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“Staycation” second homes can be legal minefields, warns Carltons Solicitors.

Carltons Solicitors in Small Heath, Birmingham says the popularity of second homes in the UK, which are often used as holiday homes, could expose owners to a “minefield” of risks.

The popularity of "staycations" - staying in the UK rather than travelling overseas for a holiday - has seen more second homes being used by "staycationers."

Statistics from the English Housing Survey: Household Report 2009-10 shows that there are 279,000 second homes in England, but Carltons Solicitors which holds the Law Society's excellence in home buying accolade - the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), is warning that owners are not always aware of the potential problems of owning a second home.

Mr Raj Padhiar, Managing Director at Carltons Solicitors says: “Second homes are often unoccupied for long periods of time. However, they could become targets for squatters, or there could be legal considerations to take into account when renting them out for short periods to holiday makers, and there are often insurance issues to take into account, not to mention the types of issues that come with buying any home, such as any legal anomalies or liabilities attached to the property.

"There are also tax implications for second home owners that need to be considered.

“It is essential that anyone buying second home contacts a CQS accredited solicitor such as Carltons Solicitors to look at the potential risks and benefits of buying.

"Equally, anyone who already owns a second home for their own holiday purposes, but plans to let it be used by family members or others for extended periods could be changing its status as a holiday home without realising.

"During off seasons second home owners might look to rent out the property for long periods of time and suddenly you have a landlord and tenant relationship which carries with it a host of additional obligations and liabilities.”

Carltons Solicitors underwent a rigorous application and assessment by the national Law Society to become part of CQS initiative, which recognises high quality in residential conveyancing. CQS has the support of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies Association, Legal Ombudsman and the Association of British Insurers.

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