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Tessa Shepperson Newsround #127

Another week, another Newsround.

The Election

It will be good when this election is over and we know where we stand.  If indeed it resolves anything.  All this prolonged uncertainty is not good.

We had quite a good review of the party’s manifestos from J on Nearly Legal who commented

I cannot summon any enthusiasm for this election. It mostly makes me wish I lived in Scotland

However, he gave the Conservatives 2/10, Labour 7/10, and the Lib Dems 5/10.

The election manifestos have also come under fire from Tony Blair’s institute which is predicting that house prices will rise no matter who wins the election. Saying

Earlier this year we published a report on the causes of the housing crisis. It shows why additional general housing supply will have limited impact in improving prices and rents, and points to the real causes of high prices, declining rent affordability, and falling home-ownership. Cranking up housing supply offers no real solution to high house prices.

Their view is that Labour is proposing excessive intervention, and the Conservatives not enough.

Smoke alarms

A worrying report out from the Local Government Association finds that a substantial proportion of Smoke Alarms fail to activate in fires.

The latest figures show a fifth (21 per cent) of mains-powered smoke alarms failed to operate in residential fires in 2018/19 – but the “failure rate” is almost double (38 per cent) for battery-operated alarms and has stayed between 38 and 40 per cent since 2010/11.

The LGA is urging everyone to test their fire alarms more regularly in particular in the run up to Christmas which is a time when festive decorations, candles and lighting pose a potentially greater fire risk.

Cllr Ian Stephens, Chair of the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee, said:

Smoke alarms are proven life-savers, but these worrying ‘failure’ rates are a reminder to people to test their smoke alarms regularly and change batteries where necessary.

Smoke alarm ownership has risen over the years to more than 90 per cent, but this encouraging trend is being dangerously undermined if they don’t activate due to faulty batteries.

Councils and water re-sellers

Another case on this topic reported by Nearly Legal this time with the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames. The decision was inconclusive and Nearly Legal expects it to go to appeal.

Commenting at the end

But in the meantime, every council or housing association (some 69 of them, it appears) with a similar agreement with Thames Water will continue to face challenges to rent arrears possession claims on the basis that the arrears figure is wrong, and all of them will have to consider and prepare for the prospect of refunding their tenants any ‘commission’.

I suppose the main point is that if you are a tenant of one of the 69 Councils this is something you need to consider if you are being evicted for rent arrears.

Cannabis Farms

A useful post on ARLA looks at the techniques used by criminals when renting a property to use as a cannabis farm following on from a recent case where:

individuals had provided fake documents and identities in order to source rented properties for illegal activity.

Many criminals also use a ‘front couple’. These people will appear to be a genuine, respectable couple seeking to rent a property for their own use. After they have been shown around the property and take possession they will disappear without a trace. They will then be replaced by criminals who will convert the property for the purpose of cannabis cultivation.

It’s important that agents and landlords are aware of this illegal behavior and carry out the appropriate checks to ensure that this issue is tackled.

The article ends with a useful list of ways to spot the signs of cannabis being grown in a property.


  • First Tier Tribunal  fails natural justice on tenant’s Rent Repayment Order application
  • Next government urged to cut VAT on maintenance and improvement works
  • An interesting report on disability and housing from the Office for National Statistics
  • The Benefit-rent gap for poorest tenants widens to £113 a month
  • New matrix aims to simplify tenant fees ban

Newsround will be back next week.

The post Tessa Shepperson Newsround #127 appeared first on The Landlord Law Blog.

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Tessa Shepperson Newsround #127


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