<p>Neither of my parents have a will, so does ownership of the house automatically come to me?</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I own my home with my parents. It’s jointly owned between me, my mother and my father. Also living here are my husband and my son (who are not named as joint owners).</p><p>My parents haven’t got wills. What happens to my home if I’m still living here when they die? Does the property automatically come to me or does it go to probate?</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/04/i-own-my-home-with-my-parents-what-happens-to-it-when-they-die">Continue reading...</a>

I own my home with my parents – what happens to it when they die?

Feb 4, 2019 7:00

Neither of my parents have a will, so does ownership of the house automatically come to me?

Q I own my home with my parents. It’s jointly owned between me, my mother and my father. Also living here are my husband and my son (who are not named as joint owners).

My parents haven’t got wills. What happens to my home if I’m still living here when they die? Does the property automatically come to me or does it go to probate?

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<p>We investigate shoddy building practices that mean higher-than-expected heating bills</p><p>Newly built homes are <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/774949/EPB_Cert_Statistics_Release_Qtr_4_2018_v2.pdf" title="">more energy efficient than ever</a>, the government said this week. But thousands of buyers are finding that their expensive new homes are cold and draughty with heating bills far higher than expected. The culprit? The finger of blame is pointing towards builders rushing to meet targets, lax standards and poor inspection, with badly installed dry lining at the heart of the issue.</p><p>Dry lining became popular in the UK in the 1980s, replacing traditional “wet” plastering with ready made plasterboard attached to walls and ceilings. It means plastering can be done in a couple of days rather than weeks.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/02/new-build-homes-why-some-owners-are-left-feeling-the-cold">Continue reading...</a>

New-build homes: why some owners are left feeling the cold

Feb 2, 2019 8:30

We investigate shoddy building practices that mean higher-than-expected heating bills

Newly built homes are more energy efficient than ever, the government said this week. But thousands of buyers are finding that their expensive new homes are cold and draughty with heating bills far higher than expected. The culprit? The finger of blame is pointing towards builders rushing to meet targets, lax standards and poor inspection, with badly installed dry lining at the heart of the issue.

Dry lining became popular in the UK in the 1980s, replacing traditional “wet” plastering with ready made plasterboard attached to walls and ceilings. It means plastering can be done in a couple of days rather than weeks.

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<p>Older people benefit from a raft of tax reliefs, while Generation Rent has been dealt a bad hand</p><p>At the lovely Meyrick hotel in Galway, I had my first experience of a freebie solely because I had just tipped over 55 years old. The hotel pointed out I could now benefit from their “golden years” package, knocking quite a bit off the price. Meanwhile at my gym, I now qualify for a low-cost deal because I’m over 55. And in a few years’ time I get the big one: the <a href="https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/free-and-discounted-travel/60-plus-oyster-photocard" title="">T</a><a href="https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/free-and-discounted-travel/60-plus-oyster-photocard" title="">fL pass</a> giving free 24-hour travel over the city’s entire transport network.</p><p>I shall continue to benefit from sizeable tax relief on my pension contributions – worth far more to older people like me on higher salaries, as I obtain 40% tax relief, while young people on smaller salaries get just 20% relief. I also benefit from Isa tax relief as I can afford to save when young people can’t. Then there is the juiciest of all tax reliefs: no capital gains tax when I sell my home – while Generation Rent grimly hand half or more of their take-home pay to landlords.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/02/oldies-are-pampered-we-should-offer-a-new-deal-to-the-young">Continue reading...</a>

Oldies are pampered. We should offer a new deal to the young | Patrick Collinson

Feb 2, 2019 7:00

Older people benefit from a raft of tax reliefs, while Generation Rent has been dealt a bad hand

At the lovely Meyrick hotel in Galway, I had my first experience of a freebie solely because I had just tipped over 55 years old. The hotel pointed out I could now benefit from their “golden years” package, knocking quite a bit off the price. Meanwhile at my gym, I now qualify for a low-cost deal because I’m over 55. And in a few years’ time I get the big one: the TfL pass giving free 24-hour travel over the city’s entire transport network.

I shall continue to benefit from sizeable tax relief on my pension contributions – worth far more to older people like me on higher salaries, as I obtain 40% tax relief, while young people on smaller salaries get just 20% relief. I also benefit from Isa tax relief as I can afford to save when young people can’t. Then there is the juiciest of all tax reliefs: no capital gains tax when I sell my home – while Generation Rent grimly hand half or more of their take-home pay to landlords.

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<p>This thriving crucible for contemporary Welshness offers fantastic views, sandy coves and relative isolation</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Ynys Môn likes to keep its distance, as well it might. People have long come to these shores to take things. The Romans slogged all the way from the Med, sniffing out Anglesey’s raw materials. Nowadays, second-homers come in search of its views, sandy coves and relative isolation. Thomas Telford’s beautiful <a href="https://menaibridges.co.uk/history/menai-suspension-bridge/" title="">Menai </a><a href="https://menaibridges.co.uk/history/menai-suspension-bridge/" title="">suspension </a><a href="https://menaibridges.co.uk/history/menai-suspension-bridge/" title="">bridge</a> may have long leapt over the tricky waters of the strait, and its neighbour, the <a href="https://menaibridges.co.uk/history/britannia-bridge/" title="">Britannia Bridge</a>, carries mainline trains chuffing off to the ferries at Holyhead; but the island still has a sense of a world apart. Its distance has kept even those savage incomers, grey squirrels, at bay. Ynys Môn has thriving colonies of red squirrels, and so many puffins it’s named an island after them. The greatest survivor, though? Welsh culture. Today, about 70% of islanders speak Welsh and make sure the island is a thriving crucible of contemporary Welshness. </p><p><strong>The case against</strong> If you are going to move here, <em>move</em> here; don’t pillage. Wylfa nuclear power plant was proposed for the north, but <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/17/hitachi-set-to-scrap-16bn-nuclear-project-anglesey-wales" title="">has just been scrapped</a>. Following the closure of its aluminium smelting industry a decade ago, the local economy needs some good news.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/01/lets-move-anglesey-ynys-mon-wales-world-apart-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Anglesey/Ynys Môn, Wales: ‘A world apart’

Feb 1, 2019 16:30

This thriving crucible for contemporary Welshness offers fantastic views, sandy coves and relative isolation

What’s going for it? Ynys Môn likes to keep its distance, as well it might. People have long come to these shores to take things. The Romans slogged all the way from the Med, sniffing out Anglesey’s raw materials. Nowadays, second-homers come in search of its views, sandy coves and relative isolation. Thomas Telford’s beautiful Menai suspension bridge may have long leapt over the tricky waters of the strait, and its neighbour, the Britannia Bridge, carries mainline trains chuffing off to the ferries at Holyhead; but the island still has a sense of a world apart. Its distance has kept even those savage incomers, grey squirrels, at bay. Ynys Môn has thriving colonies of red squirrels, and so many puffins it’s named an island after them. The greatest survivor, though? Welsh culture. Today, about 70% of islanders speak Welsh and make sure the island is a thriving crucible of contemporary Welshness.

The case against If you are going to move here, move here; don’t pillage. Wylfa nuclear power plant was proposed for the north, but has just been scrapped. Following the closure of its aluminium smelting industry a decade ago, the local economy needs some good news.

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Readers discuss the problems facing tenants in the private rental sector<p>It is odd that we would expect landlords such as Fergus Wilson (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/29/fergus-wilson-uk-landlord-evicting-kent-households" title="">Private renting: Tycoon evicts all tenants, including an entire street</a>, 30 January) to be anything more than capitalist rentiers. What duty of care does he have other than ensuring his houses are safe and sound, that he isn’t prejudiced when selecting tenants and that he abides by the law? And why shouldn’t he sell them? Surely that is the point of private housing – that the owners can sell up whenever they please.</p><p>The Tories fooled the public into believing the private sector could run better services and started the tragic sale of social housing, but we must never rely on private landlords to provide anything other than stopgap housing (although there will be many decent ones out there).</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/31/tipping-the-balance-of-power-against-private-landlords">Continue reading...</a>

Tipping the balance of power against private landlords | Letters

Jan 31, 2019 18:31

Readers discuss the problems facing tenants in the private rental sector

It is odd that we would expect landlords such as Fergus Wilson (Private renting: Tycoon evicts all tenants, including an entire street, 30 January) to be anything more than capitalist rentiers. What duty of care does he have other than ensuring his houses are safe and sound, that he isn’t prejudiced when selecting tenants and that he abides by the law? And why shouldn’t he sell them? Surely that is the point of private housing – that the owners can sell up whenever they please.

The Tories fooled the public into believing the private sector could run better services and started the tragic sale of social housing, but we must never rely on private landlords to provide anything other than stopgap housing (although there will be many decent ones out there).

Continue reading...

<p>Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, as Italy stumbles back into recession </p><ul><li><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2019/jan/31/uk-house-prices-brexit-eurozone-gdp-italy-business-live?page=with:block-5c52c886e4b01125b082a546#block-5c52c886e4b01125b082a546">Latest: Italy is in recession again</a></li><li><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2019/jan/31/uk-house-prices-brexit-eurozone-gdp-italy-business-live?page=with:block-5c53087be4b01125b082a8dc#block-5c53087be4b01125b082a8dc">PM: Germany is holding us back (!)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2019/jan/31/uk-house-prices-brexit-eurozone-gdp-italy-business-live?page=with:block-5c53046de4b0e764aa151542#block-5c53046de4b0e764aa151542">Economists: This is a black mark on Rome</a></li><li>Italian economy shrank by 0.2% last quarter</li><li><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2019/jan/31/uk-house-prices-brexit-eurozone-gdp-italy-business-live?page=with:block-5c52c700e4b0e0e1bbc24258#block-5c52c700e4b0e0e1bbc24258">Eurozone only grew by 0.2%</a></li></ul><p class="block-time published-time"> <time datetime="2019-01-31T15:20:26.395Z">3.20pm <span class="timezone">GMT</span></time> </p><p><strong>And finally (I think), here’s our news story about Italy’s downturn:</strong></p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/31/italy-slips-into-recession-for-third-time-in-a-decade-economy">Italy slips into recession for third time in a decade</a> </p><p class="block-time published-time"> <time datetime="2019-01-31T15:10:38.295Z">3.10pm <span class="timezone">GMT</span></time> </p><p>Three recessions in barely a decade, and not too much growth in between....</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2019/jan/31/uk-house-prices-brexit-eurozone-gdp-italy-business-live">Continue reading...</a>

Italy falls into recession as eurozone economy struggles - as it happened

Jan 31, 2019 15:20

Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, as Italy stumbles back into recession

And finally (I think), here’s our news story about Italy’s downturn:

Related: Italy slips into recession for third time in a decade

Three recessions in barely a decade, and not too much growth in between....

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<p>With its glorious abbey and historic architecture this former Saxon capital could even be a little too perfect</p><p><strong>What’s going for it? </strong>Sherborne may be small, but what it lacks in girth it makes up for in history. This place is spilling over with stories. Back in 800 or so it was A Big Deal, a megalopolis of Saxon Wessex, with a cathedral and everything (in 1075 the cathedral was <a href="https://sherborneabbey.com/" title="">demoted to an abbey</a> – still there, still luscious). This was the front line in the unification of England, holding back the invading Danes from the east. Alfred the Great’s brothers are buried in the Abbey. And we haven’t even got to the second millennium yet. (Don’t get me going on Sir Walter Raleigh’s <em>two</em> castles. One is never enough, I find.) These days Sherborne’s a quieter affair, up at the top of Dorset, a little off the beaten track now that the A303 to the north saps the traffic from the A30. It’s quite content, though, a prosperous place where Fired Earth does a roaring trade. It has its past for company, materialised in its glorious, ochre architecture. When old age looks this good, who’s want youth?</p><p><strong>The case against…</strong> A little dull. A little perfect. One can have enough shops selling beige country casuals.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jan/25/sherborne-dorset-packed-with-stories-of-its-ancient-past">Continue reading...</a>

Sherborne, Dorset: packed with stories of its ancient past

Jan 25, 2019 16:30

With its glorious abbey and historic architecture this former Saxon capital could even be a little too perfect

What’s going for it? Sherborne may be small, but what it lacks in girth it makes up for in history. This place is spilling over with stories. Back in 800 or so it was A Big Deal, a megalopolis of Saxon Wessex, with a cathedral and everything (in 1075 the cathedral was demoted to an abbey – still there, still luscious). This was the front line in the unification of England, holding back the invading Danes from the east. Alfred the Great’s brothers are buried in the Abbey. And we haven’t even got to the second millennium yet. (Don’t get me going on Sir Walter Raleigh’s two castles. One is never enough, I find.) These days Sherborne’s a quieter affair, up at the top of Dorset, a little off the beaten track now that the A303 to the north saps the traffic from the A30. It’s quite content, though, a prosperous place where Fired Earth does a roaring trade. It has its past for company, materialised in its glorious, ochre architecture. When old age looks this good, who’s want youth?

The case against… A little dull. A little perfect. One can have enough shops selling beige country casuals.

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<p>It’s ripe with history and character, from magnificent social housing to spooky churches</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> We shan’t mention <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk/hs2" title="">HS2</a> and the new Euston station (well, OK, just once more). But ’twas ever thus. Apart from a brief fancy period in the early 19th century when Charles Dickens and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/mary-wollstonecraft" title="">Mary Wollstonecraft</a> lived here, Somers Town has always been on its uppers, easy prey for <em>grands projets</em>. When London ended at Euston Road in the 18th century, it was famous for being where the city chucked its rubbish in mountainous landfills. By the mid-19th century, London’s most notorious slums were here. In the name of “improvement” and slum clearance, railway companies saw nothing wrong in charging through the neighbourhood with new lines, plonking their stations here, rather than posher Bloomsbury to the south. There’s no escape from the railways. That said, the commuters mostly dart down holes in the ground, leaving Somers Town, these days, one of London’s best-kept secrets, ripe with history and character, like the magnificent 1920s <a href="https://municipaldreams.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/the-ossulston-estate-st-pancras-the-english-karl-marx-hof/" title="">Ossulston Estate social housing</a>, Drummond Street’s Indian cafes, and the spooky <a href="http://posp.co.uk/st-pancras-old-church/" title="">St Pancras Old Church</a>, one of the oldest sites of worship in London, in whose churchyard the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Pancras_Old_Church#/media/File:2780theHardyTreeOldStPancrasChurchyard.jpg" title="">Hardy Tree</a> grows among gravestones moved by the young Thomas Hardy (when he was an architect) to make way for St Pancras station; railways even bothering the dead.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong><strong> </strong>The disruption of HS2 construction for years to come. Gruff around the edges. Euston Road is choked with traffic and pollution 24/7.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jan/18/lets-move-to-somers-town-one-of-londons-best-kept-secrets">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Somers Town: one of London’s best-kept secrets

Jan 18, 2019 16:30

It’s ripe with history and character, from magnificent social housing to spooky churches

What’s going for it? We shan’t mention HS2 and the new Euston station (well, OK, just once more). But ’twas ever thus. Apart from a brief fancy period in the early 19th century when Charles Dickens and Mary Wollstonecraft lived here, Somers Town has always been on its uppers, easy prey for grands projets. When London ended at Euston Road in the 18th century, it was famous for being where the city chucked its rubbish in mountainous landfills. By the mid-19th century, London’s most notorious slums were here. In the name of “improvement” and slum clearance, railway companies saw nothing wrong in charging through the neighbourhood with new lines, plonking their stations here, rather than posher Bloomsbury to the south. There’s no escape from the railways. That said, the commuters mostly dart down holes in the ground, leaving Somers Town, these days, one of London’s best-kept secrets, ripe with history and character, like the magnificent 1920s Ossulston Estate social housing, Drummond Street’s Indian cafes, and the spooky St Pancras Old Church, one of the oldest sites of worship in London, in whose churchyard the Hardy Tree grows among gravestones moved by the young Thomas Hardy (when he was an architect) to make way for St Pancras station; railways even bothering the dead.

The case against The disruption of HS2 construction for years to come. Gruff around the edges. Euston Road is choked with traffic and pollution 24/7.

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<p>If it wasn’t in the remoter end of the Fens, it would be overrun with tourists</p><p><strong>What’s going for it?</strong> Amazing, the effect of geography. Were King’s Lynn anywhere else in the country but squelched into the remoter end of the Fens, it would be overrun with tourists. They’d be there getting selfies next to some 18th-century townhouses or cutie-pie half-timbered cottages they’d seen in the latest Sunday night costume drama. Bistros and artisan coffee houses would be flush. Various branches of Edinburgh Woollen Mills would have opened. But it is not. It <em>is</em> squelched into the remoter end of the Fens. The wealth of the north Norfolk coast is tantalisingly near, but not quite near enough. That relative remoteness today (I mean, it’s only just over an hour to Cambridge, so it’s hardly Siberia, is it?) has bred an independent spirit: there’s some great local culture behind those pedimented porticoes, and a fair bit of money has been spent on sprucing up the place. Geography favoured King’s Lynn hundreds of years ago, before trade shifted to the Atlantic. That’s why it’s so beautiful today, all cobbles, alleys and warehouses. King’s Lynn was once the biggest port in the country, and its merchants flashed their cash on those 18th-century townhouses. Maybe fortune will smile on it again some day.</p><p><strong>The case against</strong> The poor place has been scandalously knocked about in decades past, to make room for car parks and dual carriageways, meaning that today it’s a slightly surreal mishmash of 18th-century alleys and retail parks.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jan/11/lets-move-to-kings-lynn-norfolk-it-is-beautiful">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to King’s Lynn, Norfolk: it’s beautiful – all cobbles, alleys and warehouses

Jan 11, 2019 16:29

If it wasn’t in the remoter end of the Fens, it would be overrun with tourists

What’s going for it? Amazing, the effect of geography. Were King’s Lynn anywhere else in the country but squelched into the remoter end of the Fens, it would be overrun with tourists. They’d be there getting selfies next to some 18th-century townhouses or cutie-pie half-timbered cottages they’d seen in the latest Sunday night costume drama. Bistros and artisan coffee houses would be flush. Various branches of Edinburgh Woollen Mills would have opened. But it is not. It is squelched into the remoter end of the Fens. The wealth of the north Norfolk coast is tantalisingly near, but not quite near enough. That relative remoteness today (I mean, it’s only just over an hour to Cambridge, so it’s hardly Siberia, is it?) has bred an independent spirit: there’s some great local culture behind those pedimented porticoes, and a fair bit of money has been spent on sprucing up the place. Geography favoured King’s Lynn hundreds of years ago, before trade shifted to the Atlantic. That’s why it’s so beautiful today, all cobbles, alleys and warehouses. King’s Lynn was once the biggest port in the country, and its merchants flashed their cash on those 18th-century townhouses. Maybe fortune will smile on it again some day.

The case against The poor place has been scandalously knocked about in decades past, to make room for car parks and dual carriageways, meaning that today it’s a slightly surreal mishmash of 18th-century alleys and retail parks.

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<p>Once one of the most significant towns in the country, these days it’s left mostly for the townsfolk</p><p><strong>What’s going for it? </strong>So dominated are the Midlands by the great sprawl of Birmingham, you can easily forget what they were like before the industrial revolution. Places such as Warwick were once the metaphorical, as well as the literal heart of the country – as English as oak trees, John Bull and roast beef. Middle England. Middle Earth. Tolkien got married here. Shakespeare would namecheck the town as some kind of epitome of the English spirit. Today, people come with seven-year-olds in plastic chainmail and swords for the humungous castle, equal parts astonishing relic and ye olde theme parke; but the town behind, once one of the most significant in the country, is these days mostly left for the townsfolk. Lucky them. It’s beautiful, high on its bluff above the Avon and scattered with everything you’d expect in an ancient town, as English as, well, you get the picture. Georgian townhouses, Queen Anne mansions, tottering half-timbered Tudor and tea shops with a nice line in toasted teacakes. It’s somehow both utterly ordinary and utterly exceptional at the same time.</p><p><strong>The case against… </strong>Yes, it’s a tad provincial. But what lies on your doorstep – from the theatre at Stratford, the universities in Coventry and the bright lights of Brum – more than makes up for it.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jan/04/warwick-warwickshire-property-lets-move-to-tom-dyckhoff">Continue reading...</a>

Let’s move to Warwick: as English as roast beef

Jan 4, 2019 16:30

Once one of the most significant towns in the country, these days it’s left mostly for the townsfolk

What’s going for it? So dominated are the Midlands by the great sprawl of Birmingham, you can easily forget what they were like before the industrial revolution. Places such as Warwick were once the metaphorical, as well as the literal heart of the country – as English as oak trees, John Bull and roast beef. Middle England. Middle Earth. Tolkien got married here. Shakespeare would namecheck the town as some kind of epitome of the English spirit. Today, people come with seven-year-olds in plastic chainmail and swords for the humungous castle, equal parts astonishing relic and ye olde theme parke; but the town behind, once one of the most significant in the country, is these days mostly left for the townsfolk. Lucky them. It’s beautiful, high on its bluff above the Avon and scattered with everything you’d expect in an ancient town, as English as, well, you get the picture. Georgian townhouses, Queen Anne mansions, tottering half-timbered Tudor and tea shops with a nice line in toasted teacakes. It’s somehow both utterly ordinary and utterly exceptional at the same time.

The case against… Yes, it’s a tad provincial. But what lies on your doorstep – from the theatre at Stratford, the universities in Coventry and the bright lights of Brum – more than makes up for it.

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<p>We would be tenants in common on the joint property<br></p><p><strong>Q</strong> Please can you advise me whether my partner and I should wait until we marry to buy a new home together or not. I own three rental properties and would probably need to sell my current home to buy with my partner. I am unsure if we would be liable for the extra stamp duty on the purchase if we marry before buying, or if I alone would pay on 50% of the purchase if we are tenants in common. <strong>VF</strong></p><p><strong>A</strong> How you jointly own property – whether as tenants in common or joint tenants – makes no difference to how stamp duty is charged. Both the standard and higher rates of stamp duty are charged on the full purchase price of the property. There was a fairly technical – and untested – tax loophole around the legal definition of what constituted a “major interest” in a property, which meant that married couples could, in theory, get out of paying the higher rate of stamp duty by being tenants in common rather than joint tenants. But this loophole was closed last November, so how you own property no longer makes a difference.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jan/28/would-we-pay-higher-stamp-duty-if-we-marry-before-buying-together">Continue reading...</a>

Would we pay higher stamp duty if we marry before buying together?

Jan 28, 2019 7:00

We would be tenants in common on the joint property

Q Please can you advise me whether my partner and I should wait until we marry to buy a new home together or not. I own three rental properties and would probably need to sell my current home to buy with my partner. I am unsure if we would be liable for the extra stamp duty on the purchase if we marry before buying, or if I alone would pay on 50% of the purchase if we are tenants in common. VF

A How you jointly own property – whether as tenants in common or joint tenants – makes no difference to how stamp duty is charged. Both the standard and higher rates of stamp duty are charged on the full purchase price of the property. There was a fairly technical – and untested – tax loophole around the legal definition of what constituted a “major interest” in a property, which meant that married couples could, in theory, get out of paying the higher rate of stamp duty by being tenants in common rather than joint tenants. But this loophole was closed last November, so how you own property no longer makes a difference.

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<p>A company claims we have overpaid £6,208 but we are wary of pursuing this</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I’ve received three letters from a company claiming to be specialists in reclaiming stamp duty advising us that we may have overpaid £6,208 in stamp duty when we bought our house because it has an annexe. They have offered to make a claim on our behalf on a no-win, no-fee basis (I’m not sure what the fee would be but assume it would be a percentage of the successful claim).</p><p>We purchased our house in September 2018 and it does indeed have a separate annexe, which has two units with a bedroom and a bathroom each (one also has a lounge) – the previous owners used this as accommodation for their sons and then more recently as a B&amp;B.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jan/14/have-we-overpaid-our-stamp-duty-because-house-has-an-annexe">Continue reading...</a>

Have we overpaid stamp duty because the house has an annexe?

Jan 14, 2019 7:05

A company claims we have overpaid £6,208 but we are wary of pursuing this

Q I’ve received three letters from a company claiming to be specialists in reclaiming stamp duty advising us that we may have overpaid £6,208 in stamp duty when we bought our house because it has an annexe. They have offered to make a claim on our behalf on a no-win, no-fee basis (I’m not sure what the fee would be but assume it would be a percentage of the successful claim).

We purchased our house in September 2018 and it does indeed have a separate annexe, which has two units with a bedroom and a bathroom each (one also has a lounge) – the previous owners used this as accommodation for their sons and then more recently as a B&B.

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<p>My daughter may pull out of a property purchase – will she have to pay her solicitor for work done so far? </p><p><strong>Q</strong> My daughter is in the process of buying a house, but has not yet exchanged contracts. However, she is thinking of pulling out of the purchase because the surveyor’s report says the property will need a lot of repairs as well as the removal and disposal of asbestos found in the structure of the garage walls. If she does pull out, will she have to pay her solicitor for the work done so far? This is the quote that my daughter received from her solicitor back in October:</p><p>Fee in relation to your £330,000 leasehold purchase would be a fixed fee of £1,160 plus VAT plus £75 plus VAT for completion of the Stamp Duty Land Tax Return and a fee of £25 plus VAT per bank transfer that we make. The anticipated costs associated with your purchase would be;</p><p>• £30 plus VAT for electronic conveyancing;</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jan/10/do-legal-fees-apply-if-a-house-sale-falls-through">Continue reading...</a>

Do legal fees apply if a house sale falls through?

Jan 10, 2019 7:00

My daughter may pull out of a property purchase – will she have to pay her solicitor for work done so far?

Q My daughter is in the process of buying a house, but has not yet exchanged contracts. However, she is thinking of pulling out of the purchase because the surveyor’s report says the property will need a lot of repairs as well as the removal and disposal of asbestos found in the structure of the garage walls. If she does pull out, will she have to pay her solicitor for the work done so far? This is the quote that my daughter received from her solicitor back in October:

Fee in relation to your £330,000 leasehold purchase would be a fixed fee of £1,160 plus VAT plus £75 plus VAT for completion of the Stamp Duty Land Tax Return and a fee of £25 plus VAT per bank transfer that we make. The anticipated costs associated with your purchase would be;

• £30 plus VAT for electronic conveyancing;

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<p>I’m worried I’ll lose my bonuses in a help-to-buy Isa and/or relief from stamp duty land tax </p><p><strong>Q</strong> My partner and I are looking to buy our first home in London together so have both been saving in help-to-buy Isa accounts. However, I am soon inheriting a share of a property in Finland. I understand that this apparently ruins my chances of benefiting from any first-time buyer advantages here in UK as I am not allowed to own or have owned any other property beforehand, even overseas.</p><p>After a lot of research, I still haven’t quite managed to find a confirming answer if it makes any difference what the value or owned percentage of the property to be inherited is. In some cases I have understood that the higher stamp duty charges can be negotiated, but I haven’t quite found any guarantees about this either. In my case I will be inheriting 50% of a property where my share is worth less than £25,000 – I suppose no matter how low in value or how small percentage I’d own, it wouldn’t make a difference? I am mainly asking, as of course for the papers we can put down just 49% as my share, should this make a difference as it has a massive difference in the cost of buying my first home here in UK.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/dec/17/do-i-count-as-a-first-time-buyer-if-i-inherit-a-share-of-a-home-abroad">Continue reading...</a>

Do I count as a first-time buyer if I inherit a share of a home abroad?

Dec 17, 2018 7:00

I’m worried I’ll lose my bonuses in a help-to-buy Isa and/or relief from stamp duty land tax

Q My partner and I are looking to buy our first home in London together so have both been saving in help-to-buy Isa accounts. However, I am soon inheriting a share of a property in Finland. I understand that this apparently ruins my chances of benefiting from any first-time buyer advantages here in UK as I am not allowed to own or have owned any other property beforehand, even overseas.

After a lot of research, I still haven’t quite managed to find a confirming answer if it makes any difference what the value or owned percentage of the property to be inherited is. In some cases I have understood that the higher stamp duty charges can be negotiated, but I haven’t quite found any guarantees about this either. In my case I will be inheriting 50% of a property where my share is worth less than £25,000 – I suppose no matter how low in value or how small percentage I’d own, it wouldn’t make a difference? I am mainly asking, as of course for the papers we can put down just 49% as my share, should this make a difference as it has a massive difference in the cost of buying my first home here in UK.

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<p>I’m not comfortable having photos of my home and possessions on the internet</p><p><strong>Q</strong> I currently live in a rented flat but I am buying a house. I have given notice to my letting agent and my tenancy is due to end in a month. The letting agent wants to come to my flat and take photos of it so they can put these photos on the internet and market the property. I am not comfortable with photos of my home and possessions being published on the internet. Can I refuse their request?</p><p>I moved into the flat two-and-a-half years ago and the flat was marketed by the same letting agent. I suggested that they use the photos of the flat that were taken before, as it has not changed since then. However, they said they cannot find these photos.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/dec/10/can-i-refuse-to-allow-a-letting-agent-to-take-photos-of-my-flat">Continue reading...</a>

Can I refuse to allow a letting agent to take photos of my flat?

Dec 10, 2018 7:00

I’m not comfortable having photos of my home and possessions on the internet

Q I currently live in a rented flat but I am buying a house. I have given notice to my letting agent and my tenancy is due to end in a month. The letting agent wants to come to my flat and take photos of it so they can put these photos on the internet and market the property. I am not comfortable with photos of my home and possessions being published on the internet. Can I refuse their request?

I moved into the flat two-and-a-half years ago and the flat was marketed by the same letting agent. I suggested that they use the photos of the flat that were taken before, as it has not changed since then. However, they said they cannot find these photos.

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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>Live a lofty existence in these five historic buildings, from London to Yorkshire</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2019/jan/25/homes-for-sale-in-warehouse-conversions-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for sale in warehouse conversions – in pictures

Jan 25, 2019 7:00

Live a lofty existence in these five historic buildings, from London to Yorkshire

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<p>Go back to the land on these five rural properties, from Devon to North Yorkshire </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2019/jan/11/farms-and-smallholdings-for-sale-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Farms and smallholdings for sale – in pictures

Jan 11, 2019 0:00

Go back to the land on these five rural properties, from Devon to North Yorkshire

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<p>If you fancy the excitement of making your perfect home, here’s inspiration</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/gallery/2019/jan/04/homes-for-new-year-renovation-projects-in-pictures">Continue reading...</a>

Homes for new year renovation projects – in pictures

Jan 4, 2019 7:00

If you fancy the excitement of making your perfect home, here’s inspiration

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<p><strong>6 February 1919</strong> When spraying the caustic soda one has to be careful not to get on the wrong side of the wind</p><p>I am always glad when I have safely finished the washing of the fruit trees with caustic soda; it is such dangerous stuff. When measuring out the powder (1lb. to four gallons of water) one’s eyes and throat smart, and later, when spraying with a fine nozzle, one has to be careful not to get the wrong side of the wind. I chose what seemed a perfectly still day, but the very fine spray was sensitive to tiresome little veering gusts, and I was glad I was wearing glasses and gloves. But what satisfaction to see the result! I had just put in some young fruit trees, well grown and likely, but decidedly dirty with moss. Now the moss it entirely destroyed, and in time this batch of trees will have bark as bright and clean as those which have been cared for every year in the little plot.</p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/aug/12/say-goodbye-to-slugs-snails-mice-and-badgers">Say goodbye to slugs, snails, mice and badgers</a> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/04/country-diary-dangerous-moss-killer-caustic-soda-1919">Continue reading...</a>

A dangerous moss killer - Country diary, 6 February 1919

Feb 4, 2019 6:00

6 February 1919 When spraying the caustic soda one has to be careful not to get on the wrong side of the wind

I am always glad when I have safely finished the washing of the fruit trees with caustic soda; it is such dangerous stuff. When measuring out the powder (1lb. to four gallons of water) one’s eyes and throat smart, and later, when spraying with a fine nozzle, one has to be careful not to get the wrong side of the wind. I chose what seemed a perfectly still day, but the very fine spray was sensitive to tiresome little veering gusts, and I was glad I was wearing glasses and gloves. But what satisfaction to see the result! I had just put in some young fruit trees, well grown and likely, but decidedly dirty with moss. Now the moss it entirely destroyed, and in time this batch of trees will have bark as bright and clean as those which have been cared for every year in the little plot.

Related: Say goodbye to slugs, snails, mice and badgers

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<p>Harvesting from your own vine is an enticing prospect. To avoid disappointment, choose the right varieties</p><p>Ever dreamed of picking grapes from your own vine? Well, before you do, I’ll let you in on a super-simple (but surprisingly little-known) trick that UK growers can use to dramatically boost the flavour of their home-grown grapes without any extra effort. Coincidentally, the same tip could improve the nutrient content of your harvests and simultaneously provide you with a crop that is literally unbuyable in the supermarkets. What on earth is it? Well, simply plant a wine grape variety instead of a table variety – and now is the perfect time to do it. Here’s how it works…</p><p>Wine grapes, one might assume, would be simply too unpalatably sour to make good eating. Wrong…</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/feb/03/for-juicy-fruit-grow-your-own-wine-grapes">Continue reading...</a>

For juicy fruit grow your own wine grapes

Feb 3, 2019 11:00

Harvesting from your own vine is an enticing prospect. To avoid disappointment, choose the right varieties

Ever dreamed of picking grapes from your own vine? Well, before you do, I’ll let you in on a super-simple (but surprisingly little-known) trick that UK growers can use to dramatically boost the flavour of their home-grown grapes without any extra effort. Coincidentally, the same tip could improve the nutrient content of your harvests and simultaneously provide you with a crop that is literally unbuyable in the supermarkets. What on earth is it? Well, simply plant a wine grape variety instead of a table variety – and now is the perfect time to do it. Here’s how it works…

Wine grapes, one might assume, would be simply too unpalatably sour to make good eating. Wrong…

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<p>February is a month for maintenance and chitting first earlies</p><p>Preparation, preparation, preparation. February is the month of maintenance. The time for digging in organic matter. Try to pick a dry day, not too cold – you are not looking to move frozen soil up to the surface.</p><p>Sort your garden borders. Get ready. The days are getting longer, from an hour and a half to around two hours by the end of the month depending on how far north you are. Note that this doesn’t mean warmer. February is a harsh month, a time of frost, with a mean temperature in the UK of around 1 C. So dig and clear, enjoy the good work, get your sowing beds ready because seeds will start going in soon.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/feb/03/time-to-dig-and-clear-but-beware-the-cold">Continue reading...</a>

Time to dig and clear – but beware the cold | Allan Jenkins

Feb 3, 2019 6:00

February is a month for maintenance and chitting first earlies

Preparation, preparation, preparation. February is the month of maintenance. The time for digging in organic matter. Try to pick a dry day, not too cold – you are not looking to move frozen soil up to the surface.

Sort your garden borders. Get ready. The days are getting longer, from an hour and a half to around two hours by the end of the month depending on how far north you are. Note that this doesn’t mean warmer. February is a harsh month, a time of frost, with a mean temperature in the UK of around 1 C. So dig and clear, enjoy the good work, get your sowing beds ready because seeds will start going in soon.

Continue reading...

<p>An interior designer’s clever use of space and light gives a London flat a remarkable new space</p><p>The long, light-filled hallway of Katie McCrum’s north London flat leads to a sign marked “The Cabin”. Expecting to find a garden shed, I open the glazed door to discover an extension that feels more California than Camden. The walls are lined in pale Douglas fir, polished floors radiate heat from the underfloor heating. There is an airy bedroom, a shower and a compact kitchen, complete with flip-up dining table. Wide, sliding doors open on to the garden, adding to the air of seclusion.</p><p>McCrum, an interior designer with a background in property development, designed the cabin as a “flexible, multi-tasking extension” of her two-bedroom flat, set on the ground floor of a stucco-fronted house. It is a spacious guest bedroom for friends and family who can drift easily between the flat and cabin for drinks and meals. At other times, the Camden cabin earns a tidy keep as a short-stay rental for tourists who need a central bolthole.</p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/feb/02/cabin-of-curiosities-brings-camden-garden-extension-to-life">Continue reading...</a>

Cabin of curiosities brings Camden garden extension to life

Feb 2, 2019 16:00

An interior designer’s clever use of space and light gives a London flat a remarkable new space

The long, light-filled hallway of Katie McCrum’s north London flat leads to a sign marked “The Cabin”. Expecting to find a garden shed, I open the glazed door to discover an extension that feels more California than Camden. The walls are lined in pale Douglas fir, polished floors radiate heat from the underfloor heating. There is an airy bedroom, a shower and a compact kitchen, complete with flip-up dining table. Wide, sliding doors open on to the garden, adding to the air of seclusion.

McCrum, an interior designer with a background in property development, designed the cabin as a “flexible, multi-tasking extension” of her two-bedroom flat, set on the ground floor of a stucco-fronted house. It is a spacious guest bedroom for friends and family who can drift easily between the flat and cabin for drinks and meals. At other times, the Camden cabin earns a tidy keep as a short-stay rental for tourists who need a central bolthole.

Continue reading...

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