Glasgow’s unregistered landlords are being warned they now risk a £50,000 fine if they fail to register with the city council.
Around 6000 private landlords in Glasgow are estimated to have failed to record their details with the council, despite having a clear legal responsibility to do so. A landlord applying to register gives the council the opportunity to determine whether the individual is a ‘fit and proper’ person to rent out property.
The landlord register is regarded as a key element in the bid to drive up standards and ensure decent housing for tenants. Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The time for excuses from those landlords who have shown no regard for their legal responsibilities is running out. Landlords have known for years that they have a duty to ensure they are properly registered. It is completely unacceptable that so many have chosen to evade the law."
Region:Central Belt |Highlands & Islands |North East Scotland |South of Scotland |UK |Sector:Industrial |Legal |Offices |Retail |
Time to calculate your capital allowances?
Mike Harrison, a partner of Saffery Champness Landed Estates and Rural Business Group, explains the position re the end of consultation on fixtures in commercial buildings:
The Inland Revenue consultation on claiming allowances on fixtures in buildings will come to and end on the 31st August 2011. All owners of commercial buildings, including landowners with rural commercial buildings, need to review their allowances now and take appropriate action.
Currently, capital allowances on fixtures in a building – either when it is first purchased or brought into use – can effectively be claimed some years down the line. This is because there is no requirement to claim all allowances every year.
Region:Central Belt |Edinburgh |Lothians |Sector:Environmental |Regeneration |Sustainability |Legal |
HBJ Gateley Wareing's housing department maintains top spot
Law firm HBJ Gateley Wareing's social housing and regeneration department has maintained the top Tier 1 position in this year's Legal 500, the UK legal directory.
Headed by Heather Pearson, a partner with the firm for over 15 years, the 10 strong team has worked on a number of high profile deals - including Dunedin Canmore Housing Association's acquisition of multi-development sites in Edinburgh, Midlothian and West Lothian. Other clients include Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association, Weslo Housing Management, Hillcrest Housing Association, Link Housing Association and Unity Bank Trust.
Region:Central Belt |Edinburgh |Glasgow |Sector:Appointments |Legal |Retail |
Anderson Strathern appoints real estate consultant
Law firm Anderson Strathern has appointed ex-Maclay Murray & Spens practitioner Robin Garrett to provide consultancy services to the firm.
Garrett is an acknowledged expert in the real estate sector and his prime will be in working with Anderson Strathern's finance, retail and development team.
Robert Carr, chairman of Anderson Strathern, said: "We are very pleased to have secured Robin's services - and hope that his expertise and experience in the Scottish and UK business communities will help us to continue the successful development of our business in the coming years."
Region:Central Belt |Highlands & Islands |North East Scotland |South of Scotland |Sector:Construction |Environmental |Legal |
Iberdrola announces £3bn spend in Scotland by 2012
Iberdrola, the Spanish power giant that owns ScottishPower, has announced that it will be investing £3 billion in Scottish businesses over the next two years. Since 2007, Iberdrola has invested £2.7 billion in UK businesses, a substantial part of this in Scotland.
Over the next two years, Iberdrola expects companies from various fields, such as the legal profession, construction companies and contractors, to be among those who will benefit from the increased contract awards and spend. The company retains more than 1,800 suppliers in Scotland, including Scottish Coal, renewables development company Pelamis, and Mott MacDonald, the management, engineering and development company.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Scotland is hugely significant within Iberdola's plans for the future and the commitment the company has shown to our country is immensely important. As well as the significant contribution to the economy through contracts, the wider Iberdrola Group has recently located the UK arm of its engineering and construction business (IEC) in Lanarkshire creating 150 jobs."
The hills are alive with the sound of . . . lawyers. The commercial property anoraks at Edinburgh legal firm Tods Murray has completed a new lease agreement for Nevis Range Development Company plc with the Forestry Commission. The deal will see the expansion of the Mountain Experience on the mountain of Aonach Mor.
Developed in 1989 as Scotland's highest ski facility, Nevis Range has grown into a year-round 'mountain experience'. What started out as a long strip of land to accommodate Britain's only mountain gondola has become a year-round tourist attraction for sightseers, hikers and mountain bikers.
The new lease consolidates the changes to the lease structure over the past 20 years, clarifying the partnership between the owners, the Forestry Commission and Nevis Range, as responsible operators of the mountain bike trails.
Region:Central Belt |Highlands & Islands |North East Scotland |South of Scotland |Sector:Legal |Planning |
New planning gain regulations: a double whammy or a winner?
Moves to create a clearer framework for planning agreements could see councils receiving less benefit from local developments, leaving local authorities hit by a double whammy of budget cuts and diminished planning gain, warns Martin Drummond, a planning consultant at legal firm Tods Murray LLP. But, he says, if councils and developers hold true to the collaborative spirit of the planned legislation "everyone wins".
The Scottish Government's consultation on the issue of planning obligations is now concluded. Councils and developers are anticipating far-reaching changes later this year to the planning agreement process under Section 75 of the Town and Country Planning Scotland Act 1997.
New legislation is likely to favour the developer, particularly if the proposed right of appeal to Scottish Ministers for applicants is introduced, putting councils under more scrutiny and greater pressure to compromise. But Drummond argues that the new regulations herald a fresh approach and are a win-win for both councils and developers.
Region:Central Belt |Highlands & Islands |North East Scotland |South of Scotland |Sector:Deals |Legal |
Is your land deal uncompetitive?
In a change in the law that could have major implications for commercial property deals, from 6 April 2011 all land agreements in Scotland will become subject to the UK competition rules prohibiting anti-competitive agreements ("the Chapter 1 Prohibition"). What's more, the prohibition will apply to agreements whether they were entered into before or after this date. David Flint of legal firm MacRoberts explains:
A land agreement is essentially any agreement between undertakings which creates, alters, transfers or terminates an interest in land, or an agreement to enter into such an agreement. Until now, such agreements have been specifically exempt from the Chapter 1 Prohibition, but the decision has been taken to revoke this exemption with effect from April of next year.
In effect, parties to a land agreement will now need to consider whether the agreement (or any part of it) prevents, restricts or distorts competition in the UK.
Scottish councils could be in for a green cash bonanza. The opportunity comes from a decision by the UK Government to give them the power to sell electricity generated from renewable sources to the National Grid, according to energy lawyer Paul Minto of legal firm HBJ Gateley Wareing.
He argues that the long awaited move will allow Scotland's cash strapped councils to raise millions of pounds from renewable energy, helping the Scottish Government to achieve its renewable energy target of generating 50% of the country's electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
The Scottish Government is consulting on regulations to govern tenancy deposit schemes north of the border. According to Alex Neil MSP, the Housing and Communities Minister, the move is aimed at "preventing landlords from wrongly withholding cash from tenants".
His department estimates that tenancy deposits wrongly withheld in Scotland may amount to nearly £3.6 million per annum, owed to between 8,000 and 11,000 tenants. The consultation will seek views from key stakeholders and members of the public on the best framework for tenancy deposit schemes.
Legal firm Maclay Murray & Spens (MMS) has announced that banking partner Robert J Laing will take over as chairman from Philip Skerrett, whose three-year ends on June 1.
Robert Laing has been with the firm for 27 years, advising prominent national and international clients, across the London and Scottish offices.
Philip Skerrett joined MMS in 2004, when it merged with boutique financial services practice, the City Law Partnership, in which he was a senior partner. He will remain with the firm as a consultant after his chairmanship has ended.
Mr Laing said: "Philip Skerrett has done an outstanding job as chairman, through one of the most turbulent legal markets any of us can remember. Thanks in no small part to his efforts, the firm is now in a strong position to capitalise on any recovery in the broader economy.
"As chairman, my first priority will be to support chief executive Magnus Swanson, in ensuring the firm plays to its inherent market strengths and seizes opportunities for sustainable growth."
Region:Central Belt |Edinburgh |Glasgow |Sector:Appointments |Construction |Legal |Planning |
Brodies appoints new Partners and Associates
Brodies LLP has appointmented three new partners in its Edinburgh and Glasgow offices: Jackie McGuire in the Public Sector Services Group, Jonathan Cornwell in the Personal Injury team, and Manus Quigg in the Construction and Engineering Group.
At Brodies since December 2007, Jackie McGuire is an expert in Local Government law and has served as director of the firm's Public Sector Services Group, playing a key role in the development of Brodies' public sector legal services, as well as its planning law team (the largest dedicated legal team in Scotland).