Landlord Law Blog looks back on 2011

Merry ChristmasLandlord Law Blog is taking a bit of a rest over the Christmas and New Year period.

Ben and I need a bit of space to re-charge our batteries before tackling 2012.  So there will be no new posts here until January 3rd.

However I leave you with our annual retrospective, looking back over the past posts of the year.  Enjoy!

Five misunderstandings about section 21January

The year started with an Urban Myth – it can’t be an HMO if all the tenants sign the same tenancy agreement. At that time I was doing a Tenants Tip most Mondays – like this one on doing repair work yourself.

One of the most popular posts of that month (and indeed of the blog generally) was Eviction – five misunderstandings about using section 21 which had garnered a massive 53 comments before they closed.  The attention caused by this post was one of the inspirations for my section 21 ebook.

One of the highlights of the month was the podcast with Kevin Firth of the DPS, and I talk a bit about the (technical) problems I experienced with this on Law Brief Update here.

Ben Reeve Lewis at that time was still writing his superb TRO Confidential posts (about which we may have some exciting news next month) such as this one on the case of the countdown and the human champagne cork.

The final post to mention for January is this one on violent landlords which also attracted a lot of comments.

Sound off for JusticeFebruary

February had Ben writing about the Emperor’s New Clothes and  me getting upset about the legal aid system and death by 1,000 cuts.

Ben launched his Homesaving Expert website based on his experience in dealing with the shenanigans of banks when dealing with borrowers in distress as part of his TRO work, and Alan Smith of Hartsmere BC gave us a sneak preview of what changes were in store for Housing Benefit.

I wondered if I ought to go on a diet after being interviewed by Property  Tribes TV, but am thankfully invisible (albeit audible) during the podcast with property expert David Lawrenson (and if you have not listened to it yet – please do so, as David is very knowledgable about the lettings industry).

This is also the month we set up our You Tube Channel and I started experimenting with creating screen shot videos.

The BillMarch

A rather controversial post in March was this one on when the police unjustly support your landlord, which attracted quite a lot of comments.

Less controversial was the excellence of my March podcast guest Steve Perrins who talked about the methods his firm uses to ensure that these rentals are a success.  This turned out to be the last of the podcasts – they were enjoyable but very time consuming to do.  But many thanks to my three guests, Kevin, David and Steve for helping me with the three that we did.

This is also the month when Ben stopped doing his TRO Confidential posts (such as this one on the Cat woman and the strange coincidence).  However no need to complain as he then started his excellent Friday newsround series – this was #1.

Ben and I also started our Front Liner newsletter for housing workers which you can read about here.

Finally here is an interesting post looking at whether landlords can be liable to neighbours for their tenants from hell.

Back laterApril

There were quite a few government reports to look at this week.  For example on solving disputes in the County Courts, which I looked at in two parts – part one and part two.

Then there were a couple of reports on housing conditions. This one Poor Housing = Poor Health looked at a report from POST (you’ll find out who they are if you read it!) and then another one looking at housing in Wales here.

Then there was this MOJ report on the Law Commission which made me wonder whether they were not completely wasting their time.

There were fewer posts this month as Ben and I went fishing.  However here is a news post from Ben (#3) and five things about joint tenants from me.

May

Two new series started this month.  The first was my Foundations in Landlord and Tenant Law series, which I really enjoyed doing.  Here is the first post and, my favourite, this one on Equity and the Court of Chancery.

The second series was the Blog Clinic which is still going strong today.  This was inspired by a couple of questions from tenants which I published as tenants in the firing line, see  this one here , about a tenant being evicted because of his dog.

The third ‘new’ thing was my Your Law Store service which I set up with my long term web designer Gill Bisop, which you can see here.

Other posts included Ben’s newsround #7 which was the first one with his new picture, me complaining about confusing changes with the Court websites (I do wish government would STOP messing around with their websites) and this one on what you can do if your tenant just WON’T GO!

PostboxJune

From now onwards, there were more posts as I slot in the Blog Clinic posts, such as this one on birds nest removal, and this one about international students still waiting for their deposit after three months.

The Foundations series continued, for example this one on common law and statute.

I was really pleased to publish a great post from Alan Ward, Chair of the RLA, who discussed how better tenants make better landlords.

I looked at an interesting report from the Smith Institute about how government needs to change its thinking in view of the rise in renting and decline in home ownership.

There were also legal cases to report, such as this one where a landlord was convicted of harassment due to too many texts, and an important decision from the Court of Appeal which said that landlords are liable for plaster damage.

Then there are the usual information posts, such as this one on forwarding post, and Bens newsrounds, such as #11 here.

Harry Potter booksJuly

All the usual stuff this month.  Bens newsround #14 has a great picture of Frazzy, his beloved, and looks forward (in time, not with any pleasure) to the inevitable letting frenzy that will surround the Olympics next year. I get out my soapbox and ask When will government deal with the scandal of our unregulated lettings industry?  I am still waiting for the answer.

Inevitably we have a blog clinic post on condensation, others include one on tenancy deposits and one on a landlord refusing to return a deposit to ‘benefit scum

My Foundations series continues with me looking at law before the codes, after which I continue to take a look at the codes, such as this post on the Rent Act 1977 in context.

I take a look at the top ten health and safety issues (as identified by AIIC), and discuss the Channel  Four Landlords from Hell progamme in a post which attracted a lot of comments and did a follow up post here.  I also compare the Minister for Housing with the Ministry for Magic which was quite fun to do, although this was in fact a serious post.

Finally I look at a report which says that Local Authorities are failing to protect vulnerable tenants, and we all burst into tears at the news that the Foxtons litigation cost Foxtons £4.4 million.

HouseboatAugust

We don’t let up at Landlord Law Blog, even in this holiday month.  I take a look at the signature of  documents in an electronic age, and discuss the five critical questions you need to ask yourself with eviction of tenants.

My Foundations series comes to an end, but having enjoyed the historical research enormously, I immediately start a new History Spot series so I can carry on doing it.

Ben rouses himself from his sickbed to bring you news about the riots in newsround #20 and I find out what help is available for tenants made homeless by riot and disorder. Remember the summer riots?

Grant Shapps pronounces that people living on boats could help solve the housing crisis, so I take a look at whether you can have a tenancy of a boat.

Questions keep coming from the blog clinic, for example on unfair checkout charges, and whether the landlord has to provide a doorbell.

I report on an article by District Judge Peter Glover on problems in the courts and how this is bad news for landlords, and report on what commentators have been saying to a Observer article on Housing Benefit.

Finally this is the month when I start doing my weekly roundups.  Here is the first one.

The new lodgerSeptember

This month there was a new gas safety report which said that there was a 50% greater risk in the private rented sector.  I also took a look at three successful prosecutions (they do happen sometimes), and discussed taking in lodgers in rented properties.

What do you think of the Landlord Law Blog?  was a question I was asking on my feedback form, which you can answer now if you inadvertently forgot to do so then.

Meanwhile Ben was doing the washing up to my tenancy agreements audiobook, while continuing to write great weekly news posts, such as this one on new ideas.

Then there was the usual crop of readers questions, asking things like how do you deal with the deposit if there are rent arrears and damage, whether the landlord can charge £1,000 for a loose mantel,

Ben told the story of Scammers Ltd and so I took a look at how you can tell a good agent from a bad one.

I also wondered if tenants could assign their share of the tenancy to another person, and wrote a post (which the stats show is very popular) on rats, cockroaches, bedbugs and other infestations in rented property.  I also wrote about squatters law, misinformation and misunderstanding in support of the letter in the guardian from which appeared that month.

FInally, if you are wondering why I have not reported on any History Spot posts, it is because, after doing a few I decided I really needed to set up a whole new blog, called the History of Law Blog where I have been posted weekly ever since.

Dog with feetOctober

This month I start a new series on defences to accelerated possession proceedings,  and report on a new Student Accommodation code.  Ben meanwhile does ballet and reports on the shadow housing ministers.

The lawyers squatters letter in the Guardian last month had brought forth some amusing responses which I comment on here, and I also write about empty homes in Cornwall, along with a post on Councils planning problems for Olympic short term lets, and take a look at private rented sector statistics.

Quite a few ‘five’ posts this month, including five points on residential licenses, five ways for landlords to ensure payment of benefit, and five ways for landlords to avoid tenant defences to rent repossession claims.

Readers questions include a landlord asking how he can evict his non payment tenants, and a a tenant complaining about a landlord demanding rent up front and threatening eviction.

tilipsNovember

This is a momentous month for me, as my Landlord Law subscription service has its 10th anniversary.  I also do a few posts reporting on recent changes on the site, such as this one on the new +Plus membership.  This blog gets a bit of a makeover with a new home page.

We continue to report on the news, Ben looking at reactions to the governments new housing strategy, while I discuss selling off social housing again.

Readers questions include one about representative tenants, whether landlords can require tenants to take out rental insurance, whether the landlord can increase the rent mid term, and this shocking case of an agent dumping students stuff stored for the summer.

I give some advice on rent records for landlords, and the accelerated defences series continue such as with this one on saving clauses.  This post on landlords obligations regarding electricity proved very popular.

Towards the end of the month I announce my new School for Landlords, and start a series on increasing rent.

presentsDecember

I report on the first case where a Local Authority has to pay compensation for recommending a nightmare tenant, and follow this up with a readers question on whether ALMOs should be more responsible when placing nightmare tenants.

I also do a big post covering nine prosecutions against landlords for breach of regulations and report on the ultimate illegal eviction (by a police officer) which attracted quite a few comments.

The Accelerated possession proceedings defences series is nearing its end with #11 on failure to comply with the tenancy deposit regulations, and the School for Landlords posts on increasing rent have reached rent review clauses.

As we are taking over a week off now, there are fewer posts, but check out Ben’s final post of the year, #39.

*****

Well thats all for this retrospective, but I have also done a short video which will be up on the Home Page until early January.  If you are reading this after then, well there will probably be another video there, unless you are reading this a long way in the future and I have changed everything around completely!

Ginormous thanks to everyone who has taken part in discussions on the blog over the past year – you have all been brilliant and the blog would not be the same without you.  Massive thanks also to the wonderful Ben Reeve Lewis who keeps us all entertained every Friday.

If you want any further property related reading over the Christmas period , then Property 118 will (I think) still be publishing the news.

I wish you all a great Christmas and New Year celebration and I will see you back in the New Year.

Buffer

Important note. If you are reading an old post, remember that the law may have changed since it was written.




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3 Responses to Landlord Law Blog looks back on 2011

  1. Have only just, for my sins, come across your blog, so firstly please accept my apologies but then my congratulations.

    A veritable feast of opinion and ideas that I not only enjoyed reading but learned from. Some of the cases have come up in my line of work and I wish I’d seen your posts before.

    Consider yourself bookmarked, and all the best for 2012.

  2. Thank you Kathleen and Jason both.

    Note Jason, that you can also subscribe to get posts by email – there is a link top right above. If you get fed up with them you can always unsubscribe again …




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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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