Archive for September, 2018

Organic Farmer Has Good Legal Advice to Thank for £600,000 Tax Saving

In an encouraging case for the agricultural industry, a determined organic farmer has been granted the right to set off more than £1.4 million in losses, suffered over a five-year period, against tax due on profits he made in subsequent years. With the help of legal advisers, he achieved a tax saving of almost £600,000. The farmer bought a 75-acre farm in 1995 and consistently made losses over the following 17 years. He lost £1,464,324 in the five tax years from 2008 to 2012, in part because of the financial crisis. However, by expanding the farm’s landholdings to over 400 acres and by specialising in organic produce and in selling directly to the public, he turned the business around and it had been profitable since 2012. He had other business interests and had continued to pay farm workers generously throughout the ... Read more

Selling a Business? Make Sure You Get a Properly Drafted Contract!

Buying and selling businesses can be a highly complex matter and dispensing with legal formality is a positive invitation to trouble. The point could hardly have been better made than by a High Court case concerning the ill-fated purchase of a fish and chip shop which culminated in threats of violence. Following informal discussions, a businessman had paid £160,000 for the business as nominee for the buyer, his brother-in-law. Although both buyer and seller had instructed solicitors, they deliberately kept them in the dark and showed little or no concern for the advice they gave. As a result, no agreement embodying the terms on which the shop was to change hands was ever signed. The buyer and seller fell out within months of the buyer taking possession of the business. Issues arose as to the buyer’s continued use of the seller’s ... Read more

Fixed Term Tenancies and Probationary Periods – High Court Guidance

Fixed term tenancies, incorporating probationary periods, are a common means by which social housing providers weed out potential nuisance tenants and ensure that their housing stocks remain available to those who really need them. A High Court ruling gave guidance on how such tenancies work in practice. The case concerned a woman who was granted an assured shorthold tenancy of a flat for a fixed term of seven years. The tenancy was subject to a 12-month ‘starter’ period, which could be extended to 18 months. The lease, which was in common form, contained a break clause which provided that, during the probationary period, the tenancy could be terminated on two months’ notice. The landlord, a social housing provider, exercised the break clause and launched possession proceedings after receiving complaints of antisocial behaviour on the woman’s part. She pleaded that, by virtue ... Read more

Houses in Multiple Occupation – Landlords, Do You Know the Law?

The question of what is and is not a house in multiple occupation (HMO) is far from straightforward to answer and, as a First-tier Tribunal (FTT) decision showed, landlords who fail to take legal advice on the issue can be hit in the pocket after finding themselves in unwitting breach of the law. The owner of a three-bedroom home, which was not licensed for use as an HMO, had leased it to managing agents, who in turn rented it out to two Eastern European tenants. A local authority inspection of the property subsequently revealed that one of the tenants had sublet rooms in the property to at least 14 men, taking a separate rent from each of them. The owner did not swiftly comply with a warning notice served on him by the council and received a £750 fine for failing ... Read more
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