April 29th, 2016
Moving house is one of the most stressful things we ever do in life.
When moving house there are legal tasks to take care of.
Nearly two out of three people put moving house at the top of their stress list, recent research by energy company E.On shows.
And it’s not just the prospect of broken crockery or re-directing your post. The legal side of moving (known as conveyancing) can be just as stressful.
With any house move, there are important legal tasks to complete:
• planning permission checks
• securing land deeds
• agreeing and exchanging contracts
Lots of us opt to get help from a lawyer to take care of these things.
Sometimes things can go wrong with your lawyer
Even when you use a lawyer, things can go wrong. Conveyancing is the most complained-about area of legal practice in England and Wales, accounting for nearly one quarter of all complaints received last year by the Legal Ombudsman.
Common complaints about lawyers
• Failing to advise people properly
• Delaying the conveyancing process
• Providing poor information about the cost of the legal work
You have the right to complain to your lawyer. If this doesn’t help, you have the right to talk to the Legal Ombudsman about your situation. The Ombudsman has powers to put things right.
How to avoid problems with your lawyer
There are practical things you can do to try to avoid problems with lawyers:
• take some time to check the plans of the new house yourself
• explain clearly any particular concerns you’ve got right from the start
Houses and common legal issues
If you’re thinking about taking your first step on to the property ladder, the Legal Ombudsman has created a handy guide called ‘On the move – a guide for first-time buyers‘. It can help you get your head around the legal side of things, and offers tips on what to look out for when a lawyer starts your conveyancing work.
Learn more about common legal issues with houses:
• Buying or selling a house
• Landlord with a legal issue
April 19th, 2016
From trips to the vet to micro-chipping, being a good pet owner means knowing the law.
They say dogs are man’s best friend, and losing a much-loved pet can be devastating. Micro-chipping offers the best chance of a missing animal’s safe return.
More than 86% of UK dog owners have already micro-chipped their pets. But, on 6 April this year, micro-chipping dogs became compulsory. Any dog over the age of eight weeks must be micro-chipped and registered on a national database.
If a local authority finds a dog without a microchip, it can order the owner to microchip their dog within 21 days, or face a fine of £500.
Buying a pet
Pet ownership often starts with buying your pet, and by law you must be at least 16 years old to buy an animal. Adults are legally responsible for the welfare of their children’s pets.
When you buy a pet from a shop, the law protects you as a consumer. That means that if your pet gets sick or dies shortly after you buy it, the pet shop may give you a refund or replace your pet.
If you buy an animal from a private seller, you have fewer rights. For more about your rights, visit Citizens Advice’s website.
Caring for animals
The Animal Welfare Act is now 10 years old. It states that owners must take all reasonable steps to:
- meet their pets’ needs
- give them enough food and water
- house them properly, and
- protect them from pain, suffering, injury and disease
People who don’t look after their animals can be banned from owning them, fined up to £20,000, or even be sent to prison.
Going to the vet
Trips to the vets are part and parcel of owning a pet, and the law protects you and your animals while you’re there.
If the treatment a vet gives doesn’t meet a reasonable standard of care and injures your pet, you can complain or take legal action.
You should get legal advice early on. Citizens Advice can help. In some cases, it makes sense to talk to a lawyer.
Article categories: Animal