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LEGAL & FINANCE: Cost of property ownership set to rise.

This week's major changes to the land registration system represent the start of a wave of new legislation set to increase the cost of property ownership over the next 12 months, according to Birmingham law firm Hammonds.

Property partner, Paul Moorcroft, said: 'In addition to variations to the security of tenure laws affecting commercial landlords and tenants, property owners are facing additional regulation relating to the management of asbestos, changes to the stamp duty system as well as new requirements to adapt premises to avoid discrimination against the disabled.

'Regulations making it harder for landlords to collect commercial rent through bailiffs are also on the horizon.'

According to Mr Moorcroft this mass of legislation will significantly increase the cost of property ownership.

'The introduction of the new stamp duty land tax arriving in December represents the most obvious significant additional cost and this is likely to hit the property world hard, but all the other legislation also has a cost impact.

'As ever, the financial effects will probably be felt harder by the unwary. Legislation does not materialise overnight; these changes have been on the radar for a long time but as usual the research which has been undertaken suggests that a high percentage of property owners are ill-prepared.

'The cost of having to alter premises to comply with the new disability discrimination rules is estimated at pounds 230 million. 'Leading experts in the industry estimate that the Disability Rights Commission will be substantially increasing the funding allocated to support prosecutions. 'The new duty to maintain records and manage asbestos to ensure the safety of property comes into force in May next year. The Government has estimated that the cost of implementing those regulations will exceed pounds 1.5 billion.

'There is a lot to get to grips with and if they have not already begun to do so property owners and occupiers should start giving serious thought to how the mass of red tape will affect their businesses and how they can lessen the impact,' he said.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 17, 2003
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