Laying Down The Law - Who Pays For Damage To Lower Flat?

If a tenant in an upper flat damages the flat below, owner-occupied, who pays for the damage?

If the damage is deliberate, it will be the individual, ie the tenant who is liable to pay. If accidental, one would hope the upper flat owner has insurance to cover such eventualities. If the conduct is a series of avoidable incidents that arise out of a defect in the property, there may be a basis for negligence on the part of the upstairs owner, but a one-off leak or breakage may not be actionable.

If a property was placed in the wrong tax band by the assessors through whatever error, would any time bar be applicable as regards altering the band, or recovering payments especially if the error was not the complainants fault, and would be this the case for both parties? I am talking about a time scale of 20 odd years.

I can give you general information but you are best to consult not a lawyer but a chartered surveyor. If you do not agree with the Rateable Value assigned to your property, you can appeal this via the Rates Assessors. An owner or occupier can appeal against the valuation. An appeal must be in writing to the Assessor, and can be made within 6 months of the date of issue of a Valuation Notice, within six months of buying, or at any time provided a 'material change of circumstances' has occurred in the property.

My uncle died 2005, I have since found out my brother was given money to divide amongst siblings. One sister got her share but myself and other sister were never given ours. How would I go about retrieving this money? Do I go back to the original lawyer who dealt with this and would I get a copy and do I have to take my brother to court to get what is owed to me?

Your brother as executor of the will has a duty to pay out the shares due after payment of any debts. If he has unlawfully retained shares you can take him to court for what is called count, reckoning and payment. Perhaps even the legal threat of this will be enough to make him explain himself.

When we wrote our wills in 2006 we made bequests to each of our sisters of £10,000. It seems more sense for us to give them the money now. How do we write a simple codicil to rescind the bequests?

You can just write the updated arrangement on the end of your wills and sign, and get one witness to your signatures. However, you might just want to go back to your solicitor to get the whole will updated cleanly. With computer databases, it is frankly easier to scrap the existing wills and run off updated ones than tinker with existing documents.

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