Private E-Scooters on Public Roads?

As part of a new Transport Bill that could come into effect in 2023, the UK government intends to create a new category of ‘low-speed, zero-emission’ vehicles that will include e-scooters and most likely legalise their private use on public roads. While the government hopes that riders, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users have become increasingly familiar with the vehicles since rental trials began in 2020, the use of private e-scooters on public roads is controversial due to safety concerns over technical regulations and confusion over which areas they are allowed to access.

The benefits of e-scooters in official eyes include their positive environmental impact, especially reducing the number of cars and pollution in congested urban areas. The vehicles are also seen as an affordable and efficient method of transport, including for commuters and businesses delivering orders in towns and cities. E-scooter trials in operation across the UK are set to be extended until 2024, and the government hopes that sufficient information on the vehicles’ use will be gathered to ensure that technical regulations and safety standards are effective in the future.  

The problems caused by e-scooters on pavements and in cycle lanes and pedestrianised areas like shopping centres will almost certainly get significantly worse once private scooters are legalised on UK roads. Many private e-scooters can comfortably exceed the current 15.5mph speed limit, and a combination of confusion as to where the vehicles can be used, and irresponsible and inexperienced e-scooter riders will continue to pose a risk to pedestrians, cyclists and other road users for the foreseeable future. Legalisation will at least have the benefit of regulating the use of e-scooters and making insurance mandatory to guarantee compensation for those injured in collisions with the vehicles.

If you have been injured in an accident involving an e-scooter, contact our firm for expert legal advice from solicitors who are themselves cyclists with experience of e-scooter accidents claims:

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/road-accident-claims/who-is-reponsible-for-an-escooter-accident.html

Liverpool Housing Market Hits New High

House prices across the United Kingdom have continued to rise rapidly, with Liverpool and Merseyside reaching record new highs in April 2022. Average prices in Liverpool rose by 10.5% year on year to reach £174,890, and by 10.2% to reach £184,880 in Merseyside as a whole. St Helens recorded the biggest annual increase of anywhere in Merseyside with 15.5%, followed by Knowsley with 13.5%, while Sefton had the highest average price at £201,519, representing 9.8% annual growth.

Record house prices nationwide are being driven by an imbalance caused by pent-up demand for properties and a concurrent lack of supply. In Liverpool, residential property sales grew by 30% in April to June compared with the same quarter in 2021, with the suburbs proving particularly popular as buyers look for better value and more spacious properties away from the city centre. Meanwhile, Liverpool waterfront has become one of the sought-after residential areas in the north west, following millions of pounds of investment in the regeneration and development of the area.

Many property market analysts believe that Liverpool and Merseyside are key areas for investment, with current and future regeneration projects providing long-term security for buyers. Analysts also highlight Liverpool as a good place for first-time buyers and property owners wishing to move homes. The city and region remain relatively cheap, with homes in Liverpool selling for around £237 per square foot, compared with London (£678) and Manchester (£353). Liverpool is also attractive to property investors due to its consistently high rental yields, while the city remains popular with both tenants and buyers due its vibrant, cosmopolitan lifestyle and unique cultural attractions.

Find out more about our Liverpool and Merseyside fixed fee conveyancing services:

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/residential-conveyancing-solicitors-liverpool-city-centre.html

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/liverpool-solicitors-for-first-time-buyers.html

What it Means to be Human

Being Human is a new exhibition at Liverpool Cathedral that opened this week on Wednesday 27 July and runs until 30 August. Created by the internationally renowned artist and sculptor Peter Walker, the exhibition explores the meaning of being human and what makes us who we are through multiple artworks located around the Cathedral, themed around connection, creativity, identity, and reflection. Inspired by Michelangelo, a sculpture entitled Connection will be at the heart of the exhibition, offering a contemporary twist on a Renaissance masterpiece.

Peter Walker is the artist behind Liverpool Cathedral’s previous Peace Doves artwork installation, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. He has created numerous artworks including sculptures, paintings, drawings, installation pieces, and Son-et-Lumiere for large-scale public art events, as well as for collections at the British Embassy in Paris, Chester Cathedral, and University Church in Oxford, among others.

Being Human at Liverpool Cathedral is available to visit until 30 August. The Cathedral is open daily between 10am and 6pm. You don’t need to book to visit the Cathedral, and viewing the installation is completely free:

https://www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/visiting-us/being-human/

Bartletts Solicitors are proud to be long-term supporters of Liverpool Cathedral, with Thomas Bartlett, a direct ancestor of the firm’s owners, leaving a bequest for the construction of the array of 13 bells for the new cathedral which was then being built in 1912.

Bed Bugs Bites at Home

Recent press reports have highlighted the difficulties faced by council and housing association tenants when dealing with bed bug infestations at home. Some have been forced to temporarily abandon their properties for weeks on end, while still paying rent, utility bills and council tax, despite their homes being uninhabitable. Local councils and housing associations have been criticised for their failure to help tenants deal with bed bug infestations quickly and effectively. Pest control treatments to eradicate bed bugs are the landlord’s responsibility, and they must engage contractors to fumigate infested properties at the earliest opportunity once the issue is reported to them.

One of the problems tenants face with bed bug infestations is the fact that the tiny insects are tough and resilient, and adept at concealing themselves, reproducing (they can breed all year round) and surviving, meaning eradication methods need to be efficient and thorough to ensure a property is completely bed bug free. Bed bugs can live in clothing, mattresses, linen, bed frames, furniture and many other concealed locations, only emerging at night to look for food,  making them difficult to identify. Bed bugs can also be easily transported from room to room and house to house, and a single home infestation can therefore quickly result in neighbouring properties becoming infested. This is another reason why local councils and housing associations need to act as quickly as possible once they are made aware of a bed bug infestation. 

Both local council and housing association tenants have the legal right to sue their landlord for bed bug bites, any physical repercussions, the associated stress and trauma, and the financial costs of an infestation, including the possible expense of temporary relocation while the problem is dealt with. Sometimes a property is infested with bed bugs before a tenant moves in, but more often landlords fail to address infestations reported to them by tenants within a reasonable time frame, leaving them legally responsible for the negative consequences. 

Our firm has particular expertise in suing for bed bug bites, and has successfully represented hundreds of clients in these specialist claims over the years. You can find out more on these pages:

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/accidents-at-home/suing-a-landlord-for-bed-bug-bites.html

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/bed-bug-claims/compensation-for-bed-bug-bites.html

Contemporary Painting in Liverpool

Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool is a new exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery which opened in April this year and runs until January 2023. It was borne from the Refractive Pool project which began life in 2019, and has since used events, a book and online resources to explore contemporary painting by Liverpool-based artists, and the diversity of painting styles and art being created in the city today.

The project’s work has culminated in this exhibition, for which Liverpool-based artists Josie Jenkins and Brendan Lyons have selected the work of 21 local artists, with the intention of providing an overview of the community of painters based in the city. A Refractive Pool book is also being released, featuring paintings by 40 local artists, which will also provide a snapshot of Liverpool’s current artistic community, and highlight creative collaboration between the different disciplines of painting, photography and poetry.

The Refractive Pool: Contemporary Painting in Liverpool is the climax of the project’s research into local artists, including meeting many of them in their studios, and getting a feel for who is making paintings in the city and what styles and techniques they are using. Located at the Walker Art Gallery – ‘the National Gallery of the North’ – the exhibition provides a unique opportunity for the younger generation of would-be painters to draw inspiration, and for the rest of us to appreciate the vibrancy and diversity of painters and painting in Liverpool today:

https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/refractivepool

Upsurge in E-Scooter Accidents

The government has published figures estimating the number of personal injury road traffic collisions involving e-scooters, in Great Britain, in 2021. The figures are provisional and based on data supplied by police forces up to the start of May 2022. 

Most notably, the number of collisions involving e-scooters increased to 1,280 in 2021, up from 460 in the previous year. There were 1,359 casualties resulting from collisions involving e-scooters, compared to 484 in 2020. Roughly three quarters of these casualties (1,034) were e-scooter users, with the remainder being other road users. Nine people were killed in collisions involving e-scooters in 2021, all of whom were e-scooter riders, compared to one e-scooter rider killed during the previous year.

The number of serious injuries also climbed dramatically, with the figures showing that 390 people were seriously injured, and 960 slightly injured, in collisions involving e-scooters in 2021, compared to 129 and 354 respectively in 2020. E-scooter riders are also involved in an increasing number of ‘single vehicle collisions’ (accidents in which no other vehicles are involved), with 309 e-scooter riders experiencing this type of accident last year, up from 83 in 2020.

What the figures indisputably show is that the number of e-scooter accidents, and the injuries and deaths resulting from them, is rising rapidly, and there is no obvious reason why the e-scooter collision and casualty statistics will not continue on this sharp upwards trajectory. You can find our more about e-scooter collisions and who is legally responsible for an e-scooter accident on our dedicated page:

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/road-accident-claims/who-is-reponsible-for-an-escooter-accident.html

New Responsibilities for Landlords

Private landlords face new responsibilities toward their tenants, including being forced to refund rent if the property is not maintained in an acceptably liveable condition. Almost a million privately rented properties do not meet the government’s minimum standards for human habitation, with the main problems being damp and cold.

As announced in the Queen’s Speech, the Renters’ Reform Bill will extend social housing standards to private rentals, and a Private Renters’ Ombudsman will be appointed to adjudicate disputes between landlords and tenants over the acceptable standard of a rented property. Charities have welcomed the government’s move, with the chief executive of housing charity Shelter stating, ‘The Renters’ Reform Bill is a game-changer. The Bill cannot come soon enough.’

While this appears to be welcome news for tenants, many landlords are incensed by the latest regulatory burdens they face. The fear is that with tenants gaining new legal rights, landlords will rather sell their properties than rent them, leading to a shortfall of rental property and increased rents. Tenants themselves may reduce a property to an ‘uninhabitable’ state, refuse to pay rent, and receive legal aid to fight a claim against their landlord who, in most circumstances, would have to fund their defence privately.

There is no doubt that millions of tenants live in dilapidated properties across the UK, and that landlords are often reluctant to address maintenance issues promptly or at all. It should therefore be welcomed that tenants have enhanced rights to take action against so-called ‘slum’ landlords, an issue that has plagued the UK since Victorian times and before. However, tenants also have a responsibility not to take advantage of their new legal rights to drive landlords into selling their properties, thereby creating a lose-lose situation for both parties.

We represent tenants who have been injured or made ill at home due to poor living conditions. Find out more: https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/accidents-at-home/suing-a-landlord-for-personal-injury.html

Right to Buy Scheme Extension

Last week, the British government announced an extension of the Right to Buy scheme to around 2.5 million housing association tenants, with the Prime Minister criticising some housing associations for their ‘scandalous indifference’ to tenants. The Right to Buy policy was originally introduced in the 1980s, allowing social housing tenants to buy their council homes at discounts of up to 70% off the market value. It is estimated that more than two million tenants have taken advantage of the scheme to become homeowners since then.  

The new Right to Buy scheme will allow housing association tenants to buy their properties at similarly discounted prices, rising to a maximum of 70% depending on how long they have lived there. The government intends to instigate a one-for-one policy, with one new social home built for every home sold through the scheme, in order to maintain the nation’s social housing stock at the same level. Housing association tenants will also be able to use welfare payments to help secure mortgages and meet their monthly payments, with the government highlighting the fact that roughly £30 billion in housing benefit is currently used to pay rent, a sum that would be better spent on helping people buy their own homes.

In the coming months, the government is expected to work closely with the housing association sector to get the new Right to Buy scheme up and running. In parallel, an independent review of the mortgage lending market will be launched, focusing on the availability of and access to cheaper mortgage finance for first-time buyers, including 95% mortgages. With house prices at all-time highs, deposit requirements are currently beyond what many prospective homeowners, particularly young people, can afford, despite the fact that an estimated 50% of renters could afford the monthly cost of a mortgage. The revival of Right to Buy could therefore be crucial in meeting the government’s ultimate aim of turning ‘generation rent’ into ‘generation buy’.

Our specialist conveyancing solicitors can advise on and assist with any aspect of the Right to Buy scheme:

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/right-to-buy-solicitors-in-liverpool.html

We also have a housing law team with expertise in taking legal action against housing associations for disrepair and personal injury:

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/accidents-at-home/suing-a-housing-association-for-injury.html

Ongoing Hair Dye Reaction Risks

Many hair salons will currently be fully booked with hair colouring appointments in advance of the Platinum Jubilee and upcoming summer holidays. While safety standards at salons offering hair dyeing treatments have improved considerably since 2009, when an APIL survey found that the vast majority of salons were not carrying out patch tests to check for allergies, a significant number of women continue to experience allergic reactions to hair dye products during procedures every year, often with extremely painful and distressing consequences.

The main cause of allergic reactions to hair dye is the ingredient paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is contained in more than two-thirds of hair colouring products, although adverse reactions may also be triggered by other ingredients including ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. The fact that such reactions are not uncommon is the reason why hair salons must carry out patch tests on clients 48 hours before a treatment is carried out. This involves applying a small amount of the dye product to the client’s skin (normally behind the ear), and checking for any adverse effects over the specified time period.

Nowadays, hair salons are normally very efficient in patch testing customers, mainly because their insurance will be invalid if they fail to carry out a test and a client experiences an allergic reaction. While it is especially important to patch test new customers, even regular clients should be patch tested at least every 6 months, as it is possible to develop a sensitivity to chemicals like PPD through contact with other substances at any point in time. Even if a client refuses a patch test or signs a waiver, a hair colouring treatment should not be allowed to go ahead, as the salon will still be liable for any subsequent adverse reaction.    

The symptoms of an allergic reaction to hair dye range from very mild to very serious. The skin on the scalp may become itchy, red and inflamed, while a person’s face will often swell up, particularly around the eyes. Headaches, neck pain, dizziness and nausea are other common symptoms, and a course of antihistamines will normally be required to deal with these problems. Hair loss and patches of baldness may develop, and in rare cases individuals may experience breathing difficulties which can indicate a systemic reaction in the body with potentially very severe consequences including toxic shock and cardiac arrest.

Our solicitors have represented hundreds of clients who have been injured following allergic reactions to hair dye products at salons over the years, with our firm being one of the first to handle these claims. Contact our experienced female solicitors today for free, confidential legal advice if you have experienced an allergic reaction to hair dye at a salon:

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/hair-beauty/compensation-for-allergic-reaction-to-hair-dye-at-hairdressers.html

Summer Bikini Waxing Risks

With millions of Britons booking long-awaited overseas beach holidays this year, as Covid restrictions on international travel finally ease, many women will be booking bikini and similar waxing treatments at their local beauty salon in order to look their best beside the sea and around the pool.

While waxing treatment safety standards at beauty salons have improved markedly in the past decade or so, there are still a number of unavoidable dangers involved in waxing procedures performed on intimate areas of the skin by poorly trained or inexperienced beauticians, which may result in relatively serious injuries and profound distress.

After the wax product and waxing paper are applied to the required area of skin, the paper should be removed swiftly in the direction of the hair growth, which will normally cause short-lived pain and redness. However, the sensitivity of the skin around the vagina and inner thighs means that if the waxing strips are removed incorrectly, for example, too quickly, too forcefully, or at the wrong angle, they may tear the skin, potentially resulting in bleeding, scarring, damage to hair follicles, and both physical and emotional suffering. 

A woman’s skin may also be burned if the wax is overheated when applied or spilled accidentally onto exposed areas, which can result in redness, blistering, scarring and infection. The most serious risk is the possibility of an allergic reaction to a waxing product, which properly conducted skin patch tests (at least 48 hours before a waxing treatment appointment) are supposed to prevent. An adverse reaction of this kind can cause burning skin rashes, blistering and potential hospitalisation depending on the severity of the reaction.

While the negative outcomes from bikini and similar waxing treatments outlined here are thankfully rare, our solicitors have represented hundreds of women in claims against beauty salons for these types of injuries over the years. Apart from the physical pain and suffering, there is also the embarrassment that waxing injuries in intimate areas cause, as well as the loss of enjoyment of an impending holiday which may subsequently need to be cancelled. All these factors will be taken into account when calculating the size of the compensation award due to the injured party.

You can find out more about bikini and other types of waxing injuries in the dedicated beauty treatment injuries section on our website:

https://www.bartlettslaw.co.uk/hair-beauty/compensation-for-a-bikini-waxing-injury.html