I’m a recent convert to Acupuncture.
I went originally because my lungs weren’t recovering well enough from a bout of pneumonia earlier this year, which, the lovely Lola told me was down to problems with lung and kidney energy, which also affects the knees, although she pronounces it “Keedney energy” in her Spanish accent.
I’ve had 4 sessions as a human pin cushion so far, lying for an hour on the trolley like something from ‘Hellraiser’ listening to Whale music and terrified to move.
The lungs are a slow process but my knees feel 20 years younger. Truly.
I was struggling to get up off the settee and stumbled to the toilet at 3 in the morning like an 80-year-old but now? I could play for Manchester United…..well, maybe Preston North End.
Cannabis Farms becoming more common
Reading Tessa’s weekly roundup at the weekend I read with interest her recommended article on the PainSmith site on the law as it affects landlords where cannabis farms are discovered:-
A useful piece, advising landlords that they could face 14 years in prison if they knowingly permit cannabis cultivation in their properties and lose their rent under Proceeds of Crime.
So how much of a risk is it in practice?
Well, I’ve probably been in more cannabis farms than the average Joe down the years and dealt with the investigating officers, not to mention the curious team who mop them up, which down my way consist of 5 incredibly beautiful women in stab vests who smile sweetly, behave like they’re on a picnic whilst bagging everything up, looking as far from the average idea of a cop as you can get.
Trust me, the investigating officers don’t exactly bust a gut for a prosecution as they know that the landlord never has anything to do with it. In fact, I’m the one scooping up unopened post and bills to look for evidence, they don’t even bother because they know the tenant won’t be using their own name. Nobody is that dumb.
Also, they are nearly always gang related. In my old stomping ground Chinese Triad and Vietnamese in the north of the borough, Romanian in the south and Somalian just over the borders into Greenwich.
Overcrowding in properties
There are more pressing things for the police to be doing in an environment where cannabis farms are as common as Kebab shops and people walk openly smoking spliffs in front of beat officers without even prompting so much as an “Allo, allo, allo, whats going on ‘ere then”.
Cannabis farms aside I spend most of my time in seriously overcrowded properties where the tenants often seem completely oblivious to the conditions.
Whilst I am there with a crew to ensure that people aren’t being exploited or living in dangerous properties I am mindful that quite often the living conditions aren’t as bad as those in the countries of the people who inhabit them.
India is one of my favourite places on earth. I’ve been twice for long periods and I see how people cheerfully live cheek by jowl, so finding 11 people in a 2-bed house in London is often a step up for them.
Which is why I was intrigued to read this piece in the Straits Times, a Singapore newspaper on new limits being imposed under local housing law to restrict the number of tenants occupying a flat to 6 unrelated people.
Also, if 6 unrelated persons already occupy then no tenants will be allowed at all. I wonder what they would make of UK HMO standards?
The article says:-
“The maximum sub-tenants allowed for a three-room unit and a four-room or bigger unit remain unchanged, at six and nine respectively.
Ms Lim, an administrative assistant, told The Straits Times:
“Eight was just nice for us, but it’s a pity now because the house will be quite empty. One of the five bedrooms will be unused.”
Reading this, I kind of get why some landlords running overcrowded properties look a bit bemused when we tell them they can’t do it, when 8 is a nice number and that the house will seem ‘Quite empty’ when the council has had its wicked way
But there you go. When in Rome and all that.
Airbnb placements affected
Apparently, this new law will also affect Airbnb placements, prompting a call to introduce a new law to legalise short-term lets.
9,000 miles away from Britain and yet Airbnb still affects local rental markets.
Is a registration database for Letting Agents the way forward?
Lime Legal pointed me at the minutes of a recent meeting of the National Approved Lettings Scheme:-
Attended by numerous big name letting agents, Shelter, RICS and the omnipresent NLA.
The meeting called for the registration of all letting agents and the creation of a coherent framework for the conduct of business and enforcement action.
Predictably the agent members of the group noted their concerns about the possibility of banning fees chargeable to tenants and trotted out the well known and oft reported reasons but I laughed out loud when I read this bit:-
“Cost implications for tenants with the loss of the paralegal role of the letting agent in negotiating tenancy clauses.”
Letting agents performing a paralegal role?
Most letting agents I have to deal with think that ‘Paralegal’ is something to do with the rules on sky-diving.
As for negotiating tenant clauses try this beauty from a tenancy agreement a tenant showed me this week:-
“14 (d) The licensee must not hang around or be a nuisance”.
Apart from the bizarre notion that ‘Hanging around’ has some form of legal definition there, or that the location where the hanging around could be perpetrated is not identified, note also the term ‘Licensee’.
The occupier is a tenant but the giving of licence agreements is about the most common form of written contract that us lot in rogue landlord enforcement get shown.
That’s if the occupiers even get any form of written agreement at all, let alone a receipt for rent. Both of which are as rare as a sun filled British summer.
One guy I spoke to last week told me that his agent had sent down 5 different people to collect his £1,300 rent, saying they were from the agency. He didn’t check, he just paid anyway.
To quote the ever wise Jim Royal “Paralegal my arse”.
What made me smile this week….
Having youthful knees again is quite nice but narrowly pipped to the post by discovering an online article on how to twiddle the knobs on a guitar amp to get a big sound at low volume without annoying the neighbours.
I can now sound like Stevie Ray Vaughan whilst still being able to hear them stomping around upstairs, providing a random and unwarranted drum beat.
See ya in a fortnight.