Q I was thinking of selling my flat, but I do not want to have to pay hundreds of pounds for one of the home report surveys.
Can I just put a sign in my window or will I be breaking the law, as one estate agent told me?
A Private sale is fine, but anyone marketing a house to the public still needs a home report, which includes a single survey, an energy report and a property questionnaire.
Enforcement of these rules is by your local trading standards office, and there is no way round it.
In a difficult market such as we have now, the cost of this process can be a disincentive to people putting their houses on the market, but unless you can find a private buyer – who is willing to proceed without the report – you are stuck.
Q I have a child from a previous marriage whom I have not seen for years – her choice. I am thinking of making a will. Do I need to include this daughter in what I leave? Or can I just not mention her?
A Whether you mention her or not, she has a legal claim on part of the estate – not the house, but on the money, savings and moveable assets. If your spouse survives you the daughter shares a third of those assets with your other children (e.g. if there are two of them plus her they are each entitled to a third of a third – a ninth).
If you had elected to leave her a legacy she cannot have that plus her legal rights share.
Q My husband and I are separated and he is making a claim on our house. It is in joint names but I pay the mortgage, and he was the one who left.
A He has a right to a fair share – usually half but can be more, or less – of the matrimonial property. This will include the house unless you had bought it before you met him. But as it is in joint names he owns half of it anyway.
The law separates out the cause and conduct of the breakdown, and the financial outcomes, so the fact he left you is not relevant. You paying the mortgage alone is, and there needs to be adjustment of division to account for that.
Q My husband bought a car from a showroom in March 2011. He hardly used it, but in March 2012 the engine blew up. He went to see the dealer but was given the runaround, and keeps being fobbed off with excuses. They still have the car.
A The law is that if a car, even a second hand one, is bought from a dealer, the dealer is liable for providing a car of satisfactory quality.
To get his money back or a repair paid for, your husband would need to get an expert motor engineer's report to say if the car is, or is not, satisfactory.
If the report is in his favour, your husband can sue the garage for the cost of the car or the repair.
But he needs to incur the legal and expert costs first, and add them to the money he is claiming from the dealer.