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Letting agent guilty under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations

Letting agent guilty under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations

Earlier this month a Scottish letting agent pled guilty to an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. What was perhaps surprising was that the ?offence? committed by the letting agents was the failure to lodge deposits with an approved tenancy deposit scheme on behalf one of their landlord clients.

In terms of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2011, a landlord has a duty to pay any deposit received from a tenant into an approved tenancy deposit scheme within 30 working

The impact of ECHR on the Private Rented Sector

The impact of ECHR on the Private Rented Sector

Notwithstanding the recent Brexit vote, the European Convention on Human Rights (EHCR) remains part of our law at least for now. It's impact on the social rented sector has been clear since the decision of the Supreme Court in Manchester City Council v Pinnock [2010] CSIH 78 (particularly Article 8: the right to respect to respect for private and family life). In short, in social rented eviction cases, the courts are required to balance the rights of the parties facing eviction and consider whether granting

Key Changes Introduced by the Trade Union Act 2016

Key Changes Introduced by the Trade Union Act 2016

In a year that has seen headlines dominated by strikes of junior doctors and Scotrail staff, the introduction of the Trade Union Act 2016, is likely to be of great interest to both employers and employees. The Trade Union Act 2016 (TUA), which is expected to come into force throughout the year, incorporates a number of changes for the Trade Union regime throughout the U.K.

The Key Changes

Balloting

Before industrial action can take place, a Trade Union must ballot its members. Members will cast

Why I would recommend a Modern Apprenticeship

Trying to decide which career path to go down towards the end of my time at school was a difficult and somewhat daunting process, as is the case for a lot of school leavers. The decision lies between further education, such as college and university, or to go straight into the big bad world and get a job. I know first-hand how hard a choice this can be. I found the idea of further education very appealing however I wanted to be earning money. I

How will Brexit affect employment law?

How will Brexit affect employment law?

On Friday the 24th June 2016 the country woke up to the news that the majority of voters in the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union. Whilst the implications of this referendum will be far reaching, the question on a number of people?s lips is how will Brexit affect employment law?

The UK will continue to remain a member of the EU until there is agreement on when we will leave. However, there are a number of employment issues that are

Essential Compliance with the UN Disability Convention

Essential Compliance with the UN Disability Convention

Solicitors, healthcare and social work professionals, and others need to be aware of the major changes in practice required to ensure compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They must apply these changes now, within the framework of existing legislation, pending upgrading of the UK's adult incapacity and mental capacity legislation. The UK ratified the Convention without reservation in 2009. The UK also ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention, allowing citizens who claim to be victims of breach of

Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 - the changes are coming!

Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 - the changes are coming!

It has been over two years since the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 was passed by the Scottish parliament.

This Act proposes to introduce significant changes in many areas of housing management and practice for registered social landlords.

It would now appear that the implementation of the various proposals will commence this year.

Draft versions of guidance on the following topics will be available towards the end of June (edit September 2016: guidance not yet issued but should follow at some point this year).

  • Legal Framework

Life as a Modern Apprentice

In February of this year I began my Modern Apprenticeship with TC Young in Edinburgh. I am an Admin Assistant within the Property Department and the tasks I carry out as a modern apprentice can differ day to day. Some of the duties are:

  • Collecting mail in the morning as well as alternate evenings
  • Doing the filing for the solicitors
  • Collecting and preparing banking and recorded deliveries
  • Writing cheques
  • Preparing meetings and clearing up once finished
  • Arranging for delivery/collection from our offsite storage company
  • Undertakings

Supported decision-making and co-decision-making in Scotland

Supported decision-making and co-decision-making in Scotland

People with intellectual disabilities are promised the same rights to control their own lives as everyone else by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They are also promised the support needed to make this a reality. Supported decision-making is one way of doing that. Co-decision-making is another. But how can these be arranged in practice?

Your abilities to assert and achieve what you want may already be limited, or may become less in future. How can you ensure that you

Maternity Related Discrimination: some worrying statistics

Maternity Related Discrimination: some worrying statistics

The Department for Business Innovation and Skill (BIS), together with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), commissioned research exploring pregnancy and maternity related discrimination in the workplace. The research involved interviews with over 3,000 mothers and over 3,000 employers in Britain.

While you may not all have the time or inclination to read the full report, the information that stemmed from the research is worrying, considering rights in relation to maternity and pregnancy discrimination have been around for so long.

Some of the key

Managing employees working from home

Managing employees working from home

An area of employment law which is gaining more ground is the issue of managing employees working from home. In fact I have been asked by a number of clients about this issue given more employees are making flexible working requests to work from home. It is important that employers are aware of how to manage employees working from home and using their own devices.

Homeworking is a type of flexible working which, depending on the agreement between employer and employee, can be also used

Training requirements for letting agents

Training requirements for letting agents

Within the last few weeks, Scottish Ministers have advised stakeholders of their proposals for the training requirements? for letting agents to go with the Code of Practice.

The training requirements will apply to the most senior person in a letting agency business (unless they have no input into the?letting agency?s day-to-day running) and all persons directly concerned with managing and supervising of a business? letting agency work.

There must also be at least one person per office (where relevant letting agency work is carried

Letting agent registration and code of conduct

Letting agent registration and code of conduct

Most of the headlines for the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland have been grabbed by the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill, which was passed after the stage 3 debate this month and set to become an Act. However, before we get an entirely new tenancy regime for the PRS, the sector will have to grapple with mandatory letting agent registration and code of conduct.

Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 makes provision for the registration, regulation and training requirements for letting agents

Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill

Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 17th March 2016. The stated aim of the legislation is to create simpler tenancies, offer stability and security for private tenants and ensure predictability over rent increases. It also fundamentally changes the nature of the relationship between landlords and tenants from contractual to statutory. We will get a new tenancy type called a 'Private Rented Tenancy' which will replace the current Assured and Short Assured regime. The Scottish Government has yet

How do I get divorced in Scotland?

How do I get divorced in Scotland?

We are often asked the question - how do I get divorced in Scotland? In order to obtain a divorce you must raise an action in a Court which has jurisdiction. Jurisdiction normally means that you raise the action in the Court nearest to you. Before contemplating where to raise an action you must determine whether you can raise a divorce action or not. In order to raise a divorce action, you must have the legal ground to do so. In Scotland there is one

Training Requirements for Letting Agents under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014

Training Requirements for Letting Agents under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014

Part 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 makes provision for the registration, regulation and training requirements for letting agents in Scotland. The provisions include a mandatory register of letting agents with an associated 'fit and proper' person test, training requirements, a code of practice to which all letting agents must adhere and enforcement through the new First- Tier tribunal.

In February 2016, The Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016 were laid before the Scottish Parliament and are set to come into force

What happens when a joint tenant leaves a property?

What happens when a joint tenant leaves a property?

We are often asked by landlords about joint tenancies under an assured or short assured tenancy (if you have joint tenants under a Private Residential Tenancy, read this blog). Particularly where one joint tenant wishes to leave a rented property and gives proper written notice, but the other joint tenant wishes to stay.

Technically, a vacating tenant who gives proper written notice in advance of a contractual end date or Ish, cannot create a situation where the remaining tenant becomes the sole tenant under

Plans and mapping requirements under the 2012 Act ? what you need to know?

Plans and mapping requirements under the 2012 Act ? what you need to know?

The Scottish Government are anxious to ensure that all Scottish property is mapped on the Land Register as soon as possible. Mapping requirements are at the heart of the 2012 legislation. A cadastral map: a single unified map of all registered property in Scotland based on the ordinance survey map is being prepared.? However, accurate plotting is not always straight forward.? Old Title Deeds often have inadequate plans and for some the written description makes it difficult to plot the subjects described against physical

National Living Wage - what you need to know!

National Living Wage - what you need to know!

As you will have no doubt seen in newspaper headlines and Government advertising billboards, there is a ?new? rate of pay coming in ? the National Living Wage. In this blog, we look at what this change is and what it will mean for businesses.

There are currently four different hourly rates of National Minimum Wage (NMW) for different categories of worker:

  1. Standard rate for workers aged 21 or over: ?6.70
  2. Development rate: workers aged between 18 and 20 inclusive: ?5.30
  3. Young workers rate:

A New Year, a new Trust to benefit the PRS

A New Year, a new Trust to benefit the PRS

A New Year is a time for new ideas, and we are now looking for yours. As Scotland's only not-for-profit tenancy deposit scheme, we are in a unique position to give something back to the private rented sector and so we are delighted to announce the launch of the SafeDeposits Scotland Trust.

The Trust is a new grant-giving charity aimed at promoting education, training and best practice in Scotland's private rented sector, by funding projects which provide tangible benefits to landlords, letting agents and tenants

Act now to avoid higher Land & Building Transaction Tax rates

Act now to avoid higher Land & Building Transaction Tax rates

On 28 January the Scottish Government published the Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill. This follows the announcement by Scotland's Finance Secretary in the Scottish budget in December 2015 that Scotland would follow the steps announced by the UK chancellor in charging additional Land & Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) (Scotland's equivalent of stamp duty) on second homes and buy to let properties.

Land & Building Transaction Tax rates

It is intended that the additional land & building transaction tax rates will apply

Problems ahead for student letting in Scotland?

Problems ahead for student letting in Scotland?

The Stage 1 report into the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill (the Bill) from the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee has been published along with their recommendations. Evidence has been taken from various stakeholders in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) and the report and its recommendations were debated in the Scottish Parliament earlier this month.? How will this affect student letting in Scotland?

The report can be downloaded here.

The Report makes some significant recommendations regarding Student Tenancies. The policy objective behind the Bill

Legal highs, employment lows

Legal highs, employment lows

Employers routinely have to be live to changes to employment laws and practices to ensure that they operate within the scope of employment legislation. However, alongside these types of changes, employers should be aware of cultural changes which might have an impact on their place of work. One such cultural change which is becoming an issue for some is the rise in the use of legal highs. Following the release of Acas guidance on this subject, we look at this issue in more detail and

All change in public procurement law

All change in public procurement law

There have been a flurry of new developments in public procurement law in Scotland and we have provided a brief summary of these below. Please watch this space for further detail and more commentary on the changes!

1. Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015

The 2015 regulations were published on 22 December and are due to come into force on 18 April 2016. They will replace the existing 2012 regulations and are intended to transpose the new EU directive on public procurement into Scots law. These

Digital Signatures for Residential Leases

Digital Signatures for Residential Leases

With the introduction of bespoke software providers advertising the ability to execute residential leases electronically (digital signatures), we are regularly being asked -  can such services be used in Scotland?

The Requirements of Writing (Scotland) Act 1995 (RWA) does recognise electronic signatures as 'writing', and has done so since the commencement of the relevant parts of the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 2012.

I would point out that, in terms of the RWA, there is no requirement for leases of less than 12mths to be

Employer's end of year checklist

Employer's end of year checklist

As we approach the end of 2015, it is a good time for employers to think about what HR issues they want to address before the end of the year and get prepared for the individual challenges that the oncoming festive period offers up. Here are our top things for an end of year checklist:

  1. Do you need new staff? Now is a good time to think about your organisational needs and decide whether or not you will be looking to recruit new employees in

More problems for landlords tackling anti-social behaviour

More problems for landlords tackling anti-social behaviour

The Scottish Housing Minister maintained that proposed changes to private rented tenancies would not impact landlords?tackling anti-social behaviour. Highlighting that anti-social behaviour was ?unacceptable?; the Housing Minister stated that landlords would continue to be entitled to pursue eviction of tenants based on anti-social behaviour under the new Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill 2015 (the Bill).

Whilst still in the preliminary stages, the Bill is set to introduce a number of changes which will affect the management of tenancies; such as introducing a new tribunal system.

Statutory Guidance on the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 published

Statutory Guidance on the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 published

The Scottish Government has issued the first of its statutory guidance under the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 (the Act), which addresses fair work practices in procurement. The guidance applies to all regulated procurements which commence on or after 1 November this year. A few provisions of the Act which are relevant to the guidance came into force on 28 September, including Section 2 which defines a 'regulated procurement' as any procedure carried out by a public body in relation to the award of a

Succession to Property in Europe - Brussels IV

Succession to Property in Europe - Brussels IV

The overlap of the laws of succession in different countries (e.g. in the country which you live and the country in which you own property) has caused a great deal of confusion and resulted in property owners putting two Wills in place ? one in the country which they live in and the other in the country where they own property. Succession to property in Europe is?now set to change

EU Regulation No 650/2012 (commonly known as "Brussels IV") was passed in 2012, but will

How to conduct a disciplinary hearing & appeal - Part 2

How to conduct a disciplinary hearing & appeal - Part 2

Following on from our previous blog, the second instalment in our disciplinary series looks at the disciplinary hearing.

If, after a reasonable investigation, the employer takes the decision to proceed to a disciplinary hearing, the employee should be notified in writing of this. The notification should contain information about the time and venue of the formal meeting and advise the employee of their right to be accompanied. The letter is likely to state who will conduct the disciplinary hearing, and it should not be carried

Main Residence Nil Rate Band

Main Residence Nil Rate Band

The Summer Finance Bill sets out the changes to Inheritance Tax which were announced by the Chancellor in his Summer Budget. The Bill introduces an additional Main Residence Nil Rate Band (the Band) which will be introduced in stages from April 2017 until the full Band of £175,000 comes into force in April 2020. The Band will be in addition to the existing Nil Rate Band of £325,000.

When is the Band available?

The Band will apply when a qualifying residence (the qualifying residential interest)

How to conduct a disciplinary investigation ? Part 1

How to conduct a disciplinary investigation ? Part 1

It is likely that most managers will have to deal with a disciplinary matter at some point in their career. It is important that a fair procedure is followed otherwise they risk any subsequent dismissal being classed as unfair. In our two part blog series we look at the factors to be considered by employers when dealing with a disciplinary matter. Here we look at how a disciplinary investigation should be conducted.

The first thing employers must do is familiarise themselves with the Acas

The end of Long Leases

The end of Long Leases

The Long Leases (Scotland) Act 2012 will come into force in Scotland on 28 November 2015, a tenant's interest under a qualifying lease will automatically convert to outright ownership of the property and the landlord's title to the property will be extinguished. Essentially this will mean the end of long leases. It is estimated there are around 9000 long leases that will be eligible to convert.

Qualifying Leases

To qualify, a lease must be:

  • Registered/recorded
  • Originally have been granted for a term of more than

How to manage cancer in the workplace

How to manage cancer in the workplace

The ability to manage cancer in the workplace is becoming increasingly relevant for many employers and employees. More than 100,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer each year, in addition to the 700,000 people of working age living with cancer. There are also an estimated 500,000 carers of people with cancer working in the UK. This means that employers should understand their obligations to these employees, helping them through a difficult and stressful time.

People with cancer are protected from discrimination by law.

Off-side employment law - employee demotion

Off-side employment law - employee demotion

Another week, another footballing story which gives rise to some interesting employment law questions, including employee demotion. This time, it involves Jose Mourinho and his public criticism of the Chelsea FC team doctor and physiotherapist after they ran on to the pitch during stoppage time of a match against Swansea to treat a player. After the criticism by Mourinho, it was widely reported that both employees would have their role substantially changed so that they would no longer be on the bench during matches. This

Implications of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

Implications of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

Parts 7 and 8 of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 are currently coming into force and are being implemented in three stages.

Changes will occur in respect of the Companies Act 2006 as a result of this.

What does it mean for you as a company?

Phase 1 - 26 May 2015

Companies will no longer be able to issue bearer shares. Share warrants to bearers are abolished with any existing share warrants to be surrendered within 9 months.

Phase 2 -

Carbon monoxide alarms in private rented housing

Carbon monoxide alarms in private rented housing

From 1 December 2015, the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 will introduce changes in relation to the requirement for provision of carbon monoxide alarms in private rented housing.

The 2014 Act introduces an amendment to the Repairing Standard, which applies to all private rented housing.? The Repairing Standard will be amended to include the additional requirement that ?the house has satisfactory provision for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health.?? The Act also says that regard

Changes to bankruptcy procedure

Changes to bankruptcy procedure

The recent Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act 2014 came into force on 1st April 2015 and has brought about important changes to the way debts can be enforced. We look in particular at two changes to bankruptcy procedure below:

Moratorium on Diligence

Prior to 1 April 2015, a person with debts could only receive protection from creditors once they were sequestrated, had a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) in place or a protected trust deed. The 2014 Act now gives the debtor an additional

Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations ? What RSLs need to do

Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations ? What RSLs need to do

In June 2014 the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) confirmed that the Environmental Information Scotland Regulations applied to Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) based on the level of supervision/direction exercised by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) and RSLs responsibilities to providing/managing etc. social housing including the requirements of the Social Housing Charter, SHQS and EESH in matters such as noise, energy efficiency, heating installation, and use of appropriate building materials.

The decision was challenged earlier this year but was again upheld by SIC. Accordingly like local and

Changes to the way leases can be signed

Changes to the way leases can be signed

On 1 July 2015, the Legal Writings (Counterparts & Delivery) (Scotland) Act 2015 came into force marking a significant change in the way that residential leases can be signed.

Although there have been arguments within the legal profession regarding whether or not counterpart signing has always been possible, this point has not been widely accepted. Prior to 1 July 2015, the general consensus was that all parties to a lease must sign one principal document. This caused issues, for example, when joint tenants resided abroad

When is rent in advance a deposit?

When is rent in advance a deposit?

The case of Cordiner v Al-Shaibany at Dundee Sheriff Court has again looked at the issue of whether rent paid in advance can be deemed to be a security deposit. In this case the Pursuer, Miss Cordiner, was the tenant under a Short Assured Tenancy with the landlord, Mr Al-Shaibany. At the start of the tenancy, the tenant paid £1,050 as payment for the first and last month's rent. At the end of the tenancy, the tenant raised an action against the landlord on the

The importance of a social media policy for employees

The importance of a social media policy for employees

Do you have a social media policy for employees? Employee use of social media is on the increase and so too are the number of cases going to employment tribunals on this area! The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held in a recent judgement that it was fair for an employer to dismiss an employee that made derogatory comments about his employer on Facebook.

In the recent case of British Waterways Board v Smith, the EAT considered whether it was fair to dismiss an

Awarding a Public Contract- What Happens Next?

Awarding a Public Contract-  What Happens Next?

Registered Social Landlords are ?contracting authorities? for the purposes of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2012. When awarding a public contract - what happens next? The Regulations apply to:

- works contracts with a value of ?4,322,012 or more;

- supplies and services contracts with a value of ?172,514 or more.

Contracting authorities must ensure that when advertising public contracts in excess of these thresholds, evaluating bids and selecting the successful party, they follow the rules set out in the Regulations.

Having identified a contractual

Gender Pay Gap Consultation

Gender Pay Gap Consultation

On the 14th July, the Government launched a consultation on the implementation of gender pay gap, 'Closing the Gender Pay Gap'. This gender pay gap consultation is important for a number of reasons.

Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 contains a power for the government to require private and third sector employers with more than 250 employees to publish information relating to the differences in pay between male and female employees.

Guidance on the "Think, Act, Report" framework has also been re-published. This

The Budget 2015: How inheritance tax changes affect you

The Budget 2015: How inheritance tax changes affect you

The Budget announcement saw the Chancellor George Osborne unveil inheritance tax changes to the current regime. George Osborne confirmed that the inheritance tax threshold is set to increase from ?325,000 to ?500,000 for a single person and from ?650,000 to ?1million for a married couple or civil partnership.

What is the current Inheritance Tax regime?

Inheritance tax is currently charged at a rate of 40% on the value of an estate above the tax free threshold of ?325,000 per person.

Married couples and civil partners

Employment implications of the 2015 budget

Employment implications of the 2015 budget

The Chancellor George Osborne delivered the first Conservative Budget in almost 20 years this week and there were some interesting announcements which will have employment implications.

Here is a summary of the main points:

  • A new National Living Wage will be introduced for all workers over the age of 25. This will replace the current National Minimum Wage, and it will be at the rate of £7.20 an hour from April 2016, rising to £9 an hour by 2020. It is estimated that this will

New Housing Tribunal for the Private Rented Sector

New Housing Tribunal for the Private Rented Sector

The Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 received royal assent on 15 April 2014. The Act essentially creates a framework for housing tribunal reform, and will be implemented in three phases. The first phase sees the creation of a new housing chamber, which will incorporate the current work of the Private Rented Housing Panel and Home Owner Housing Panel, as well as transferring work which is currently dealt with in the Sheriff Court system into the new chamber.

The housing tribunal will have a two tier structure.

Eviction appeals are not second chances

Eviction appeals are not second chances

In January 2015, Sheriff Wood heard three rent arrear actions in which clients sought decree for eviction, payment and expenses. Despite the tenants being represented and submitting various explanations for non-payment, Sheriff Wood was satisfied that it was reasonable to grant decree in all three cases. All three cases were appealed to the Sheriff Principal. Here is why eviction appeals are not second chances!

Glasgow West Housing Association Ltd v Danuta Harasimowicz, was one of the cases appealed to the Sheriff Principal and concerned the

Parental Rights and Responsibilities

Parental Rights and Responsibilities

So just what are parental rights and responsibilities? Parents have the responsibility to look after their children:

- to help them to be healthy

- encourage their growth, development and welfare

- to ensure attendance at school and an opportunity to develop to their full potential

Parents have the responsibility and the right to say how their children should be brought up. This includes:

  • being in charge and saying what they can and cannot do until they are 16;
  • providing advice and guidance until 18;

Working Time Directive and Mobile Workers

Working Time Directive and Mobile Workers

An opinion was given in a case before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which will interest a number of our clients who have workers who travel regularly as part of their role. The Working Time Directive (the Directive), defines "working time" as any period during which the worker is working, is at the employer's disposal and is carrying out his activity or duties. The Directive defines "rest period" as meaning any period which is not working time. The Directive is implemented in UK law

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