Holiday from hell?! A guide to dealing with road traffic accidents abroad.

Renting a car whilst on holiday is becoming more and more popular. Competition amongst car rental companies means greatly reduced prices for holiday makers but renting a car abroad can carry its own risks. Driving in another Country on the opposite side of the road normally makes us more cautious behind the wheel but accidents can still happen. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic accident whilst on holiday, we would recommend that you take the following steps:

– Get details of the other driver and details of their insurance company;

– Keep details of any witnesses;

– Call the local Police immediately and request a copy of their report;

– Notify your own insurance company or if you have rented a car during your holiday, notify the rental company;

– Take photographs of the damage caused to both your own vehicle and the other vehicle involved;

– If you attend hospital or a Doctor take a note of the address of the Hospital/ Surgery and record the name of the medical practitioner that administered treatment. Ask for a copy of any medical records before you leave;

The law relating to compensation claims differs from Country to Country and therefore advice should be sought at the earliest possible opportunity. The good news is that there is legislation in place that will allow you to bring your claim from here in Northern Ireland if your accident occurred in another EU Member State.

Boyd Rice Solicitors have significant experience in obtaining compensation for clients injured whilst on holiday. Please contact one of the injury claims team on 02891 817715, or by email and let us explain how we can help you.

We offer a free initial consultation where we will confidentially discuss the circumstances of your accident and will assess how we can assist you in the best way possible. We use leading experts to investigate accidents and our team of medical practitioners are extremely experienced.

Surveyor report for new house

Should I get a survey before I buy a new property?

Don’t rely on your mortgage valuation to uncover any problems with your new home

Unfortunately only a small percentage of new buyers employ a property surveyor to report on their prospective new property before handing over their savings to the vendor. For some this can lead to a lot of stress and expense when they later discover serious problems with the property’s condition.

But what about the mortgage valuation? Surely the bank wouldn’t lend you money unless the property was in good nick? This line of thinking is misguided. Mortgage valuations are not surveys. The person who conducts the valuation probably spends five minutes glancing over the property to quickly assess how much it’s worth. They will note down any majors works required that they happen to observe, in those five short minutes.

The mortgage valuation is not there to protect you. It’s to make sure the property will be good security for the bank’s loan. Your bank will probably add the costs of the valuation on to your agreement. They will sometimes decide on the back of the valuation to reduce the amount they will lend.

A survey is significantly different.  You instruct the surveyor and the report will serve your interests. It involves a detailed inspection of the property. The surveyor will be looking out for structural problems, anything requiring major repairing work or alterations and will try to identify any potential legal issues.

Here are the types of survey provided by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors;

  • Condition Report ;
  • Homebuyer Report;
  • Building Survey.

The Condition Report is the cheapest, it’ll set you back around £250. It describes the condition of the property, identifies any risks and potential legal issues and highlights any urgent defects. Think about getting this if you’re being a new-build and conventional homes in good condition.

The Homebuyer Report weighs in at approximately £400, get this for conventional homes in reasonable condition. It will cover everything in the Condition Report and it will include advice on defects that may affect the property with repairs and ongoing maintenance advice. You can also pay a little extra to have a valuation added on.

The Building Survey is for larger and older properties, or if you have some renovations in mind. This will cost around £500. This will provide an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition and includes advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options.

We recommend to all our clients that they obtain one of these reports. Whilst it may seem like a lot of money, it could save you thousands in the long-term.

Just recently a client of ours agreed to purchase a new property. The previous owners had only bought the property a year prior but were already selling up. Our client was told that this because their child had moved schools. Erring on the side of caution our client decided to obtain a survey. This survey uncovered significant issues with the roof and damp everywhere. Estimates of the repairs have come in around £20,000. Our client pulled out of the sale and is now looking elsewhere. The survey cost £400, but saved them a fortune.

If you are purchasing a new home and would like advice in relation to any issues regarding surveys and mortgage valuations please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email


Uninsured drivers

Claims involving uninsured or untraced drivers

Being in a road traffic accident causes significant stress and anxiety. This is compounded when you are involved in an accident with another motorist and discover that they do not have insurance or even worse in a situation where the other motorist flees the scene of the accident.

The first step in these situations should be to phone the Police. Provide the PSNI with details of what happened and as much information as possible in relation to the accident circumstances. If you are injured ask the Police to attend the scene and wait for them to arrive. Always request a Police reference number. Take photographs of your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle.

We would then advise that you call us. We will advise you in respect of what to do with your vehicle and also will take the following information from you;

  1. Date and time that your accident occurred;
  2. Location of your accident;
  3. Weather/ road conditions;
  4. Make and model of your vehicle;
  5. Your vehicle registration;
  6. Details of your insurer;
  7. Details of your passengers;
  8. Make model and vehicle registration of the other vehicle;
  9. Name and address of the other driver;
  10. PSNI reference number;
  11. A detailed account of the accident circumstances.

Thankfully the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) compensate victims of motor accidents involving uninsured or untraced drivers. The Road Traffic Act 1988 stipulates that all insurance companies must be a member of the MIB and contribute to its funding.

We will complete the MIB Application form on your behalf and will arrange for you to be medically examined by a leading Consultant. Cases involving the MIB are generally more complex and take longer to bring to fruition.

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau will also compensate cyclists who have been knocked off their bike by a vehicle that cannot be traced.

Boyd Rice Solicitors have significant experience in acting for clients who have been involved in an accident with an insured or untraced motorist.

Please contact one of the injury claims team on 02891 817715, by email or complete our Online Enquiry and let us explain how we can help you.

keys to a new home

Ensure you get Mortgage Approval with 6 Simple Tips

Before you begin searching for your dream home you should seek advice regarding your potential mortgage. This will give you a good idea of what you can afford and it will mean you can move quicker when you find somewhere you really like.

1. Use a mortgage broker

Not only will this save you hassle (you won’t have to check every lender yourself) but this will probably save you money. They will be able to recommend the cheapest and best deals for your available budget, and help prevent you making an application that could be rejected. This would adversely affect your credit score.

2. Manage your current account

You will need to give your lender copies of your bank statements for the last three to six months. You may need to tidy up your account in advance. Make sure here are no unpaid items, no regular deposits into online gambling accounts and that your rent is paid by direct debit instead of cash.

3. Employment

It goes without saying that if you’re not employed, you’re not getting a mortgage. However some will also refuse a mortgage if you have not been in a permanent job for at least twelve months. If you are still on a probationary period you could have trouble also. If you are in one of these situations your mortgage advisor may be able to advise you. If you are self-employed make sure you have the last three years’ accounts fully up to date.

4. What is your repayment capacity?

This is proof you can meet your future mortgage repayments. The best way to prove this is by showing you have saved, or paid rent, equal to the mortgage repayments plus 2 percent.

5. Income

Traditionally lenders have multiplied salary by four to get the maximum mortgage that they will lend to borrowers. Now many households have two incomes so there is sometimes an option to either; 4x the main salary plus the second salary, or; add the two salaries together and use a slightly lower multiple (e.g. three rather than four). The income multiplier is used as an absolute maximum but the lender will perform an affordability test to decide just how much they are willing to lend.

6. Deposit

You don’t need to have your deposit ready when you make your mortgage application. You can let them know you’re receiving a gift or however you’re going to obtain it and that will be fine.

If you are considering purchasing a new home and would like to discuss the legal process please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email

Building Control

Snag Lists for New Builds – What to look out for?

Don’t get caught up in the excitement of buying a new home with brand shiny new kitchen, bathroom and all the rest – you need to make sure you compile a snag list of any defects with your property. A snag list is a list of any defects where faults are noted so that they can be rectified by the builder/developer.

Take a note of items which appear to have not been totally completed or which do not meet satisfactory standards. Include items that may be defective, may not meet building regulations or are not finished to a standard and condition that a prospective purchaser should expect when buying a new property.

Snagging can be broken down into two areas. The first is to do with functionality, does everything in your new home work? This can be assessed easily – do the doors close, do the lights turn on, does the toilet flush, etc. The second is aesthetic – is the quality of finish to an acceptable standard? This is subjective and will most likely be where disagreements with the builder arise. Check counter tops for cracks, plaster work and the paint job.

It’s very important that you make this list at the outset. If you put it on the back burner for a while and get round to it a little later it will be more difficult to get these issues addressed. Best practice would be to sort this all out before contracts are signed and you’ve paid over your money. However frequently this will not be possible and some new builds will not be finished until after contracts are exchanged. Check if snags are covered in your contract and discuss it with your builder/developer at an early stage.

Once the builder/developer has been given the snag list they should complete all the listed items.

If you are purchasing a new home and would advice in relation to any issues regarding the snagging list please give us a call on 02891 817715 or contact our property team by email