The King’s Speech on 7 November is expected to announce some major changes to the current leasehold system.
Property is either freehold or leasehold. With freehold property, one owns the property and land it sits on for an infinite amount of time – this is usually a house. With leasehold property, one only owns the property (not the land) and only for a set number of years – typically between 99 and 125 - and owes obligations to their freeholder. This is usually for flats.
Houses can occasionally be leasehold – the proposed reforms would ban any new leasehold houses, but not ban those which are already granted. This means if you bought a house, it could still be leasehold - but only if the lease is pre-existing.
One has a right to increase the term of their lease – usually in return for the payment of a lump sum to the freeholder, known as a “premium”. The speech is expected to announce an increase in this from 90 years to 990 years.
This announcement would follow reforms last year which capped ground rents at a “peppercorn rent” – meaning effectively nil. It is anticipated that this may be extended to include existing leases.
It may, unfortunately for leaseholders, be some time before this becomes law. Changes to property law are complex and can be politically controversial. Discussions about extending the lease extension term have, already, been ongoing for some time. No doubt, more details will follow on 7 November.
Congratulations to our Conveyancers for passing their annual CQS examinations!
The Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) is a recognised quality standard for SRA-regulated firms in residential conveyancing. It sets out the standards of competence, risk management and client service levels expected of practices. It is designed to produce benefits for member practices, consumers, clients and industry stakeholders.
🎉 Recap of an Amazing Event! 🎉
We are thrilled to share that Debbie Our Partner had the absolute delight of being asked to assist in judging this year's Carnival Court! 🌟✨ It was an incredible experience that she will cherish forever.
She had the opportunity to ask the talented contestants thought-provoking questions about what truly matters to them in our town and what the youth would like to see in our community.
The responses were inspiring and gave us a glimpse of the amazing ideas our young minds hold. 🏘️👫
We are grateful to have been part of this fantastic journey, alongside her fellow judges who brought their invaluable insights and expertise. Together, we made difficult decisions and chose the deserving winners who will represent our community with pride. 🏆🎉
Thank you to everyone involved in making this event a resounding success. Your dedication and support are what make our community thrive! 🎭🎉
We are thrilled to share some exciting news with you all!
Back in August last year, we were approached by The Open University to participate in their series of online events for their law students, with the aim of representing the legal sector as widely as possible. They were looking for a professional from a high street law firm to provide an overview of what it's really like working in this field and share insights about their area of practice.
Our very own Edward was the go-to person for this opportunity, and he recently presented to 77 law students at The Open University. He shared about his experiences as a solicitor, his path to qualification, and his work in both a medium-sized firm and a high street firm. Edward thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on his journey and provide the students with a real look into what life as a solicitor entails.
Edward drafted a short paragraph which perfectly aligns with our values of leaving a legacy and investing in the future.
He said, "On Wednesday 19th April 2023, I was delighted to give a talk to The Open University about life as a solicitor, my path to qualification and my experiences having worked in both a medium-sized firm and a high street firm. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on how I came to do what I do and the feedback from the attendees was extremely positive; giving them a real look into what life as a solicitor entails."
We also received feedback from Matthew Woolley, Employer Engagement Manager, Careers and Employability Services at The Open University, following Edward's presentation. Matthew said, "Edward delivered his talk to our students this lunchtime, he was fantastic, and the session was very well attended with 77 students there. I have already expressed my thanks to Edward but wanted to thank you too for your part in putting this together, we really do appreciate it as these events offer so much to our students."
We are proud to have been a part of this enriching experience for The Open University's law students, and we continue to be committed to leaving a legacy and investing in the future of the legal profession. Thank you to The Open University for the opportunity, and to Matthew Woolley for his kind words of appreciation.
We have pledged to plant a tree for every completed instruction that we undertake for our clients.
We are delighted to confirm that a tree will be planted for our past clients of 2022 in the Forest of Marston Vale on Sunday 26 February 2023.
Trees make life better, for people, for wildlife and for the planet.
The Forest of Marston Vale’s ultimate goal is 30% tree cover across the Forest area, and that means planting 5 million trees.
We are delighted to help Marston Vale to reach this target!
Moving house in time for Christmas
Are you hoping to enjoy Christmas in your new home? What better place to spend the festive season, than in your new house. Can we help make that a reality for you?
Our last day for completions this year is Thursday 22nd December, the day before we close for Christmas.
It can take anywhere between 6 and 12 weeks from the day your offer is accepted to getting all the paperwork completed and queries answered, even where there is no chain. Have you allowed enough time?
The Banking System is unavailable on Bank Holidays for transfer of funds. This year the Bank Holidays are 25th, 26th and 27th December. We also close for the Christmas break, so are not able to deal with any further conveyancing actions until we re-open in the new year.
To give yourself the best chance of moving before Christmas, once you’ve instructed a conveyancer, let them know as early as possible if you need answers to specific questions, and request regular updates on how the sale is going. You can also tell them when you’d ideally like to exchange and complete, so all parties have a date to work towards.
One of our partners, Debbie Neiteler, is a member of a team taking part in the Ride High Cycle Challenge (cycling 25 miles) on Sunday 14th August, to raise funds to help transform the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas.
The children that attend Ride High, each face overbearing challenges that make everyday life a struggle. Ride High use horses to connect with them to instil confidence, encourage positive mental health & wellbeing and help them onto a positive path.
Please help us to raise as much as we can – every penny will make such a difference to local children in need.
We'd really appreciate it if you could share or donate to this GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to help transform kids lives.
Please help our campaign reach its target!
The Queens Legacy - A Modern Monarchy
The role of a monarch is one that lasts a lifetime—till death do the queen and crown part. On her 21st birthday, she broadcast a speech from South Africa to the Commonwealth pledging her steadfast devotion: “There is a motto which has been borne by many of my ancestors, a noble motto— ‘I serve’,” she said. “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”
Queen Elizabeth’s life, as it turns out, is long. And to this day, she keeps the promise she made nearly 75 years ago.
VOGUE said, "The Poignant Steadfastness of Queen Elizabeth” “Her sense of duty is ingrained into every fibre of her being.”
The British public adore her. In September 2015, Elizabeth surpassed the record of 63 years and 216 days on the throne set by Queen Victoria to become the longest-reigning British monarch in history. In February 2022, Elizabeth celebrated her Platinum Jubilee—marking seven decades of her service to the Commonwealth.
In 2016, the year she became Great Britain’s longest-reigning monarch at age 89, she undertook 341 engagements. In 2019, as a 93-year-old, she still attended 295. That averages between 5 and 6 a week. She has worked with 14 prime ministers during her reign.
Elizabeth and Philip were staying at Treetops Lodge in Kenya on February 6, 1952, when King George VI died aged just 56, and his 25-year-old daughter became the sixth woman in history to ascend to the British throne. Her formal coronation as Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2, 1953, in Westminster Abbey.
Queen Elizabeth II has since 1952 served as reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, and head of the Commonwealth. She has been extremely popular for nearly all her long reign, the queen is credited with modernising many aspects of the monarchy.
The queen embraced steps to modernise her own image and that of the monarchy, including televising her annual Christmas broadcast for the first time in 1957. She started a new tradition of walking through the crowds to say hello. She also agreed to open the state rooms at Buckingham Palace to the public when she was not in residence. In 2005, the queen enjoyed public support when she gave her assent to Prince Charles’ once-unthinkable marriage to his long-time love Camilla Parker Bowles. More recently, she signed a law that gave girls the same right as boys to inherit the throne. In May 2018, Prince Harry married the American actress Meghan Markle, a biracial divorcée whose embrace by the royal family indicated just how modern it had become during Elizabeth’s long reign.
Many royal experts doubt she will ever abdicate, and she remains a consistent, stable presence at the head of Britain’s reigning family. What a legacy.
At Austin and Carnley, we love talking about legacy.
If you'd like to leave a legacy, come in and talk to us. Arrange an appointment by calling reception on 01525 851554 or email us at email@example.com
#thequeen #platinumjubilee #platinumjubilee2022 #legacy #thequeenslegacy
In the Storm Eunice aftermath, we had the privilege of gathering on the hill tops near the historical ruins of Houghton House.
The mission was to plant as many trees as we could before being too battered by the weather. We are proud to be partnering with the Forest of Marston Vale charity and collaborate with the community and local businesses.
Over the next 3 years the project will plant around 50,000 trees next to the ancient woodland Kings Wood.
True legacy is said to mean:
"to plant trees under whose shade we will never sit."
It was an honour to witness grandchildren planting trees with their grandparents and families working together. You can see some pictures from the day here
During the course of December, the Austin & Carnley team collected food for the Leighton Linslade Helpers, a charity dedicated to helping people in hardship and providing support to the local community. We were delighted to be able to donate over 4 boxes of food.
Wonderful turn out in the town today for Remembrance Sunday.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them..
Austin & Carnley honours all our armed forces and fallen veterans
Partner David Backhouse and his guests Mark Wesley, David Schofield and Jonathan Bond took part in a charity golf day in aid of the Milton Keynes Hospital Charity Cancer Centre yesterday. Golf was played on the picturesque Marquess Course at Woburn Golf Club.
The total raised was £50,000 for the charity.
David would like to thank his guests for their golf and company on what was a tricky day to play golf (blustery wind and occasional rain). We will be back next year to move up the leader board!
David would like to thank the Milton Keynes Hospital Charity for organising the day.
We attended our first wedding fair!
On the 3rd October our partners and trainees had a lovely day at Luton Hoo Conservatory wedding fair, hosted by www.wedding-exhibitions-uk.co.uk
We spoke to lots of excited brides and grooms about planning for the future, including how they hold their property, making provisions for children, re-drafting their Wills and writing contracts to protect them when booking wedding vendors.
If you are getting married and have any concerns, contact us today to book a free wedding appointment consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org
Another birthday last week, this deed turned 188 years old!🎂
Found in the depths of our archive, this deed is entirely hand drawn and written, and still has its original seal attached (very rare!)
Beautifully preserved by Picture Corner in Ampthill, it now takes pride of place in our reception.
It’s been a big week here at Austin and Carnley!
The whole A&C team would like to wish the happiest 40th birthday to Debbie and 50th birthday to David, our lovely equity partners!
Some of the beautiful history of our firm has now made it to our new office walls!
Thanks to the skill of Peter from Picture Corner in Ampthill, one of our original hand painted signs, the Law Journals found in our archive, a hand drawn picture of old Leighton Buzzard and a carving of old Aylesbury are now carefully framed and presented in our offices.
We are so proud to be able to honour and share the long history of our firm with our clients and growing team.
The big move!
Following the sad closure of two local firms, our team expanded beyond the capacity of Albion Chambers. However, we were presented with a fantastic opportunity to take over Bridge House!
We are thrilled to say that all of our departments have now moved in, and our new office address is:
Find us here
While exploring the cellar at Albion Chambers on the 27th February, we discovered some more of the fascinating history of our beautiful offices.
We found the huge furnace that was used to heat the building when it was a hotel, a coal cellar and some (slightly rusty!) old oil lamps.
Head to our facebook page to see more photos.
Sunday 15th saw our Leighton 10K which was brilliantly supported by so many runners and volunteers. Congratulations to the winner Stephen Buckle and 1st lady Monica Petrosino. Well done to every single runner who took part.
"In July 2023 I was delighted to be invited along to a Leadership Seminar hosted by the partners here at Austin & Carnley. It was a fantastic experience and opened my eyes to the level of work that is needed to manage a client case load and keep up with the running of the firm.
Debbie and David were very forthcoming and open about the trials they face but also the possible merits of running a firm. It gave me a good idea of what steps I would need to take in my own legal journey and was a brilliant jumping-in point to management.
It was not all work and seminars though and those that came along were treated to wonderful sunseeker trip along the Jurassic coast. Fortunately the weather held and the views were stunning from out in the ocean.
A lovely meal at Rick Stein’s Sandbanks to wrap it all up and we were a happy group of prospective leaders! My thanks again to Debbie and David, not just for the activities but for the insightful seminar that preceded them!"
🌟 Join us for an Exclusive Event at Leighton Buzzard Golf Club! 🌟
📅 On Wednesday, June 28th, 12-2pm at Leighton Buzzard Golf Club
Are you looking for guidance on lasting power of attorneys, wills, probates, trusts, or care planning?
We're thrilled to be holding ann event where you can meet our panel of experienced solicitors who specialise in these areas.
Get your burning questions answered by our legal experts and gain invaluable insights into estate planning, will creation, asset protection, and securing a bright future for your loved ones.
You can connect with like-minded individuals who share similar concerns and interests. This event is a fantastic chance to build relationships within the community and enjoy light bites and beverages as you mingle and engage in informative conversations.
RSVP now to secure your spot. Send us an email at email@example.com
Don't miss out on this exceptional opportunity to gain expert advice and forge valuable connections. Mark your calendars and join us on June 28th at Leighton Buzzard Golf Club!
🌳🌱 At Austin & Carnley, we believe in giving back to our planet and taking action to protect our environment. That's why we've pledged to plant a tree for every completed instruction for our clients!
On Sunday 26 February 2023 we started planting trees for our past clients of 2022 in the Forest of Marston Vale . 🌳💚
Trees have the power to improve the world around us, providing benefits for people, wildlife and the planet. The Forest of Marston Vale has set an ambitious goal of achieving 30% tree cover in their area by planting 5 million trees - and we're proud to help them reach that target! 🌍
Thank you to all our clients for helping us make a positive impact on the environment, one tree at a time. 🌳
We are pleased to announce that Debbie Carvey has now been appointed as Head of the Property Department
Debbie qualified as a solicitor in 2006 and has worked as a conveyancing solicitor in Leighton Buzzard since October 2007 joining Austin and Carnley in August 2020.
She deals primarily with residential conveyancing matters including re-mortgages, Equity Release Mortgages and Leasehold property and has established a good reputation in the town for her efficient and friendly service.
We wish Debbie well in her new role.
Well done Fiona on her running challenge.
A close family member of Fiona's was given an extra 14 years of life after being fitted with a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). An LVAD is an artificial heart pump used to treat people with severe heart failure whilst they are on the heart transplant list.
Normally, the left ventricle pumps blood into your aorta and around your body. In the event that someone has severe heart failure the heart is too weak to pump enough blood around the body, so the LVAD enables this.
Harefield hospital looked after Fiona's loved one so wonderfully over many years. Now it was her turn to support them. Fiona entered their annual 4 mile charity run event on September 4th to raise much needed funds.
Fiona only started running a few months ago, at a community 0-5K running club which her friend and
running companion helped organise. Fiona was grateful for her friend to run with in this event, and for encouraging her every step of the 4 miles.
All of us at Austin and Carnley are very proud of Fiona for taking on this challenge. Fiona and her friend raised almost £2000, exceeding their target. All money raised will help give other families those extra few valuable years making memories with their loved ones.
Meet Our Millennials:
We now have two trainee solicitors as part of our team.
It is a privilege to be able to work through a law firm which has such a legacy. Austin and Carnley dates back over 200 years. Partners David and Debbie are holding the baton for now but know they will pass their own legacy on to a younger generation of solicitors in the future.
Introducing Our Trainees:
Chris is a Trainee Solicitor. Having completed his trainee seats in the Private Client and Criminal Defence departments, Chris is currently in Conveyancing. He has been with Austin & Carnley since June 2021, after attaining his law degree in York.
Away from the office, Chris is kept busy studying his LPC (Legal Practice Course), but has a new Labrador puppy, Nina, and he’s also learning German… ausgezeichnet! Chris enjoys the outdoors and was a keen member of local Scouting for many years.
Shelbi is the newest member of the Austin & Carnley family. Having completed her legal studies back in September 2021, Shelbi is a trainee currently in the Criminal department.
Outside of work, Shelbi has a passion for photography and tends to be the dedicated photographer for all family events! In her spare time, Shelbi can be found walking her partner’s dogs or dog sitting.
She has said that at any social gathering she can be found with the dog rather than friends and family!
Earth Month here at Austin & Carnley. This Earth Day 2022 Theme was Invest In Our Planet. So what do we do?
Kelli is our Environmental 'Officer', and she, together with the Green Team, encourage all staff to be greener, and help save the planet. Here are some of the initiatives she and the company are responsible for:
Rewarding Our Clients & Customers - as a company we plant a tree for each new client. Trees serve several important environmental functions, including reducing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and helping purify the air. Earlier in the year we joined with others to help plant a new woodland.
Reducing Office Food Waste - We have installed food waste caddy's on both floors for staff to use, and we work closely to support the Leighton-Linslade Helpers, our local food bank.
Starting a Composting Scheme - Now we have the caddy's for food waste, we are going to get a composter for our courtyard, to help us reuse organic material. Composting, instead of throwing away, food scraps like coffee grounds, fruit scraps and vegetable waste also keeps these organic materials out of landfills.
Using Less Electricity – we encourage our staff not to use their fans when it’s not too hot, and heaters when it’s not too cold. To turn lights off when they are not being used. Ensure PC monitors are switched off when leaving the office. One of our first jobs when we moved into our new office, was to install energy saving LED light bulbs throughout. LED bulbs are today's most energy-efficient, saving energy contributing to the overall wellbeing of the planet’s environment.
Encouraging Recycling - Recycling office waste is a no-brainer. Did you know that the average office worker uses 156 plastic bottles and 500 coffee cups a year? So, we have recycling bins throughout our office, to reduce this kind of waste.
Educating Our Office Staff - We are aware, that one of the most powerful environmental activities for companies is some kind of educational program. By helping our staff understand the importance of the environment and how they can help to protect it, we’re helping to ensure everyone's on board with our environmental policies.
Allowing Remote Working - Until the global pandemic, remote working was something only a few people did. After that, many more discovered they could successfully work from home. That helps reduce the office's carbon footprint because there are fewer cars on the road, and much less energy use inside office buildings.
We believe that now is the time to preserve and protect our planet – for our health, our families, and our livelihoods. There is still time to solve the climate crisis, to restore nature and build a healthy planet for our children and their children. If we all work together, anything is possible.
At Austin and Carnley, we try to make every day Earth Day and we challenge you to do the same.
As a firm, we believe in giving back. That’s why last year we donated over 5 large boxes of food to our local foodbank, as well as making a monetary donation to the Hunger Project UK, whose goal it is to end world hunger by 2030.
We also want to give back to the planet. As such, we have replaced all bulbs in our office with LED bulbs, which use less energy and last longer making them better for the environment. We also have recycle points throughout the office to encourage staff to recycle their plastics, paper and tins, as well as recycle points for used batteries and toners.
On top of all of that, we have donated 200 trees to the Forest of Marston Vale charity and together with members of our team and their families, we will be participating in Planting Season on Sunday 20 February 2022. The trees we have donated will be planted at a new woodland being created on the Houghton Conquest/Ampthill border. This woodland will be included as part of the Queens Green Canopy which is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the UK to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. For more information this, please visit: Forest of Marston Vale - Trees Make Life Better.
Being environmentally conscious can be and should be done by everyone. Just as we see how important it is to take our environment into account when it comes to policy decisions about transport networks, economic activities and healthcare, we should integrate environmental parameters across our different areas of life. This does not mean that environmental concerns will govern all our decisions, but they should be a factor for consideration.
The A&C team are thrilled to announce that we have two new salaried partners!
Congratulations Debbie Carvey and Graham Lovelock!!
We are so excited to see what their years of high quality experience and local knowledge will bring to the partnership
We are very pleased to welcome solicitor Edward Tomlins-Gill to our Private Client department!
Edward joined us on the 11th October, and is ready to help you with Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Probate, Trusts and Tax Planning advice. Visit our Meet the Team page to find out more about Edward!
The legacy of Leslie Arthur Jones
We were honoured a few years ago to be chosen as the executors of the estate of Leslie Jones, who left a lovely gift in his will to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
As a thanks for his kindness, the RNLI have informed us that they will be proudly displaying his name on the side of one of their lifeboats, so he can be a part of their incredible crew for many years to come.
It is their first ever Legacy Lifeboat, and will be stationed at the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Lifeboat Station in the second half of 2022.
It is such an honour to have been a part of Leslie Jones' life, and to be able to see the beautiful legacy he is leaving behind.
It’s carnival day! 🎠
Celebrating 60 years of our beautiful town carnival, we can’t wait to see the procession!
Visit the Leighton Carnival website (our contribution to the festivities) to see what they have planned 🎡
We have always believed the firm was founded in approximately 1884, however, a recent delve into the financial archives revealed we’ve been around since 1864!😱
We have re-branded!
Although we are still proud to honour the history of the firm in our values and work, our vision for the future requires some modernisation to our historic firm, and we are excited to now have a brand which reflects this.
Whilst managing partners, David Backhouse and Debbie Neiteler, were extremely saddened to hear of the closures of two well established and reputable firms in the town, they are pleased to welcome the following new joiners to our team.
Graham Lovelock – Residential Property Solicitor
Alison Pearce – Conveyancing team member
Mel Buteux – Conveyancing team member
Denise Garner – Conveyancing Team
Vanessa Spurr – Support Team
Stefano De Nisi – Commercial Property Consultant
Derek Barker – Private Client Consultant
Debbie Carvey – Residential Property Solicitor
Jess Dedes – Commercial Property team member
Linda Coleman – Private Client team member
Simon Peacock – Matrimonial, Employment and Litigation Solicitor
Kelli McGarry - Personal Assistant to Senior Partner, Deborah Neiteler
We are confident that together we can meet the legal needs of the clients affected. If you have been affected by the closures of Ray Nixon brown or Giffen Coach and Archer please contact our office.