Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, 10th February 2015

Q. I have rented a house for 25 years. We have been passed from one managing agent to another. In the last 15 years we have had to get the council to make enforcement orders to get essential repairs done. In June I suffered severe injuries when the stairs to the cellar collapsed under me. Am I entitled to compensation?

A. Make an appointment to see a solicitor specialising in such cases immediately. He or she will look into the details of your claim and assess your chances of success, including what sum you might be entitled to. In your case, on the face of it, the landlord and his agents appear to have a history of negligence in failing to carry out inspections and repairs to your property.

 

Q. On a straightforward will, with no house to sell, how long generally should it take to wind up an estate?

A. It really depends on what other assets there are, and whether inheritance tax is payable. It would be usual to obtain a Grant of Probate within three months of death and distribute within a further three months if, for example, the deceased only had bank accounts and National Savings assets. But if there were shares and the certificates have been lost, for instance, it can take some time for the shares to be sold. If inheritance tax is payable, at least another three months should be added. Obviously where a property is being sold it depends on the housing market at the time.

 

Q. Can you explain what the law is concerning an “easement” in connection with property maintenance? We have recently had the gable end of our bungalow re-pointed, but the neighbour told the builder to get his ladder off his path. We don’t have a good relationship with our neighbour, but does this mean our property must fall into disrepair?

A. An “easement” in your title deeds gives you the right to go on to someone else’s property for a specific purpose, in your case (I take it) to carry out repairs to your property. It’s in your title deeds for the very situation you mention. Unfortunately the law can’t make your neighbour more helpful, but it does mean that you could go to court if necessary for access in order to have your property repaired. This could be an expensive business but your neighbour could be ordered to pay costs.

 

For further information on any of the issues raised, please contact Fahmida Ismail on 0121 698 2200 or fill in our online enquiry form.

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