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Ben Reeve Lewis Friday Newsround #279

Ben on a chair[Ben Reeve Lewis has had a cold…)

I’ve decided that colds need to be graded, like storms.

I have come to this conclusion having suffered for the past week with a terrible one whilst admittedly stopping short of full blown flu, (which I’ve had 2 or 3 times in my life and couldn’t even walk) is still more significant than a sniffle.

If you don’t grade these things then you run the risk of the catch-all term “Man-flu” being used.

This is a term I hadn’t heard until a couple of years ago when my partner told me that this was what I had. I went back to work and told my colleagues dramatically, with the back of my hand glued to my forehead, that I had been off with Man-Flu, to a chorus of derisory giggles from the female ones.

Did I give her what for when I got home.

So I’ve had a ‘force 10’ cold all week and even strained an eye muscle through all the coughing.

I’ve been so rough I couldn’t even raise a smile at the first real signs of Donald Trump’s downfall in the making, with the tale of the prostitutes and the Obama’s hotel bed or of another tale of bad practice by Foxtons which seems to have mysteriously escaped the national press, popping up only in the Newham Recorder as far as I can see

Enforcement in Newham

Foxtons were caught out by the Trading Standards wing of Newham Council’s famously proactive policing of the PRS for failing to explain an administrative fee to a prospective tenant.  The TS officer in question picked this up a year ago and gave Foxtons the opportunity to correct the matter but they didn’t.

This is part of a borough wide scheme called the “Fair lettings project” in which all 200 letting agents in the borough are inspected to ensure that they are operating within the law.

5 years ago people laughed at Newham, even scorned them, including me on occasion but their approach to PRS policing is becoming very influential on local authorities, ….and me, with many I work with developing their own versions. One particular London authority who I will not name at this moment is currently recruiting 120 staff for PRS licensing and enforcement.

Easier for landlords to make mistakes now

In the past 6 months the effects of the Deregulation Act in October 2015 is now being seen by all who work in the rogue landlord business, making it much easier for landlords to make mistakes and screw up their chances of a successful possession application and with the increased enforcement provisions of the Housing and Planning Act just a few months away its getting more difficult than ever to be a bumbling amateur or a dodgy agent.

As I currently work across 4 London Boroughs it is not escaping my notice that some Local authorities who have been obsessed with cuts in the wage budgets are starting to come around to more radical ideas now that the early adopters have been developing tried and trusted models and the risks have been covered.

Painsmith Blog still there

Last week I mentioned my concern that the excellent Painsmith Blog may have gone the way of all flesh, having not posted since September but just a few days later they were back in the game and I am happy to see that Mark Twain’s famous comment that “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” applies.

Lock this URL in your browser the PS guys and dolls are back in business with three new informative pieces to kick off the new year, including an article about the vicissitudes of section 8 notice applications.

More landlords getting it wrong at court

With the benefit cap getting reduced and Universal Credit rolling out like an unwanted tank at Verdun I am seeing more rent arrears applications where the landlords have signally failed to understand even basic legal concepts, resulting in expensive delays and unnecessary heartache.

And with the advent of the Deregulation Act throwing more advocacy cases up by the week now the new tenancies are kicking in, most s21 notices, as I have written before are about as valid as a ‘Mr Chalk the teacher” card from Happy Families in a game of 5 card stud.

A case in point …

Last week I successfully defended a possession application in court where the tenant was in £10,000 rent arrears. My case was made for me because the application on a section 8 was as insane an endeavour as the charge of the light brigade.

The landlord had employed a letting agent who knew about as much housing law as a Willow Warbler, served a letting agreement that doesn’t exist and a section 8 notice that was nothing of the kind, being merely a letter containing 4 paragraphs.

The luckless landlord then went on to employ a solicitor who simply picked up the ball and ran with what had been set in motion by the agent, without quoting grounds for possession in the application form N119 and naming a second defendant who wasn’t even a tenant in the property but a housing adviser.

Not me I hasten to add.

They had to withdraw their claim.

Like I said above, the landlord tenant world has changed significantly, you simply cannot afford to get anything wrong at any stage.  Tessa’s Landlord Law is a well established brand and you need it more than ever with opportunist brigands out there like me whose job it is to prevent homelessness.

What made me smile this week

Actually what made me cough this week would be a more accurate title but the list would simply be too long.

Its not been a smiling week but I am hedging my bets at the time of writing because Snow is forecast for London later on and I will be straight out in it when/if it arrives, being a life long lover of the stuff who is starved of it living in the south east.

So that may make me smile or may add to my crappy week if it decides to go elsewhere.

See ya next week

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The post Ben Reeve Lewis Friday Newsround #279 appeared first on The Landlord Law Blog.



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Ben Reeve Lewis Friday Newsround #279

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