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Tenancy Ended Abruptly

Property 118 - 48 min 2 sec ago

We moved into an office within an office block about 4 years ago at the height of the recession. When we moved into the office we were told to occupy a smaller office until the one meant for us was ready. When our office was ready we moved in and when we asked for a... Read more

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Parking £600K for a few months

Property 118 - 54 min 14 sec ago

Someone has offered me about £600K for an unencumbered property. I’d happily sell now, but am too busy to buy anything new till at the earliest Jan or Feb. Any tips on where to get the best short term rate for such an amount while still being able to access the funds should I need... Read more

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HMO licensing and absent freeholder

Property 118 - 1 hour 59 sec ago

I own a leasehold flat in North Wales, it is one of 3 self-contained leasehold flats in a converted house.  I have just received a letter from the council which says that the property needs to have a HMO licence otherwise I will not be able to continue rent it out. They say that it... Read more

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Online Accelerated Posession

Property 118 - 1 hour 6 min ago

Remains to be seen how this will work, but every little helps ……… https://gds.blog.gov.uk/2014/08/29/5-live-civil-claims-evict-a-tenant-using-accelerated-possession/ What are other members thoughts? Regards Lou

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Recheck your PPI complaint

Property 118 - 2 hours 35 min ago

2.5 million Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaints made between 2012 and 2013 are going to be reviewed by firms after the Financial Conduct Authority FCA has forced them to improve their procedures It is believed that complaints during this period may have been unfairly rejected or compensation paid too little. 70% of complaints taken to... Read more

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Rent Arrears and New Landlord

Property 118 - 3 hours 7 min ago

My flat was sold to a new landlord in July and my old landlord is querying one of my rent payments (saying I’ve missed one.) I have spoken to him and we are investigating this, however now my new landlord is demanding to see my bank statements since I first moved into the property to... Read more

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Home business from rented property

Residential Landlord - 4 hours 16 min ago
Changes have recently been made which will make it easier for tenants to run a business from their rented property. Plans by Business Minister Matthew Hancock
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Letting Agents are they right or wrong?

Property 118 - 5 hours 56 min ago

With my work pensions lump sum we invested in some new build properties with mortgages to enhance our incomes. We got a local letting agents to let the properties and to manage. One of the new properties rented to a couple with two children, other than the first months rent, they started to pay late... Read more

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Flat conversion and financing strategy

Property 118 - 6 hours 22 min ago

Let me first take this opportunity to thank Mr Mark Alexander and team for creating this excellent encyclopaedia for landlords. I have decided to venture into converting house into flats. We are in process of converting a 3 bed semidetached house into 3 one bed flats. I have enough equity to cover this conversion. I... Read more

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Ben Reeve Lewis Friday Newsround #168

Landlord Law Blog - 7 hours 3 min ago

[Ben Reeve Lewis looks at strange properties on offer ...]

Well Frazzy and I had a marvellous break at Hythe and Dymchurch way for our 5th Anniversary last weekend.

Marred only by the fact that as we were winging home on the A20, just coming into London the car blew up.
The RAC man couldn’t fix it on the road so towed us home. A fine end to festivities.

Back to work on Tuesday presented me with a charming 3 bedroom house where the living room had been divided into two with stud walling to maximise the landlord’s ‘Rental Yield’ I believe it’s called.

Nothing unusual with that these days except that the dividing ran the length of the living room, so each tenant had half the bay window, you could see the wall line from outside, right down the middle of the bay.

Steptoe & son

It put me in mind of that old episode of Steptoe and Son where they divided the house to create their own space, using a football entrance turnstile for the shared kitchen, forcing each of them to put a penny in every time they want to make a cup of tea.

An arrangement I have yet to see but wont be surprised when I do.

A pathetic fine

The Guardian this week ran an interesting story about Barnet Landlord Yaakov Marom renting out a property where in order to get into the room itself you had to crawl through an entrance with a height of 2’ 3”.

As is usual with these cases the landlord failed to comply with prohibition notices and continued to rent it out @ £420 per month.

My opposite numbers in Barnet council quite rightly threw the book at him, trouble is the book in this case was more of a pamphlet, as the courts saw fit to impose a £1,500 fine, £1,420 in costs and a victim surcharge (whatever the hell that is) of a whacking £120.

Once again the only word I can find that suits is ‘Pathetic’. I’m not blaming the council bods but the courts. Where is the deterrent in that?

The fine is around 13 weeks rent. It is highly unlikely that Marom is a landlord with a single property, so the fine would be no more irritating than a wasp on his pint, probably less than that.

Not only is it no deterrent to Marom I’m sure the story, which is reported in the Mail, the Mirror, the BBC, the Sun etc gives heart to dodgy landlords everywhere that they can let out properties like this with impunity, because even if they get caught, what the hell?
And this wasn’t the only property of this type in the news.

Only for the thin

Many of the same organs picked up on this property advertised on Right Move, where the gap between the bed and the kitchen appliances would cause Gizelle Bundchen to suck her stomach in to squeeze past.

I would be kind if I referred to it as a hovel. This place aspires to hovel status and was advertised by the letting agents with, I’m sure the unintentionally funny name of “Relocate me”. I would suggest amending the company name to something more appropriate “Please………..Relocate Me”.

What is even more astonishing is that the property was snapped up within 16 hours by a new, presumably extremely thin, tenant. Such is demand for affordable housing in London.

Some readers may argue for this being simply a case of supply and demand but I would counter that there needs to be some standards. Even germs have standards and trying to rent out properties like this should be a criminal offence.

Works in Default in action

The Evening Standard flagged up another offender who had been renting out a shed to a couple for £750 a month.

He ignored notices served by Hillingdon council to knock it down so they went in and did it for him. Presenting him with a bill for £10,000.

This is a case of ‘Works in Default’, that I wrote an article on just a couple of weeks back.

That’s my kind of result, not a £1,500 fine.

Time for a tablet

Mind you it isn’t just private landlords trying to dodge responsibilities. I read with interest this week of Halton Housing Trust who have decided to reinforce cuts to staff by purchasing tablet computers for all their tenants and training them how to use them.

Working in this way they can close off phone access across the board.

The article points out that the logic behind it isn’t cuts but that the tablets will enable the Trust to reel in £20m in rent once Universal Credit comes in.

Chief Exec Nick Atkin commented:

“If somebody is just saying they can’t be bothered to go online, we won’t take their enquiry, because it means to do so would take resources from somebody else who is vulnerable and needs support.”

I remain unconvinced.

Squeak squeak

But if you need any further convincing that renting land can be a funny old business, Giles Peaker over at nearly legal gave us the strange case of the ‘Sex swing’, the use of which got a tenant evicted for “Sexual and athletic squeaking noises”.

The courts arguing that:

“late night squeaky sex swinging “would no longer correspond to normal rental use, and must therefore not be tolerated as socially acceptable”.

Well it beats leaving blue-tac marks on the walls.

Finally Inside Housing flagged up news of a French housing crisis where new build starts have fallen to emergency levels but get this, the current level is still double what we are managing in the UK.

Zoot Allors

Jules Birch points out that although Britain has roughly the same size population French new builds ran at 400,000, their lowest for 16 years while in the same period the UK managed only 125,460.

The inestimable Mr B raises that old ghost that wont lie down:

“If supply alone is a panacea, as is widely believed in the UK, then why have housing costs in France escalated to the point where the government is imposing rent caps?”

Merde!………….Those crazy French.

See ya next week

Interiors: How a Goan parking lot became a très chic shack

Daily Telegraph - 7 hours 30 min ago
A French expat couldn't help but bring some distinctive Gallic flair to this former beachside parking lot in Goa






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Design Notebook: Paul Smith and John Rocha's designs for the home

Daily Telegraph - 9 hours 30 min ago
Design editor David Nicholls on Habitat's 50th anniversary, deluxe rugs and the best industrial-style floor lights






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A longer waiting to wait

Nearly Legal - 28 August 2014 - 10:36pm

Barnet Council are consulting on changes to their 2012 Allocation policy. The main change proposed is that the current ‘residence requirement’ of two years be increased to five years. That is to say that no-one would be eligible for Barnet’s housing register without five years demonstrable residence in the borough.  (And yes, this applies to the homeless equally). They are not the only London council to consider five years residence requirement – so are LB Southwark – but their stated reason for the increase is specifically because:

Increased costs in inner London combined with restrictions on housing benefit has resulted in more households moving to outer London boroughs like Barnet.

Yes, Barnet fears a tidal wave of central London refugees, pouring into Barnet, renting one of the affordable private sector properties (even though Barnet also say that the PRS rents are “now the 4th highest out of 16 outer London boroughs”), and then living there for two years to get onto the housing list.

Of course, even if you manage to live in Barnet for two years, you will then probably be refused because you don’t also have a reasonable preference under s.166 HA 1996 – see  Annex 1 of the current allocation scheme available here, (apart from Barnet thinking it is s.167 HA 1996, which only applies to Wales. Dear Barnet, you are not in Wales.)

But still, two years is apparently not enough. In order for Barnet to make sure that people aren’t waiting on their waiting list, it is apparently necessary to dramatically increase the length of time people must wait to get to wait on the waiting list in the first place.

Amongst the other proposed changes is an increased penalty for not accepting a reasonable offer (to two years ban from one year) and sneakily:

Households at risk of violence will have to apply as homeless so that they can be placed in temporary accommodation and be removed from the risk more quickly.

Why has this replaced emergency transfers? The obvious answers are that i) Barnet largely discharges its homeless duty into the private sector and ii) it would end an existing secure tenancy, making any fresh council tenancy, even if actually achieved via the homeless route, into a new flexible tenancy (and see here on Barnet’s flexible tenancy policy).

So yes, Barnet intend to penalise their existing tenants who are at risk of violence, not to mention keeping them in temporary accommodation in the interim.

And the glorious ‘community contribution’ requirements (for housing preference) are to be increased from 10 hours per month to 16 hours per month working for:

a not-for profit organisation that is registered with the Volunteer Centre Barnet or recognised by the Council, or a charity that is registered with the Charity Commission or is funded by the Council or another local authority or a faith based community group or organisation. Tenants and Residents Associations which are constituted are classified as not-for-profit organisation [sic.] They must be registered with Barnet Council or a Registered Social Landlord to qualify.

I spent quite some time looking at the previous/current Barnet allocation policy for talks at HLPA and HLPA North West. I was not impressed – indeed, the policy seemed to have some significant legal flaws. My notes from July 2013 can be downloaded here, with the usual provisos on now being out of date. (E.g. one of the issues raised in that talk may, for now at least, have been rendered academic by R (Jakimaviciute) v LB Hammersmith and Fulham [2013] EWHC 4372 (Admin), but others, I think, haven’t).

However, Barnet so far have avoided challenge, by luck perhaps.

The question is for Barnet (and other councils looking at a five year residence requirement), is whether these requirements are arguably unlawful. This is a question given added impetus by R(Winder) v Sandwell MBC, EHRC intervening [2014] EWHC 2617 (Admin) [our note].

While a residence requirement for allocation is probably not ultra vires, by reason of the Localism Act, the free movement, discrimination and Public Sector Equality Duty grounds raised successfully in the Sandwell Council Tax Relief JR might also be considered in relation to the operation and extent of a residence requirement for allocation. I don’t have a developed argument (yet) but it bears thinking about.

 

 

The post A longer waiting to wait appeared first on Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment.

Job Ads

Nearly Legal - 28 August 2014 - 7:28pm

Well, one job ad and a couple of self employment opportunities (our first chambers ad, I think).

 

South West London Law Centre

Head of Legal Practice (Full time)

Up to £39,975 p.a. including Inner London – NJC Scale 43 CEO
Permanent position
Wandsworth, but will in the future move to East Croydon

SWLLC’s Head of Legal Practice position was created in 2013 to oversee the work and practice of 20 caseworkers and line manage our department team leaders. This post is heavily management biased, split approximately 50% management and 50% casework, and requires strong, effective supportive leadership and communication skills. You will need extensive knowledge of all aspects of legal aid and understand the importance of billing and maximising the income from the work we do. For some areas where legal aid is no longer available we have started charging affordable fixed fees, and so private practice experience would be beneficial.

The successful candidate will be an experienced solicitor with at least two years significant experience of project co-ordination or management at a senior level, and be able to demonstrate a commitment to the role of Law Centres in promoting access to justice and knowledge of the legal/advice sector.

The closing date is noon on Monday 22nd September and interviews are due to take place the following week. The post is available for an immediate start. If you would like to discuss the post further, please contact Patrick Marples by email to patrick.marples@swllc.org or calling on 0208 772 7051 / 0208 767 2777. Applications should be made on our application form available from our web site at http://www.swllc.org/Vacancies.php 

 

 

Doughty Street Chambers

Our specialist Housing and Social Welfare Team is seeking to recruit two junior practitioners:

one junior practitioner of up to five years’ call or equivalent;

one junior practitioner of up to fifteen years’ call or equivalent.

Successful candidates will need to have demonstrated excellence in advocacy, a commitment to housing and related areas of law, and a commitment to human rights and civil liberties. Very junior candidates may as an alternative be considered for a fixed-term tenancy in the first instance in accordance with Chambers’ policy.

To download the application form and the person specification, please visit our website:

www.doughtystreet.co.uk/join-us/tenants-and-associates

The deadline for applications is 12 noon, Friday 12 September.

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Landlord fined for loft room

Residential Landlord - 28 August 2014 - 6:20pm
A Barnet landlord has been fined £3,040 for letting out a loft room which tenants were forced to enter on all fours via a staircase. Landlord
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Wolfson Economics Prize finalists argue for garden cities

Property 118 - 28 August 2014 - 1:52pm

The five finalists for the prestigious Wolfson Economics prize worth £250,000 for the winner, all argue the case for creating more garden cities to help solve the Uk’s housing crisis. Barton Willmore’s entry suggests creating four different types of garden city along with the greening of existing new towns. Up to 40 new garden cities... Read more

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Section 21 (4) (a)

Property 118 - 28 August 2014 - 12:23pm

I have served the above and I was wondering as there seems to be conflicting information… am I still able to accept rent during the two month notice period? Thanks  Peppy Donnelly

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Tenancy dates …..

Property 118 - 28 August 2014 - 12:19pm

I just wondered if anyone had any 6 month tenancies starting tomorrow the 29th August, and if so, what do you have as an end date?  If the tenant extends for a further 6 month period what those dates would be? I have decided to avoid this date to make my life easier … lol... Read more

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Tenants in HMO Fighting

Property 118 - 28 August 2014 - 12:09pm

I have two long-term tenants in one of my HMO’s who obviously have a vendetta against each other. One is a fiftiesh builder, and the other is a younger thirty something. Both single guys. Their rooms have a common wall, through a party wall (I have two HMOs back to back). In the past they... Read more

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How to deal with SAT agreements

Property 118 - 28 August 2014 - 10:53am

Can anyone advise on how to deal SAT agreements?   I am currently looking to purchase at (Scottish) auction and have noticed that many of the proprieties have sitting tenants on SAT agreements. This is reflected in the price and therefore the properties are normally heavily discounted from area comparables. My limited understanding of SAT... Read more

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