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Issue:-  16/17 December 2009

Generous parents at risk from Christmas house deposit gifts warns Law Society

THE end of the stamp duty holiday on 1 January 2010 means thousands of first time buyers are climbing on the property ladder now to avoid charges, but with deposits hovering in the 25% range, more consumers are turning to the bank of mum and dad for financial assistance.

The Law Society says parents should seek advice from a solicitor before handing over tens of thousands of pounds in a bid to get adult children set up in their first home.  Consumers must consider the legal aspects of such large loans, which can be upwards of £50,000 thanks to today’s stricter mortgages, and ensure their interests are protected. Now that 100% mortgages are a distant memory, deposits can be as steep as 40%; out of reach for many people who want to buy their first home.

Research shows that almost 8 out of 10 first-time buyers in London are being forced to ask their parents to step in and help with finance for deposits as loan options disappear.

Law Society President Robert Heslett says:- “The imminent end of the stamp duty holiday means many people buy their homes now, and despite the fact that house prices have fallen over the past year, first time buyers can still face an average house price of around £250,000. If parents are helping their children, they should see a solicitor before hand in order to draw up a loan agreement.  It is very important that all parties involved are comfortable with the arrangement and that everyone knows where they stand with regards to paying back the money. While it’s unlikely your children will run off with your savings, handing over a large amount with no legal structure in place is a minefield. This would be the ultimate Christmas present for many, but it could also tear families apart if things went wrong.”

Before handing over your life savings it is crucial to obtain expert legal advice in order to avoid potential problems and to protect your best interests at every step. A solicitor will also talk through all options available, and provide alternatives, such as parents acting as loan guarantors or entering into a joint ownership agreement.

Solicitors are trained experts and are highly experienced in navigating the maze of paper work and dealings with house purchases. Not only will a solicitor offer the best advice and service, they will help to avoid some unforeseen hazards that may occur down the line.


SEFTON Coroners Officers are appealing for the next of kin of a man who died on Saturday, 5 December, 2009, at his home in Seaforth.  Edward (Eddie) Griffiths, 68 years, died at his home on Church Road, Seaforth. There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.  The Coroner's Office has been unable to trace Mr Griffith's next of kin and is appealing for any relatives to come forward. It is possible that he may also have relatives in Cheshire or Lancashire.  Any next of kin, or anyone who has information about Edward Griffith's next of kin, is asked to contact the Coroners office at Sefton on:- 0151 233 3480 or call on:- 1051 934 2746.

People in rural North West feel neglected by the Government

75% of people living in the North West rural communities think the Government cares more about issues faced by people in towns and cities according to a recent poll.  Across the North there are 2.3 million rural residents. The North's rural communities would match Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Liverpool combined. These vital communities feel neglected by the Government, with too much focus on towns and cities.

The ICM survey, commissioned by the National Housing Federation, found that people in the North West rural communities agree that there is a shortage of affordable housing in the village or town where they live. They would support a small number of affordable homes being built where they live.  The Federation is campaigning for more affordable rural housing to stop rural England turning into a theme park for visitors and the wealthy. Because rural incomes are well below the national average, local families and young adults are increasingly being priced out of their home villages, undermining critical local services and amenities, like schools and shops.

The poll, carried out by ICM research on behalf of the Federation, examined attitudes within rural communities.

In the rural North West:-

· 69% of people agreed that there is a shortage of affordable housing in the village or town where they live (compared to 62% nationally).

· 66% of people would support a small number of affordable homes being built where they live.

· 56% of people agreed that only those on very high incomes could afford to buy a home in their area.

· 76% of people agreed that the Government cares more about the issues faced by people in towns and cities than those of people living in rural areas (compared to 66% nationally)

· 59% of people agreed that people who oppose all new homes in rural areas are damaging the future of their village or town (compared to 47% nationally).

· 48% of people agreed that over the last 5 years local services in their area such as shops, pubs, schools or churches had decreased (compared to 45% nationally).

Sallie Bridgen, National Housing Federation North West regional manager said:- "Without more affordable housing local services will suffer and local people will be forced to look further a field if they want to buy a home. Over 75% of people feel the Government is too focussed on towns and cities, this must be addressed.  Almost 60% of people feel those who oppose new homes in rural areas are damaging the future of their villages. This shows the old NIMBY attitude is not as much of an issue as elsewhere in the country.  We must act now to save our North West villages. We believe that all rural housing authorities must carry out a comprehensive assessment of affordable housing need every 3 years, and follow this up with a plan to deliver new homes."

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