Help to Buy equity loans

Help to Buy equity loans

The government introduced Help to Buy Equity Loans on Monday 30th September 2013.

Help to Buy equity loans are open to both first-time buyers and home movers on new-build homes worth up to £600,000.

However, you will not be able to let your home out to tenants if you use the scheme.

How it works

With a Help to Buy equity loan:

  • you’ll need to contribute at least 5% of the property price as a deposit
  • the government will give you a loan for up to 20% of the price
  • you’ll need a mortgage of up to 75% to cover the rest

Equity loan fees

You won’t be charged loan fees for the first 5 years of owning your home.

In the 6th year, you’ll be charged a fee of 1.75% of the loan’s value. After this, the fee will increase every year. The increase is worked out by using the Retail Prices Index plus 1%.

Your Help to Buy agent will contact you before the fees start, to set up monthly payments with your bank. You’ll also be sent a statement about your loan each year.

Fees don’t count towards paying back the equity loan.


Selling your home and paying back the loan

The home will be in your name, which means you can sell it at any time. You’ll have to pay back the equity loan when you sell your home or at the end of your mortgage period – whichever comes first.

You can also pay back some of your equity loan without selling your home. You can pay back either 10% or 20% or the total amount, so long as the loan is worth at least 10% of the value of your home.

If you are buying a home in the Blackpool area with a Help to Buy equity loan get a free conveyancing quote HERE

Conveyancing News – First time buyers at new high since 2007

The Council of Mortgage Lenders have confirmed that the number of first time buyers has risen to the highest level since 2007 in May 2013.

A total of 25,100 loans were granted in May to first time buyers, up a staggering 42% on May 2012.

If you are a first time buyer we are conveyancing solicitors who can guide you through what can be a daunting process.

If you are buying or selling a house get a free conveyancing quote today – click here


Make your accident compensation claims now

Now that April 2013 has passed, those who have been considering making a claim for accident compensation are now in a better position to do so.

As part of the reforms to civil litigation law, a 10% uplift has been applied to general damages awards from the 1st of April 2013. This increase means that you now get 10% more for your injuries than you would have before the start of this month.

In an accident compensation claim case heard now, the successful claimant would be awarded £33,000 in general damages as opposed to £30,000. £30,000 is the amount of compensation which would have been awarded for winning the claim earlier this year.

In a previous blog, Blackpool Solicitors explored similar reforms that were also due to take effect this month. Personal injury solicitors are now able to charge a 25% success fee to cover legal costs which can be recovered from the Claimant’s damage awards. Until April this year, these legal costs could be recovered from the defendant however; the purpose of the 10% uplift of damage awards is to create more of a balance with this potential 25% reduction of Claimants’ compensation.

Whilst the increase in compensation may only seem small, at least now you will be losing a smaller proportion of it. For example:

Without the 10% uplift…                                     With the 10% uplift…

Compensation = £30,000                                   Compensation = £30,000

£30,000 -25%                                                     £30,000 +10% = £33,000 -25%

Compensation total = £22,500                           Compensation total = £24,780

The increase in general damages applies not only to personal injury, but to all kinds of instances where you could have an entitlement to make an accident claim for compensation. Your accident which was through no fault of your own could become a claim for one of these:

  • An accident at work including a lifting injury, ladder fall etc.
  • Medical including dental, surgery error, hospital, or cosmetic surgery and beauty treatment negligence
  • A car/road traffic accident in your own car, on public transport, or as a pedestrian.
  • Tripping, slipping and falling over pavements, on ice etc.
  • Accidents on construction sites and scaffolding accidents
  • Dog bite

As experienced North West accident claim specialists, Blackpool Solicitors can help you to be compensated for pain and suffering that wasn’t your fault.

Contact us today to find out if you are entitled to a general damages award and we can get your claim started today.

Interest rate swap mis-selling claims

Last year, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) discovered significant sales failings by major banks who had been mis-selling interest rate hedging products (IRHPs) to small UK businesses since 2001.

 One type of interest rate hedging is an interest rate swap. These were created to help customers cope with the frequent interest rate fluctuations by exchanging variable interest rates for fixed rates. The complex nature of these financial products combined with poor sales practices has resulted in interest rate swap mis-selling.

 Often, interest rate swaps were portrayed as a protective solution for increases in interest rates but instead, those who had these have experienced high exit costs and dangerous levels of financial risk. In January this year, the FSA finalised that the risks and policies of interest rate swaps were not clearly outlined for customers.

 Like other IRHPs, the FSAs findings on interest rate swap mis-selling concluded that bank customers who had been mis-sold to are entitled to pursue compensation as a swap claim.

 Perhaps your business was sold an IRHP? Have significant losses been incurred meaning that your business is now in severe financial difficulty?

 The FSA has defined a set of principles to determine and limit when customers are entitled to redress. Although people may have been victims of mis-selling, they must have actually suffered a loss which would otherwise not have happened if the IRHP had not been purchased.

 Furthermore, you have to be deemed as a non-sophisticated customer like a hotel, repair garage, or high street shop. As an un-sophisticated customer you wouldn’t have the specific expertise needed to comprehend the risks of IRHPs.

 The associated risks and implications of this financial product may have not been clearly explained to you and the bank may have not fully advised whether or not this was a suitable interest rate swap product for your business. In these instances, the bank has not provided you with the duty of care you are entitled to and you should be compensated.

 The banks that are currently reviewing their sales of IRHPs are: HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, Barclays, Co-operative Bank, Bank of Ireland, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, and Allied Irish Bank UK.

 Expert advice from Blackpool Solicitors can help you to establish if you can be deemed as non-sophisticated, what your potential claim outcome could be, and whether or not you have entitlement to pursue a swap claim.

Contact us now so we can begin clarifying the legal solutions for your interest rate swap mis-selling compensation.

Interest rate swap mis-selling claims

Should I make a claim against my employer?

According to the Government Health and Safety Executive, in the year 2011/2012, an estimated 591,000 workers had an accident in the work place.

Despite this high figure, individuals considering work injury claims often feel too concerned about their job to actually go ahead and pursue compensation for an accident which wasn’t their fault. Enquiries about accidents at work and claiming against employers always produce the same questions for the personal injury specialists here at Blackpool Solicitors: will I risk losing my job? Will my boss make my life at work miserable if I claim against them?

The answers to both of these questions are no and no. This is because it is illegal for an employer to sack you purely because you are claiming against them; this would not only be discriminatory behaviour, but it would also be defined as unfair dismissal (which could potentially create an additional claim).

Employer duty of care and liability

UK law requires employers to take reasonable precautions to ensure the mental and physical well-being, and health and safety of their employees. This responsibility is termed as an employer’s duty of care; however as the statistics demonstrate, some employers provide an unsafe working environment without the proper precautions in place. In these instances, different types of injury can occur: -

  • Back injury from lifting
  • Asbestos related diseases
  • Injury as a result of improper training
  • Slip and trip accidents
  • Accidents involving the use of work vehicles like forklift trucks
  • Accidents as a result of dangerous factory environments

The important point to remember if you are considering claiming against your employer is that they are insured for these kinds of situations. They have employer’s liability insurance which covers them when their employees have accidents at work as a result of negligence.

Entitlement to claim against your employer

Detailed criterion which potential claimants should be aware of does exist so give us a call on 03333 553 335 and we can discuss whether or not you have an entitlement to claim against your employer.

The work injury specialists at Blackpool Solicitors can offer individuals who are considering making a claim detailed advice so that they are fully aware of their entitlement claim, and will not hesitate any longer.


Blackpool Solicitors explore the reasons why you should make a personal injury claim today

So you are searching for personal injury solicitors to make a claim. Perhaps you need a claim for an accident at work, a car accident, or even compensation for slipping in a supermarket, or tripping on an uneven pavement?

Blackpool Solicitors suggest that you waste no more time searching for personal injury solicitors and get started with your claim now.

From the 1st of April this year, the Government’s new legislation, The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), will dictate new law for personal injury compensation and strict guidelines for how these claims can be financed.

These new reforms have been established to discourage what has been termed ‘compensation culture’ which is used to describe the significant rise in claims being made for personal injury settlements. Particularly ‘compensation culture’ is used to describe those who use solicitors to acquire potentially large sums of money for false or exaggerated claims of injury in car accidents, accidents at work, and slipping or falling. Of course, a multitude of legitimate claims are also made by parties who actually do deserve compensation.

Blackpool Solicitors have outlined the reasons why you should begin retrieving your compensation before the new laws surrounding personal injury claims are implemented in April.

1. One of the most significant changes is that solicitors will no longer be able to recover the same legal fees as present from the Defendant meaning that these legal costs will have to be found elsewhere. ‘No win, No fee’ arrangements may become less popular for solicitors who are likely to utilise Damage Based Agreements (DBAs) instead. DBAs allow solicitors to charge a Success Fee of up to 25% which will soon have to be deducted from Claimants’ damage awards in order to cover legal costs.

Claim now and keep 100% of your compensation, or wait until after April and you may only receive 75% of the compensation which you are entitled to.

2. The new legislation also stipulates a strict ban of Referral Fees which solicitors pay to claims management companies who advertise personal injury claiming to potential Claimants. As of April the 1st, Referral Fee payments and receipts of payment in personal injury cases are banned.

With reductions in advertising, it may become difficult for potential Claimants to decide whether or not to pursue compensation as they are likely to be less knowledgeable about their rights for accidents at work, road traffic accidents, and slipping or tripping.

3.The new personal injury legislation will also forbid the recovery of After the Event (ATE) insurance premiums from the Defendant. These cover Claimant liability for Defendants’ fees in the event of losing a claim and from April the 1st, if you lose a case of this kind, the Claimant will have to pay the Defendant’s costs. Similarly, when a Claimant wins a case, they will no longer be able to recover their insurance policy costs from the Defendant.

Avoid exposing yourself to adverse costs post April and begin your claim now whilst you can still protect yourself with an ATE policy without paying for it yourself.

So if you are thinking about claiming personal injury compensation, contact Blackpool Solicitors now to start your claim, or risk losing 25% of your damages award.

Claim now


When microchipping for dogs goes wrong…

Blackpool Solicitors were approached by a client in a desperate time
of need. Our solicitors were saddened to hear that the family’s dog suffered from
paralysis following a routine injection of a mircochip. It is believed that
the microchip was negligently inserted directly into the dog’s spine as opposed
to under the skin. The dog was screaming out in pain and was unable to move, it was therefore necessary to be rushed to a vet for urgent consultation. Following this our client had a very tough time caring for the young puppy as it was unable to feed himself
and control the release of his bodily fluids.

Our client was very clear when approaching us that it was their intention to
pursue a claim for the loss and distress arising from this incident. We agreed with our
client that this was not an acceptable incident to have occured and those
responsible should be held accountable for their negligence. As a dog lover,
our client wanted to ensure that a lesson was learnt with an aspiration that
no other families would have to endure the upset caused by this horrific
incident. With the intervention from Blackpool Solicitors we are pleased to
say that our client’s dog has made a promising recovery and we are very
pleased to have been able to help in such circumstances.

What is the legal position?

When bringing the legal position into the picture it can be a very difficult
conversation to have with somebody who is personally affected by a situation
like this. Especially when emotions are involved and the dog or pet is
treated like part of the family. In the eyes of the law it is not a personal
injury claim for a dog like a human may pursue; the owners are simply
pursuing a claim for damage to their personal property. Although this may
not be how pet owners see it, unfortunately it is the way the legal system
perceives it to be.

This means that effectively your pet will be treated like any other
property when ‘damaged’. An analogy would be to compare it to a car, if the
cost of repairing the car is greater  than its value, it is considered to be
beyond economical repair i.e. a write off, the damaged car is scrapped and a
replacement car is purchased. So if the puppy was purchased a few months
earlier for say £600 and rehabilitation treatment to the value of £700 was
required for the dog, it is likely those paying the bill will object to the
treatment. Many dog owners may see this as unfair, but is it reasonable for
a Defendant to have to pay for endless losses arising from the incident?
Future care, assistance and vet bills could also be factored into this.

Whilst the law treats pets as personal property then this will remain to be
the case and will see more and more dog owners disappointed with the legal
provisions which protect their pets. As micro-chipping is set to become
mandatory in the UK from 2016 there may be an increase in claims of this
nature. Perhaps the law requires reforms which can distinguish between pets
and property but this would obviously have its advantages and disadvantages.

If your pet has suffered an injury through the negligence of somebody else,
contact Blackpool Solicitors to see if there is something we can do to help

Armed Forces Compensation

Army Injury

By the very nature of the risks involved, soldiers do suffer injuries. It may well be that people expect this and believe that if an army injury occurs the injured party should accept it as an ‘occupational hazard’. The type of army injuries can widely rarely and compromise of both physical and psychological conditions. Army injuries can often be horrific physical injuries which require amputation of limbs or severe disfigurement; however psychological injuries can be just as severe. When serving in the army it is a whole world away from life as we know it here in the UK. An increasing number of army personnel are suffering when they return to the UK to re-adapt to civilisation. Accordingly, an increasing number of soldiers are diagnosed  with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Can I Claim Compensation? 

Under The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme it may be possible to claim compensation. The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme allows you to make a claim for an injury, disease or illness that you think was caused by your service in HM Armed Forces. Time limits may apply for your claim, so don’t delay, contact us today.

How can I find out more?

If you have suffered an army injury and want to find out if you are entitled to compensation, contact Blackpool Solicitors. We will give you a free consultation and advise as to whether we believe you have a good chance in recovering compensation. Blackpool Solicitors can represent you in a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme on a no win no fee basis. Contact us today about your army injury.

Make a Will – A New years resolution to keep

Everyone should make a Will and it is the perfect new years resolution! If you don’t have a Will, or your Will is out of date you really should make a Will and it is not as expensive as you may think.

Why do I need a Will?

A Will is very important, imagine for a moment if you were to die, what would happen? I know it’s a depressing thought but you need to ensure your loved ones are not left with any debts and are provided for. That is exactly what a Will is for. If you make a Will when you die it will provide a mechanism for your assets to be distributed as you wish. You can’t speak when your dead so you should make sure you make a Will within your lifetime.

I have a Will, does it need updating?

It is a good idea to ensure that your Will is kept up-to-date. It is important to ensure all your assets are included within your Will. In addition, you want to make sure that all your loved ones are provided for and correctly identified.

How much will it cost?

Making a Will is not as expensive as you think. It can even be done yourself! Many places offer Do It Yourself (DIY) Wills for a fixed fee. We would recommend you do not use a DIY Will, after all it is a legal document and probably the most important one you will ever make – for the sake of saving a few pounds would you not rather it was done correctly, compliantly by a regulated solicitor with professional indemnity insurance? There are ‘Will Writers’ who also offer services but your Will is so important, you should only trust a qualified and regulated solicitor to make a Will for you.

Solicitors are also competitive on price and you can make a Will for a fixed fee. Get an instant Will Quote today, it might surprise you just how cheap it is. Make this one new years resolution that you do keep. Make a Will today!

To get a free, no obligation quote for a Will – use our Will quote system and get an instant response.

Road Traffic Accident Statistics

Unfortunately we see an increase in the number of road traffic and motorway accident claims in the months of November, December and January. The increase in the number of car accident related injuries is mainly down to the weather and driving conditions.

Here are a number of accident related statistics:

10% of people would rather give up their car than be disconnected from the internet.
Source: Boston Consulting
4% of British motorists drive uninsured.
Source: Motor Insurers’ Bureau

1 in 6 British drivers do not have an MOT for their car.

Source: PC Tools 2011

4 million parking fines were issued by British Councils last year.

Source: Traffic Penalty Tribunal 2011

164 UK road deaths are blamed on under inflated car tyres in the past five years. From Nov 2012, all new cars must have pressure monitoring systems as standard.

Source: Car 2011

Children aged 12 and under should ALWAYS ride in the back seat of a car. This cuts their risk of death in a road accident by 36%.
Source: 2011

24% of British drivers have paid off another driver following an accident which they were at fault.

Source: Telegraph Motoring 2011

1/5 of UK motorists admit accessing social networking sites on their mobile phone while driving.

Source: Telegraph Motoring 2011

1/4 of UK motorists driving with children admit to not always using child seats.

Source: Telegraph Motoring 2011

Three in ten drivers (28%) knew people who did not wear a seat belt in the front of the car and just over four in ten drivers (43%) knew people who did not wear a seat belt in the back of a car.

Source: Think Road Safety Annual Survey 2008

Almost half of all respondents (46%) agreed that road safety advertising is actually having a strong impact on the way people behave on the roads.
Source: Think Road Safety Annual Survey 2008

43% of drivers were unable to successfully identify the national speed limit sign when shown.
Source: Think Road Safety Annual Survey 2008

37% of car, van and lorry drivers said they carried on driving when too tired.
Source: Think Road Safety Annual Survey 2008

Only 33% of drivers completely agreed that it is dangerous to drive at 90mph on the motorway when there is no traffic.
Source: Think Road Safety Annual Survey 2008

Every day about 9 people will die and a further 78 will be seriously injured on our roads and excessive speed is a factor in a significant number of these accidents.
Source: Department for Transport

25 years after the first seat belt law came into action, around 370 people a year are still being killed in road crashes because they do not wear a seat belt.
Source: ROSPA (2008)

Driver error is present in 90% of motorway accidents (with mechanical failure accounting for only 10%).
Source: Smart Driving 2008

Most drivers have a reaction time of over half a second (this is before they even touch the brakes).
Source: Smart Driving 2008

Government statistics show that 6% of all fatal motorway accidents are caused by under-inflated tyres.
Source: Which? Online 26th Feb 2008

A Michelin tyre pressure campaign found the UK ranked a dismal 25th out of 27 EU countries, with only Greece and Latvia having a worse record.
Source: Which? Online 26th Feb 2008

As many as 10% of people who use their vehicles for work have admitted falling asleep at the wheel in the past 12 months, according to a new survey.
Source: Brake and Green Flag, 2008

At least a quarter of road deaths involve someone driving for a living. Last year there were 858 deaths and 6,622 serious injuries in crashes involving at-work drivers.
Source: Department for Transport, 2008

Many motorists suffer from “rusty driver syndrome” through rarely venturing on to the roads. As many as 11% of motorists do not drive for two years or more after passing their test.
Source: Churchill Car Insurance, Sept 2007

The first revised Highway Code in eight years was released on 28th September 2007 – 50% bigger and containing 29 extra rules.
Source: 28th Sept 2007

Slippery roads accounted for 55 percent of road traffic accidents in which road environment was a contributory factor.
Source: Department for Transport (DfT) figures

“Speeding, Speeding is not just inconsiderate driving – it contributes to the 36,000 serious injuries and 3,000 deaths that occur on Britain’s roads each year. More than two thirds of all accidents in which people are killed or seriously injured happen on roads where the speed limit is 40mph or less. At 35mph you are twice as likely to kill someone as you are at 30mph.
Source: DfT

“Driving tired, Falling asleep at the wheel is the cause of around 20% of accidents on long journeys on trunk roads and motorways. Men aged 30 and under are more likely to have a sleep related vehicle accident. The greatest risk of falling asleep at the wheel is between midnight and 6am.

“[speed] cameras are a very effective way of saving lives. On average, at camera sites: 35% fewer people are killed and seriously injured 56% fewer pedestrians are killed or seriously injured.
Source: ROSPA Presenting Road Safety. A Guide for the Media

“[Motorcycle accidents:] head injuries account for around 80% of fatalities and 60% of serious injuries are to the legs.
Source: ROSPA Presenting Road Safety. A Guide for the Media

“There were the following accidents on Major roads 1,818 fatal, 13,284 serious, 88,399 slight on Motorways, A(M) and A roads.
Source: National Statistics publication produced by Transport Statistics: DfT

“Current statistics indicate that …. more than 1,500 people are killed or injured each year on the hard shoulder.
Source: Green Flag Motoring Assistance

“Every year there are more than five million road accidents in Britain, resulting in about 35,000 fatal, or serious injuries with as many as 1,000 road deaths and 13,000 serious injuries involving people who were working at the time.
Source: Transport Statistics Bulletin. Road Casualties in Great Britain.

What ever the circumstances surrounding your road traffic accident or whiplash injury make sure you have the right accident specialist solicitors in your corner. Being involved in a road traffic or motorway car accident is stressful and painful enough – we are a specialist and dedicated firm of accident solicitors who will ensure you get the right compensation and medical treatment/rehabilitation, loss of earnings and replacement vehicle if you have been involved in a non-fault accident.

If you have been involved in a road traffic accident contact the Blackpool Personal Injury Solicitors or call us today 01253 882522.