PROPERTY LAW Angela Brown
LLP Solicitors THE house next door has been empty for 20 years now. The council won’t do anything about it, and it’s causing us a lot of grief because we’ve to pay out money to rectify the damage that’s coming through to our own house. YOU could talk to your local councillor about the possibility of the council taking over the property through an Empty Dwelling Management Order. Most councils have an officer responsible for dealing with empty property. Under the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act you can also petition the council to bring about changes to your area, so if you can get everyone in the street involved, your petition may carry more weight. Get your solicitor to look at your deeds to see whether you have rights of support and protection or covenants that enable you to take action against the adjoining owner directly. THE wealth in our family came from my grandmother. But when she died my grandfather married again and my mother never really got on with her stepmother. My grandfather died a long time ago and now my ‘step’ grandmother has died too. She said she wouldn’t be leaving much to my mother in her will. Can my mother contest the will? FAMILY wealth is very often diluted or lost on the re-marriage of a previous generation. This situation could have been avoided if your grandfather made a will making provision for both his wife and daughter. Unless the circumstances are very exceptional, it is very difficult to challenge a will. Once the assets have passed from your grandfather to his new wife, those assets belong to her and she is (generally) free to dispose of those assets as she pleases. I OWN 70 acres of land which I rent out. Because I do not farm it myself, is the land subject to inheritance tax? And if so, is there anything I can do about it? Who is best to advise me, a solicitor or an accountant? IF the land is part of a working farm, it is likely to qualify for Agricultural Relief from inheritance tax at 100 per cent even where you are renting it out. The qualification is that you must have owned it for seven years before you die – and if you have been renting it out since before September 1, 1995 it may only qualify for 50 per cent relief. It’s not totally straightforward, and if you are concerned about inheritance tax generally I suggest you see a solicitor specialising in this area at least initially. WE built a wall on the boundary with our neighbours. But our neighbours have objected to our plan to put decorative railings on top of it. We think this is because they have built their extension too close to the wall and now need the airspace above to manoeuvre dustbins and the like. How can we resolve this? IF the width of the wall straddles the boundary you will have to consult with your neighbours. But if it’s entirely on your side you are entitled to put up the railings regardless of their objections, subject to the two-metre height restriction for boundary walls. If you are going to allow your neighbours to use your air space you really ought to get them to sign a document accepting permission to do this. Otherwise they will acquire a right which could interfere with future development of
Call SAS Daniels LLP Solicitors on 0161 475 7676 or 01625 442 100. Visit www.sasdaniels.