Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, 17th February 2015

Q. I have worked for the same employer for 34 years. Recently there have been many redundancies and I am now left with little work to do. I feel the reason I wasn’t given severance pay is because of my age and length of service.

A. Recent age discrimination legislation means that common selection criteria such as “last in, first out” and length of service may now be considered discriminatory. If you feel the selection process was unfair you should raise the matter through the firm’s grievance procedure, and if necessary consult a solicitor or your trade union. You could always apply for retraining. Under the same legislation it will be difficult for your employer to turn you down on the basis of your advanced years.


Q. My mother gave me her house in 2009. My current concern is that, if she needs to go into a care home, I will have to sell the property to pay for the care home fees. The house is now worth about £230,000. If I was to sell it, would I be liable for capital gains tax?

A. Since you have owned the property for six years it’s most unlikely that the local authority would be able to suggest that it should be available for payment of care home fees. However when you come to sell it, you will be liable for capital gains tax on any appreciation in value since 2009 if you don’t live there.  So while your mother may have escaped liability for paying care home fees, the downside is that you may have to pay capital gains tax instead.


Q. I moved out of a housing association flat last year. Two months later they contacted me to say I had caused damage and left it unclean, neither of which were true. They are now claiming rent arrears and money for repairs and say they will instruct solicitors. Can they sue me without proof? Will they go to the time and expense of suing me?

A. They can attempt to sue you, but without proof they’re unlikely to get very far. It’s good practice to take photos of rental accommodation before you move out so that you can easily counter any claims about the state you left it in. It should be fairly easy to prove or disprove claims of rent arrears since you’re likely to be able to produce bank statements. Whether they will pursue this depends to some extent on how much they think you owe.

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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