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With stringent social distancing measures still in place, many professionals working in the real estate industry are considering electronic signatures as an alternative method of concluding contracts and securing the execution of formal deeds.   Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, the use of electronic signatures was rare but with signatories confined to home, reliance on the traditional ‘’wet ink’’ signature approach can be a challenge.        

Updated 19 June 2020

At the beginning of June, the SCTS announced that Sheriff Court buildings were beginning to reopen (to court staff) in line with phase 1 the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Route Map. The court staff will, over the last few weeks, have been working hard to bring as much backlogged business up to date as possible with a view to hopefully being able to start processing new non-urgent cases (with the exception of simple procedure claims and summary cause actions for the recovery of heritable property).

Being placed on furlough leave or sadly losing employment as a result of Covid-19 could well have an impact upon separated parties who have a written agreement or court ordered arrangement in respect of alimentary obligations, whether that be child aliment or aliment for a spouse or civil partner.

CGT - 30 Day Payment Deadline now in effect for some residential property transactions

On 6 April 2020, new rules concerning the payment of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on some residential property transactions came into effect.  While HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has offered some flexibility in light of the Covid- 19 outbreak, property owners should not overlook their obligations.

Traditionally, the Easter break conjures up images of chocolate, spending time with family and maybe even a little DIY - decorating and finally getting round to those minor repairs that have been niggling over the winter months.  Often this is the time that people are looking to market their properties and move to their next home, indeed, spring is normally when the Residential Property sector is at its most active. 

However this year is very different and feels that life has been turned upside down, and not just ‘home life’, but every aspect of our world.  Being in the process of selling your property is an additional worry and possibly a little overwhelming at times.  It is important to remember that we are still working and are here to help during this crisis.

Following upon the devastating impact of Covid-19 in recent weeks, the UK Government together with the Financial Conduct Authority and UK Finance (the body representing the majority of Lenders) have put in place a number of measures to help during these unprecedented times.

Banks, Building Societies and Lending Institutions are re-assessing their mortgage products and in particular, the level of risk involved.

What a difference a day makes

Prior to 2003 debts due to HMRC ranked above other creditors in insolvency proceedings. This is known as the Crown Preference.  The purpose of the Crown Preference is that it introduces a preferential claim in insolvency procedure which means that HMRC is paid prior to floating charge holders. The only other preferential claims in insolvency are claims of employees for things such as unpaid wages.

The UK Government issued updated guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on Saturday and this has clarified the position on the ability of executive directors (that is, directors who are paid a salary) to be placed on furlough. Importantly, this includes salaried individuals who are directors of their own personal service companies.  

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