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How to Legally Change Your Name in Scotland

How to Legally Change Your Name in Scotland

The law in Scotland allows anyone to change his or her forename or surname legally at any time providing this is not to defraud. We are often asked how to legally change your name in Scotland.

Marriage, Divorce and Civil Partnership
Following marriage or a civil partnership you can use your birth name or your spouse's or partner's. A marriage or civil partnership certificate is sufficient proof to instigate this change.

If you divorce or dissolve a civil partnership an extract decree of divorce or

Procurement Process and framework agreements

Procurement Process and framework agreements

When going through a procurement process how do you ensure you are getting your framework agreements right?

What are framework agreements?

A framework agreement is a "contract" under the procurement regulations, but it is not a contract in the traditional sense. It is an agreement whereby a number of contractors are appointed to the framework, and the client may award specific contracts to any one of those contractors during the lifetime of the framework. However, there is no obligation on the client to do so.

Landlords Gas Safety Responsibilities

What is a landlords gas safety responsibilities? The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 require a landlord to ensure that any gas fitting (and any flue which serves any relevant gas fitting) is maintained in a safe condition.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) issued a safety letter in October 2008 regarding a potential risk regarding flues for gas boilers which were located in internal walls and which run through areas such as a ceiling void. Clearly such flues cannot be easily visually inspected.

Boundary Dispute: Responsibility for Maintaining a Boundary

Boundary Dispute: Responsibility for Maintaining a Boundary

Although the law on boundary walls/fences is relatively straight forward, the issue of ownership or maintenance, in practice, is sometimes a difficult and sensitive issue. A seemingly minor disagreement can quickly become a full-scale boundary dispute involving solicitors' letters and threats of court action.

With any boundary queries:

  • At the outset you should review the relevant title deeds to see if there is anything which defines ownership or maintenance responsibility for the boundary feature.
  • The information contained in the title deeds takes precedence over any

Power of Attorney vs Guardianship, what's better?

Power of Attorney vs Guardianship, what's better?

Powers of Attorney and Guardianship are often confused and I am regularly asked for advice on which is more appropriate. So Power of Attorney vs Guardianship, what's better? Although both concepts are regulated by the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 and have similar effects, there are significant differences between the procedure for each.

What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document appointing someone to act for and make decisions on behalf of the granter. The Power of Attorney

Demise of Lifelong Tenancy Agreements

Demise of Lifelong Tenancy Agreements

In 2010 the Coalition government introduced proposals that will mean the demise of lifelong tenancy agreements. These proposals howeveer will not affect Scotland as housing is a devolved issue for the Scottish parliament.

The plans are being debated at Westminster as part of the Localism Bill but current proposals include:
- the creation of a new tenancy in the social sector called the "flexible tenancy".
- a fixed tenancy for a minimum of two years. Tenants would not be guaranteed any extension to that initial

Helping Landlords Get the Notice to Quit Date Right

Helping Landlords Get the Notice to Quit Date Right

As a private landlord, you really need to be on the ball to avoid the pitfalls of Scottish tenancy law. One of the biggest danger areas involves the perils of picking the wrong date. This can occur in a number of circumstances. So how do you get the notice to quit date right?

The Short Assured Tenancy Agreement Scotland

  • The law says that a short assured tenancy agreement must be for a minimum of six months. e.g. 8 December 2010 to 8 June 2011.
  • Always

How to Recover Money From a Debtor

How to Recover Money From a Debtor

How can you recover money from a debtor if you obtain a court Order which orders your debtor to pay you the debt but your debtor does not make payment?

Do you know what you do next? This is a predicament frequently faced by individuals and organisations who seek to recover debt. Do not give up as there are various options available!

First Step
If you wish to pursue the debt, the first step is to serve a Charge for Payment. This is a statutory

Successful Completion of Second Stage Transfer

Successful Completion of Second Stage Transfer

On 27 June 2011, we successfully completed the last batch of housing stock second stage transfers from Glasgow Housing Association to several of our Registered Social Landlord (RSL) clients, meaning that the properties are now in the ownership of community-controlled housing associations throughout the city. In total, almost 19,000 homes have transferred to the delight of tenants who voted in favour of their new landlords during the consultation period.

Having been involved in bringing the planned transfer programme to fruition for many years, 2009 saw

What are Living Wills and do I need one?

What are living Wills?

They are:

- a statement expressing your views about how you would like to be treated in the future

- a Will of sorts but applies whilst you are alive not after your death

- essentially an expression of your wishes set out in advance of illness at a time when you have the mental capacity to understand the issues involved and give clear directions

- used to outline circumstances in which you?d like medical treatment withheld e.g. if you suffer

Does Power of Attorney include Tax Planning

Does Power of Attorney include Tax Planning

Attorneys acting under a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney must comply with the five guiding principles set out in the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. Arguably, the most important of these is that an Attorney must always act in the best interests of the adult. Does this include tax planning?

Best interests of the adult - not always clear cut?
At first glance, it seems that deciding what is in the best interests of the adult is pretty straightforward. However, grey areas often

Divorce or Separation, What's Best?

Divorce or Separation, What's Best?

When a relationship breaks down, there are lots of questions at what is a very emotional and anxious time. If you are going through a divorce or separation, what is the best way to deal with this. Is it mediation, or Court?

It is always wise to speak to a solicitor at an early stage who should explain:

  • that every situation is different and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another
  • outstanding issues can be resolved without acrimonious exchange of lawyers?

What are Collateral Warranties? Explaining the Basics

What are Collateral Warranties? Explaining the Basics

What are collateral warranties?
Collateral warranties are contracts which are designed to establish a contractual link between a third party (the beneficiary) and a contractor or consultant who has carried out certain works.

Why are they required?
In the case of a building contract, collateral warranties are a promise from the contractor to the beneficiary that the works have been carried out in accordance with the building contract. If the works have been carried out negligently, the beneficiary has a right of recourse against the

Get the procurement process basics right!

Get the procurement process basics right!

Many of our clients come too late for procurement advice, as they have already received notice of a potential challenge under the procurement regulations. If you are about to embark on a procurement exercise you should ask the following at the outset:

1. What type of contract is it?
The procurement regulations apply to contracts for works, services and supplies. Although it seems easy to identify what constitutes 'work' that isn't always the case!

A good rule of thumb to follow is that maintenance of

Charities & RSLs Combat Climate Change

Climate change burden
Real burdens? ?Boring?, you may say?. Indeed, often little consideration is given to imposing real burdens or conditions upon the sale of land or property. After the introduction of?legislation in 2010, however, real burdens have become more attractive to charities, housing associations and individuals with an environmental conscience as they can now be used to combat climate change.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 creates a concept known as a ?climate change burden?, which must have as its purpose the

Private Rented Housing Scotland Act 2011

Private Rented Housing Scotland Act 2011

Are you ready for the Private Rented Housing Scotland Act 2011? The Scottish Parliament doesn't like to make life easy for us by just bringing a whole Act into force at the same time. Instead, they like to test a lawyer's ability to keep up to speed, by bringing certain parts into force in dribs and drabs. As a landlord, are you ready for the Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Act 2011?

On 31 August the following provisions will come into force:

  • A local authority can

Making a Scottish Will

Making a Scottish Will

"Where there's a wedding there's a Will ....or not!" The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton may have had you oohing and aahing at the pomp and circumstance but did it make you think carefully about the legal implications of marriage and what it means for the succession to your estate never mind the succession to the Crown and the future of the monarchy? Probably not!! Are you Scottish and don't have a Will? Read on...

Did You Know?
Around 70 % of us

Shared Equity vs Shared Ownership

Shared Equity vs Shared Ownership

The news reports on a fairly regular basis that individuals wanting to get their foot on the property ladder are finding it more and more difficult these days to get their first home. How can shared equity and shared ownership schemes help? Shared Equity vs Shared Ownership, what's best?

Helping First Time Buyers
Shared Ownership and Shared Equity are two schemes which can assist first time buyers or others on a lower income to get that first foot on the property ladder and achieve home

Welfare Reform and Registered Social Landlords

The Welfare Reform bill which is currently progressing through parliament at Westminster has created much debate amongst Registered Social Landlords.

Much of the debate has involved the proposed introduction of universal credit, a single benefit payment for all claimants. This credit would:

  • replace all existing benefits
  • involve the eventual removal of housing benefit as an individual benefit.
  • remove the current system where housing benefit can be paid directly to a landlord on a tenant's behalf

Many landlords have rightly expressed concern that the proposed welfare

Landlords: How to Evict a Tenant

Landlords: How to Evict a Tenant

As a private landlord you'll be glad to know that when it comes to repossessing your property in Scotland, the lawmakers have made it nice and complicated for you. Even if a tenant has committed a serious breach of the tenancy agreement, there is no guarantee that you will be able to evict them. So how to evict a tenant?

There are two handy routes for eviction that are available to you, but neither is fool proof.

HOW THE SECTION 33 ROUTE WORKS:
-At least

Home Repairs for the Elderly and Vulnerable

Home Repairs for the Elderly and Vulnerable

Do you know Someone Whose Home is in Dire Need of Improvement?
Or has the Local Council placed a Statutory Notice on it for major repairs? Councils are currently tightening their belts and housing funding may no longer be available to assist with home improvements or repairs. Does this also affect home repairs for the elderly and the vulnerable?

So Who will Pay for Home Repairs or Improvements?
If someone is property rich but cash poor and they are working alongside their local authority or

The Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010 will come into force on 1 July 2011. The Act sets out a range of bribery related offences which could give rise to prosecution for both organisations and individuals.

The offences include:-
1.Giving bribes
2.Receiving bribes
3.Bribery of a foreign Public Official
4.Failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery

The definition of a bribe is a broad one and can include any payment or other benefit which is intended to induce or reward the improper performance of a public function or

Finance Bill 2011 - SDLT Relief on Property Purchases

Finance Bill 2011 - SDLT Relief on Property Purchases

The Finance Bill 2011 will provide a fairer system of charging SDLT for those buying property in bulk, be this blocks of flats or a number of properties off plan from a Developer.

Historically, on purchases of this type, the SDLT rate would be calculated on the global price paid often resulting in a huge SDLT bill. For some trading subsidiaries of RSLs this substantial outlay has been off putting. Once the Finance Bill receives Royal Assent, SDLT for such multiple purchases will be

Child Custody Scotland - Listen to the Children

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?

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!

Referencing
Obtain references

Procurement Process: Get the Basics Right

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

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

Vulnerable adults - Would a Guardianship Help?

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?

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

Does the Dangerous Dogs Act affect landlords?

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

Gift Aid Declarations for Charities

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

ROOF MAINTENANCE AND SKYLIGHTS

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

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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