Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News on 15th January 2015.

Q. I have a small manufacturing business in a mill and have been a tenant for more than 30 years. The mill has been bought by property developers, who have now told us that all tenants must leave by next May. Do I have any rights, or a right to compensation?

A. In order to make you leave, your landlord must first give you at least six months' formal written notice under Section 25 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. This must specify the grounds on which the new tenancy is refused. You may be able to argue that the grounds are insufficient. If you have to leave you will be entitled to some compensation under the terms of the Act.  You need a solicitor’s advice though because the law is complicated.


Q. I have been off work ill for seven months now suffering from depression. My previous sickness record was good, but now my employers are threatening disciplinary action. This harassment is obviously not helping me recover. If I resign because of it, could I claim constructive dismissal?

A. Your employers are entitled to enquire after your health and seek a date on which you may be able to return to work. Unless they are literally harassing you – for example telephoning you constantly or calling at your house each day – you will not be able to make out a case for constructive dismissal. However your employers are obliged to follow certain procedures before they can terminate your employment. You may also have protection under the Equality Act 2010, but I recommend that you obtain detailed advice and consider whether it is appropriate to raise a grievance.


Q. My mother died nearly a year ago. We hadn’t spoken for eight years. I have four brothers and sisters and as far as I’m aware my mother didn’t leave a will. What will become of her money and her house?

A. Are you on speaking terms with your brothers and sisters? If they aren’t aware of the existence of a will then, assuming your father is no longer alive, one of you will have to apply to the Probate Court for authority to wind up your mother’s estate, including selling the house. It’s likely that one of your brothers or sisters has already done this; you could find out who by contacting the Probate Registry. If there is no will your mother’s estate should be divided equally between the five of you.

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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