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selling a house in winter

It’s common knowledge that, as the nights draw in and temperatures drop, the housing market starts slowing down.

Information from the Land Registry clearly shows a marked drop off in completed property transactions in the first quarter of each year in Wales.

Between Q4 and Q1 in both 2012 and 2013, there was a fall of 25%. Given that each property usually takes between 8 and 12 weeks to formalise, it’s clear that the Christmas period has a marked impact on property sales.

But there is a school of thought that suggests that prospective buyers and sellers could do well by acting during the cold, dark winter months. More...

In our FAQ series we look at the very common problem of people who have leaseholds that are running out.

Q: We have bought a leasehold house but have read that we may struggle to re-mortgage the property as there is only about 70 years left on the lease. Should we think about buying the freehold?

A: Yes, what you have read is correct and most major lenders will insist on there being at least 65 years left on the lease. This is so that they can ensure that there is sufficient security in the property before they lend against it.

The longer you leave the lease to run down, the more expensive the freehold will become; so the sooner you purchase it, the better it will be for you. Under the Leasehold Reform Act you have the right to buy the freehold as long as you have owned the property for two years at the time of making your claim. More...

Is my partner entitled to half my house

The next question that Howells solicitors will be answering in our FAQ series, regards the rights to your property when having a partner move in with you.

Q: Several years ago my husband died and left me with the family home which is now mortgage-free. In the last year I have met someone else and we are talking about living together.

I’ve been warned that I should get something legally written up to protect me from losing my house if things don’t work out between us. Is my partner entitled to half my house, what do I need to do in this situation?

A: How you should proceed here depends on the relationship progression. If you do not get married and keep the house in your name then you won’t need to do anything as he will have no legal rights to your home. However, if you transfer the property into joint names or if you take out a joints mortgage to make improvements then things can become more complicated.  More...

evicting tenants

The next big question we are answering in our legal FAQ is where a landlord legally stands when their tenants refuse to move out. The question that was put to us was:

Q: I am selling my property which is tenanted and I have given notice of eviction to tenants within the legally required time, but they are still refusing to leave the property.

I have recently learnt that the tenants have applied to be re-housed by the Local Authority and have been advised to stay put until new accommodation is found.

This is holding up my sale and is extremely frustrating for everyone involved. Can I simply go in and change the locks? More...

One of the main queries I get asked by businesses, regardless of its size, is if they can dismiss an employee without the risk of the individual bringing forward a claim for unfair dismissal.

Can you fire an employee risk-free?

The short answer is that there's always the potential risk of a claim being lodged against the business - it's just a case of minimising the risk and strengthening the employer's position.

There are five potentially fair legal reasons for dismissal:

•    Misconduct
•    Capability
•    Redundancy
•    statutory duty for example not having a work permit,
•    A ‘catch all’ reason, known as ‘some other substantial reason" or SOSR’. 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 (
  2. Our contact email address in case of a complaint under the ODR regulation – Andrea Coombes