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BREAKING NEWS – Evictions ban wind down plan announced

Landlord and Tenant Update Landlords will be glad to hear that the Government have announced plans to wind down the ban on evictions, which will coincide with reductions in notice periods that landlords must provide to tenants. This comes as the Government slowly but surely take steps towards normality now the UK is easing its way out of lockdown. Legislation has been amended that will see bailiffs commencing with evictions from 1st June 2021. Notice periods are being reduced from 6 months to 4 months, which will include ‘no fault’ grounds under section 21. Notice periods for the most serious cases under section 8 will remain lower. (This includes 4 weeks’ notice for over 4 months accumulated rent arrears) The government’s plan is to return to pre-Covid timescales on October 1st 2021 in which section 8 notice periods will be between two weeks…

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Proposed changes to Residential Lettings market

A Section 21 notice is used to evict your tenants either after a fixed term tenancy ends if there’s a written contract; or during a tenancy with no fixed end date, known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy. This will leave Landlords in a difficult position if they wish to regain their property if the Tenant has not breached the tenancy agreement, such as by not paying rent. Also, if Landlords wish to use a Section 8 notice on the ground of outstanding rent arrears, they now must include details of the recently-introduced ‘breathing space’ debt scheme when seeking possession of their property from tenants who have not paid rent. The constant changes to the housing market are making it impossible for Landlords. It is important that you seek legal advice on your property issues to avoid any further delays, especially now that…

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Raising awareness for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Hypermobile Spectrum Disorder (HSD) this month

EDS is a connective tissue disorder, most commonly associated with hypermobile joints which can cause recurring and frequent dislocations. The syndrome affects the collagen in your body and can result in a vast array of symptoms. Collagen makes up 30% of our total protein content which makes up our skin, cartilage, bones, joints, and organs. Due to this, those with EDS can present with a variety of symptoms that tend to be treated individually. In reality, this should be treated as a collection of symptoms that points towards an EDS diagnosis. Because of this EDS is considered a rare disease where in reality it is just vastly underdiagnosed. Our Admin Assistant, Chloe-Lynne Slater has recently been diagnosed with the condition and has shared her story. Chloe-Lynne’s story   I am aiming to raise awareness of the condition throughout may as I have Ehlers…

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New batch of trainee solicitors welcomed in 2021!

Sweeney Miller now has 7 trainee solicitors in the firm, including an apprentice, indicating the company’s strong tradition of supporting and promoting suitable candidates as part of their graduate training programme. Zarah Rowntree (middle), Niamh Farrell (left), and Stephanie Rutherford (right) are the latest employees to be offered a coveted trainee role at the start of January 2021 despite a challenging socio-economic climate. Zarah joined the team in 2018 as a Conveyancing Assistant following her graduation from the University of Sunderland with a first-class law degree in 2017. Steph joined the firm in the same year, having undertaken her L.L.B (Hons) and L.L.M Legal Practice Course at the University of Sunderland. Niamh also joined the Sunderland Office in 2018, having undertaken her L.L.B (Hons) and L.L.M Legal Practice Course at the University of Sunderland. Partner, Surbhi…

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World Mental Health Day and Mental Health in Family Matters

This year’s event has had a particular significance due to the additional stresses that many people are under due to the current pandemic. In fact, 49% of the UK population reported feelings of anxiety or worry during the lockdown and more than one in five said that they felt lonely. The pandemic is also exaggerating other already stressful situations such as divorce proceedings. Dealing with a divorce or separation throughout this period can be exceptionally hard while juggling lockdown and other implications. Our legal advisers try to help where we can to ease the pressure. By encouraging open communication and conversation with clients, we can accommodate our service to be sensitive to any specific needs. We also try to ease the pressure of divorce proceedings through guided legal support and advice where possible. If you are undertaking a divorce or separation and…

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Irenna Pietruszka becomes Head of Conveyancing at Newcastle Office

We are delighted to announce that Irenna Pietruszka took over the role of Head of Conveyancing at the Newcastle Office from 1st October 2020. Irenna has already proven to be a strong conveyancer and natural leader and is looking forward to taking on the responsibility for overseeing the firm’s conveyancing department in the Newcastle office. She will be working alongside Damien Todd, who is the Head of Conveyancing, Sunderland Office, with Paul Miller remaining overall Conveyancing Partner and Managing Partner. Find out more about Irenna’s experience with the firm and get in touch with her here.

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Pre and Post-Nuptial Agreements

Unfortunately, as family law experts we understand that almost half of marriages end in divorce. We know this may seem a bleak outlook to many happily married couples, but we are realistic and understand the need to protect your assets which can often be overlooked during the Honeymoon Stage. Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements are a useful way of regulating finances in the event a relationship ends, whether that is in relation to martial or non-marital assets such as businesses and inheritance. You may need a specialist family lawyer to help you differentiate between the two. A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract between a couple entered into before a marriage or civil partnership and a post-nuptial agreement is exactly the same sort of contract but is entered into after the marriage or civil partnership. The courts will look to share…

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Advice on settlement agreements

We understand this is a stressful time for both employers and employees who are faced with no other option but to make staff redundant and come to an agreement on the terms of their departure from the company. If you have a complaint against your employer, you may be able to take your employer to an employment tribunal. If your employer does not wish for the issue to be taken further, they may wish to negotiate a settlement agreement with you. Some employers will also invite you to sign a settlement agreement which usually involves a promise to pay you a sum of money when you leave the company. Your employer will usually pay for you to get independent legal advice, therefore you may not need to pay us anything, and we will deal with your employer direct. We will ensure…

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Possession proceedings due to resume 23rd August 2020

If you require advice on possession proceedings, please contact us without delay! The court will be backlogged for weeks as a result of the pandemic so it is important you deal with matters promptly. The law differentiates between ‘stayed claims’ which are those which were brought on or before 22nd August 2020; and ‘new claims’ which are claims brought after 22nd August 2020. Therefore it is important you get it right. Under the new Practice Direction, stayed claims issued before 3rd August 2020 will not be listed for a hearing or referred to a Judge until one of the parties files with the court, and serves upon the other party, a reactivation notice confirming that they wish the case to be listed, relisted, heard or referred. At Sweeney Miller, we have already started filing reactivation notices for our clients as we know…

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What information do I need for my divorce consultation?

We understand that this is one of the most difficult and stressful times that you have likely experienced and we are here to guide you. We would ask you to start from the beginning and explain when you started your relationship, when you were married if you had any children during the marriage, and how the relationship broke down. We find some clients like to write everything down to help them remember their details and so that they feel like they don’t forget anything during our chat. But we know some clients need to speak to us so their voices can be heard. We will follow everything up with you in writing so you do not need to panic and write down our discussion or record our meeting. It is helpful to have your financial information with you such as details of…

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Coronavirus Update

In support of our continuous fight against the COVID-19 virus to help protect our staff we would kindly ask that our clients do not visit us unless it is absolutely necessary, should you need to visit you must make an appointment before doing so. Thank you for your co-operation at this unprecedented time. Stay Safe.

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