New calls for leasehold reform to end transaction delays

first_imgThe first-tier tribunal should be granted jurisdiction to hear all leasehold disputes not resolved by a property ombudsman, a trade body has said, as momentum grows for leasehold legislation to be reformed.With the number of leasehold transactions growing across the country, the Conveyancing Association says it wants to end what it believes to be significant delays and overcharging in the leasehold transaction process.Leasehold law is one of the areas being considered as part of the Law Commission’s work programme for 2017 to 2020.The commission says it has heard of ‘increasing dissatisfaction’ with two areas of commercial leasehold law. It says criticisms have been made of part 2 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, which provides security of tenure for business tenants.It is also aware of criticisms of the regime governing agricultural tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986.The commission says it wants to hear about problems in any area of leasehold law. In particular: how common the problems are, the extent to which they have a significant practical and economic impact, and whether such impact has become more significant in recent years.Problems highlighted by the association include identifying the lease administrator in the absence of registration or regulation requirements. Existing or incoming leaseholders do not have a redress system with effective consumer rights. There can also be significant delays in the provision of LPE1 information, such as ground rent, insurance and service charges.Beth Rudolf, the association’s director of delivery, said purchasing a leasehold property can be fraught with delay and significant unexpected costs.‘Given this, and the fact that the number of leasehold transactions continues to grow, the association believes now is the time for action to take place in order to develop a much fairer system, with transparent and reasonable costs, as well as an obligation to provide the data required within a 20-day timescale,’ she added.The association recommends that the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 be updated to include an obligation to provide data within 20 days of the fee charged by the lease administrator being paid.Lease administrators should be a member of one of the three existing property ombudsmen schemes. The first-tier tribunal should be granted jurisdiction to hear all cases not resolved by the ombudsmen.A lease administrator’s register should be created, it said.Rudolf said there were some ‘great’ lease administrators whose trade associations want to see all administrators under the jurisdiction of the ombudsmen to ensure a level playing field, and to give guidance as to what reasonable fees and timescales should be.‘By changing the act and collating a register of all lease administrators, we will go a long way towards developing a process which is far fairer and more fit for purpose for what looks likely to be a growing number of transactions within the purchase market,’ she added.last_img read more

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Consumers ‘happy’ with solicitors’ services but price issue remains, SRA says

first_imgVulnerable people seeking help in family law cases generally have a positive experience with solicitors though one in 10 describes their experience as ‘very poor’, according to research published today.The findings appear in independent research into services published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.The research, carried out by economic research company Ecorys, was compiled with data gathered from more than 200 interviews with law firms, members of the public and clients.Its purpose was to explore issues of access, cost and quality in the context of legal aid reforms to family law.Among consumers surveyed 48% described their experience as ‘excellent’. The SRA said the research showed that ‘most solicitors appear to be providing services in line with expected standards’.One area where generally firms appear to be doing a good job is helping people to make choices about the services they need, the SRA said. Firms achieved this by training staff to receive initial calls, or setting up longer or free initial meetings with clients.On the price of services, the report states: ‘Just under two thirds of consumers in the survey (64%) reported their solicitor’s costs to be affordable, but it was clear from the interviews with consumers that although some reported to be able to cover the costs themselves, it was not possible without additional finance from other sources. As such, it appears that costs were not directly affordable for some consumers.’The SRA said: ‘It was clear from the interviews with consumers that although some reported to be able to cover the costs themselves, it was not possible without additional finance from other sources. As such, it appears that costs were not directly affordable for some consumers.’Examples commonly reported included consumers taking out a loan or using a credit card, or in one case as a result of having access to additional finance through an inheritance.According to the survey, most of the solicitors who responded (35%) said their motivation for supporting vulnerable clients was related to the reputation of the firm. 30% of respondents said they helped in order to increase their own job satisfaction.Paul Philip, chief executive of the SRA, said: ‘People who need to use family law services are often in particularly vulnerable situations. It is important that people can find services that meet their needs and that those services are affordable. This research is a contribution to understanding the current landscape and what more can be done to help.’last_img read more

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Loans fund corridor upgrades

first_imgCFR has negotiated several international loans to fund the modernisation of its two main international corridors. European Investment Bank financing worth €200m was negotiated in 1998 for the 160 km core section of Corridor IV between Bucuresti and Brasov, which is shared over the 59 km to Ploesti by Corridor IX. Work is already under way on the first 100 km from the capital to Câmpina, which is being funded from the 75% EIB loan. The government’s 25% co-financing element will cover work between Câmpina and Brasov by 2004.Maximum speeds will be raised from 120 to 160 km/h for passenger trains and from 80 to 120 km/h for freight. Lower limits will still apply north of Câmpina, where the line climbs at up to 2·7% through the Carpathian mountains, although there are plans for some realignment of the sharpest curves. Generally, the track is being renewed and the 25 kV catenary improved. Embankments and structures will be strengthened or replaced.The international finance has already enabled the purchase of modern track renewal and maintenance machinery from Plasser & Theurer (below), including ballast cleaners, tampers and dynamic stabilisers. Machines to transport and install track and pointwork have already been acquired from Desec of Finland.A €140m contract for track and ballast renewal on the Bucuresti – Ploiesti – Câmpina section (below right) was awarded earlier this year to a consortium of CCCF, Swietelski and Wiebe. A consortium of Spie Enertrans and ISAF won a separate €25m contract for modernisation of the electrification equipment (RG 5.01 p289).CFR has negotiated US$232m from the European Union’s ISPA (Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession) programme. This will fund 75% of the US$309m modernisation of the Bucuresti – Constanta main line as far as Fetesti, on which work is due to get under way next year. Earlier this year, the Japan Bank for International Co-operation agreed to provide US$221m for Phase 2 of this project, covering the final 75 km from Fetesti to Constanta.Using EU Phare funding, CFR has also awarded a €30m contract to SEL Alcatel for the installation of new electronic interlockings at four major signalling centres along Corridor IV: Arad, Timisoara, Brasov and Bucuresti. The capital’s new control system will also cover the surrounding area, with four satellite interlockings. Installation is scheduled for completion by the beginning of 2003. A Siemens electronic interlocking is due to start operation at Ploesti Sud by the end of next month. Resignalling on both corridors will be based on ETCS specifications.Most of Romania’s trunk lines were electrified at 25 kV 50Hz between 1969 and 1989. In its long-term strategy, CFR has identified three infill schemes where further electrification could be justified. The biggest runs west from Cluj-Napoca to Oradea and the Hungarian border at Episcopia-Bihor, providing a parallel route to duplicate part of Corridor IV. The second would wire the secondary north-south corridor through the Bârlad valley from Iasi to Tecusi, providing a diversionary route for Corridor IX. The third would cover the short coastal route beyond Constanta to Mangalia.last_img read more

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Nomad to supply inter-city wi-fi

first_imgNETHERLANDS: Train operator NS has awarded an initial five year contract to Nomad Digital and T-Mobile for the installation of 3G broadband services on its services.Under what the supplier describes as one of its largest transport awards, Nomad Digital will deploy its R3500 mobile broadband gateway on 187 inter-city trains to provide connectivity to multiple 3G networks. The contract includes an option for a further five years, covering installation on up to 365 trainsets.NS will use the equipment to provide wireless internet coverage on its NS Intercity services, offered free of charge to passengers at the outset to stimulate usage. It will also allow NS to give real-time running information, details of connections and automated announcements. The service is expected to be launched in March 2010.last_img read more

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Watco to acquire rail assets at six Dow sites

first_imgNORTH AMERICA: Chemical producer Dow has signed a definitive agreement to sell the rail infrastructure assets and related equipment at six of its US and Canadian sites to shortline group Watco.This includes all Dow-owned tracks and associated infrastructure at the Plaquemine and St Charles sites in Louisiana, Freeport and Seadrift sites in Texas, and Prentiss and Fort Saskatchewan sites in Alberta.There will be a long-term agreement for the provision of rail services including shunting, wagon washing and track maintenance, with Dow expecting Watco’s rail expertise to provide ‘additional operational efficiencies and opportunities for growth over time.’Watco CEO Dan Smith said the group was ‘excited to serve Dow and honoured to acquire these incredible assets’, in a transaction which ‘represents a revolutionary approach to industrial in-plant rail operations’.The deal announced on July 6 is expected to close in Q4 2020, subject to customary closing conditions. It will see 14 Dow employees transition to Watco, along with the management of approximately 400 contract workers. Dow expects to receive cash proceeds in excess of $310m.‘Today’s announcement is part of an on-going review of our ownership of non-product producing assets and is driven by our commitment to apply a best-owner mindset to everything we do’, said Dow Chairman & CEO Jim Fitterling. ‘The transaction will liberate cash from our balance sheet that we will use to pay down debt and invest in our core value-generating businesses.’Goldman Sachs acted as financial advisor to Dow, and Mayer Brown & Thompson Hine provided legal support.Watco is backed by Oaktree Capital Management’s transport infrastructure fund, which has been an investor in the company since December 2018.last_img read more

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Ada Morghe releases Oh My Love lyric video

first_imgAda Morghe has released the lyric video for her new single Oh My Love.The track is produced by Hans-Martin Buff and it’s the first single from her second album Box, released on 14th August. Watch the lyric video below:“The song began when a German magazine asked four writers to do essays about the elements and mine was on the air,” Ada recalls. “At first, I approached it scientifically and it was really boring. Then I decided to write a love letter to the air which I called ‘Oh My Love’ and suddenly it worked. When we recorded it, I started reading the words to this love letter and the musicians played without any planning, and within the first 40 seconds we all knew it was special”.Ada’s career in music began in earnest three years ago, after she wrote and starred in a play, then a film, called Mother Bee. A pun in its German title, Frau Mutter Tier, refers to an overprotective mother.Having been encouraged to also write songs for the film, those compositions fell into the hands of former Prince collaborator Hans-Martin Buff and just six week later, Ada found herself recording at Abbey Road.She released her debut album Pictures in her 40s, which has gained over a 1 million streams across DSPs.The track listing for Box is:1. Wake Up2. Water Lilies3. Rainy Days4. Box5. No More Fools6. Oh My Love7. Honey Juice8. Sugar Lips9. Weird Fishes – Arpeggi10. Demonslast_img read more

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Female attorney wants child maintenance legislation reviewed

first_img Share 245 Views   11 comments Sharing is caring! LocalNews Female attorney wants child maintenance legislation reviewed by: – October 23, 2013 Sharecenter_img Share Tweet Attorney at law Singoalla Blomqvist-WilliamsA senior female attorney has called for a review of the island’s child maintenance legislation to assist single parents in caring for their children.Singoalla Blomqvist-Williams made this call in an interview with Dominica Vibes and noted that the maximum fee of EC$75.00 weekly per child is too low.“I think we have to look at this and see how we can do it because sometimes that’s the only source of income”.“Sometimes the women feel so humiliated to go for that $75.00 they prefer to go to see how they can get it elsewhere and it’s another problem we have afterwards,” she explained. Mrs Williams noted that the contribution made by fathers is not sufficient to provide the child with the necessities throughout the month. “You cannot have a capping on the maintenance of a child. I feel very passionate about it because children need their maintenance when they are small, they have to have food, they have to have clothing, they have to go on a bus, how else are they going to do it,” she questioned.Mrs Williams therefore suggested that the fee should be pegged to the father’s income to ensure that the children are properly maintained and cared for.“I believe law is dynamic and law is the reflection of society. Our laws are very fragmented and I believe that there are some areas to be addressed”.She also admonished parents, especially fathers to play a more active role in the lives of their children.“We have to have fathers more involved in the lives of their children and the way we can do it is to implement legislation that can ensure that seventy percent of us can be taken care of”.This is essential, she stated, because seventy percent of children are born out of wedlock in Dominica.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more

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Former IMF economist in money transfer controversy

first_img Share Tweet Sharing is caring! LocalNews Former IMF economist in money transfer controversy by: – February 19, 2014 655 Views   21 commentscenter_img Share Share Former IMF Economist, Dr Thomson FontaineFormer International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist Dr Thompson Fontaine has come under scrutiny after it was revealed that he transferred US$12,000 to his personal credit union account from the Dominica Association of Arts and Sciences (DAAS) in 2009.Dr Fontaine, who served as DAAS treasurer from 2001-2009, resigned after this issue arose at a board level.Speaking on the Hot Seat radio program, Dr Fontaine, the United Workers Party (UWP) candidate for the Grand Fond constituency, said Dr Clayton Shillingford the then DAAS president knew of these transactions, but admitted the move was an “error of judgment”.“One of the things that we did at DAAS is to ensure that, both myself as the treasurer and the president, was that the statements of the bank would go directly to the president”. This he said was to ensure that the president would know of any transaction which occurred.The money was moved into a three year Certificate of Deposit (CD) in his name in order to generate interest he explained and clarified that the purpose was to help raise funds for a gentleman with kidney ailment.Dr Thompson said a few months later Dr Shillingford approached him inquiring about the CD being in his name and he explained that it was not a problem as “that’s the way the credit union operates”.Former president of the DAAS, Dr Clayton Shillingford“That is the reason why I did not move immediately to remove the money…I was adamant because I said Clayton you know where the money is, you know the money is safe, you know that I’m not going to touch the money.”It was when he refused to return the money to the DAASS account that the rest of DAAS board was informed, as according to Dr Thomson, “Obviously we [himself and Dr Shillingford] had a difference of opinion”.Additionally, Dr Fontaine explained that there is a fee associated with early withdrawals from the CD and since they were trying to raise funds this was not, in his view, the prudent thing to do.He stated that he was also approached by the organization’s then attorney, Gabriel Christian, who informed him that the matter could become a legal one as he was technically taking away the money from the DAAS.He only replaced the money revealed when Dr Peter St Jean, another DASS board member intervened.He added that he wrote a detailed letter to the board informing them of what transpired and that putting the money in an account in his name “was an error of judgment”.UWP Leader, Lennox LintonDr Fontaine said he did not expect to receive the type of feedback he got from the DAAS board. “I did not expect that kind of feedback because I was so concerned about getting this money into the organization, getting more money on a good rate of interest that was all I was focused on”.Dr Shillingford, who called in to the Next Level radio program, stated that he was initially unaware that the money was placed in Fontaine’s account until the bank was contacted.“I asked Thompson to take a certain amount of money out of the DAAS checking account and put it in a CD. What I did not know was that he put it in a CD in his name”.He also revealed on the Hot Seat radio program that Dr Thompson was instructed to deposit the money into the ING Bank.The check was sent back to Dr Thompson, he explained, because DAAS was “not properly registered as a corporation in Maryland” and it was then Dr Thompson deposited the money into his account.“They [the bank] told me that this transfer had been made so it’s a question of at a point you do not know [and] at another point you know.”Dr Shillingford further stated that the sole purpose of moving the money into a CD was to generate some interest for DAAS.“The kidney patient thing is an entirely separate issue…the DAAS money going into the CD has nothing to do with the patient. The kidney patient issue was a private matter that Dr Thompson was pursuing on behalf of this gentleman who had this complaint…that was purely the DAAS money,” he said.Moreover, he said Dr Fontaine “did it in good faith but it was not the intention in an organization of that kind, for such a thing to be done.”This he said is where he thinks the error occurred. “I have regarded the matter as an understandable error on his part.”He added that it was impossible for Fontaine to use the money for personal use because he knew how much went into the CD, when it went into the CD and how it went into the CD. “The question was should the CD in his credit union be in his name and obviously I tried and eventually had that matter corrected. There was no money from the DAAS which Thompson acquired for his use that never occurred,” Dr Shillingford said.Furthermore, leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) Lennox Linton has supported Fontaine stating that the entire situation arose from an error of judgment which was pointed out and dealt with.“Significantly, Thompson Fontaine has been able to account for every red cent that was placed under his care between 2002 and 2009. He presented factual, truthful accounting for what the board of director of DAAS was concerned about and then on principle he resigned.”According to Linton, when men of integrity are challenged, they “do exactly what Thompson Fontaine has done and that is who we need in the ministry of finance”.“I am happy to say to the people of Dominica that when we made the arrangements at the ballot box for there to be change and for a new finance minister to take over, I will have the confidence that that man, that individual, that professional would be former IMF economist Dr Thompson Fontaine.”Meanwhile, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who is also finance minister, has called on Dr Fontaine to make his banking information available to the public.Dr Thompson has agreed to the Prime Minister’s request on the condition that Mr Skerrit does the same.DAAS president, United States based attorney Gabriel Christian resigned from the board last week claiming that Dr Fontaine’s actions had legal implication to it.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more

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Farmington’s Flanders Park may get Kaboom! playscape

first_imgIt took quite a bit of procedural wrangling, but Farmington officials on Monday signed onto a Letter of Intent that may bring Flanders Park a new playscape.Council member Joe LaRussa tracked down the grant opportunity with Kaboom! Inc., which matches communities with funding partners. The company assigns a project manager for the 5-12 week process, and children help design the playground of their dreams.Matteo LaRussa, with help from his mom, Missy, shared his support for the new Kaboom! playground project during public comment at Monday’s city council meeting.Farmington is being considered for either a 2500-square-foot project or one double that size, with an October build.“This investment would represent 10% of the total project value if Farmington is selected for Project 1.) above, and this investment would represent 3% of the total project value if Farmington is selected for Project 2.) above,” City Manager David Murphy wrote in a memo. “Taking all things into consideration, the actual cost to the city could be between $12,200 and $29,000. Both of those amounts include the $8,500 match and represent the best and worst case scenario.”While projects are typically done with community volunteers and fundraising, the city signs as a “community partner,” and that left some council members with questions during conversations at their special and regular meetings on Monday.In addition to the $8,500, the agreement would require removal of existing equipment, preparation of soils, and other items. Council member Bill Galvin was concerned about the demand on the city’s Public Services Department and that many people don’t understand this is a “do it yourself” project.“There’s no objection to upgrading the park,” he said. “The objections are really more concerns that we do this correctly that we watch our dollars, and our time commitment.”Galvin suggested that the Flanders and Oaks neighborhoods should create a homeowners association, fundraise through that organization, and bypass the city council entirely.Community supportResidents who packed council chambers and spoke during public comment assured officials that they were committed to volunteering and fundraising. Resident Steve Baumbach said improving the park would increase property values, a boon for the city.“I would like to contribute my time, my skills and I am also willing to contribute financially to the success of this project,” Steve Baumbach said. “I have a four-year-old and another one on the way, so we’ll be at the park for the next 15 years.”Matt Green said the park project would create community. “If we got this many people here now, I guarantee you we can have people behind it.”Sarah Davies, who worked with city officials on a grand opening celebration for Flanders Park, said it is the closest city park for 420 homeowners and 220 apartment dwellers on the south side of the city.“If you’re concerned about money, I will head fundraising, and I’ll get you the money within 30 days,” she said.Non-binding Letter of IntentMayor Pro Tem Sara Bowman asked city attorney Thomas Schultz to clarify the Letter of Intent. Kaboom! representatives, he said, referred to the Letter as “non-binding,” and it differs from the agreement officials would have to sign before the build.“The Letter of Intent says to Kaboom!, ‘We’re interested in the project, and we understand this general list of things we will have to agree to.’,” he said. “But you may not need to agree to those things if there’s been fundraising.”Schultz also clarified that the letter does not tie up any city funds. Officials have $10,000 set aside in the 2018-2019 budget for Flanders Park plantings that would still be done if the Kaboom! project falls through.After several failed motions, officials found one that got unanimous support. In the event Kaboom! finds a funding partner, city officials will then consider whether to sign the final agreement.“We all have our fingers crossed that this project is going to go extremely well and that the community is going to engage at the level we heard tonight,” Mayor Steven Schneemann said. Farmington Voice Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) Reported bylast_img read more

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Airspan and ON Semiconductor Deliver Wi-Fi 6 Solutions for Fixed Wireless Access

first_imgAirspan Networks has collaborated with ON Semiconductor to capitalize on industry-leading Wi-Fi 6 performance solutions, utilizing the QCS-AX chipset for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) applications.Next-generation Airspan solutions will leverage ON Semiconductor’s QCS-AX Wi-Fi 6 family of chipsets. These products will maximize the benefits of the new Wi-Fi 6 standard including the additional spectrum in the 6 GHz band. The OFDMA-based 8×8 beamforming technology utilizing 160 MHz channels with modulation rates of 1024 QAM will significantly improve interference immunity, enabling higher-spectral efficiency, and delivering multi-gigabit capacity.FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) innovation has expanded Wi-Fi use case into outdoor space. By leveraging Wi-Fi 6 offload to LTE/5G networks, end consumers can expect fast and seamless connectivity. FWA demands continue to advance where capacity and reliability are critical for day-to-day use in schools, hospitals, law enforcement, economic growth, etc. Airspan Networks is positioned to continue to address market needs and shape the networks of tomorrow.With thousands of sites deployed globally, Airspan is at the forefront of providing Communications Service Providers innovative wireless solutions for high-reliability public and private, urban, suburban, and rural applications. Airspan delivers high-capacity, high-performance solutions that allow cost-effective, rapid deployment at scale.Click here to read more about WiFi 6.last_img read more

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