Daniels LLP Solicitors I AM thinking of adding a relative’s name to my house deeds, and was wondering how easy this is to do? Would the relative own 50% of the property or the equity, since there is still a mortgage on the house? YOU will not be able to do this without the mortgage company’s consent and I also strongly suggest you take a solicitor’s advice first so that you are aware of the implications. By adding a name to your deeds you will in effect be giving away half your property – or half the equity in it – unless you instruct a solicitor to prepare a declaration of trust which may reflect ownership of a property in unequal shares. This means that you stand to lose the roof over your head if your relative gets divorced, dies or goes bankrupt, or even if he or she wants to raise money. So it’s certainly not a decision to be taken lightly. If you intend transferring the mortgage to your relative there could also be Stamp Duty Land Tax to pay. Don’t do anything rash.
GET HIM OUT
THE apartment above us is rented out by the owner, and all his tenants have caused problems. But he ignores letters from the management association and they will not take further enforcement action. How can we force them to do so? IF the management association has the legal power to take action and it is owned by the flat owners such as yourself, you will need a majority of the flat owners to support you by passing the necessary resolutions. If not, there may be covenants in your lease enabling you to force action. But it is quite possible that neither you nor the other flat owners have any power at all to enforce the covenants against the offending owner. You need a solicitor to look into the legalities and I suggest that you try to get other flat owners to join with you to share the cost.
WAS THERE A WILL?
MY wife died intestate and I was granted Letters of Administration. What happens if a will is produced at a later date? One of my nieces insists that my late wife made a will, even though a thorough search has failed to uncover one. IT’S rare for a will to appear at a later date. It’s much more common for elderly people to promise relatives that they will be looked after in a will when no such will exists! If you have made a diligent search for a will but not found one, and you discharge your duties correctly as administrator, you cannot be held personally liable for your distribution of the estate. If a will did turn up, a disappointed beneficiary would have the right to sue the people who had benefited from the estate when you distributed it.
SPARE THAT TREE
WE have a huge sycamore on our boundary which puts our garden completely in shade. I asked our neighbours about removing it but now somebody’s put a tree preservation order on it. Our deeds say no tree on the property shall exceed 8ft in height. Is this legal? IT sounds as though this is a temporary order – a section 201 direction – which must be confirmed by the local planning authority within six months. You should have received a copy of the authority’s reasons for establishing the order and also a date – at least 28 days – by which objections must be submitted. I suggest you make your objections known, and discuss it with your local councillor, since the councillors will decide whether to ratify the order.
Call SAS Daniels LLP Solicitors on 0161 475 Henry House, Hollinwood Avenue, Chadderton, OL9 8EF, or leave your query on the legal advice line 0117 964 4794.