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Child Custody Scotland - Listen to the Children

Child Custody Scotland - I am often asked by parents what age their child has to be to express a view in a child custody dispute between parents. Although many people still talk of custody and access, these terms are no longer legally correct and are now called residence and contact. In terms of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 there is an assumption that a child aged 12 or over is able to give an opinion, and to instruct their own solicitor. That is only

How do I Ensure a Tenant Pays their Rent?

As a landlord, how do you ensure a?tenant pays their rent?

Well, in a nutshell, you can?t!? But you can try to protect yourself by taking some basic steps before you hand over the keys to the property.

Credit checks
What is your prospective tenant?s financial position???Have they got multiple debts to other creditors? Are there any payment decrees granted against them in court?? If so, alarm bells should ring and you should think twice about handing over those keys!

Obtain references from their

Procurement Process: Get the Basics Right

Clients continue to have a lot of questions concerning the procurement process and rightly so.? The risk of getting it wrong can be very costly for an organisation. So just how do you get the procurement process right?

A common pitfall under the procurement regulations is a failure to make the distinction between selection and award criteria. Such failures can be costly, leading to a challenge under the regulations. Although it seems that there is little guidance in the area, there are some useful hints

UK Employment Legislation Controversial Reforms

A number of national newspapers, along with the BBC, reported (from a Government source) that the Coalition were planning to introduce wide-ranging and controversial reforms to UK employment legislation.

-?Redundancy rules could be relaxed, says government ? BBC News Article

-?Unions attack plans to reform employment laws ? Guardian News Article

This was to include:

  • a cap on discrimination awards at tribunals;
  • dilution of the TUPE rights protecting transferring employees;
  • a reduction in the current redundancy consultation periods.

The actual published statement when

Avoid Contract Confusion

We are?often asked by housing associations to look at a contract for the purchase of land and to explain what it means. Legal contracts are supposed to provide certainty and clarity but the opposite can sometimes be the case. So how do you avoid contract confusion?

We recently looked at a contract for a housing association that had an ?option? to purchase some land for development. Rather than agreeing to buy the land outright the association had instead entered into an agreement where it could

Vulnerable adults - Would a Guardianship Help?

"Help! My Aunt Has Dementia and No Longer Understands". Under Adult with Incapacity Legislation - Would a Guardianship help?

Jean recently visited the office looking for advice on how she can help her elderly auntie, who's in hospital. The medical staff caring for Jean's aunt believe she no longer has capacity to make decisions on her own behalf but have told Jean that she has no legal authority to make decisions for her aunt.

Jean sought legal advice, which confirmed that as her aunt's nearest

Ready for more changes in the Private Rented Sector?

The law is raining down on the private rented sector?and over the next few years there will be major legal changes affecting you and your tenants. ?Are you ready for more changes in the private rented sector?

Ahead of the pack is the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Act 2011 which should be in force by the end of 2011. If you?re really keen or just looking for a cure for insomnia, the entire act can be found here. Meanwhile, keep reading for a handy summary

Does the Dangerous Dogs Act affect landlords?

Would you know a dangerous dog if you saw one? Most tenants wouldn?t?and who can blame them. You may think the huge black snarling beast with the sharp teeth next door is a dangerous dog but the law probably disagrees. How can the Dangerous Dogs Act help?

The problems caused by dangerous dogs remains a topical issue and a controversial one. I?ve often had calls from landlords, who in turn have had calls from their tenants or other residents in the area - ?The new

Gift Aid Declarations for Charities

Charities will no longer have to obtain signed gift aid declarations on the first ?5,000 of small donations per year in order for those donations to qualify for the tax relief, Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Budget speech.

Gift aid will be automatically applied to the donations. Osborne said 100,000 charities would benefit from this to the tune of ?240m. The announcement was the first of a number of major new initiatives affecting charities which Osborne described as ?the most radical reforms to charitable

Legal Rights in Scotland Reviewed by the Scottish Government

Following a recent review, the Scottish Government announced they will not be seeking to remove the distinction between the types of property for the purposes of calculating legal rights. The Scottish Law Commission proposed to amend the calculation of legal rights to take into account the deceased?s entire estate both heritable (land and buildings) and moveable (cash, money in the bank, shares, furniture, cars, jewellery and other personal effects).

What are legal rights?

Legal rights mean that a deceased person cannot entirely disinherit family members.

Raising Applications Where the Tenant's Location is Unknown

In an earlier blog we discussed the benefits of the new abandonment ground contained within the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

Ground 10 states;

?It is an eviction ground that the tenant is not occupying the let property as the tenant?s home?.

This ground is only applicable to private residential tenancies.

A practical difficulty now anticipated in connection with this ground relates to service difficulties in the application for eviction.

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) arranges service of the eviction

Disability Discrimination: a Defence to Eviction

Registered Social Landlords will be all too familiar with the reasonableness defences available to tenants facing eviction in the Sheriff Court. However, they may be less aware of an additional defence under the Equality Act 2010 which is increasing in frequency

15 (1) of the Equality Act 2010 (the Act) provides:

?A person (A) discriminates against a disabled person (B) if? (a) A treats B unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of B's disability, and (b) A cannot show that the treatment is a


Are skylights and velux windows part of the roof? In the case of Waelde -v- Ulloa the Sheriff decided they were not. A single dwellinghouse in Edinburgh had been converted into three flats - top, middle and bottom. The top floor owner carried out roof repairs and sought to claim a share of the maintenance costs from his downstairs neighbours. The middle floor proprietor agreed to pay for the roof but challenged that he was not liable for repairs to the skylight or the felt

Is rent in advance a tenancy deposit?

In the recent English case of Johnson and Ors v Old, Mrs Old paid 6 months rent in advance. Mrs Old subsequently claimed as her defence to repossession proceedings that the advance payment constituted a deposit and should therefore have been paid into a tenancy deposit scheme.

The definition of a deposit under English law is similar to Scots Law, namely:-

"any money intended to be held . . . as security for

(a) the performance of any obligations of the tenant, or

(b) the

A Guide to Employment Tribunal Procedures

Employment tribunal procedure is designed to deal with claims brought against employers by employees, which have not been resolved by other means. Many employment rights are contained in legislation and the majority of these rights can only be enforced by Employment Tribunals. Tribunals also have jurisdiction to consider some contractual claims arising from contracts of employment. While an Employment Tribunal hearing is less formal than a court hearing, the decisions made by Employment Tribunals are legally binding and must be followed. ?So what happens on

Parental rights and responsibilities

So just what are your 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

Landlord Legal Rights ? When Can You Access Your Property?

One of the most frequent problems faced by landlords is how they access a property when their tenant refuses to let them in.? This is more common when the landlord, tenant relationship has broken down! What legal rights does a landlord have?

Routine Access

Most Short Assured Tenancies should have a specific clause covering landlord?s access to the property.? Most of these clauses say that the tenant agrees to give the landlord access:

  • To carry out maintenance, repair or inspection
  • Provided written notice has been

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