Improvement in Top Tier Residential Property Market

An article by Faisal Choudry of Savills has confirmed that Scotland has recently seen a rise in demand for prime property in commuter locations.

Initially the recovery in the Scottish market began in select city localities such as New Town, Stockbridge or Morningside in Edinburgh and the West End in Glasgow with these areas enjoying a strong market over the past few years. However the improvement is now spreading to more outlying places. Indeed over the past year there has been a jump in sales in locations such as Helensburgh and Kilmcolm and in fact in suburbs such as Liberton in Edinburgh and Netherlee in Glasgow  with the return of closing dates and premium prices being paid.

As Faisal Choudry reports “Scotland’s prime market is expected to grow by 18.8% over the next five years in terms of value, outperforming the overall residential market.”

If I can help with any residential conveyancing transaction please contact me Alison Gourley by telephone on 0141-552-3422 or by email on ajg@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

Employment Law 2016 – Key Financial Uplifts

  1. Introduction of the National Living Wage – from 1 April 2016, the National Living Wage took effect in the UK. All workers aged 25 and over are entitled to be paid a minimum of £7.20 per hour.

 

  1. National Minimum Wage Rates – from 1 October 2016, the apprentice rate will rise to £3.40, the minimum hourly rate for 16-17 year olds will increase to £4.00, 18-20 year olds will be entitled to a minimum of £5.66 and 21 -24 year olds must be paid at least £6.95 per hour. Penalties for employers failing to pay the above rates doubled from 1 April 2016 to 200% of arrears, subject to a maximum of £20,000 per worker.

 

  1. Unfair Dismissal Awards – from 6 April 2016, in unfair dismissal claims the maximum Compensatory Award has increased from £78,335 to £78,692. The Basic Award, which applies in addition, has increased from £14,250 to £14,370.

 

  1. Redundancy Pay – from 6 April 2016, the maximum amount of statutory redundancy pay has been increased from £14,250 to £14,370. The weekly figure at which pay is capped for calculating redundancy payments has increased from £475 to £479.

 

  1. Statutory Sick Pay – from 6 April 2016, the standard rate of statutory sick pay is £88.45 per week.

 

  1. Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay – from 6 April 2016, the standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay is £139.58 per week.

 

If you would like to discuss any employment law matter, please contact Hugh Grant (hjg@mitchells-roberton.co.uk) or Paul Neilly (pdn@mitchells-roberton.co.uk) or telephone 0141 552 3422.

Prince wrote thousands of songs but he did not write a Will

Prince was a prolific song writer but it seems the one thing that he didn’t get round to writing was a Will. Court documents filed in Minnesota show the superstar who died untimely at the age of 57 appears to have died intestate. Certainly for a person of Prince’s wealth it is unusual and his surviving relatives are now left with the nightmare of sorting out his financial affairs.

Probably the reason Prince did not make a Will is because he did not think he would die so soon and that may be true for many people. There is also frequently an irrational fear that by making a Will clients are bringing on their own deaths. Superstition is extremely powerful but the prospect of what would happen to your family if you die without leaving a Will should be a more robust motivation.

With some forethought you can attend to your affairs now and not leave your loved ones facing the music. Indeed few of us go through life without changes in our circumstances.  These are often pleasurable occasions like marriage, new homes, new jobs or the birth of children. Sometimes however, we are beset by unwelcome events like divorce, the death of someone close to us or redundancy for example. Change is something that cannot be ignored.

Planning for the future is not just for the wealthy. It is important for everyone, old and young, established or just starting out, whatever the state of your bank balance. Having a Will can make all the difference to your peace of mind.

So if you haven’t made a Will or need to update one then seize the day.

Having a review of your personal affairs with a member of our Private Client Department can be a place to start. If I can help in any way please contact Elizabeth Baker on 0141 552 3422 or by email eb@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

New Tenancy Information Packs must be Issued by Landlords

Since the 1 May 2013 a tenancy information pack (TIP) has had to be provided for all new assured and short assured tenancies. This duty also applies to the renewal of tenancy arrangements when a new agreement is drawn up between the existing landlord and tenant.

The tenancy information pack is a standardised pack which provides information to tenants in privately rented housing.  It includes details on the Repairing Standard and its provision satisfies the separate obligation of a landlord to issue a tenant with written facts about the landlord’s duty to repair and maintain.

Landlords have a legal duty to supply the tenancy information pack as it is set out on the Scottish Government website. The pack must not be modified although more detailed information such as property specific information and local contacts can be made available to supplement the TIP. Failure to provide a tenancy information pack is a criminal offence. If a landlord does not give the pack to the tenant a fine of up to £500 can be levied.

Changes to the TIP came into force on Tuesday 2 February 2016 as introduced by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014. The TIP has been amended to include new obligations on landlords.

There are three new amendments:

  1. The acknowledgement form (Page 1) has changed to insert a new requirement that landlords must provide tenants with a copy of the electrical inspection record.
  2. Section 2.2 (Electrical Safety) gives information on a landlord’s obligation to arrange electrical safety inspections.
  3. Section 2.6 (Repairing Standard) supplies information on a landlord’s obligation to have carbon monoxide detection in his/her rented properties and a local authority’s right to refer repairing standard matters to the Private Rented Housing Panel.

These changes are not retrospective so all TIPs issued prior to 2 February 2016 remain valid.

If you would like further information on any matters relating to private letting then please contact Alison Gourley on 0141 553 3422 or by email on ajg@mitchells-roberton.co.uk

Middle Aged Need Not Apply

In the last year, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has received over 100 complaints about discriminatory advertisements including:

  • Age discrimination – a recruitment agency advert stated that over 45s need not apply
  • Disability discrimination – a hotel said it would not offer accommodation to disabled people
  • Sexual orientation – another hotel said that it wouldn’t allow same sex couples to stay in a room together
  • Sex discrimination – a bar advertised for a “part-time shot girl”

Discriminatory advertising is often overlooked in the area of discrimination law yet the EHCR has warned that thousands of people could be at risk of being denied jobs each year due to unlawful advertising.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits employers from discriminating on any of the nine protected grounds, such as age, disability or gender reassignment, when deciding who to offer employment.

Some principal recommendations in the EHRC’s good guidance practice are:

  • When recruiting, include an equal opportunity statement to make it clear that applicants are welcome from all suitably qualified or experienced people.
  • Avoid words implying a restriction on those who may apply such as “young”, “physically active” or “cameraman.”
  • If there is a real occupational requirement for an applicant to have a protected characteristic, for example for a female to work in a women’s refuge, this must be objectively justifiable.

Employers can face two potential actions if they place a discriminatory advert. A tribunal may award monetary damages to an unsuccessful applicant or a person who is genuinely deterred from applying and / or enforcement action may be taken by the EHRC even if no one has actually complained.

If you would like to discuss the wording of any advertisement for a new employee, the issue of a particular occupational requirement or indeed any employment matter, please contact Hugh Grant (hjg@mitchells-roberton.co.uk) or Paul Neilly (pdn@mitchells-roberton.co.uk) or telephone 0141 552 3422.