019

Before we all down tools for Christmas, it might be an idea to think about what sort of 'resolutions' you wish to make for your business in the coming year. Sometimes, the personnel issues are the ones that go to the bottom of a to-do list so now is a good time to think of what you are looking to achieve.

  1. Ensure your contracts and policies are up-to-date

One area that tends to go to the bottom of a to-do list is contracts and policies.

Notice of Potential Liability for Costs: Recovery of Factoring & Common Maintenance Debts

Notice of Potential Liability for Costs: Recovery of Factoring & Common Maintenance Debts

How can you recover factoring & common maintenance debts from owner-occupiers? A Notice of Potential Liability for Costs (NPLCs) can assist Registered Social Landlords and factors to recover money due by owner-occupiers for factoring and common maintenance debts.

Notice of Potential Liability for Costs

Introduced in 2004, the Notice can be used in relation to flats or houses. It does not solely relate to costs already incurred and can be lodged in relation to planned works where there is doubt regarding an owner's ability to

Fair Work Charter for Severe Weather

Fair Work Charter for Severe Weather

The Scottish Government and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) have jointly created A Fair Work Charter for Severe Weather, setting out guidelines for both employers and workers for managing the effects of severe weather on work. The Charter was developed as a response to the severe weather brought in by the 'Beast from the East' at the beginning of 2018 which had an impact on commuters and those with caring responsibilities.

The Charter is an extension of the 2016 Fair Work Framework which

Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental Health in the Workplace

Last week was National Stress Awareness Day, and is a good way to remind employers they should be ensuring the welfare of their employees, in particular their stress levels and overall mental health. Employers have a legal and moral obligation to ensure they aren't discriminating against staff, specifically because of their mental health. Reasonable adjustments, by altering working conditions, to help employees with a disability, including mental health problems is the law.

While many organisations understand the impact of mental health in the workplace, it

Autumn 2018 Budget - key employment announcements

Autumn 2018 Budget - key employment announcements

On 29 October 2018, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, delivered the Autumn 2018 Budget. The Budget included the following measures of interest to employment practitioners:

  • Following the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, the government will increase the national minimum wage from April 2019 to the following rates:
    • Apprentices: £3.90 an hour;
    • 16-17 year olds: £4.35 an hour;
    • 18-20 year olds: £6.15 an hour;
    • 21-24 year olds: £7.70 an hour;
    • National living wage (workers aged 25 and over): £8.21 an hour.
  • The government will meet its

Acas Early Conciliation - Increase From Previous Year

Acas Early Conciliation - Increase From Previous Year

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has published statistics on its early conciliation (EC) service for the period April to June 2018. The statistics show that the total number of EC notifications had increased by 53% as compared to the equivalent quarter of 2017. The figures also show an increase in the proportion of EC cases which thereafter proceeded to a full employment tribunal claim: 23% of EC cases went forward compared to only 17% in the same quarter for 2017.

Acas early conciliation

ONS Reclassification of Registered Social Landlords as Private Bodies

ONS Reclassification of Registered Social Landlords as Private Bodies

Background

In September 2016 the Office of National Statistics (ONS) announced that it was reclassifying Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) in Scotland as public non-financial bodies for the purposes of the national accounts. This was due to RSLs being subject to public sector control via the Scottish Housing Regulator's (SHR) powers over management, constitutional change and disposals of land. As a consequence of this reclassification, RSL debt would have to be counted as a public liability for the purposes of the nation's accounts. The ONS was

All Aboard! Last Call for Letting Agent Registration

All Aboard! Last Call for Letting Agent Registration

There is now an impending deadline fast approaching at breakneck speed on the 1st October 2018. Yes, that's correct. As the turn of the month falls before us and as we enter the autumnal season, if you are conducting letting agency work in Scotland and have not applied to join the Register of Letting Agents through Registers of Scotland then please be forewarned as all individuals involved in letting agency work must comply with the Letting Agent Code of Practice as well as having

How Important is the Appointment of an Executor?

How Important is the Appointment of an Executor?

When it comes to Wills, most people are focused purely on how the estate will be distributed. Questions such as 'have I given enough to my grandchildren?' and 'will my spouse be adequately provided for?' are, obviously, very important matters to consider. However, the appointment of an Executor is just as important.

Who should I appoint?

Your Executor is responsible for dealing with the administration of your estate and ensuring that the terms of your Will are carried out, often with the assistance of a

Acas Publishes New Advice on Job References

Acas Publishes New Advice on Job References

Acas, also known as The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, has produced new guidance on job references. Aimed at both employers and employees, it is based around the most frequently asked questions put to the Acas helpline. It explains what references are and provides information on what they should include, when they are required and how to deal with issues or problems. In particular, the guidance covers the following common questions:

  • Does a reference have to be provided?
  • What can a reference include?
  • Can an

Only 6% of UK working traditional 9am-5pm hours

Only 6% of UK working traditional 9am-5pm hours

Working nine-to-five is no longer the working norm according to a YouGov survey.

The survey reveals that a mere 6% work the traditional 9am-5pm workplace hours. Interestingly, only 14% of those polled would opt for these hours if given the choice.

A significant proportion (66%) said they would prefer to start earlier and finish earlier, with the most preferred options being 8 till 4 or 7 till 3.

Whilst this reflects a shift in labour requirements generally, it also shows a change in attitudes towards

Funeral Instructions - Do They Matter?

Funeral Instructions - Do They Matter?

One of the benefits of making a Will is that you can narrate your funeral instructions and let your family know your specific wishes for your funeral. However, as you will not be here to know if these wishes have been carried out, is it really worth stipulating what should happen to your body and at your funeral service?

The inclusion of funeral instructions in your Will is a guide to your Executors and family and can be as straightforward or as complicated as you

How long is a six month lease? The First-tier Tribunal's interpretation

How long is a six month lease? The First-tier Tribunal's interpretation

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) (FTT) "recently considered the duration of a short assured tenancy in the case of Prestel & Dunbar v Norton (EV/18/1089)."

In this case parties entered into a tenancy agreement on 21st July 2017. An AT5 was served on the same date, before the tenancy agreement was signed. On 17th November 2017, the landlord served on the tenants a Notice to Quit and a Notice under Section 33(1)(d) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988,

Top tips when completing a trainee application form

Top tips when completing a trainee application form

As TC Young starts looking for another trainee, I thought some candidates may welcome some tips for completing a trainee application form before pushing the send button ?

  1. ?Your application form and covering email will create a first impression. ?As a wise man once said you don?t get a second chance to make a first impression?!
  2. Read the application form carefully. Then read it again to ensure you understand the guidelines provided. An application form is not only an opportunity to provide your details, it

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

It is quite a thought returning to work after a period of maternity leave and here we look at the things an employee will want to think about before going back to work.

    • You must take at least 2 weeks off after your baby is born (compulsory maternity leave), which is increased to 4 weeks if you work in a factory. Other than the compulsory maternity leave period, you can take up to 52 weeks maternity leave.
    • If you do not wish to take the

Sickness Absence at Lowest Rate on Record

Sickness Absence at Lowest Rate on Record

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics establish a significant fall in the number of sick days employees are taking off work. The figures reveal that employees took off an average of only 4.1 days in 2017, compared to 7.1 back in 1993 (the year records began).

The available data shows that the sickness absence rate started slowly decreasing in 1999, and continued to fall following the 2008 credit-crunch. There will be a multitude of factors contributing to this. It is suggested that the

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