Let’s see detail on leasehold reform, says expert

By Linda Kirk of Adkirk Law

Plans unveiled to reform the leasehold housing system affecting up to 200,000 homeowners in Lancashire has received a cautious welcome by Adkirk Law.

Costs of extending residential property leases or purchasing the freehold of their property – to be brought before Parliament this year – could save some homeowners up to £9,000

The move comes following Adkirk Law’s support for the National Leasehold Campaign, which has been lobbying the Government for leasehold changes over the last four years.

Linda Kirk, director of conveyancing at Adkirk Law, said: “As the region with one of the largest number of leasehold properties in the UK, this is a welcome step.

“However, the devil is in the detail here and we need to see how this will be rolled out. We will need to see if this is fit for purpose across the different types of leasehold and that it works for those who have been so badly affected across the region.”

It is estimated around one million homes in the North West are leasehold, the highest proportion outside of London, and that the changes could save homeowners between £8,000 to £9,000.

The Government wants legislation in the current session of Parliament to allow house and flat leaseholders to extend their lease to a new standard 990 years with the ground rent set at zero.  They are also going to abolish the marriage value which is used to calculate the premiums payable. However the finer detail as to how this will be implemented is yet to be announced and whether this will be sufficient to resolve all the issues with leasehold property.

The Government is working with the housing sector to develop commonhold as a potential alternative to leasehold in the years ahead where flat-owners hold the freehold to their property, and blocks are jointly-owned and managed.

Adkirk Law offers a niche practice with expertise in lease extensions, residential conveyancing, regulatory law, including serious fraud, regulation and police misconduct.

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Legal expert warns care homes – be ready and safe

By Rachel Adamson of Adkirk Law

A specialist North West law firm is warning care homes to be extra vigilant in making their spaces safe as the care industry regulator steps up monitoring during the current lockdown.

Rachel Adamson, head of fraud and regulatory at Adkirk Law, highlighted the importance of safety for care homes during the current pandemic, which is managed by the Care Quality Commission.

She said: “There has been a lull in the monitoring and inspections because of the pandemic but care home operators and managers should be aware that just because we are in lockdown doesn’t mean there will be any less rigour in dealing with safety.

“It seems obvious, but the issue of infection control is one of the key measures being examined and care homes should be ready to be visited at any time, and having robust processes and systems in place will provide evidence of safety.

“The CQC has increased the level of enforcement action over recent years and has made it clear that it will take action if people are at risk during the pandemic. It is important that providers be prepared for the calls with their inspector.”

Whilst the CQC has temporarily halted routine inspections during this emergency period, it has retained its regulatory role by implementing a new Emergency Support Framework, designed to ensure risks can be identified and acted on.

The CQC inspectors are looking at four key areas of care home provision covering safety including infection control, staffing arrangements, protection from abuse, neglect and discrimination and processes dealing with the health, safety and wellbeing of staff.

Adkirk Law offers a niche practice with expertise in regulatory law, including serious fraud, regulation and police misconduct, and residential conveyancing.

ENDS