FREE CARE ADVICE

FREE CARE ADVICE

Local care agency Home Care Preferred, can provide a range of advice for people who may need care or support.

Although the company specialise in care in people’s own homes, they are also able to assist with providing other useful information such as details about care fee planning, benefits, guidance on dementia care, independent living equipment and much more. 

Managing Director, Ken Waterhouse, who has spent over 30 years in the care sector is happy to provide a free consultation with those considering care or their friends and family.

To book an appointment please contact ken@homecarepreferred.com or phone 020 8364 3670.

 

STUDENTS AND LANDLORDS

STUDENTS AND LANDLORDS

As a director and housing solicitor, and mother to three teenage boys, the eldest of whom is studying at Leeds University, life can be hectic! There are the usual anxieties ranging from whether your child secures a place at their chosen university and then settling them into halls of residence.  Dealing with rental of private accommodation though can increase anxieties sky high. How can you tell if your child has an unscrupulous landlord? It is important to be aware and watchful. 

Most private landlords will expect you to act as guarantors. Make sure you understand what you are letting yourself in for. If your child is moving into a shared house with friends, then each tenant and guarantor could be jointly responsible for any rent arrears – even if they are not your child’s arrears.   If a student drops out then the whole household might have to pay their rent.  A WhatsApp group between the parents is invaluable.

There have been some welcome legislative changes, so now your student will not be charged finding fees.  

Getting back the deposit is not always straightforward. Your child’s deposit should be protected in a recognised scheme. The landlord is obliged to do this within 30 days of receiving it. This passes the money to a third party, which offers protection from unscrupulous landlords.  The landlord must also send specific information to the tenants and their guarantors, if the latter paid the deposit. 

These are strict rules here. If not complied with, the landlord can end up paying a high penalty to the tenant.  If you are a landlord,  – it is critical to be aware of these rules around deposits.

Some landlords will try to retain deposits, holding them back for general wear and tear. I had a student client on a ‘no win/no fee’ arrangement with me, who had difficulty getting back her deposit. Even though she left the accommodation in great condition, this was not clear from the checkout report. The initial inventory contained photos taken from a distance. The checkout photos were taken close-up and made the smallest scuff infinitely worse. It would also have been difficult for a genuine landlord to evidence real damage done.

I would advise any student or parent to take photos of the condition at the outset, as should landlords. Make sure that you also take photos when your student leaves, preferably timed and dated. 

Keep a record of any disrepair and complaints made against the property owner. A combined claim regarding a failure to return the deposit and disrepair may result in a hefty claim against the landlord. Similarly, property owners need to be alert to ensure issues are dealt with promptly and efficiently to avoid such claims. If you have any enquiries, do get in touch with me on lc@hmbsolicitors.co.uk. Other articles are on our website www.hmbsolicitors.co.uk

LESLEY CURTIS

Director, Hopkin Murray Beskine

It takes a community to tackle violent crime

It takes a community to tackle violent crime

Violence on our streets impacts on the whole community.  A family contacted me recently whose 4-year-old child had to witness the horrific aftermath of a stabbing near his home and all too often people tell me they’re nervous to go out after dark even in their own neighbourhoods.  

It shouldn’t have to be like this and it’s no surprise that community groups are stepping forward to say enough is enough.  I recently attended a meeting organised by Stop Knife Crime in Muswell Hill, a community-led effort to find grassroots solutions to rising levels of crime in the neighbourhood.  One of the points that came up time and again was around communication of initiatives already in place and effective joint working across the Police, council, voluntary groups, schools and the community.  It’s an important point as it’s true to say Haringey Council are already doing lots proactively and, despite nearly a decade of cuts, they’re investing in youth services.  Working together with London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, last year they were awarded £1.5milllion for a Community Gold programme to try and prevent young people getting caught up in crime by re-introducing detached youth workers in the borough.  

But it’s impossible to take what’s happening here in Muswell Hill out of the bigger picture of rising violent crime and falling police numbers nationwide.  Bobbies on the beat do matter but the Community Police Officers who provide such crucial reassurance and local knowledge are being taken off their beats – no longer ring fenced to this essential role.  In Hornsey Ward I’ve been told that there is essentially no local police presence at all at present and no likelihood of this changing in the near future.  It’s something I’ve written to the Home Secretary about and I’ve urged her to let me know how many of the supposed new officers will be coming to Haringey and what is being done to ensure Community Police Officers are present and patrolling in the areas they serve.  

At the community meeting there was also strong support for early intervention work – a point I have repeatedly made in Parliament.  I’d like to see a special fund for children at risk of school exclusion as a high percentage of perpetrators were excluded from school in their early teens.  It’s something I met with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government about and I will continue to make the case at every opportunity.  

In the meantime, I’ve met with London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing Sophie Linden along with David Lammy MP and Haringey Council’s communities lead Cllr Mark Blake and been in discussions with Haringey’s Borough Commander about the establishment of a Youth Safety Taskforce to address some of the problems our community is seeing including youth violence and a lack of trust in the police.  It’s an idea we’ve seen work well in Camden and I’m keen to do anything I can to support.

It takes a community to tackle violent crime and it is inspiring to see Muswell Hill residents’ take that lead.  Search “Stop knife crime in Muswell Hill” to find their group on facebook and get involved.  

Catherine West

T: 020 7219 6141

W: www.catherinewest.org.uk 

Reducing knife crime and muggings in Muswell Hill

Reducing knife crime and muggings in Muswell Hill

Collaboration and early intervention key to success

A fascinating documentary ‘Inside Peace’ was screened at Muswell Hill Methodist Church on 24 September during an evening organised by Safe Haven and Celebrate Life Events. 

The film demonstrated what can be achieved when prisoners are encouraged to come to terms with their actions and realise they can alter future behaviour.  Mindfulness, self-reflection and compassion are used to teach inmates how to accept and value themselves. The documentary followed prisoners on their journeys of self-discovery both inside and after release. 

After the screening there were progress updates by local Councillor Julia Ogiehor, PC Jon Eldered and Catherine West MP.  Other local groups were also present to discuss solutions. 

Since Safe Haven’s inaugural meeting in June:

  • Police shift times have been adjusted to ensure as many police officers as possible are on the streets 3 – 6pm, the key time for teenagers experiencing trouble.
  • The council has confirmed it’s investing in CCTV for crime hotspots, to be rolled out from December.
  • Council, Police and community groups are in agreement that a ‘Safe Haven’ scheme will help young people when they feel intimidated. The principle is that recruited businesses display posters advertising a safe space for people to use while waiting for friends/family members to meet them. 
  • Haringey Council initiated the first ‘Community Conversation’ for Muswell Hill in July and plan to make this a quarterly meeting for addressing concerns of residents.

Cori Josias from Safe Haven said, “While there are many groups doing important work in this area, tonight’s meeting highlighted that we need to coordinate our efforts. We would like the council to take the lead in forming an umbrella group which encompasses citizens, schools, the police and other agencies.  Meetings should be regular and inclusive.  Targets need to be set and measured.” 

Early intervention is also critical, so members of the local community are asked to volunteer their time and skills to help set up mentoring schemes and/or interesting after-school activities in the arts and sports aimed at reducing the number of young people getting drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour. 

For further information:

Stop Knife Crime in Muswell Hill / Safe Haven: www.facebook.com/groups/592154097935818/ 

Cori Josias: cjosias@mac.com 

Documentary provided by Celebrate Life Events: www.celebrate-life.co.uk/ 

How to report a crime: 

www.met.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/how-to-report-a-crime/

Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111

Twitter: @MetCC

A Will is for everyone, not just the elderly

A Will is for everyone, not just the elderly

This common misconception means that sometimes people who should make a Will do not do so. It is recommended that everyone over 18 years old has a valid Will in place. 

Whether you are single, cohabiting, married or divorced, you will need a Will to ensure that your assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes. If you do not have a Will, the Intestacy Rules dictate where your assets will go. Without a valid Will in place, a large chunk of your estate could go to the taxman.

If you live with a partner but are not married or in a civil partnership, and do not leave a Will, your assets would often pass automatically to the closest blood relatives – usually children, parents or siblings. Your assets will not be inherited by your partner. 

It is important to note that marriage cancels out a Will (unless specific provision is made for this). If you have a Will and have subsequently divorced, the Will is read as if your spouse has died. The rest of your Will would still be valid, but it might not reflect your wishes and parts or all of your Will may no longer be effective. 

If you have children under 18, you may wish to appoint a testamentary guardian. This will ensure that your children are looked after by a person of your choice if you pass away whilst they are a minor. This is one of the hardest decisions parents have when preparing a Will.

Many of us never get round to making a Will and some people find the process daunting. Not having a Will can cause problems and financial worry for your loved ones. Take the time to write a Will and make provisions to meet the future financial needs of your loved ones and provide you with peace of mind. 

Making sure you regularly review your Will is important, especially when your circumstances change. If you do not keep your Will up to date it could result in you dying without your most recent wishes being accurately reflected and it is possible that your Will could be invalid. 

At Family Law Associates, we have specialist solicitors who are able to advise you on various matters including: Divorce and Separation, Finances, Cohabitation, Children, Pre-Nuptial Agreements as well as Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Please contact us for further information. 

Family Law Associates

1 The Courtyard, Lyntoin Road N8 8SL

020 8342 7760

enquiries@familylawassociates.co.uk

www.familylawassociates.co.uk

Life Coaching: Following Clues

Life Coaching: Following Clues

As featured in Beach Media Magazines

Last time I talked about How to lead a happy life. This time I’m talking about how to find your purpose.

Many times as a Life Coach I would hear someone say, “I don’t know what to do with my life”, as if I could know the answer as to how somebody else should live their life!

I might suggest a few possibilities to see if they rang any bells, but for me to give a definitive opinion would, in my estimation, be meaningless. Because the only person who knows the answer is you, or to be more precise, your heart.

But if you are genuinely baffled, that’s not very helpful. Nor are comments like, “follow your passion,” or “listen to your heart.”

What might be helpful is to describe some of the ways you might find out for yourself. One brilliant way of doing that is by following clues.

When you are in such a quandary, listen for clues as attentively as possible, and when one comes along follow it up unquestioningly. Nobody can know where that clue will lead you. Maybe nowhere, in which case stop and listen again for another clue. But more often than not, something worthwhile will come of it, and it could be the making of you.

The only thing that matters is that you do what you love and love what you do.

I used this technique myself on the day I got my decree absolute from my first marriage. I was broke but free. “What could I do with my life now,” I asked myself. In the emotional and traumatic process of getting divorced I couldn’t remember what it was I’d always wanted to do. I was searching for clues.

Then out of the blue, one day over breakfast a totally unexpected word came in to my head. The word was “boats,” and I began to recall I’d always been fascinated by boats ever since I was a child, and wished I could learn to sail. It was very specific. Somehow I knew I didn’t want to learn to row (I already knew how to do that), I didn’t want to drive a motor boat or anything else. I just wanted to learn to sail.

That was some thirty eight years ago. Now I am sitting here writing this on board my own boat, gale bound in the tiny harbour of Bourgenay on France’s Atlantic coast, where we are taking shelter.

And what a magnificent summer it has been, cruising mostly in hot sunshine around the Bay of Biscay. This is where my clue – my dream – has led me so far and no way could I have had any idea when my clue came and took me by the hand that it would lead to me owning my own yacht! I was a penniless divorcee. How did this happen?

All I know is that cruising under sail gives me a sense of meaning and purpose even though it is obviously an entirely unnecessary and pointless exercise. That’s part of the joy. Now, as a Life Coach, I help others live their dreams – if they have the courage!

This is my point: listening for clues and following them up can give you a sense of meaning and purpose, and radically change your life.

Stop. Be silent and listen. And when a clue comes along, go for it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!