<p>National Leasehold Campaign says proposals to help homeowners buy or extend leases do not go far enough </p><p>A proposal to allow homeowners to buy or extend their lease more cheaply has been described as “window dressing” by the National Leasehold Campaign group.</p><p>There are <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/646152/Estimating_the_number_of_leasehold_dwellings_in_England__2015-16.pdf">4.2m leasehold properties in England</a>, around half of which are on leases of under 80 years, leaving residents vulnerable to what critics say are rapacious demands from freeholders for lease extensions.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/sep/20/leasehold-law-proposals-condemned-as-window-dressing">Continue reading...</a>

Leasehold law proposals condemned as 'window dressing'

Sep 20, 2018 11:27

National Leasehold Campaign says proposals to help homeowners buy or extend leases do not go far enough

A proposal to allow homeowners to buy or extend their lease more cheaply has been described as “window dressing” by the National Leasehold Campaign group.

There are 4.2m leasehold properties in England, around half of which are on leases of under 80 years, leaving residents vulnerable to what critics say are rapacious demands from freeholders for lease extensions.

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<p>We live together but I don’t pay rent and I’m worried it will affect our mortgage when we buy a house</p><p><strong>Q</strong> Shortly after I met my boyfriend in September 2016 he bought a flat. I moved in with him in June 2017. I pay half of the bills, but I don’t pay any rent money, because this flat is his only and I never wanted contribute to his mortgage. When he bought the flat he took out a two-year fixed-rate mortgage which needs to be renewed very soon. The first time he used a broker but this time he intends to remortgage with a new product and lender. He informed the new lender that I live in his flat but do not contribute to his mortgage. The bank advised him that he should have a written confirmation from me that I don’t have any tenancy rights. He wants to fix this his new mortgage for another two years, and after that we are planning to buy a house together. Is there any possibility that my written confirmation that I do not have tenancy rights to my boyfriend’s flat will affect my future in any way? Is this document a requirement for any mortgage application? <br><strong>DC</strong></p><p><strong>A</strong> The new lender wants you to sign what other lenders refer to as an “occupier’s consent form” or “consent to mortgage form” to make absolutely sure that you won’t in the future lay claims to rights in the property. The reason that the bank wants this assurance is that it wants to be sure that if the property had to be repossessed, the property could be sold quickly. But provided your boyfriend keeps up with his mortgage payments, repossession is not a worry for either of you. As far as buying a property together goes, whatever you sign in relation to your boyfriend’s current flat, will make no difference whatsoever to your future joint purchase. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/sep/17/rights-boyfriend-flat-mortgage-fix-house">Continue reading...</a>

Should I sign a statement confirming I have no rights to my boyfriend’s flat?

Sep 17, 2018 7:29

We live together but I don’t pay rent and I’m worried it will affect our mortgage when we buy a house

Q Shortly after I met my boyfriend in September 2016 he bought a flat. I moved in with him in June 2017. I pay half of the bills, but I don’t pay any rent money, because this flat is his only and I never wanted contribute to his mortgage. When he bought the flat he took out a two-year fixed-rate mortgage which needs to be renewed very soon. The first time he used a broker but this time he intends to remortgage with a new product and lender. He informed the new lender that I live in his flat but do not contribute to his mortgage. The bank advised him that he should have a written confirmation from me that I don’t have any tenancy rights. He wants to fix this his new mortgage for another two years, and after that we are planning to buy a house together. Is there any possibility that my written confirmation that I do not have tenancy rights to my boyfriend’s flat will affect my future in any way? Is this document a requirement for any mortgage application?
DC

A The new lender wants you to sign what other lenders refer to as an “occupier’s consent form” or “consent to mortgage form” to make absolutely sure that you won’t in the future lay claims to rights in the property. The reason that the bank wants this assurance is that it wants to be sure that if the property had to be repossessed, the property could be sold quickly. But provided your boyfriend keeps up with his mortgage payments, repossession is not a worry for either of you. As far as buying a property together goes, whatever you sign in relation to your boyfriend’s current flat, will make no difference whatsoever to your future joint purchase.

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<p>The high priest of Project No Fear ignores warnings over falling house prices in a no-deal Brexit</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2018/sep/15/jacob-rees-mogg-leads-his-flock-crashing-out-of-europe-cartoon">Continue reading...</a>

Jacob Rees-Mogg leads his flock crashing out of Europe – cartoon

Sep 15, 2018 18:00

The high priest of Project No Fear ignores warnings over falling house prices in a no-deal Brexit

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<p>If you like a busy life, head for Barcelona. Back in the UK, a leafy part of London packs the biggest people punch</p><p>There is an opinion among some that the UK is overflowing with people– that there is not one square inch of space left. There is a grain of truth in this. Our population has increased over the past 20 years, reaching 66,040,229 in June 2017 (though the growth rate has fallen lately). We have 273 people per square kilometre, <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.POP.DNST?locations=NL-GB-BD" title="">according to </a><a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.POP.DNST?locations=NL-GB-BD" title="">2017 World Bank</a> figures: more than France (123)and Germany (237). Among major European countries, only the Netherlands (509) and Belgium (376) have more.</p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/aug/18/where-to-move-low-crime-rates">Where to move for… low crime rates</a> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/sep/15/where-to-move-for-high-population-density">Continue reading...</a>

Where to move for… other people

Sep 15, 2018 8:00

If you like a busy life, head for Barcelona. Back in the UK, a leafy part of London packs the biggest people punch

There is an opinion among some that the UK is overflowing with people– that there is not one square inch of space left. There is a grain of truth in this. Our population has increased over the past 20 years, reaching 66,040,229 in June 2017 (though the growth rate has fallen lately). We have 273 people per square kilometre, according to 2017 World Bank figures: more than France (123)and Germany (237). Among major European countries, only the Netherlands (509) and Belgium (376) have more.

Related: Where to move for… low crime rates

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<p>My partner is worried that the property market could collapse if there’s no deal</p><p><strong>Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.</strong></p><p>We’ve found a decent three-bed terrace in Bristol for just below £300,000, and are selling our one-bed flat. But my partner is really nervous about a hard Brexit and reckons the house could collapse in price. But if we duck out we lose our buyer. What should we do?</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/sep/15/buying-house-hard-brexit-property-market">Continue reading...</a>

We're buying a house – should we pull out because of Brexit?

Sep 15, 2018 7:00

My partner is worried that the property market could collapse if there’s no deal

Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.

We’ve found a decent three-bed terrace in Bristol for just below £300,000, and are selling our one-bed flat. But my partner is really nervous about a hard Brexit and reckons the house could collapse in price. But if we duck out we lose our buyer. What should we do?

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<p>Mark Carney says he set out to cabinet worst-case scenarios used in bank stress tests</p><p>Mark Carney has said the Bank of England is not predicting a property market crash in the wake of a no-deal Brexit, as he sought to clarify a doom-laden briefing given to the cabinet on Thursday.</p><p>The Bank governor said a housing slump and other outcomes including a double-digit unemployment rate were worst-case scenarios used in stress tests for British banks, designed to ensure there is no repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/sep/14/bank-not-predicting-no-deal-house-price-slump-says-governor">Continue reading...</a>

Bank not predicting no-deal house price slump, says governor

Sep 14, 2018 18:40

Mark Carney says he set out to cabinet worst-case scenarios used in bank stress tests

Mark Carney has said the Bank of England is not predicting a property market crash in the wake of a no-deal Brexit, as he sought to clarify a doom-laden briefing given to the cabinet on Thursday.

The Bank governor said a housing slump and other outcomes including a double-digit unemployment rate were worst-case scenarios used in stress tests for British banks, designed to ensure there is no repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.

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<p>It’s calmed down since Thomas Paine’s day, but revolution may still come</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Once upon a time, Lewes was a hotbed of feverish radicalism. That time was 1772, when the town’s excise officer, one Thomas Paine, had had quite ENOUGH, thank you very much. So cheesed off at work were Tom and his colleagues, he published The Case Of The Officers Of Excise, a plea for better working conditions and salaries, and a more select variety of biscuits in the staff room. Paine and his pals concocted their shocking thoughts over a few pints in the <a href="http://www.whitehartlewes.com/" title="">White Hart Hotel</a>, in what they called the Headstrong Club. Needless to say they fell on deaf ears, and two years later Paine was off to America – more fertile ground for revolt, perhaps, than Sussex – to inspire the American and French revolutions. As you do.</p><p>These days, Lewes’s politics are slightly less convulsive. The town is so pretty, old and curious – all tile-hung cottages with the whiff of hops on the air from <a href="https://www.harveys.org.uk/" title="">Harvey’s Brewery</a> – it could be an exhibit on Antiques Roadshow. But don’t be fooled. The town is full of Marxist lecturers from Sussex University. They like to burn effigies of David Cameron at their famous/infamous Bonfire bight. The <a href="http://headstrongclub.co.uk/" title="">Headstrong Club</a> has been revived. And they still print Tom Paine’s scorching pamphlets at a press on the High Street. The revolution may still come.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/sep/14/lets-move-to-lewes-east-sussex-hotbed-feverish-radicalism">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Lewes, East Sussex: ‘Once a hotbed of radicalism’

Sep 14, 2018 16:30

It’s calmed down since Thomas Paine’s day, but revolution may still come

What’s going for it? Once upon a time, Lewes was a hotbed of feverish radicalism. That time was 1772, when the town’s excise officer, one Thomas Paine, had had quite ENOUGH, thank you very much. So cheesed off at work were Tom and his colleagues, he published The Case Of The Officers Of Excise, a plea for better working conditions and salaries, and a more select variety of biscuits in the staff room. Paine and his pals concocted their shocking thoughts over a few pints in the White Hart Hotel, in what they called the Headstrong Club. Needless to say they fell on deaf ears, and two years later Paine was off to America – more fertile ground for revolt, perhaps, than Sussex – to inspire the American and French revolutions. As you do.

These days, Lewes’s politics are slightly less convulsive. The town is so pretty, old and curious – all tile-hung cottages with the whiff of hops on the air from Harvey’s Brewery – it could be an exhibit on Antiques Roadshow. But don’t be fooled. The town is full of Marxist lecturers from Sussex University. They like to burn effigies of David Cameron at their famous/infamous Bonfire bight. The Headstrong Club has been revived. And they still print Tom Paine’s scorching pamphlets at a press on the High Street. The revolution may still come.

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<p>What it’s experiencing now is the logical end to gentrification</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> If civil war ever breaks out between baby boomers and millennials, there’s a fair chance it’ll begin on Southwold Pier. The pier has already witnessed “<a href="http://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/picnics-banned-at-southwold-pier-family-told-to-pack-up-their-sandwiches-1-4186980">Sandwichgate</a>”, when a family munching homemade sarnies and an elderly couple nibbling cake out of a Tupperware were reprimanded by staff who insisted they eat at the pier’s (somewhat pricey) cafes. The latest skirmish is about property. Prices and the proportion of second or holiday homes have risen so much that some think it’s reached a tipping point, with distant property speculators buying up the town and long-time locals priced out permanently. Southwold, along with Whitstable in Kent, was one of the first seaside towns to gentrify, in the 1990s. No wonder. It’s an utterly beautiful spot, long lauded by artists and writers from Turner to WG Sebald. Idyllic pubs. Dreamy streets. Astonishing history. And don’t get me going on the angels in <a href="http://www.solebayteamministry.co.uk/our-parish-churches/st-edmund-southwold">St Edmund’s church</a>. But what it’s experiencing now is the logical end to gentrification. So if you do move there, at least try <em>living</em> there, too.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Chronically unaffordable. The delicate balance between protectionism and nimbyism often wobbles. A little vain. One can have enough of the 50s theme-park feel...</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/sep/07/lets-move-to-southwold-suffolk-pretty-face-signs-strain">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Southwold, Suffolk: a pretty face showing signs of stress

Sep 7, 2018 16:30

What it’s experiencing now is the logical end to gentrification

What’s going for it? If civil war ever breaks out between baby boomers and millennials, there’s a fair chance it’ll begin on Southwold Pier. The pier has already witnessed “Sandwichgate”, when a family munching homemade sarnies and an elderly couple nibbling cake out of a Tupperware were reprimanded by staff who insisted they eat at the pier’s (somewhat pricey) cafes. The latest skirmish is about property. Prices and the proportion of second or holiday homes have risen so much that some think it’s reached a tipping point, with distant property speculators buying up the town and long-time locals priced out permanently. Southwold, along with Whitstable in Kent, was one of the first seaside towns to gentrify, in the 1990s. No wonder. It’s an utterly beautiful spot, long lauded by artists and writers from Turner to WG Sebald. Idyllic pubs. Dreamy streets. Astonishing history. And don’t get me going on the angels in St Edmund’s church. But what it’s experiencing now is the logical end to gentrification. So if you do move there, at least try living there, too.

The case against Chronically unaffordable. The delicate balance between protectionism and nimbyism often wobbles. A little vain. One can have enough of the 50s theme-park feel...

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<p>It looks like Disney bought up the place and squished the whole of Scotland into a few square miles</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> “The Highlands in miniature”, they call it, and, true enough, the Trossachs (great name, by the way), <em>do</em> look as if Disney had come along, bought up the place and squished the whole of Scotland into a few square miles. Peaks and mountains (though not scarily high). Forests. Lochs. Glens. Dramatic ruins on mystical islands. Copious shops selling tartanned tins of shortbread and humorous bagpiping trolls. Dramatic, mysterious yet wistful histories of doughty locals valiantly holding out against evil overlords. The Rob Roy Experience in Callander closed some time ago, alas, but the spell of “Scotland’s Robin Hood” hangs over the place; not least because every stone and cul-de-sac seems to be named after him. Instead of Uncle Walt, the Trossachs had Sir Walter Scott, who mythologised the place in his writing. Rightly so, because once the theme park closes and the coach parties, hikers, mountain bikers and lovers of humorous bagpiping trolls go home, for most of the year it’s a fabulous, beautiful spot (the Falls of Moness!), with endless expanses of the most magical countryside in Scotland’s first national park. And, best of all, you have the whole place to yourself. And Rob Roy. You&nbsp;can’t escape Rob Roy.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> The theme park. In high season you will curse the queues of coaches/mountain bikers/hikers/lovers of humorous bagpiping trolls. The place is so close to the central belt of Scotland that 4&nbsp;million people visit the national park each year, and leave their litter behind.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/aug/24/lets-move-to-callander-and-the-trossachs">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Callander and the Trossachs: ‘Magical countryside’

Aug 24, 2018 16:30

It looks like Disney bought up the place and squished the whole of Scotland into a few square miles

What’s going for it? “The Highlands in miniature”, they call it, and, true enough, the Trossachs (great name, by the way), do look as if Disney had come along, bought up the place and squished the whole of Scotland into a few square miles. Peaks and mountains (though not scarily high). Forests. Lochs. Glens. Dramatic ruins on mystical islands. Copious shops selling tartanned tins of shortbread and humorous bagpiping trolls. Dramatic, mysterious yet wistful histories of doughty locals valiantly holding out against evil overlords. The Rob Roy Experience in Callander closed some time ago, alas, but the spell of “Scotland’s Robin Hood” hangs over the place; not least because every stone and cul-de-sac seems to be named after him. Instead of Uncle Walt, the Trossachs had Sir Walter Scott, who mythologised the place in his writing. Rightly so, because once the theme park closes and the coach parties, hikers, mountain bikers and lovers of humorous bagpiping trolls go home, for most of the year it’s a fabulous, beautiful spot (the Falls of Moness!), with endless expanses of the most magical countryside in Scotland’s first national park. And, best of all, you have the whole place to yourself. And Rob Roy. You can’t escape Rob Roy.

The case against The theme park. In high season you will curse the queues of coaches/mountain bikers/hikers/lovers of humorous bagpiping trolls. The place is so close to the central belt of Scotland that 4 million people visit the national park each year, and leave their litter behind.

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<p>Great schools, decent parks, a tight community and, on paper, good prospects</p><p><strong tabindex="-1">What’s going for it?</strong> With London’s property market closed to anyone earning less than a squillion a day, the early thirtysomethings are leaving the capital. They’ve scarpered to Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle. So while London’s property prices have flatlined, those in other big cities are rising, and they’re rising fastest in the once-cheapest spots: Birmingham’s Ladywood, Edinburgh’s Holyrood, <a draggable="true" href="https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/feb/09/a-day-in-finnieston-glasgow-city-guide">Glasgow’s Finnieston</a> and Openshaw, where prices have soared by 13%. Average home prices here are £126,553 still less than half that of Manchester as a whole. This is a neighbourhood that’s had – and has – substantial challenges. But, like Ladywood, Holyrood and Finnieston, it has a great location pretty close to the city centre (and to the M60 for escape) and a long period of fairly sustained investment. Up the road is the <a draggable="true" href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2012/aug/23/track-cycling-manchester-velodrome">National Cycling Centre</a> and <a draggable="true" href="https://www.theguardian.com/football/2011/jul/08/manchester-city-deal-etihad-airways">Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium</a>. There’s a new civic hub and a Metrolink tramline. Openshaw’s got great schools, decent parks, a tight community and, on paper, good prospects. But I won’t lie: you’re not in Kansas/Ancoats any more, Toto.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> Openshaw is one of the most deprived spots in the country. It will need more sustained investment to see it prosper.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/aug/17/lets-move-to-openshaw-manchester-great-location">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Openshaw, Manchester: a great location

Aug 17, 2018 16:29

Great schools, decent parks, a tight community and, on paper, good prospects

What’s going for it? With London’s property market closed to anyone earning less than a squillion a day, the early thirtysomethings are leaving the capital. They’ve scarpered to Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle. So while London’s property prices have flatlined, those in other big cities are rising, and they’re rising fastest in the once-cheapest spots: Birmingham’s Ladywood, Edinburgh’s Holyrood, Glasgow’s Finnieston and Openshaw, where prices have soared by 13%. Average home prices here are £126,553 still less than half that of Manchester as a whole. This is a neighbourhood that’s had – and has – substantial challenges. But, like Ladywood, Holyrood and Finnieston, it has a great location pretty close to the city centre (and to the M60 for escape) and a long period of fairly sustained investment. Up the road is the National Cycling Centre and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. There’s a new civic hub and a Metrolink tramline. Openshaw’s got great schools, decent parks, a tight community and, on paper, good prospects. But I won’t lie: you’re not in Kansas/Ancoats any more, Toto.

The case against Openshaw is one of the most deprived spots in the country. It will need more sustained investment to see it prosper.

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<p>I wasn’t told about the poor state of the roof when I asked why previous sales had fallen through </p><p><strong>Q</strong> I’m in the process of purchasing a property and have had my offer accepted. I’ve also just had a building survey completed that has highlighted serious issues with the roof, which means that extensive work or replacement is required.</p><p>The property has been on the market for more than a year with a number of failed sales. At the time of putting in my offer, I asked why the sales fell through and if there was any major remedial work that was required, the estate agent cited various reasons, but none were due to the building condition. That contradicts what my surveyor told me which was that he’d previously done a valuation on the same property whereby he’d given a much lower valuation because of the condition of the roof. Based on my surveyor’s comments I feel the estate agent has either lied or been misleading about the condition of the property and about the reasons for the failure of previous sales. So far I’ve paid out for the survey and various conveyancing costs. Do I have any recourse against the estate agent to recover my costs?<br><strong>GS</strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/sep/10/i-think-an-estate-agent-has-misled-me-can-i-recover-my-costs">Continue reading...</a>

I think an estate agent has misled me – can I recover my costs?

Sep 10, 2018 7:00

I wasn’t told about the poor state of the roof when I asked why previous sales had fallen through

Q I’m in the process of purchasing a property and have had my offer accepted. I’ve also just had a building survey completed that has highlighted serious issues with the roof, which means that extensive work or replacement is required.

The property has been on the market for more than a year with a number of failed sales. At the time of putting in my offer, I asked why the sales fell through and if there was any major remedial work that was required, the estate agent cited various reasons, but none were due to the building condition. That contradicts what my surveyor told me which was that he’d previously done a valuation on the same property whereby he’d given a much lower valuation because of the condition of the roof. Based on my surveyor’s comments I feel the estate agent has either lied or been misleading about the condition of the property and about the reasons for the failure of previous sales. So far I’ve paid out for the survey and various conveyancing costs. Do I have any recourse against the estate agent to recover my costs?
GS

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<p>The freeholder has rejected a surveyor’s valuation and seems to be taking advantage of us</p><p> <strong>Q</strong> My husband and I jointly own a one-bedroom flat in Greater London on a long lease. There is a loft space above the flat, which is only accessible from our flat but isn’t included in the lease.</p><p>We had a baby earlier this year, and approached the freeholder to ask if they would be willing for us to purchase the lease of the loft space, with the view of making it into a second bedroom. At the time, they said that we would need to obtain planning permission and then instruct a surveyor to value the space. They refused to engage in negotiations until we had the expert report, and said this was for the protection of both parties.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/sep/03/price-loft-space-above-flat-freeholder-surveyor-valuation">Continue reading...</a>

How can I pay a fair price for the loft space above our flat?

Sep 3, 2018 7:32

The freeholder has rejected a surveyor’s valuation and seems to be taking advantage of us

Q My husband and I jointly own a one-bedroom flat in Greater London on a long lease. There is a loft space above the flat, which is only accessible from our flat but isn’t included in the lease.

We had a baby earlier this year, and approached the freeholder to ask if they would be willing for us to purchase the lease of the loft space, with the view of making it into a second bedroom. At the time, they said that we would need to obtain planning permission and then instruct a surveyor to value the space. They refused to engage in negotiations until we had the expert report, and said this was for the protection of both parties.

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<p>He is on universal credit and I’m worried that if his girlfriend is unable to work he will be liable</p><p> <strong>Q </strong>My son and his girlfriend are buying a house together. He is disabled and on universal credit and as a result, has very little income. So with our help, he is putting down half the purchase price while his girlfriend is contributing 10% in cash and will be paying the whole of the mortgage on the rest. Because they will jointly own the property, the mortgage lender is insisting on having both their names on the mortgage. She will be getting a critical illness insurance to cover the mortgage. What agreement can they draw up to ensure that he will not be liable for any of mortgage in case she cannot repay it? Would a deed of trust cover it? Can it be drawn by them or do they need to have it notarised or drawn by up a solicitor?<br tabindex="-1"><strong tabindex="-1">CL</strong></p><p><strong>A</strong> There is no point drawing up an agreement between your son and his girlfriend saying that he will not be liable for the mortgage payments if she is unable to pay. That’s because any such agreement won’t stop the mortgage lender considering your son to be jointly liable for the mortgage. What your son’s girlfriend can do, however, is to take out mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI) rather than a critical illness policy. MPPI will cover mortgage payments for up to two years and pays up to £2,000 a month or 65% of your monthly income (if that is lower than £2,000) if you are unable to work – and earn – as a result of an accident, long-term illness or redundancy. Critical illness insurance does not cover monthly mortgage payments in this way. Instead it pays out a lump sum if you are diagnosed as having one of the specific life-threatening conditions listed in the policy document. So if your son’s girlfriend were to be made redundant and so unable to pay the mortgage, for example, the critical illness policy would be no help whatsoever. To avoid your son becoming liable to make mortgage payments in the event of his girlfriend’s death, they might want to consider taking out a mortgage protection policy which is a type of life insurance which pays a lump sum to pay off the outstanding mortgage in the event of the policyholder’s death.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/aug/27/disabled-cover-joint-mortgage-payments-universal-credit-mppi">Continue reading...</a>

How can my disabled son get cover for joint mortgage payments?

Aug 27, 2018 7:00

He is on universal credit and I’m worried that if his girlfriend is unable to work he will be liable

Q My son and his girlfriend are buying a house together. He is disabled and on universal credit and as a result, has very little income. So with our help, he is putting down half the purchase price while his girlfriend is contributing 10% in cash and will be paying the whole of the mortgage on the rest. Because they will jointly own the property, the mortgage lender is insisting on having both their names on the mortgage. She will be getting a critical illness insurance to cover the mortgage. What agreement can they draw up to ensure that he will not be liable for any of mortgage in case she cannot repay it? Would a deed of trust cover it? Can it be drawn by them or do they need to have it notarised or drawn by up a solicitor?
CL

A There is no point drawing up an agreement between your son and his girlfriend saying that he will not be liable for the mortgage payments if she is unable to pay. That’s because any such agreement won’t stop the mortgage lender considering your son to be jointly liable for the mortgage. What your son’s girlfriend can do, however, is to take out mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI) rather than a critical illness policy. MPPI will cover mortgage payments for up to two years and pays up to £2,000 a month or 65% of your monthly income (if that is lower than £2,000) if you are unable to work – and earn – as a result of an accident, long-term illness or redundancy. Critical illness insurance does not cover monthly mortgage payments in this way. Instead it pays out a lump sum if you are diagnosed as having one of the specific life-threatening conditions listed in the policy document. So if your son’s girlfriend were to be made redundant and so unable to pay the mortgage, for example, the critical illness policy would be no help whatsoever. To avoid your son becoming liable to make mortgage payments in the event of his girlfriend’s death, they might want to consider taking out a mortgage protection policy which is a type of life insurance which pays a lump sum to pay off the outstanding mortgage in the event of the policyholder’s death.

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<p>We haven’t exchanged contracts yet, but the agent wants more than £1,200 in commission </p><p><strong>Q</strong> I have a three-bedroom semi which I own outright. My partner and I wanted to sell up and buy a bungalow because of my health and problems with stairs. We went with our local estate agent and luckily a buyer was found in the first week it went on the market which was in May 2017. We have had lots of problems trying to find a suitable bungalow. The properties that we showed an interest in turned out to have major problems such as drainage at the first bungalow, lack of building regulations at the second and possible foundation movement in the third. We discovered all this over the past 15 months and in that time we have had chains break below us. We are so tired and although we desperately wanted a bungalow we have decided to back out of selling our semi. At this instant we had a solid buyer but we couldn’t face any more stress of looking for another bungalow. The estate agents have billed us £420 for advertising and photos, £420 as well as a commission fee of £1,235 which is half of the commission we would have paid, because they say they had actually sold our house even although we had not exchanged contracts. Is this correct practice?<br tabindex="-1"><strong tabindex="-1">SA</strong></p><p><strong>A</strong> If you withdraw from a sale, it is normal to be charged to cover the costs – such as advertising – that an agent has already incurred. And it is also normal to have to pay some or all of the estate agent’s commission but only if the contract you signed contained a “ready, willing and able purchaser” clause. What this means is that you still have to pay the agent for finding a buyer even if your situation changes and you have to withdraw from the sale. If your contract didn’t have such a clause, you shouldn’t have to pay anything on top of the £420 fee for photos and advertising. Another clause to avoid in estate agency contracts is “sole selling rights” which means that the agent is the only agent with the right to sell your home during the term of the contract but also that they will earn their commission even if you find a buyer yourself. This is not the case if your agent has sole agency which gives your agent the sole right to sell your home but does not make you pay commission if you find your own buyer.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/aug/20/estate-agents-fees-pull-out-house-sale-contracts-commission">Continue reading...</a>

Do I need to pay the estate agent's fees if I pull out of a sale?

Aug 20, 2018 8:25

We haven’t exchanged contracts yet, but the agent wants more than £1,200 in commission

Q I have a three-bedroom semi which I own outright. My partner and I wanted to sell up and buy a bungalow because of my health and problems with stairs. We went with our local estate agent and luckily a buyer was found in the first week it went on the market which was in May 2017. We have had lots of problems trying to find a suitable bungalow. The properties that we showed an interest in turned out to have major problems such as drainage at the first bungalow, lack of building regulations at the second and possible foundation movement in the third. We discovered all this over the past 15 months and in that time we have had chains break below us. We are so tired and although we desperately wanted a bungalow we have decided to back out of selling our semi. At this instant we had a solid buyer but we couldn’t face any more stress of looking for another bungalow. The estate agents have billed us £420 for advertising and photos, £420 as well as a commission fee of £1,235 which is half of the commission we would have paid, because they say they had actually sold our house even although we had not exchanged contracts. Is this correct practice?
SA

A If you withdraw from a sale, it is normal to be charged to cover the costs – such as advertising – that an agent has already incurred. And it is also normal to have to pay some or all of the estate agent’s commission but only if the contract you signed contained a “ready, willing and able purchaser” clause. What this means is that you still have to pay the agent for finding a buyer even if your situation changes and you have to withdraw from the sale. If your contract didn’t have such a clause, you shouldn’t have to pay anything on top of the £420 fee for photos and advertising. Another clause to avoid in estate agency contracts is “sole selling rights” which means that the agent is the only agent with the right to sell your home during the term of the contract but also that they will earn their commission even if you find a buyer yourself. This is not the case if your agent has sole agency which gives your agent the sole right to sell your home but does not make you pay commission if you find your own buyer.

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<p>I want to buy a home with my fiancee, but already own 20% of another property. Can we benefit from the SDLT relief available to first-time buyers? </p><p></p><p><strong>Q</strong> I have a 20% stake in a house I jointly own with my brother. However, I am looking to buy a house with my fiancee later this year. She is a first-time buyer. Is there any way we can buy a house without having to pay the extra 3% stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and/or get the benefit of SDLT relief for first-time buyers? </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/aug/13/my-partner-is-a-first-time-buyer-but-i-am-not-do-we-have-to-pay-stamp-duty">Continue reading...</a>

My partner is a first-time buyer but I am not. Do we have to pay stamp duty?

Aug 13, 2018 7:00

I want to buy a home with my fiancee, but already own 20% of another property. Can we benefit from the SDLT relief available to first-time buyers?

Q I have a 20% stake in a house I jointly own with my brother. However, I am looking to buy a house with my fiancee later this year. She is a first-time buyer. Is there any way we can buy a house without having to pay the extra 3% stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and/or get the benefit of SDLT relief for first-time buyers?

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You can navigate your way through what can be a long and complex process by following these steps<p>Buying a home can be a long and complex process, but typically it involves going through these steps:</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/nov/24/factsheet-buying-home-property">Continue reading...</a>

Factsheet: Buying a home

Nov 24, 2014 14:10

You can navigate your way through what can be a long and complex process by following these steps

Buying a home can be a long and complex process, but typically it involves going through these steps:

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'How to' guides for a wide variety of personal finance issues including: claiming benefits, taking out a loan, interest rates, buying a house, insurance, pensions, savings and tax<p><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2007/oct/25/state.pensions">State pensions</a><br><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/money/2008/sep/11/taxcredits.familyfinance">Tax credits</a></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/nov/20/money-factsheets-benefits-loans-interest-rates-buying-house-insurance-pensions-savings">Continue reading...</a>

Money factsheets: How to organise your finances

Nov 20, 2013 12:35

'How to' guides for a wide variety of personal finance issues including: claiming benefits, taking out a loan, interest rates, buying a house, insurance, pensions, savings and tax

State pensions
Tax credits

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<p>These former council properties come in many shapes and sizes, from London to Wales </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2018/sep/14/ex-local-authority-homes-for-sale-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Ex-local authority homes for sale – in pictures

Sep 14, 2018 7:00

These former council properties come in many shapes and sizes, from London to Wales

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<p>Enjoy panoramic views from these properties, from Scotland to West Sussex<br></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2018/sep/07/homes-for-sale-in-national-parks-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for sale in national parks – in pictures

Sep 7, 2018 7:00

Enjoy panoramic views from these properties, from Scotland to West Sussex

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<p>If you’re looking to buy near a college, these properties are worth studying</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2018/aug/31/homes-for-sale-near-universities-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for sale near universities – in pictures

Aug 31, 2018 9:59

If you’re looking to buy near a college, these properties are worth studying

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<p>When the frost sets in, put bedding plants in a pot and rehouse them indoors</p><p>I know as a garden writer I am supposed to wax lyrical about the change of seasons, finding joy in the crisp air and falling leaves. But I have to confess, as someone who loves growing things, that to me the start of autumn only means one thing – the end of summer. The impending threat of frost does, however, have an upside – the chance of free houseplants. It’s a way to make summer flowers last forever indoors, and here’s how to do it.</p><p>Many of the most popular bedding plants, whose subtropical origins mean they have little to no defence against frost, also happen to make excellent houseplants. In a season when they are normally ripped out and binned to make way for the new, rehoming them indoors not only gives you houseplants for free but helps lessen the impact of what can be an extremely wasteful gardening practice. Also, as varieties of bedding plants can come and go in a surprisingly short space of time, sometimes disappearing from catalogues with no notice from one year to the next, if you are particularly in love with a variety, this can be a sure-fire way of keeping it in your collection.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/sep/16/flower-power-how-to-make-the-summer-last-forever">Continue reading...</a>

Flower power: how to make the summer last forever

Sep 16, 2018 11:00

When the frost sets in, put bedding plants in a pot and rehouse them indoors

I know as a garden writer I am supposed to wax lyrical about the change of seasons, finding joy in the crisp air and falling leaves. But I have to confess, as someone who loves growing things, that to me the start of autumn only means one thing – the end of summer. The impending threat of frost does, however, have an upside – the chance of free houseplants. It’s a way to make summer flowers last forever indoors, and here’s how to do it.

Many of the most popular bedding plants, whose subtropical origins mean they have little to no defence against frost, also happen to make excellent houseplants. In a season when they are normally ripped out and binned to make way for the new, rehoming them indoors not only gives you houseplants for free but helps lessen the impact of what can be an extremely wasteful gardening practice. Also, as varieties of bedding plants can come and go in a surprisingly short space of time, sometimes disappearing from catalogues with no notice from one year to the next, if you are particularly in love with a variety, this can be a sure-fire way of keeping it in your collection.

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<p>Growing pots of dahlias on the roof terrace provides a late summer burst of brightness but also reminds Allan Jenkins of his dad</p><p>Dad hated dahlias. They were ‘common’. And as for chrysanthemums... Dad was from Derbyshire. We were in Devon. He thought of them as a northern flower, mostly grown by men on allotments, for show, with competitive shades and shapes.</p><p>I was always more comfortable with the thought of being common than Dad, who was proudly, profoundly middle class. We had a huge garden, there was an orchard, long lawns, there were red hot pokers, even pampas grass, but he drew the line at dahlias.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/sep/16/dahlias-class-wars-early-autumn-colour-roof-terrace-brightness">Continue reading...</a>

Dahlias, class wars and early autumn colour | Allan Jenkins

Sep 16, 2018 6:00

Growing pots of dahlias on the roof terrace provides a late summer burst of brightness but also reminds Allan Jenkins of his dad

Dad hated dahlias. They were ‘common’. And as for chrysanthemums... Dad was from Derbyshire. We were in Devon. He thought of them as a northern flower, mostly grown by men on allotments, for show, with competitive shades and shapes.

I was always more comfortable with the thought of being common than Dad, who was proudly, profoundly middle class. We had a huge garden, there was an orchard, long lawns, there were red hot pokers, even pampas grass, but he drew the line at dahlias.

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<p>The home of the designer Michael Anastassiades is a place for reflection</p><p>The place was a dump,” says Michael Anastassiades of his now pristine five-storey home on Lower Marsh in Waterloo. “There wasn’t even a bathroom.” Built in the 1800s as a merchant’s house, it most recently accommodated a fashion store and had been uninhabited for decades when he moved in. Now, 20 years on, the property has slowly evolved into an elegant, airy home that serves as canvas for the Cyprus-born lighting and furniture designer’s unequivocally modernist tastes.</p><p>“Right from the beginning there was no finished plan for anything in the house,” he says of the space, which takes inspiration from the open-plan lower layout at the <a href="https://www.soane.org/" title="">Sir John Soane’s Museum</a>. “It was a very organic process.” Working with his architect friend Wim de Mul, after demolishing the interior, knocking out ceilings and shifting stairwells, they began the gradual process of rebuilding. Much of the muted look of the place was dictated by the parquet mahogany floor, which neatly demarcates each area. Reclaimed from a local builder, it once decked the nearby County Hall, and had to be cleaned and spliced after arriving in 200 bin bags covered in staples and tar. “There’s nothing straight about it,” he says. “But it gives the place character.”</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/sep/16/inside-a-designers-waterloo-home-a-minimalists-dream">Continue reading...</a>

Inside a designer’s Waterloo home – a minimalist’s dream

Sep 16, 2018 6:00

The home of the designer Michael Anastassiades is a place for reflection

The place was a dump,” says Michael Anastassiades of his now pristine five-storey home on Lower Marsh in Waterloo. “There wasn’t even a bathroom.” Built in the 1800s as a merchant’s house, it most recently accommodated a fashion store and had been uninhabited for decades when he moved in. Now, 20 years on, the property has slowly evolved into an elegant, airy home that serves as canvas for the Cyprus-born lighting and furniture designer’s unequivocally modernist tastes.

“Right from the beginning there was no finished plan for anything in the house,” he says of the space, which takes inspiration from the open-plan lower layout at the Sir John Soane’s Museum. “It was a very organic process.” Working with his architect friend Wim de Mul, after demolishing the interior, knocking out ceilings and shifting stairwells, they began the gradual process of rebuilding. Much of the muted look of the place was dictated by the parquet mahogany floor, which neatly demarcates each area. Reclaimed from a local builder, it once decked the nearby County Hall, and had to be cleaned and spliced after arriving in 200 bin bags covered in staples and tar. “There’s nothing straight about it,” he says. “But it gives the place character.”

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<p>As the evenings draw in, light up your living space with our pick of the latest in illumination</p><p><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong><br></strong></p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2018/sep/15/make-the-switch-the-best-new-lights">Continue reading...</a>

Make the switch: the best new lights

Sep 15, 2018 23:45

As the evenings draw in, light up your living space with our pick of the latest in illumination



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