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Changes to Stamp Duty

The government have made an announcement that buy to let landlords and people buying second homes will soon have to pay more in stamp duty land tax.


It is proposed that from April 2016 those buying a property in England and Wales will have to pay a 3% surcharge on each stamp duty band.


It is also proposed that the duty will be payable even on those properties underneath the current stamp duty threshold of £125,000.


This means that properties worth up to £125,000 will be subject to a 3% stamp duty and those between £125,000 and £250,000 will be subject to a 5% and those subject to £250,000 to £925,000 will be subject to an 8% and those between £925,000 and 1.5 million will be subject to 13% and those over 1.5 million will be 15%.


It is also proposed that there will be future changes to capital gains tax.


Therefore, it is anticipated that there will be a surge in buy to let landlords and those purchasing a second home wishing to complete before the end of March.


At Clifford Johnston & Co we appreciate the need for speed while maintaining accuracy and ensuring that there will be no future problems with the legal title to the property.  If you wish to discuss a purchase or the sale or any changes to the stamp duty then please contact either Christopher Furbey at or Horup Khan at  Please get in touch if you need our help.

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Buying or selling a home is possibly one of the most stressful things that you will do during your lifetime.  It is a huge commitment both financially and emotionally and it is important to choose a solicitor who understands the process and will support you throughout.

The Legal Ombudsman has recently warned that “Conveyancing factories pose a potential risk for house buyers”.  The Chief Ombudsman also warned that there are considerable complaints levied against conveyancing factories.  At Clifford Johnston & Co Solicitors your case will be managed by either Christopher Furbey or Horup Khan who are both experienced and competent solicitors.  Mr Furbey or Mr Khan will see your case through from the start through to conclusion.  You will have direct access to them by their telephone or email or letter or in person.  They are both qualified and experienced solicitors and take extreme pride in their work.

An area of frustration with conveyancing is lack of communication.  It is quite common for people in the chain not to understand what is going on and to become frustrated with the lack of information.  At Clifford Johnston & Co we understand that it is important to keep you fully updated at every stage of the transaction and to keep you informed of any progress and lack of progress and the reason for that.

If you are considering buying or selling a property then please get in touch with either Christopher Furbey  or Horup Khan  who will happily discuss the process with you.

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Changes to residential Tenancies starting after 1st October 2015


Changes to residential Tenancies starting after 1st October 2015 

Many landlords will have learnt the painful lesson that failing to strictly comply with procedural requirements can make it very difficult to recover possession of their properties. As a result of further changes recently introduced there now additional requirements with which landlords must comply.

These important changes to the laws regulating residential tenancies have been introduced by The Deregulation Act 2015 and the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015.

For tenancies entered into after 1st October 2015 landlords are required to provide their tenants with the current version of the booklet “How to Rent; checklist for renting in England” which is published by the Department for Communities and Local Government and which can be downloaded here:

Crucially landlords must be aware that they cannot serve a section 21 notice requiring possession unless the prescribed information has been given.

The landlord or agent can provide the tenant with a hard copy of the checklist or can serve it by email (if the tenant has provided an email address and has confirmed that she/he will accept service of notices by email)

The new requirements are particularly confusing and difficult to follow but it appears to be the case that the landlord or agent is required to serve a further copy of the checklist for renting on the signing of a replacement tenancy if a new version of the booklet has been produced before the start date of the new tenancy.

If you need further advice about your obligations as a landlord or about recovering possession from your tenant please contact Philip Walsh on 0161 975 1905 or at


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When somebody has died it is difficult to manage. We know that there are emotional stresses involved and it is a very difficult time.

At the appropriate point you need to consider dealing with the deceased’s person’s estate.

The first thing to do is to check whether or not the person left a will. You should look in their personal possessions. For example, you should check for any bank papers or other important documents that they have. You will easily be able to identify the will because it will normally be in an envelope headed will.

If you are able to find a will then you need to check that it is valid and a solicitor can often help you with this. The executor will be appointed in the will and their job is to administer the estate how the deceased wanted.

If the person died without a will then they have died intestate which means that their estate will pass in accordance with the intestacy laws. The intestacy laws are very outdated and do not recognise for example unmarried partners. If somebody has died without a will then you need an administrator rather than an executor who would have been appointed in the will.

Whether you are the executor or the administrator it is important to administer the estate properly. You accept certain responsibilities and it is important you do a thorough job.

It is possible to do it yourself without the help of a solicitor but you will be unaware of the pitfalls.

At Clifford Johnston we know that quite often people want to do as much as possible themselves. We offer an initial consultation for £72 and at that meeting we will discuss with you the practical steps involved in administering somebody’s estate. You will then be able to get on with the job better. Alternatively you may want to instruct us to help with some of the legal jobs involved.

We have an established probate department. If you instruct us in relation to a probate matter then the case will be handled by either Mr David Johnston or Mr Christopher Furbey, both of whom are experienced solicitors. If you need help then please get in touch and telephone us on 0161 975 1908 or email us at

We know that it is a difficult time and we are here to help.

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Nearest Relatives Rights

At Clifford Johnston we specialise in representing those with mental health problems and also their families. We attend at Mental Health tribunals and managers hearings each day and represent some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We are well aware of their needs and how to properly represent them.

There are a number of firms who also specialise in representing people at tribunals and managers hearings.

At Clifford Johnston we also have particular expertise in helping the nearest relative of those who are detained under the Mental Health Act. We have represented a number of nearest relatives on displacement proceedings. These proceedings are in the County Court when an approved mental health professional (a social worker) says that the nearest relative of a person detained needs to be removed and replaced with somebody else. This often happens where there has been a breakdown in communication between the relevant services and the patient’s nearest relative.

We regularly advise nearest relatives who are in this particular situation. Quite often the nearest relative feels shut out and feels as though the services are working against them rather than with them.

We are able to offer clear advice in relation to the law and are also able to offer practical advice to help nearest relatives in asserting their rights.

County Court nearest relative displacement proceedings are extremely stressful and we are able to help reduce that stress by helping you at such a difficult time. The proceedings often progress very quickly and we are able to dedicate time to your problem.

The work will be carried out by either Christopher Furbey or Noreen Doherty both of whom are experienced solicitors. Both Mr Furbey and Miss Doherty are also members of The Law Society’s Panel of Approved Mental Health Solicitors which means they have been recognised by The Law Society as having particular expertise in mental health work.

If you are facing nearest relative displacement proceedings or you are concerned about a relative in hospital then please get in touch. You can telephone Christopher Furbey on 0161 975 1908 or Noreen Doherty on 0161 975 1904 or alternatively you can email us at or

We are experienced solicitors and we want to help. Please get in touch.

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It is possible for a social landlord or an individual to obtain an injunction against somebody. An injunction is an order from the court which can make somebody do something or refrain from doing something. Injunction proceedings are started in the County Court and the first hearing can even take place without you being aware of it.

Injunctions are extremely serious because they can include a power of arrest which means that you can be arrested for breaching the injunction even though the breach may not constitute a criminal offence. Injunction orders can also include exclusion orders meaning that you cannot visit certain areas.

Injunction orders can last for many years.

If you are served with an injunction order or an application for an injunction then please contact us. We specialise in this area of work and we will be able to assist you.

Legal help is available which is a limited form of public funding which will allow us to liaise and negotiate with the person who wishes to obtain the injunction. In certain circumstances we can also apply for full legal aid and we can represent you in full at the court proceedings.

If you are in receipt of any paperwork relating to an injunction then please contact us. Mr Christopher Furbey who is a qualified solicitor will happily assist you. You could telephone us on 0161 975 1908 or email

It is important to take action because if you do not do anything then it is likely that the court would simply pass the injunction in your absence and you would also be ordered to pay the costs. Please get in touch.

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If you are a Landlord of a property then from time to time you may wish to evict your tenant. You may wish to evict the tenant because they have not paid the rent or because they have caused nuisance or annoyance at the property.   Alternatively, you may wish to evict the tenant simply because you want to house new tenants or you want to sell the property .

When you are a residential Landlord it is essential that you obtain proper legal advice on the process and procedure on evicting a tenant.

There are very technical rules if, for example, you have taken a deposit from your tenant then it is important that you have protected the deposit and served notice in relation to that.

There are various routes in which you can choose to evict your tenant. You can evict your tenant at the end of a fixed term of the tenancy or you can apply to evict your tenant where they have failed to pay the rent and the level of arrears have reached a certain amount.

At Clifford Johnston & Co., we specialise in representing Landlords. Mr. Philip Walsh is a Solicitor with 20 years experience and he is able to meet with you and obtain your initial instructions and provide you with some advice in relation to the ways of evicting your tenant. Mr. Walsh will be able to give you practical advice and suggestions and tell you about the strengths and weaknesses of each course of action.

We offer initial consultation for 30 minutes for £60 plus which is £72 in total.   At the appointment Mr. Walsh will go through the tenancy agreement with you and discuss your options in full.   Mr. Walsh will give you practical suggestions which you will find very helpful.

If you wish to instruct us to evict your tenant then Mr. Walsh will be able to discuss the fixed fees with you which are competitive and offer good value for money.

If you get it wrong when evicting a tenant it can be extremely costly.   For example, a tenant may be able to obtain Legal Aid and counterclaim. If you have not followed the correct procedure then they could defend on a technical ground.

This is a complex error of law and you need specialist help and assistance.   Please do get in touch and let us help you.

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When you have a legal problem it is difficult to know who to turn to.   There are a large number of solicitors and other practices who claim to offer legal advice.

You need to consider your problem and you need to consider who can best help you.

When identifying which solicitor to choose it is important to select a quality solicitor with a good reputation.   A good way of choosing a solicitor is to look to see whether or not they have any accreditations. For example, whether they have the Lexcel accreditation. The Law Society also run a number of accreditation schemes.   For example, the Quality Conveyancing Scheme or the Mental Health Accreditation Scheme.

You should identify your problem and the relevant area of law and then see if there is an appropriate accreditation for that area.   If there is you may wish to choose a solicitor who specialises in that area and who has been recognised as having expertise in such area.

At Clifford Johnston & Co., we have an excellent reputation.   We have the Lexcel mark and we have also been recognised by the Law Society and have been awarded the Conveyancing Quality Mark.   We also have a number of solicitors who are accredited in their respective fields.   For example, on the Mental Health Accreditation Scheme and the relevant Criminal Accreditation Schemes.

It is important to choose a good quality solicitor. You should also speak to family and friends and see if they can recommend anybody.

If you have a problem then you should get in touch. You can speak with Christopher Furbey who is a solicitor at the firm and he will be able to discuss your problem and identify a solicitor within the firm who can help you.   If we can’t help you then we will help you look elsewhere.

Please get in touch and we will try and help you.

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Elderly Clients

We do not like to think of ourselves getting old. However, it is a sad fact that we do get older and we need to make provisions for later life.

It is important to consider if you have a Will and if you need a Will.

We have previously blogged about the importance of having a Will. In particular in relation to unmarried partners. The intestacy laws are outdated and do not recognise many aspects of modern living.

A Will is very often essential.

In addition is sadly known that many of us will lose capacity as we get older. We may well suffer with problems such as dementia. If we lose capacity then we are unable to make decisions for ourselves.

In those circumstances we may need somebody to act on our behalf in managing our finances.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which appoints somebody to deal with your finances in the event that you lose capacity. The document is relatively straight forward and relatively inexpensive to prepare. If, however, you do not have a power of attorney and you lose capacity then it can become expensive to get the Court of Protection involved and for them to appoint somebody to act on your behalf.

At Clifford Johnston we have solicitors who specialise in elderly client work. In particular David Johnston who is a Consultant Solicitor with the firm is extremely experienced. Christopher Furbey also has a wide range of experience in relation to the preparation of Wills and elderly client and dealing with vulnerable clients generally.

If you do not have a Will and would like to discuss a Will or if you would like to discuss a Power of Attorney or any aspect of an elderly client issue then please do get in touch. You should telephone and speak with Christopher Furbey or David Johnston.

We will be able to assist you with your problems.

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If somebody dies, you need to find out whether or not they had a Will. If they have prepared a Will in their lifetime then it will quite often appoint an Executor who will be responsible for administering the estate.

If they died without leaving a Will then they have died intestate and their estate will normally be administered by an administrator who is entitled in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

Probate is a complex and confusing area of law.

We will be able to assist you if you are an Executor or an administrator. We will happily discuss the problems with you free of charge and if you wish to instruct us for further advice and assistance then we can discuss the fees at the outset. The fees will normally be met by the estate. We will normally be happy to wait for payment until the estate has been administered.

If you have any queries in relation to probate then please telephone Christopher Furbey on 0161 975 1908 or email him at

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Changes to Stamp Duty

he Autumn statement was delivered by the Chancellor George Osborne and he announced various reforms to government spending and taxes and welfare provisions.

There were changes to inheritance tax and there were also other changes to savings.

A significant change is the stamp duty land tax provisions. From midnight on the 4th December 2014 stamp duty regime has changed.

Under the new regime, you do not have to pay any tax on the first £125,000 of the property. You then pay 2% on the portion up to £250,000 and then 5% on the portion up to £925,000 and then 10% on the portion up to £1.5000,000 and then 12% on everything after that.

This therefore means that if you buy a property for say £200,000 you will pay no tax on the first £125,000 and then anything above that you will 2% of that portion only. This is a significant reduction from the current rules and the average house buyer stands to make significant savings.

At Clifford Johnston & Co we specialise in conveyancing work and the two solicitors who specialise in conveyancing are Mr Furbey and Mr Khan. They are both experienced and qualified solicitors and would gladly explain the new provisions of stamp duty to you.

Likewise, if you have any queries in relation to buying or selling a property then you should contact Christopher Furbey or Horup Khan and they will assist you and answer your questions.

We offer fixed fee conveyancing which is competitively priced. If you instruct us you will have one solicitor it will be either Mr Furbey or Mr Khan and they will be responsible for your transaction from start to finish. You get one solicitor with one direct line and one email address and they know your case inside out and will deal with it promptly and ensure that the matter proceeds as smoothly as possible.

If you wish to discuss a conveyancing transaction then please contact either of them by email at or or telephone the office on 0161 975 1900.

If you have any questions do get in touch.

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Christmas Opening Times

Clifford Johnston & Co will be open as usual until 5pm on Tuesday 23rd December 2014 and the offices will then be closed over Christmas and will re-open at 9am on Friday 2nd January 2015.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our clients and colleagues a very Happy Christmas and all the very best for the New Year.

If you require any emergency advice or assistance, for example, police station assistance over the Christmas period then we will still be operating our usual out of hours service and the emergency telephone number is 07974 316 142.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Intestacy Rules

Change to Intestacy Rules

There were changes to the Intestacy rules which came into force on  the 1st October 2014.

The Intestacy Rules are a set of rules which set out how an individual’s estate is distributed if they die without a Will.

The changes were intended to simplify the entitlements of the surviving family.

If you die without a Will then these changes will affect you.

Ultimately, it depends on the size of your estate and it depends whether you left behind a spouse or civil partner.   It also depends whether or not you had any children.


Married couplies or civil partners with children


The surviving married partner will continue to receive the first £250,000 of the estate and will then be entitled to half of the remainder outright.   The children will get half of the estate above £250,000 which shall be entitled to upon attaining the age of 18.


Unmarried couples with or without children


The new rules do not change the rights of unmarried couples and no matter how long they have been together and even if they have children together, or joint financial obligations then in the event of either person dying without a Will the surviving partner will not inherit anything and the estate will go to the blood relatives of the deceased.


Married couples or civil partners without children


Under the new rules, if there is no Will in place and there are no children then the surviving spouse will inherit the entire estate.  Parents and other blood related relatives will no longer be automatically entitled to benefit from the deceased’s estate.


These changes show the importance of having an up to date valid Will.   A Will will set out exactly what you want to happen with your estate when you die and it is extremely important.


A Will is essential if you are not married and not in a civil partnership.


A Will can be a straightforward and painless process .   Christopher Furbey is a Solicitor within the firm who specialises in Wills and Probate and Private Client work generally.  Mr. Furbey would see you for an initial consultation to discuss your requirements and thereafter draw up your Will.    We have fixed fees for Wills and they are extremely competitive.


If you wish to discuss your Will or any aspect of your estate then you should contact Mr. Furbey on 0161 975 1900 or you could email him at


Please get in touch if you need any help.

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Macmillan Coffee Morning


Clifford Johnston & Co held a coffee morning in aid of Macmillan on Friday 26th September 2014. The coffee morning was well attended by clients, solicitors,  barristers and local residents.  We would like to thank everybody who attended and supported the event.


We are delighted to confirm that we raised £715.31.


The money will all be forwarded to Macmillan and we are pleased to be able to contribute towards such a worthwhile charitable cause.


If you have any questions about the event then please get in touch with Christopher Furbey by email at or telephone him on 0161 975 1908.


We would like to again thank you for your support.





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