Thinking of booking your Christmas break? Read this before making that final decision.

After the disastrous year that the travel industry has had it would be very unwise to book your holiday with an agent or operator who is not ABTA or ATOL registered. To find out exactly what this means for you contact Sara Checkley our holiday law specialist.

Unfortunately booking with a recognised travel firm does not mean that you will have a trouble free holiday. The standard tour operator response to a problem is to either ignore it or make a ridiculous offer. If you have a complaint whilst on holiday you must document it thoroughly and contact the tour operator as soon as possible. You do have recognised legal protection in these circumstances but the tour operator will be reluctant to tell you what this is. So please contact Sara Checkley on 01507 522456 if you have any questions of concerns about your holiday. Your holiday is the second most expensive commodity that you spend your hard earned money on so don’t throw it away.

Buying Christmas Gifts

It is that time of year again when we are all thinking about avoiding the Christmas queues and shopping early. If you are buying gifts for others you must make sure that you tell the retailer. If you do not you could be jeopardising the recipient’s rights if there is a problem with the gift. The recipient is a third party to the contract and as such will have rights under the contract provided that the retailer knows of their existence at the time of sale. If you are not sure about this, contact our Sales of Goods expert Sara Checkley.

Buying Christmas gifts for yourself? If you buy these early and do not intend to use them until Christmas you should tell the retailer as this may affect your rights if you have a problem with the goods. The retailer will more than likely tell you to contact the warranty/guarantee company if you tell them about a problem with the goods. You do not have to do this and you should not be fobbed off with this answer. This is the position whatever the goods, be it clothing or electrical items. Contact Sara Checkley to discuss your rights should you have any problems with the goods that you buy.

Did you know buying your gifts using your credit card will give you extra legal protection should there be a problem. Contact Sara Checkley on 01507 522456

Consumer Guides:

The Property Ombudsman has published a series of four guides to help consumers who are buying, selling, letting or renting residential property. They have been put together on the basis of issues that regularly give rise to complaints about estate agents. If you are interested, you can download the guides from

Council tax and HMOs

A recent High Court decision is likely to provide welcome relief to landlords who are being pursued by local authorities in respect of tenants who have failed to pay their council tax. The court decided that a landlord was not liable for council tax where the property was held not to be a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

What is an HMO for council tax purposes?

A property will be an HMO if it satisfies one of the following criteria:

  • It was originally constructed or subsequently adapted for occupation by a group of people who do not constitute a single household.
  • It is inhabited by a person who, or by two or more persons each of whom, either:

                 o is a tenant of, or has a licence to occupy, part only of the property; or

                o has a licence to occupy, but is not liable to pay rent or a licence fee for the property as a whole.

Next steps

  • You should be very careful if you are planning to let out any properties that could constitute HMOs. Not only are there licensing and planning considerations to address, but you must also ensure that you are not exposed to any council tax liability.
  • To avoid any potential liability for council tax, you should put all your tenants on a single agreement and not reserve any part of the property for your own use or storage.

If you have any queries about this issue or anything else to do with residential lettings, please contact a member of our conveyancing team at any of our offices.