BreezePlus

Broker Engagement Programme

In an effort to support brokers more, Breezeplus+ Legal Solutions has today launched its Broker Engagement Programme.  

The Programme is open to any broker who has more than five current remortgages being processed by us. This program will allow those brokers to obtain bulk updates on their cases quickly and efficiently. It will also relieve our Borrower focused telephone number to enable Borrowers to get through our system.  

In order to enable this to work the brokers on the programme will need to be able to centralise all of the information gathering through a single point of contact within their organisation to allow faster turnarounds on progress updates. 

If you are interested in joining the programme please contact us at Brendan.obrien@breezeplus.co.uk, paul.williams@breezeplus.co.uk or peter.jones@breezeplus.co.uk. We can then contact you to discuss the programme and also identify and allocate you a single point of contact.

 


New Telephone System

In order to improve the service that we provide to clients and callers, a new telephone system is due to be installed at Breeze and Wyles during the week commencing 20th February 2017.

There is likely to be a short interruption to telephone services at some stage early that week whilst the work is completed to change over to the new system. Please be patient with us whilst the new system is being installed. The new system will enable us to greatly enhance our call handling services to all our clients so we hope you will bear with us while the installation takes place,

Thank You


Need a Will but no time to see Lawyers

New Online Products available – more to come!

Today Breezeplus launches free and pay-to-download online documents.

Breezeplus are delighted to announce the launch today of our new online document service powered by DirectLaw

Clients can now create legal documents via our website by completing online questionnaires. The documents will then be reviewed by our qualified staff for free and then made available for download at the clients convenience.

Initially the service will offer around 20 different documents but we aim to have over 80 documents available by the end of April with further additions later in the year.

We at breezeplus are always looking for new ways to increase accessibility of legal services to consumers. The pressure of modern life means that people need an alternative to taking time out to visit lawyers in their offices.

We believe that our new online service offering comprising both free and pay-on-demand legal documents will provide consumers with far greater flexibility in their access to legal services allowing them to create legal documents at any time and any place to suit them.


House sellers warned how to deal with gazundering

House sellers are being warned to watch out for “gazundering” in the current tough conditions of the residential property market.
Gazundering is where the buyer drops his offer for the property just before contracts are exchanged. It’s the opposite of gazumping, where the seller hikes up the price or accepts a higher offer from another buyer just before contracts are exchanged. Gazundering occurs in a buyer’s market, while gazumping tends to arise when it’s a seller’s market.
Both practices are perfectly legal; there is no binding agreement as to the price or any other term of the bargain until contracts are exchanged - which usually only happens four to six weeks after the prospective buyer’s offer has been accepted and the conveyancing process begins.
“Although it’s legal, these practices are generally a buyer exploiting his bargaining strength in a tough market, and they tend to undermine the smooth running and stability of the conveyancing system,” said John Appleton, residential conveyancing Director and Head of Department with Hertfordshire-based firm Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP.
Theoretically it would be possible for the buyer and seller to enter into an agreement to enter into a contract, but in practice buyers are unlikely to enter into such an agreement if sanctions, such as the loss of a substantial pre-contract deposit if the buyer backs out, are included.
Some have called for a French-style conveyancing system, where the buyer and seller enter into a contract at the outset; but opponents say that this sort of system, where a contract is entered into at the outset, is bound to be so full of escape routes that it provides no more certainty than the English system. Even if the buyer decides not to go ahead for a completely frivolous reason they will often be released by the seller because the seller cannot keep the deposit without going to court, and, in the meantime, the house cannot be sold.
John added: “The English system is far from perfect but other systems that might replace it have their own problems and frustrations. My advice to sellers is don’t just accept the highest offer as a matter of course; instead listen to their estate agent’s advice as to whether a prospective buyer appears genuine and is in a position to go ahead.
“In the current buyer’s market, sellers might like to think about instructing their solicitors to state at the outset, when they send out the draft contract and supporting papers, that if the buyer attempts to negotiate a lower price, they will immediately insist on the contract papers being returned, which can act as a psychological deterrent to the buyer.
“They may still get challenged for a price reduction, but it can help to even the balance in current markets.”


Employers must minimise stress for workers

This month’s National Stress Awareness Day has focussed attention on the problem of stress in the workplace and is a reminder to employers that stress is a health and safety issue that they ignore at their peril.
The Health and Safety Executive believes that last year in Britain over 11 million working days were lost as a result of stress related illness and estimates that 415,000 individuals experienced work related stress at levels that made them ill. This makes stress the second most common work-related illness and almost double that of back pain.
Many are forecasting that stress at work is likely to rise in the recession, as businesses try to reduce costs; employees who leave may not be replaced, and in the worst case scenario, businesses may have to make redundancies. As a result, the burden on employees may increase, while worries about job security might make employees reluctant to tell employers that they feel overworked or suffering from stress.
“Employers cannot ignore the dangers of stress; they can be sued or even prosecuted for failing to ensure safety standards at work and this applies to the mental health and safety of employees just as it applies to their physical safety,” explained employment law specialist Jane Dismore of Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP.
“Recent proposals by the Government to press people to come off incapacity benefits and sickness-related benefits, and back into employment, also means that employers may be engaging with people who are not used to employment, which is likely to further increase employer responsibility.”
Against this backdrop, the Health and Safety Executive are encouraging employers to adopt effective strategies to combat stress, saying it can pay dividends in increased productivity. Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council has reduced the number of days lost to stress-related absence by 13194 days within a year of introducing such a strategy.
The Department for Work and Pensions has an online centre for health, work and well-being issues at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/health-work-and-well-being/news/ with links to information elsewhere, including the Business Link Workplace Well-Being Tool, which allows employers to calculate the cost of ill health in the company.
References:
www.hse.gov.uk/stress; www.hse.gov.uk/statistics
www.hse.gov.uk/stress/casestudies/doncaster-metropolitan-council
http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1084516235&type=PIP&furlname=wwt&furlparam=wwt&ref=&domain=www.businesslink.gov.uk


Residential landlords face rent threshold rise for assured shorthold tenancies

Residential landlords are being urged to check their position, following a change in law that has seen the maximum rent level for assured shorthold tenancies quadruple to £100,000.
Previously, only tenants with annual rents of up to £25,000 had security of tenure. The change came in this month and applies to existing tenancies as well as to new ones, giving some tenants security of tenure for the first time. Tenants will be granted assured shorthold tenancy security if their agreement dates from March 1997 and here the landlord can recover possession once the fixed period of the tenancy has expired by giving the tenant at least two months’ notice.
More controversially, a tenancy that was granted before 1st March 1997 at a rent between £25000 and £100,000 will now become an assured tenancy, which may hit some landlords as they can only recover possession if they can establish that certain grounds apply.
The changes, which apply only in England, came in on 1st October, and any new residential tenancy of premises in England granted to an individual at a rent of up to £99,999 will be an assured shorthold tenancy by default.
Said property expert Brendan O’Brien of Breeze & Wyles Solicitors in Bishop’s Stortford: “The original threshold of £25,000 was set in 1990 so if this figure had been raised in line with inflation, the threshold would now be around £52,000. The £100,000 threshold shows how keen the government is to bring all residential tenancies under the umbrella of security of tenure, especially in London.”
He added: “The retrospective effect will be detrimental for landlords who have been letting their property to the same tenant for many years, but it seems to be seen as minor collateral damage”.
New tenancies and tenancy renewals will also be subject to the statutory deposit protection scheme. Whilst this only applies to deposits paid after 1st October 2010, or on tenancies renewed after that date, landlords are being recommended to adopt the scheme as good practice for all deposits held.


Deadline for Companies looms to get real people on the board

The deadline is approaching for every company to have at least one director who is an individual not a corporation.
In the past it was common for subsidiary companies of a group of companies to have just one director and for that director to be a corporation.
Under the Companies Act 2006 this is no longer allowed; every company must have at least one director who is a “natural person” - that is, an individual human being, not a corporate entity.
However transitional provisions gave companies with a sole corporate director a period of grace to appoint an individual as a director.
That period of grace expires on 30th September 2010, and after that date any company that does not have at least one individual ‘natural person’ director, will be liable to a fine of £5,000 plus a daily default fine.
“Clearly any company in this situation must act quickly and take advice as to the formalities required to appoint an additional or replacement director,” said company law expert Brendan O’Brien of Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP.


Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP nominated for best conveyancer 2010

Breeze & Wyles Solicitors LLP has been nominated as the best conveyancer at the Mortgage Strategy Awards 2010. Help us win the award for our automated processes by visiting http://www.mortgagestrategyawards.co.uk/nominations.aspx


Are we on the precipice of a remortgage Tsunami

Following our blog earlier this week on the possibility of interest rate rises there have been a number of comments on various financial news sites regarding the same.

Today Santander have revealed some rather frightening statistics. According to Santander Mortgages Remo Index there are potentially nearly 900000 UK home owners looking to remortgage within the next six months, more than half of whom are aiming to grab good fixed rate packages before they go

Borrowers have seen a large number of highly competitive fixed deals come on to the market recently and with many commentators predicting a base rate rise this year, homeowners now seem more inclined to play it safe with a fixed rate deal.
If these statistics are correct this would mean an increase in remortgage volumes to 145000 remortgages a month.

With the majority of remortgage transactions in this country being handled by a handful of legal firms including breezeplus, and assuming that most of these remortgage volumes will be centred amongst a few high street banks, it is imperative that these players are geared up to handle such a huge spike in instructions.

Lenders and lawyers alike have become accustomed over the course of 2009 to ever reducing levels of remortgage work and staff reductions have been inevitable. Both are now faced with a very difficult call. Do we increase staff overheads now in anticipation of a wave of new work or wait until the wave hits and risk being washed away.

The view at breezeplus is that a tsunami of remortgages is inevitable during the course of 2010, but that its timing is less clear. We are investing in staff numbers now to ensure we are able to take advantage of the upswing and to make sure that we can maintain our quality standards.

Whether we have made the correct call, only time will tell, but we would welcome comments from others as to their views on the market


Announcement: Snow Hero 2010 Winners

Last week, Breeze & Wyles launched a competition to find a person in Hertfordshire who has done something exceptional for the community or for their workplace or business, or shown exceptional team spirit over the last week of snowy and hazardous conditions (full details of the competition can still be found on our website at www.breezeandwyles.com/snowhero).

The joint winners are Liz Hawkins, Aukjen Rooke and Georgina Matthews who were nominated by Pat Burt. In her nomination Pat said:

"I would like to nominate Georgina Matthews, Liz Hawkins and Aukjen Rooke who work in the District Nursing Team at Hoddesdon Health Centre. Of course they are dedicated nurses all year round but in the snow they have gone beyond the call of duty. In this very bad weather they have been covering their regular patients residing in Hailey, Hoddesdon, Broxbourne, Wormley, Nazeing and Roydon. Their days have started at 7.30 am and they have also been working on their days off and not taking any breaks for lunch etc. If the patients could not be reached by car they have walked to their homes. They have also helped patients who heating has failed by collecting electric heaters and taking them back to the patients homes. They have prepared breakfast for those that are diabetics and visited those that they felt were vunerable or needed support. Vital medication was also collected on behalf of the patients who's families were unable to get to the chemists."

The £100 prize was awarded to them on behalf of Breeze and Wyles at our hosted breakfast seminar this morning by Mark Prisk MP for Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford. The three winners decided immediately to donate their prize winnings to the emergency fund for Haiti.