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Here at Howells Solicitors, we are delighted to report that our conveyancing department has experienced a 47% rise in the number of inquiries and completed transactions when compared to the same period last year.

The figures for the transactions completed and inquiries received by our conveyancing offices during November to December 2012 show an unexpected surge given the precarious state of the economy.

The growth experienced by our five offices across South Wales correlates with national figures released in December by the Financial Services Authority and the Council of Mortgage Lenders, which indicates that banks and building societies are becoming more willing to lend to prospective homebuyers.

Mark Hobbs, managing partner, was quoted in the Western Mail, saying: “There is a plethora of different opinions regarding the current state of the housing market and what might happen in 2013. The Government’s Funding for Lending Scheme is starting to have a positive impact on the housing sector in Wales. 

“Using our own data we have noticed that the number of first-time buyers entering the market is up on the same period last year. We have also seen a significant rise in the number of clients purchasing new builds.”

Over the past couple of weeks, both the Monmouthshire Building Society and the Principality Building Society have launched the lowest rate mortgage deals in the UK for first-time buyers. We believe this will further strengthen the recovery and encourage buyers in South Wales to start shopping around for properties. 

It is particularly encouraging to see the growth we have experienced replicated across the country and throughout the UK. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for 2013.

 

Howells Solicitors are offering valuable assistance to the Cardiff and Vale Citizens Advice Bureau by offering a free fortnightly legal advice service in Barry Town Centre.

The clinics, which started in November 2012, offer expert advice on a wide variety of legal matters ranging from family law, cohabitation disputes, divorce proceedings, employment law, property, landlord and tenant disputes, wills and probate, personal injury, general litigation matters and the availability of legal aid.

The clinics are provided on a pro-bono basis to bolster the essential services already offered at no cost by the Citizens Advice Bureau. Appointments are also available at Howells Solicitors office on Newport Road for those residents who do not wish to travel to Barry.

Howells is delighted to be able to give something back to the local community in what are proving to be difficult times for so many. If you would like to benefit from this free service then you can contact the Cardiff and Vale Citizens Advice Bureau by visiting www.valecab.org or calling 0844 477 2020. Alternatively you can call Howells directly on 0808 178 2773.

 

by Tristan Lewis

As the season to be jolly draws to an end, reality returns for many couples and sadly for some their new year resolutions including making a fresh start without their partner.

Our Family Law team received an influx of new enquiries on the 3rd January, a day which has become known in the legal industry as ‘Divorce Day’. This marks the start of a particularly busy period for the Family Law department.

Although divorce rates are at their lowest level since the 70’s, figures released in November stated that 117,558 couples got divorced in 2011. Last month’s published Census figures showed that for the first time since records began married people were in the minority and 4.1 million people described selected ‘divorced’ as their marital status, an increase of 20% since the last Census.

Margaret Phillips, Partner and Head of Family Law at Howells Solicitors explained there are numerous reasons why this time of the year is particularly busy for lawyers. She said, “The Christmas period can be very stressful and emotional for some couples who might not be used to spending that much time together. Coping with children, extended families, and seasonal bad weather can also contribute to the strain. Some couples with children do their best to stay together for one final ‘magical’ Christmas as a family before parting in the new year.”

Financial pressures can also contribute to the breakdown of marriages. Ms Phillips continues, “The tough current economic climate can put relationships under strain. Redundancy, job insecurity, paying for Christmas can all have a negative impact on relationships.”

If you're looking for advice from expert divorce solicitors, call the Howells divorce lawyer team on 02920 404014 or email info@howellslegal.com today.

 

by Tristan Lewis

We are opening the doors of our Caerphilly office on Saturday mornings to provide a free legal advice surgery. Caerphilly residents and shoppers will be able to call in without needing to make an appointment.

We made the decision to provide this service to make it easier for people with traditional Monday to Friday 9-5 jobs to receive face to face expert legal advice.

Mark Hobbs comments: "We really do want to make managing legal affairs as easy as possible. Many clients have commented on what a great service we provide and so we now want to focus on how they and others can access that service. Being at the top of Cardiff Road, a busy high street we also feel that we have a duty to local residents to be accessible in much the same way as our retail neighbours."

Contact details and an address for our Caerphilly office can be found here.

 

by Tristan Lewis

fifty shades of grey

Richard Scott, one of our Partner Solicitors, offers his views on why the best selling book is causing waves in the world of family law...

It must be every married man’s dream, a wife who likes sex, lots of it and for there to be an element of adventure in the bedroom. Well not necessarily so chaps. In the 21st century standards are high and if you don’t step up to the mark you could find yourself being traded in for a younger and better model.

Recently, in an interesting case which was well publicised in the national newspapers, a wife sought a divorce from her husband in the High Court after reading the recently popular series of novels called “Fifty Shades of Grey”. After reading the ‘colourful and descriptive content’, the wife in this particular case drew the conclusion that her husband was sexually inadequate after he refused to spice up their love life by re-creating some of scenes in the books. She successfully divorced him for this kind of unreasonable behaviour and actually referred to extracts of the books in the divorce particulars.  More...

With effect from 15th February 2015 EU Regulations on Consumer Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) allow consumers who bought our services online to submit their complaint via an online complaint portal.

We are required under the regulations to provide our clients the following information:-
  1. Link to the ODR platform - please follow the following link for further information (http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr).
  2. Our contact email address in case of a complaint under the ODR regulation – Andrea Coombes andrea.c@howellslegal.com