This has been a good year for the Landlord Law Blog. Here are a few of my favorite posts.
My charity of the month was Nightstop, a charity suggested by one of my Landlord Law members.
February saw the start of a new series over on my new Lodger Landlord site – 21 days of tips – day by day guide for people taking a lodger into their homes. I reported on this on the Landlord Law blog, but you can see a complete index on the Lodger Landlord site here.
On 3 February there was a big announcement from the then Labour government about its intentions for the private rented sector – the most sensible being the increase of the AST rent limit to £100,000 and the most bonkers one being the suggestion of a ‘tripadvisor’ type website for tenants. No prizes for guessing which one eventually made it onto the statute book.
February also saw the end of the long running Foxtons litigation when Foxtons finally came up with a form of words for their agency agreement which the Office of Fair Trading found acceptable.
My charity of the month was Action Aid sponsor a child.
March saw the start of two new developments for the Landlord Law Blog. First there was my Notable Property Persons series which began with a bang with David Salusbury, Chairman of the National Landlords Association. You can see all the NPPs here. Second, we had the first post from Ben Reeve Lewis, who is now an important part of the Landlord Law Blog.
Charity of the month was Crisis.
The TDS fee increase post I did earlier had been attracting quite a few comments so I did a summary post here to bring people up to date. The new HMO planning changes which had been announced earlier came into force, much to the annoyance of most HMO landlords.
We had a great guest blog from Ben on how insurance can be invalidated by trivial criminal convictions, some Landlord Law members told us about renting to students in London and Plymouth, and I looked into Utilities and the Data Protection Act.
Charity of the month was Amnesty International.
Throughout the whole of May I had a daily series on tenancy agreements. You can see the index here
Due to the tenancy agreement series, there were not a lot of other posts, although I did do a couple on the Billings case.
Charity of the month was Unlock.
May had seen the change from a Labour government to a ConDem coalition, and they did not lose much time in telling us what they were going to do in the private rented sector. Or rather what they were not going to do. Although they did promise to change Labours unpopular HMO planning regulations.
Having done the Lodger series and then the tenancy agreement series, I was on a bit of a roll, and started a seven part weekly series on court hearings on Saturdays. I also nominated Saturdays to be my day for non housing law posts, to be called the Saturday slot.
Charity of the month was the Law Centres Federation.
July saw the conclusion of my court hearings series and you can see the usual index here.
Charity of the month was Help for Heroes.
August saw me looking at whether advance payments for rent could be used instead of deposits (and getting some very interesting comments) and also looking at landlord responsibilities and what being a landlord really means.
A very popular Saturday slot item in the stats is this post on without prejudice, as is this (although not a Saturday slot) one on tenancy deposit answers to questions. I also wrote about the new Free Legal Web project (which this blog supports).
Charity of the month was Kalayaan.
We had an interesting online discussion about gas safety checks and whether landlords could gain access to do them without the tenants permission.
I asked ‘What is the common law?’ and also ‘Do landlords need to disclose their home address?’, in response to Bens post here, and also wrote about why changing the law on eviction won’t help landlords.
Finally I did a post on the forthcoming legal change on 1 October of the high rent level of ASTs to £100,000.
Charity of the month was Greenpeace UK.
I looked into whether landlords are liable for their tenants internet misuse (and discovered a lot of interesting stuff) and also whether you can have more than four tenants on one tenancy agreement. I also took a topical look at housing benefit and ethnic cleansing.
Two popular NPP interviews this week were with Sarah Beeney and our own Ben Reeve Lewis. This was also the month for one of my favourite TRO Confidentials – the case of the unwanted Christmas present.
Charity of the month was Victim Support.
I take a look at the squatters urban myth and that old chestnut, tenants staying a long time in a property getting extra rights. My Monday help for tenants posts include suggested courses of action for tenants if their local authority won’t help them.
One of the biggest cases of the year affecting the private rented sector has to be the Tiensia case which created a massive Judges dilemma on the interpretation of the tenancy deposit legislation. This led me to question why we can’t have plain English for laws.
So the year has come full circle and here we are in December, just about to start a new January. The biggest event of December for me personally has to be the launch of my new web-site Landlord Law (a project which has taken most of the year).
Things are changing in Landlord Law and I have decided to end two series. One of these is the Notable Property Persons series – I am beginning to run out of people to feature so I am leaving this for a bit. I may resurrect it later though, and also have plans for a similar but slightly different series using similar questions.
The other series I am ending is the charity of the month. I have been doing this for two years now and again, I am beginning to run out of suitable charities to feature.
So both November and December are without a charity of the month. However there is one charity, Housing Action, which I wrote about in January but which has never been a charity of the month, and so I nominate them to be a joint charity of the month for November and December.
Into the future
So the year 2011 beckons, all shiny and new. There are a lot of good things to look forward to, and I personally am very excited about the future. I have my new Landlord Law web-site to play with, and lots and lots of ideas.
But there are many problems facing us in 2011. The continuing fallout from the credit crunch. The reduction in (and lets face it, near destruction of) legal aid. The new housing benefit regulations, and general tough times.
In the legal profession we have the Legal Services Act coming into force in October, bringing changes in the delivery of legal services, which is both worrying or exciting for lawyers depending on your point of view. I think it is all quite exciting and in any event it looks as if there will plenty to write about.
But whatever the new year brings I hope you will find good things in it, some joy, some happiness, and some peace of mind. See you in 2011!