Seven ways for parents to maximise space at home with teenagers leaving for university

Seven ways for parents to maximise space at home with teenagers leaving for university


EVERY Saturday, The Consumer Crew are here to solve your problems.

Mel Hunter will take on readers’ consumer issues, Amanda Cable will give you the best advice for buying your dream home, Maddy Tooke rounds up the best coupons to save you money and Judge Rinder will tackle your legal woes.

Jane Hamilton, property expert

Jane Hamilton gives tips to parents who might suddenly have a bit more space at home
Stewart Williams – The Sun

WITH A-level results out this week, thousands of parents will be waving goodbye to their teenagers – and hello to more living space.

AA Financial Services reckons two-thirds of families plan to repurpose a bedroom when a youngster goes to uni.

The firm’s Warren D’Souza says: “For many parents, the sad departure of their child is a signal for the start of a new DIY undertaking or similar project to focus on.”

Here are some good ways to make the most of your new space.

Going open plan is one way to create space
Alamy
    1. Guest room or study. Turning your teen’s old room into a guest suite is the most popular option, done by 29 per cent of families. But guest rooms are not used that often, so double it up as a study.
    2. Rent out the room permanently. Make extra money, perhaps to put towards those expensive tuition fees. You can earn up to £7,500 a year tax-free by letting out furnished accommodation in your home. Find out more at gov.uk.
    3. Get on board with Airbnb. If you live in a popular area or need the room back for college holidays, consider renting it out for short periods only.
    4. Home gym. The average gym membership costs more than £300 a year. One in every 11 polled planned to save cash by using their child’s old room for home workouts.
    5. Walk-in wardrobe. Homes with walk-in wardrobes are worth on average ten per cent more than comparable pads without, so this could add value to your home.
    6. Go open-plan. Two per cent of those polled said they would knock through and lose the room altogether, making their pad open-plan.
    7. Downsize. Do you need the extra room at all? Could moving to a smaller home free up cash – perhaps to get your child on the property ladder?

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Buy of the week

Sellers can get good value in S7

SHEFFIELD’S S7 is the UK’s most competitive postcode for sales.

Homes there typically fetch four per cent above the asking price, according to figures from getagent.co.uk.

This newly refurbished three-bedroom S7 terrace is on sale for £160,000.

Interested? Find out more at zoopla.co.uk.

Check it out

IN need of a property fix?

The Real Homes Show has launched on YouTube, with new episodes landing every two weeks to help home improvers.

The series includes a blooper reel show-casing mistakes by the presenters and other out-takes.

Watch it for a chuckle at youtu.be/3pmqvhQxlVE

Deal of the week

POPPING up a hanging glass wall-storage unit will give your room an instant style update.

Designer versions can set you back £60 or more but this beauty from Sainsbury’s is a clear winner at just £20.

SAVE: £40


Judge Rinder

Judge Rinder helps a reader with a health issue

Q) MY second wife passed away in January 2019. The executors of the will are her two daughters and they hate each other.

The older one is refusing to carry out her legal obligation by meeting her sister to finalise the will.

She has now returned back to Hong Kong were she lives and works and will not be back in England for some time.
How can I and my step-daughter resolve this issue?
Jeffrey, Brighton

A) There are a number of things that can be done in this case.

Your step-daughters have to complete all the legal formalities relating to your late wife’s estate and apply for probate.

If the executors (either of your step- daughters) are refusing, you can write to them putting them on notice that you intend to apply to court to have them replaced.

Before doing this, you should write to the older sister (who appears to be the bigger problem) reminding her of her legal responsibilities and making clear that it might be better if she were to stand down as an executor.

This won’t affect her inheritance in any way and the formalities could be arranged from abroad.

Whatever you do, act quickly.

The longer this goes on the more likely it is that this situation will become toxic and end in a costly legal action.

How much holiday leave is it fair for employers to give?
Alamy Live News

Hols halved

Q) I HAVE worked for the same firm for 40 years and have taken four weeks holiday in one go for the past 30 years.

I have now been told I can only take two weeks in the same peak leave period.

Is there any thing I can do? Kathryn, Stafford

A) It seems to me you have been pretty lucky for the past 30 years.

Your employer is allowed to have a “reasonable holiday” policy like this.

I would ask (in as non-contentious a way as possible) to see the policy or for your firm to explain in writing why it says it is entitled to alter an arrangement you have relied on for decades.

Your employer may just give in and let you take the leave you want – but I doubt it.

Q) WE want to make a claim against a solicitor who didn’t do her job properly, caused us a lot of stress and cost us £8,000.

We moved from Devon to Bedford in 2013 where we bought a new property with a garage and additional parking space.

We are now moving to a retirement village in the same area and sold our house in November and should have been moving into our new property in June.

Unfortunately, our buyer’s solicitor queried that the parking space was not outlined on our deeds and we have had to go back to the Devon solicitor, who dealt with the original sale, to sort it out.

It has been hell for us and also we have lost £8,000 – which was an incentive to complete by June.

Please can you advise us as to whether we can make a claim against the Devon solicitor, as it was her negligence that has caused us all this stress and money and we really don’t know what to do. Joyce, Bedford

A mistake over a parking space has cost £8,000
Rex Features

A) Suing the Devon solicitor will not be easy but it is possible.

You will have to prove that she acted below the standard of a competent lawyer.

The fact that the deeds appear not to have included the parking space you purchased may not be her fault. It is possible that there was an error at the Land Registry.

However, if you are confident that the solicitor failed to legally purchase the parking space despite your original instructions, or you have evidence that she did not complete the relevant legal paper work, you could sue her.

The good news is that this solicitor will be insured for a claim like this.

The bad news is that you aren’t entitled to any legal aid and this case isn’t straightforward.

You need to get in touch with a solicitor who specialises in professional negligence.

They should provide you with an indication of your chances of success and any potential damages without charging you a fortune.

Contact

  • Judge Rinder regrets he cannot answer questions personally. Answers intended as general guidance. They do not constitute legal advice and are not a substitute for obtaining independent legal advice.
  • Got a question for Judge Rinder? Email judgerinder@thesun.co.uk


Mel Hunter, Reader’s champion

Mel Hunter advises on consumer issues
The Sun

Q) MY energy supplier Solarplicity told me I needed a smart meter fitted and twice I waited at home for an engineer to come, but both appointments were missed.

Solarplicity told me I’d get £30 for each missed appointment but the money never came through so I left them for British Gas.

Three months later I got my final statement from my old supplier stating they owed me just under £250, which included credit that had built up on the account.

I’ve sent more than 50 emails since and get a standard reply back saying someone will call me within five days.

They never do.

Please help as every penny counts. Edward Clark, Bristol

Another reader has a problem with the rollout of smart meters
Getty – Contributor

A) Your former energy supplier has hit the buffers this week – and it comes as little surprise.

Solarplicity has been given repeated warnings about poor customer service, even being banned from taking on new customers earlier this year – a sure sign that it was struggling to cope.

I am just glad I was able to get your money paid back before this week’s news hit, with your cheque finally arriving after a few firm nudges from me.

You were one of the lucky ones. Ofgem said it had received 3,324 complaints about Solarplicity this year alone, mainly about billing, switching and ­customer service. My postbag is never short of complaints from fed-up householders.

The majority of its customers have been switched to Toto. For the remaining 7,500, the advice is not to suddenly switch.

Instead, take a meter reading now, sit tight and wait until Ofgem confirms who will be taking on the rest of Solarplicity’s accounts.

Ofgem’s Philippa Pickford said: “You can rely on your energy supply as normal. We will update you when we have chosen a new supplier, which will then get in touch about your new tariff.”

Virgin Media denied the problem was their fault
Getty – Contributor

Q) IN November, I decided I’d leave Virgin Media for another supplier.

A payment came out of my bank account five days before I was due to be disconnected but Virgin assured me I’d receive a cheque for the £80 I was owed.

I made constant phone calls chasing them in December and January, then started to text a number I was given.

In February I finally got a response saying Virgin would arrange for the cheque to be sent within ten working days.

Nothing arrived and when I next checked, they told me it had been sent months ago and asked if I’d moved house.

I hadn’t – but I confirmed my correct address and spent the next four months again chasing the cheque. Each time I was told it was being processed and would be sent shortly. John Spence, Livingston

A) This was a bonkers situation if ever I heard one. Virgin didn’t deny you were owed this money.

It wasn’t even having trouble issuing the cheque, just getting it to you.

Eight long months after you closed your account, you got the £80 you were owed, plus a little extra.

Virgin said: “We’re sorry for the delay Mr Spence experienced in receiving a cheque for the credit remaining on his account.

“A cheque will be sent to him, including an additional £50 to apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

  • Do you have a consumer issue? Email readers.champion@thesun.co.uk



Maddy Tooke, Coupon Queen

John McLellan

Maddy Tooke shares her best high street deals[/caption]

Top 10 deals

  • GET £15 off first grocery orders over £60 at sainsburys.co.uk Use code AFFVC52LUJ at checkout by Thursday; bit.ly/15offsainburys.
  • Save 50 per cent on photo books at Jessops with code PBOOK50 or 40 per cent off wall art with WALL40 by Tuesday; bit.ly/50offjessops.
  • Save big at UGG Emporium with Vouchercodes code Extra20 by Thursday; bit.ly/20offuggsale
  • Save £5 at mynametags.com when ordering three sets. Use code NEWTERM online. Ends August 31; bit.ly/5offnametags
  • Save 15 per cent on Monsoon orders over £100 with code AUGUST15 from Vouchercloud by August 31; bit.ly/15offmonsoon
  • My 1st Years with code EVERYTHING20 by August 26; bit.ly/20offmy1styears
  • Save 25 per cent on Blossoming Gifts bouquets with Vouchercloud code VCLAUGT25 by August 31; bit.ly/25offbouquets
  • Get £5 off Hobbycraft orders over £35 with code 5OFF35 or get £10 off orders over £70 with code 10OFF70 by August 31; bit.ly/10offhobbycraft
  • Get 40 per cent off main courses at Prezzo until August 29 with voucher from bit.ly/40offprezzo
  • Save 25 per cent on new-in orders at La Redoute with code SAVE; bit.ly/laredoutefashion25off

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  • GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL exclusive@the-sun.co.uk

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