Your legal questions answered by Fahmida Ismail, Partner at Sydney Mitchell LLP. As featured in Worcester News, 2nd December 2014.


Q. My father married a second time in 1998, and his wife died four years ago. He still lives in her house and he says she made a will leaving it to her daughter. The daughter is now talking about selling the house, saying my father, who is 86, could go into a home. Will he have to move out?

A. If there is a valid will and it doesn’t make adequate provision for your father he may well have a claim on his late wife’s estate. He should obtain expert legal advice on this as soon as possible. The will should at the very least give your father the right to stay in the property during his lifetime. If it doesn’t, the daughter would have to go to court to evict your father, and she would have to give good reasons why she needed the property urgently


Q. Last year I started a business and rented an office with a licence, which allowed us to give a month’s notice to leave. The landlord asked for a year’s rent in advance, and in return we received a discount of £25 a month. We have now given a month’s notice to leave, but the landlord refuses to refund the remaining three months’ rent we have paid for. He says that paying in advance forms a contract.

A. Paying a rent does form a contract – but it depends what the contract is. If it is a month-to-month “rolling” contract (and you have exclusive occupation) the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 applies. This means that you can leave on a month’s notice and are entitled to your money back. If necessary you can issue a claim in the County Court.


Q. The house next door’s overflow pipe has been dripping for months and is damaging the rendering on both our houses. How do I find the name and address of the latest of a series of buy-to-let landlords who have owned the property next door and get them to take action?

A. The property is likely to be registered at the Land Registry if it has changed hands recently. You can get a copy of the title register, which gives details of the current owners, at the Land Registry website for £3.00 or you can call in at a Land Registry office and carry out an index map search. Send a recorded delivery letter to the registered owner warning him that you will hold him responsible for the damage to your property unless he takes action within, say, 14 days.


For further information on any of the issues raised, please contact Fahmida Ismail on 0121 688 2200 or fill in our online enquiry form.

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