Its that time again. Mince pies and festive cheer beckon and Ben and I are taking some time out to enjoy them.
So this blog is going to be taking a bit of a break over the Christmas period and there will be no new posts now until probably 7 Jan.
However until then you have this humungous post to read and links to the best posts of 2012 to delve into. Enjoy!
The year started with finishing off unfinished business as I did the final post on my defences to accelerated possession proceedings series. Ben is on top form eating jellied eels and loosing it, while I report on two landlords prosecuted for gas safety (and quite right too).
A post on the five things your letting agent may not be telling you gets 22 comments so that obviously touched a spot! I also share the three warning signs your tenant is about to stop paying rent and Ben has tales of beds in sheds and grim times generally.
Blog clinic questions include evicting the tenant when the deposit has not been protected, a condensation / mould question and whether a protected tenant can insist on a buyout.
Essential reading in February is this post on five ways to protect properties against fraudsters and criminals.
Ben leaves his slippers behind to kick Shapps (remember him?) while discussing bedroom tax, I respond to a challenge from Mark Alexander of Property 118 on Premium tenancies (what tenancies?) and give landlords five tips on tenancy agreements.
Blog clinic posts include questions from a German tenant on energy use, another tenant asking if her landlord is obliged to replace the grotty carpets, a question on asking agents for the landlords address and on agents seeking commission from tenants leaving early.
This is the month when we launched Tom Derrett’s very successful book on how to win Deposit Disputes. Here I interview him, Tom writes about his Deposit Protection nightmares, while Ben does a review of the book here.
I cheer up our letting agent readers by telling everyone about the seven benefits of using a really good letting agent (if you can find one), but then spoil it all by writing about a report on how letting agent fees are crippling middle income families.
Readers blog clinic questions this month include whether a landlord should cancel a possession notice if the rent is paid, whether a tenant can ask for two final inspections, a question from a tenant with an unlockable door problem and on who is responsible for returning the deposit.
I start April off by telling landlords what they need to do to avoid being fined under the tenancy deposit regulations (so don’t say I didn’t warn you) and also look at five fatal mistakes you may be making.
I finally get around to interviewing Alan Ward and Ben Beadle on the new DepositGuard tenancy deposit scheme, an impressive scheme and worth checking out.
Ben battles with stoopity and considers relocating to Scotland, and in a later post confesses to his NALGO past. I take a look at whether landlords need to register for Data Protection, and discuss Judge error in possession claims.
Blog clinic readers questions this month included whether a landlord had entered illegally, allowing tenants to run a business from their rented property, whether tenants should give notice to end at the end of the fixed term and a tenant who wants to contract with the landlord not the agent.
A large part of May, for me, was taking up with developing my Easy Law for Landlords course. However I managed to take a bit of time out to advise tenants on their tenancy types and take a look at financial awards for rat and mouse infestation.
Ben talks about Buddhism, transparency and who the accreditation schemes really protect, while later on reports on a visit to Landlord Law Towers. He also does an enthusiastic review of Diane Astins advisor handbook (and gets to keep the book, so he’s a happy bunny).
Blog clinic readers questions answered include on on whether a remaining tenant should be given a new tenancy agreement, whether a s21 notice is correct, whether a tenant needs to pay rent after a s21 notice expires (which attracted a lot of comments) and whether a letting agents fees are justified.
Ben tries to tap into the national vibe over Jubilee week but ends up talking about letting agents fees. He later looks at people doing it themselves and the curious case of hoarders – should they be helped?
I give you five tips to help avoid nightmare tenants (believe me, I’ve evicted a few), and report on a case on parking spaces and tenants rights. I also, inspired by a Guardian article, start on what turns out to be a long project writing about Housing Law the Bigger Picture.
A bit of a milestone for the blog this month as it is moved to my UK Fast hosting account - which took a bit longer than expected due to the size of it. We manage it eventually.
I write about misleading tenancy agreements and the secret clauses you don’t know about, consider whether landlords have a lien over tenants property, and look at an important case on tenancy deposits and rent in advance.
Blog clinic questions considered this month include the effect of using the wrong tenancy agreement, what to do about black mould in bedrooms, moving out after service of a section 21 notice and whether a Monday to Friday letting can be a tenancy.
I discuss the three ways you can recognise a protected tenancy under the Rent Act 1977 and evicting tenants under section 21, as well as looking at the four essential things landlords should check if a tenant leaves without warning.
I also give some advice to landlords on how they can help prevent rent arrears by allowing their tenants to take in a lodger
Finally, I manage to get my hands on a copy of the Housing Law Casebook (5th Edn) but decide I would rather read it on kindle (even though I haven’t got a kindle).
Blog clinic readers questions answered include a tenant with disrepair issues who is unable to contact his landlord, agents charging for their costs when dealing with complaints, whether you HAVE to have a guarantor for a student let and what landlords can do when tenants stop paying rent.
This month Ben has an anniversary and explains the exceptional customer care he offers certain special customers. Later he tells about jobsworth court clerks and mourns the passing of Shapps. He also writes a really interesting post celebrating the live of Octavia Hill.
All HMO landlords are recommended to read this brilliant book from HMO Landlady reviewed this month (which has a chapter from Ben).
This month the blog is moved again as I get a new dedicated server, and I must say since it came off my old cheap host it has had very little downtime. Its also 100% carbon neutral (see the small banner on your right). I also set up a new system for readers to get posts by email.
I give five tips on bringing your own eviction proceedings and advise letting agents how they can help their landlords evict their tenants without putting their firm at risk.
Blog clinic readers questions answered include using a break clause in a tenancy agreement, the rights of subtenants , the rights of tenants moving out during renovations and when aggressive receivers threaten tenants.
This month the new squatters law came into force and I decide to use sarcasm. Petty but oddly satisfying.
Blog clinic questions answered this month include whether a landlord should provide a spare key, the validity of a subtenancy if the landlord is not allowed to sublet, whether you can have a lodger if you don’t live at the property and what to do about a rat in the attic.
I write about two real life cases from my work - Kates Story, which is about evicting benefit tenants, and a post on whether landlords can pass the blame to letting agents if things go wrong.
I report how Councils are suing bad landlords under the Proceeds of Crime Act and look at a report from the Public Accounts Committee which slams government plans for new housing. I also introduce a new series – the Landlords Legal A-Z.
Blog clinic questions answered this month include tenants not moving out after service of a section 21 notice, whether bedroom doors in rented properties should have locks on them, whether tenants can stay on after their fixed term has ended, and a mortgage company evicting and ex pats tenants.
We have a new writer on the blog this month, journalist Samir Jeraj who writes about a new tenants movement.
I write of a very important case for landlords on tenancy deposits, launch my new ebook for tenants facing eviction and wonder where all the government information has gone. I also review a depressing report looking at the tenants choice of eating or heating their home.
Blog clinic questions answered include one from a tenant confused about her legal status, a landlord annoyed about a tenant returning to collect her possessions, charging all joint tenants for a non paying tenants share and tenants annoyed about a two month notice clause to end their tenancy.
The one that got the most comments though was the one where I suggested landlords pay tenants for allowing access for inspections …
So here we are in December. A short month on the blog (what with the closure over the holiday) but even so quite a bit.
Samir Jeraj wondered whether empty homes pose a problem or an opportunity and Ben tried hard to look on the positive side but didin’t really succeed.
Blog clinic readers questions answered include whether a tenant can defend a s21 claim using estoppel, a tenant unable to contact their letting agent, a tenant removing cupboards question, and one about tenants moving out before the end of the s21 notice period.
Phew! I can’t believe we wrote all that. Enormous thanks to Ben for his wonderful Friday column, and also to Tom and Samir for your posts, and to everyone who posted comments – you are all a big part of the blog.
And well done to YOU, for reaching the end of this very long article. A merry Christmas to you and a happy new year.
If you want to read any more on the blog, there is always last years roundup …