Monthly Archives: April 2013

Ridley & Hall Welcomes Family Mediator

Ridley & Hall is pleased to announce that mediator and solicitor, Vicky Medd, has joined their practice.

Vicky will be heading up the Mediation department as well as working with the Family team.  Vicky is a solicitor with 21 years’ experience of family law, and specialises in divorce and financial provision.  She is an accredited member of Resolution, and a collaboratively trained solicitor as well.

Adam Fletcher, Mangaging Partner, said “We are really pleased that Vicky has joined us.  She is an experienced solicitor and family mediator, and is well known across West Yorkshire.  I have every confidence that she will provide clients with a good service.”

Vicky confirmed that she was pleased to be joining Ridley & Hall, “I am looking forward to working with the team and welcome the opportunity to head up a new department in Mediation.  Family mediation is a much cheaper way of resolving disputes between divorcing or separating couples.  We can help people try and sort out finances in mediation, as well as assisting in making better arrangements for children.  Mediation tends to have better outcomes than court ordered arrangements, as it is the clients themselves who make the decisions that are best for them.  In addition, I hope to guide clients through a difficult emotional time at a pace that is best for them and their situation.”

Vickie Medd can be contacted by telephone on 01484 538421 or by e-mail.

Kinship carers routinely turned away by social workers when they ask for help

We must treat kinship carers differently to make our care system stronger, writes Gerri McAndrew, a social worker and chief executive of the charity Buttle UK.

For full story in Community Care click here

Should I Buy My Freehold?

Huddersfield is renowned among the town’s residential conveyancers for its number of properties held on long-term leases.

Every so often I take calls from a leasehold property owner enquiring ‘Should I buy my freehold?’.

I would generally respond with a few questions of my own:-

How long is your Lease?

Where the property is held under a 999 year lease with perhaps less than 100 years expired, the purchase of the freehold reversion is unlikely to add market value to the property.

However, there are some properties around the town on 125 year leases with perhaps 50+ years gone from the term.  Where the lease term currently stands at 75 or less it would certainly be advisable to consider purchasing the freehold reversion and in these circumstances the purchase of the freehold reversion will add value to the property and prevent issues on a future sale where, perhaps, the lease term left to run does not meet a purchaser’s mortgage lender’s criteria.  It should be noted that as the remaining years left to run under a lease reduces, specifically on these shorter term leases, the more you will likely need to spend to purchase the freehold.

How much is your annual rent?

Often, long leases provide for payment of an annual ground rent which are generally nominal.  The ground rent is set by the lease and cannot be increased.  Will purchasing the freehold ever pay for itself if you are merely looking to get rid of the requirement to pay rent?

Are you planning on extending or altering your property?

Most residential leases do contain provisions preventing extensions or alterations of the property without obtaining the landlord’s consent – aside from any requirement for planning consent and/or building regulation approval.  Most landlords do not generally have problems with the usual householders plans for extensions, etc, (provided any required statutory consents are obtained) but they do take this opportunity to charge tenants for providing formal written consent.  Depending on what works are planned, sometimes the monies spent obtaining consent could have purchased the freehold reversion or gone a long way to doing so.  Ordinarily the purchase of the freehold reversion would ‘get rid’ of the tenant’s covenants to the landlord meaning that once the freehold has been purchased there would be no need to obtain landlord’s consent for future works.

Remember, if your landlord has offered you the freehold reversion for sale, it is generally expected that you would discharge the landlord’s legal costs (as well as your own) in the transaction which could increase the overall expenditure by double, or more.

Of course, whether there is any financial gain to be made from purchasing the freehold there are those that really do like to be ‘master of their own castle’.

If you have been offered your freehold reversion for sale and would like to discuss proceeding with the purchase, please contact Liz Wallis or Alison Mason who can discuss the transaction with you.  Conveyancing costs for this type of transaction start from £300 plus VAT plus disbursements.

Liz Wallis has more than 20 years’ experience of working in residential property and qualified nearly 10 years ago as a Licensed Conveyancer. Liz can be contacted on 01484 538421 or via e-mail.

Personal Injury Victims Under Attack

Government proposals to increase the small claims limit for personal injury claims are bad news for accident victims, claims local lawyer Janet Watson of Ridley & Hall Solicitors.

Janet who specialises in personal injury claims is concerned about the government’s plans: -

“At the moment so long as the value of your claim is more than £1,000 you can instruct a lawyer to act for you knowing that their fees will be paid by the other side if you win your case.  In February, the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling confirmed that an increase in the small claims limit for personal injury claims is likely and the limit could be raised to as much as £15,000.  Most accident claims are worth less than £15,000 so if this becomes law, accident victims will either have to pay a solicitor from their compensation or just deal with the case themselves”.  The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has published a letter in regional newspapers about the proposed reforms.  APIL president Karl Tonks has attacked Mr Grayling’s comments saying “Any arbitrary increase in the small claims court limit to personal injury would just force injured people into a system which is fit only for settling disputes about faulty goods and services, not for dealing with complex matters of law”.

Janet Watson is concerned that innocent accident victims will be at risk if the limit increases:-

“Someone who is injured may be tempted just to accept a low offer from an insurance company.  If they choose to fight then the only option available to them will be a damage based agreement which means that they will have to agree that their solicitor is paid a percentage of their damages – it seems outrageous that someone who is injured through someone else’s negligence will have to lose some of their compensation in this way.  The insurance companies argue about a compensation culture but they are the ones who will be laughing all the way to the bank if these reforms are introduced.”
For further information please contact Janet Watson on 01484 538421.  Janet is a Senior Legal Executive specialising in personal injury law handling a variety of cases from road traffic accidents to complex accidents at work. Janet is a member of APIL and is committed to achieving maximum damages for her clients. She believes that it is important that each client receives a personal friendly service.

Ridley & Hall Welcomes New Conveyancer

Ridley & Hall welcomes a new residential property conveyancer to the Property team.  Liz Wallis has more than 20 years’ experience of working in residential property and qualified nearly 10 years ago as a Licensed Conveyancer.  Having undertaken all types of residential property matters Liz extends an invitation to all former and new clients to contact her for their residential conveyancing needs.

Fabulous support for Comic Relief

For comic relief this year the staff here at Ridley & Hall raised a total of £465!

Money was raised from baking cakes, wearing red to work, a red nose day quiz but by far the highlight of the day was the Managing Partner and his PA performing the gangnam style dance for the office (we’re only sorry we didn’t catch it on video!)

Can’t wait for next year!