Broomhead and Saul put scouts and marines through their paces

A TAUNTON scout group landed a windfall from Broomhead and Saul solicitors in Taunton this week. The solicitor’s firm sponsored the land rowing  event in which beavers, scouts and cubs decided to put their rowing skills to the test to help raise funds for The Royal Marine Charitable Trust and the Central Taunton Scout Group. The scout group organised this latest fund raising event on the 6th June in support of a team of Royal Marines who took part in The Non Tidal Thames 24 Challenge 2013 in May this year. The team of marines rowed the River Thames from Lechlade to Teddington, covering a distance of 125 miles, taking 24 hours, having to negotiate 42 locks and approximately 30,000 strokes.  Their aim was to raise a total of £30,000 and the Scout group wanted to help them fill their float.

TAUNTON SCOUTS GROUP AND MARINES

Broomhead & Saul Law Prize

The 2012 Broomhead & Saul Law Prize was awarded to Adam Mercer for his achievements at Richard Huish College.  Broomhead & Saul Partners Julia Clegg and Paul Brierley were delighted to present the award at the College’s annual Reunion and Prize Giving at Somerset County Cricket Ground on 16 April.  Adam is studying Law at Cardiff University and the award was collected on his behalf  by his mother, Mrs Mercer.  Congratulations to Adam and many thanks to the staff of Richard Huish College, in particular Jackie Lake, for their kind hospitality.

Help to Buy Scheme

The Chancellor said the scheme will be available to everyone who wants to buy a home, old or new, under the Help to Buy scheme from 2014.

He will help people get on or move up the property ladder by offering Government “mortgage guarantees” totalling £130 billion. Prospective buyers would contribute 5 per cent of the value of the property and the Government will guarantee another 15 per cent.

This will mean people can afford a bigger mortgage with a small deposit. Effectively, the buyer would be getting a 95 per cent mortgage where the bank might currently only have lent them 80 per cent of the value of the property.

Many people have struggled to save up enough since banks scrapped their best mortgage lending deals after the financial crisis.

NEW HOME INITIATIVE

In a separate part of the initiative, the Government will offer interest-free loans for five years if people want to buy new-build homes.

The loans will be worth up to 20 per cent of the value of a newly built homes, with the buyer contributing 5 per cent as a deposit.

They will be available to anyone who wants to buy a new-built home worth up to £600,000 and repaid only when the property is sold.

The Help-to-Buy schemes will support millions of people who currently cannot afford deposits to buy a new home, as long as they pass credit checks.

Previous schemes have only helped first time buyers and those with an income of less than £60,000.

 

The Minefield of Joint ownership – getting it right

The recent cases of Stack v Dowden and Jones v Kernott have introduced a large degree of uncertainty to joint ownership which has far reaching implications for property owners.

These cases make this area a potential litigation minefield.  We are able to advise our clients to ensure that they are aware of the potential consequences of not making a declaration of trust at the time of acquisition. Many of our clients may not want details of their interests in the property to be be a matter of public record (by using the Land Registry forms on purchase for example).  If our clients wish these details to remain confidential we may advise our clients to make a separate declaration of trust.  There are many traps for the unwary and it is best to avoid litigation, costs and personal conflict by getting it right in the first place.  That is what Broomhead and Saul prides itself in doing.

The Legal Bit – It is complicated, so we have broken it down to assist digestion!

Where a property is purchased in joint names, the parties will hold the ‘legal estate’ as joint tenants and the ‘beneficial interest’ in the property as either ‘joint tenants’ or ‘tenants in common’. Joint tenants are entitled to the property equally, whereas tenants in common are able to hold the property in either equal or unequal shares. An example of tenants in common is that Mr X and Ms Y hold the property on trust, 60% as to Mr A and 40% for Ms B.

Most disputes in this area occur where things go wrong between unmarried co-habitees, but such disputes can also arise between family members, friends or business partners who purchase property together.

An express declaration of trust may help to avoid disputes in the case of death, relationship breakdown or sale of the property, as it is generally conclusive as to the parties’ respective interests in the property. The declaration can be made using a Land Registry form or a separate trust document.

If the owners expressly declare themselves to be ‘joint tenants’ and the property is subsequently sold, the assets will be divided between the parties in equal shares. If the owners are ‘tenants in common’ and expressly declare the shares in which they hold the property, the proceeds of sale will be divided in those proportions.

Most problems arise if an express declaration of trust is not made. It can be extremely difficult to determine the share in the property that each party is entitled to if their individual interests are not recorded at the time of acquisition. Where a property is purchased in joint names and there is no express declaration of trust, the general presumption is that the parties hold the property as joint tenants. However, there is considerable uncertainty in this area of the law due to the effect of recent cases.

In a case called Stack v Dowden, where no express declaration of trust had been made, the parties will be presumed to be ‘joint tenants’ and entitled to equal shares in the property unless one party can show that the property was intended to be held differently.*  A wide range of factors can be taken into account to show this but it will only be in exceptional or unusual cases that a court will be persuaded that the parties intended something other than equal shares.

In a case called Jones v Kernott, they added that if it could be shown that the parties had intended to hold the property in separate shares, but that it was not possible to determine the size of the shares they had intended each to have, then the court would have to decide what was fair based on the whole course of dealing between the parties in relation to the property.

Conclusion – All very messy if an express declaration is not made.  Please contact our Property team to assist.

[*Note: This presumption of entitlement to equal shares does not apply to commercial property or to property purchased as an investment.  In such cases, in the absence of any relevant discussions or agreements between the parties that show they intended otherwise, their beneficial shares will reflect the size of their contributions.]

Broomhead & Saul Sponsor Local Sportsgirl in Fencing Ambition

Broomhead & Saul are proud to sponsor local Taunton teenager Layla Wyatt, who has been a keen fencer since she was 8 years old, she has now just turned 15 years old. Layla is about to start her final year at the Taunton Academy.  Layla trains at a Bristol club, Salle Hunt Roeder at least once a week.  She has been awarded club champion several years running. Layla fences competitively and her goal is to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Layla has regularly taken part in a series of competitions held across the UK that since 2008, and she has done rather well:

Leon Paul Junior Series

2008    U11 Girls Sabre ranked 4th
2009    U13 Girls Sabre ranked 11th
2010    U13 Girls Sabre ranked 7th
2011    U15 Girls Sabre ranked 2nd

South West Regional Competition

2008  Champion
2009  2nd
2010  4th
2011  2nd and 2012

She is currently ranked 2nd in U15 Girls Sabre

The South West regionals is the qualifying event for the British Youth Championship, in which Layla was ranked 10th in 2011 and 5th in 2012.

Layla has represented Great Britain in France and Poland, which included being part of the England Youth Squad.

We will be following her progress during her forthcoming events and wish her every success.

Fun and Games at French Weir!

The Friends of French Weir Park held their annual family fun day on Sunday 12 August 2012 which was a great success in glorious sunshine.

We were pleased to take part in the celebrations with our “human fruit machine”.  It proved a popular attraction…children played for free and received a bag of sweets and a balloon if their choice of three fruits matched those appearing on the machine…who says lawyers never do anything for nothing!

Click once, then again on the larger photograph that will appear to see these full-size and to get the joke!

Lyme Bay Corporate Fishing Day

A great day was had by all off shore fishing at Lyme Bay on the 2nd August 2012.

Thanks to Andrew Malony of ‘ArtisanSouthWest’ for all the organisation and Dorset Charter Fishing for the boat. Not many fish were caught but that means there are plenty more fish in the sea!

Broomhead & Saul client Pulling in a big one at Lyme.

Newt Beer Fest 2012

Newt Beer Fest is the largest beer festival in the South West of England.  Broomhead & Saul have been longstanding sponsors of the event which clocked up its 21st anniversary this year.

The event was held in North Newton on 13 and 14 July despite the unseasonal weather.

A sample of the professional photographs taken at the event by Mike Lang Photography (www.mikelangphotography.co.uk) appear below…Somerset knows how to party!

Further photographs will in due course appear on the Newt Beer Fest website.

See you next year!

Night at the Museum

On Friday after work, Broomhead & Saul held their annual drinks party.

The party is held to thank all the local businesses and organisations who we work closely with throughout the year for their ongoing support.

This time we chose the venue as the newly renovated Museum of Somerset.  It rained all day so just to be safe we set up camp in the Great Hall.  Guests were welcomed by a refreshing glass of bubbly or the rather punchy rum punch.

We all had a very pleasant evening and would like to thank West Country Caterers for the delicious canapes, the Midnight Owls for the music, Susie Simmons of the Museum of Somerset and last but not least our guests for coming.

(photographs kindly taken by David Leyland www.davidleyland.com )

Is the National Planning Policy Framework Still Pro-Growth? Our Property Team Explore the issue.

WHAT?

The final draft of the national planning policy framework (NPPF) was published on 27 March 2012

WHEN?

Taking immediate effect.

WHY WAS IT AMENDED?

The final NPPF has addressed some of the criticism it attracted from conservation bodies and now includes a revised definition of sustainable development. Increased emphasis on environmental considerations inevitably renders the NPPF less ‘pro-growth’ than it was in its draft form. It aims to reduce bureaucracy in the planning system by improving clarity, to give developers better outcomes through greater certainty, reducing costs and burdens, improving efficiency for businesses and promoting sustainable economic growth, and handing power back to local communities

HOW?

The NPPF makes significant changes to the planning system in England, by replacing 1,300 pages of planning policy statements, circulars and guidance documents with a ‘single and accessible’ document of 50 pages.

PROBLEMS?

Claims that the NPPF will lead to greater certainty could be misleading. The streamlined, less-detailed version of the NPPF could create uncertainty for developers, as the local planning authorities (LPA’s) have more discretion in interpreting and implementing the policy in their local development plan documents. It may also prompt the need for more detailed development plans or pressure to make planning policy through Ministerial Statements.

 

 KEY CONCEPT – ‘SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT’

The new presumption in favor of sustainable development states that LPA’s should plan positively for new development, and ‘approve all individual proposals wherever possible’. The presumption comes into effect where the neighborhood and/or local plan is absent, silent, indeterminate or where relevant policies are out of date. Any proposal which can be shown to comply with the definition of sustainable development contained within the draft NPPF is eligible for consent.

 This is a ‘pro-growth’ presumption, speeding-up planning application decisions and encouraging LPA’s to have up-to-date plans in place. However, there are fears that the presumption could result in LPA’s consenting to low quality development, particularly where there is pressure from budget cuts to capture funds.

There are three main aims of the concept.  An economic role – contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time etc.  A social role – supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of housing, services, etc.  An environmental role – contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment.

Campaign groups previously warned that the wording of the draft presumption in favor of sustainable development would open up the floodgates to development that was harmful to the environment, placing economic growth as the driver and undermining the principles of sustainable development.   This has let to the final form of the definition being revised and now refers to the five principles contained in the 2005 UK Sustainable Development Strategy: living within the planet’s environmental limits; ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; achieving a sustainable economy; promoting good governance; and using sound science responsibly.

Feedback from planning campaigning bodies such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England shows that they are generally reassured by its compromises from the draft form.

CONCLUSION?

“The thousands of pages of planning policy may have been replaced with 50 or so but there are inevitably some pretty vague concepts that have replaced the detail.   This could lead to uncertainty with different LPA’s interpreting the legislation in very different ways with very different results.  Is not surprising that Developers and Campaigners seem equally unsure as to whether to be happy or unhappy with the legislation at this stage.  Time will tell but the changes are likely to have have a dramatic impact on us all.”  If you need advice on this planning issue or any other property matter please contact any of our experienced property lawyers at Broomhead and Saul.