Here we are again on a Friday, lets see what news we have for you.
Fitness for habitation
The good news is that Karen Bucks private members bill providing for rented accommodation to be fit for human habitation was passed and will now go to committee stage. Ben wrote about it here, see also Karen Buck on why she promoted it.
Section 21 and late service of Gas Safety Certificate
Here is a case which will worry many landlords – a gas safety certificate was not served at the start of the tenancy but later. However, the County Court Judge accepted the tenant’s defence and set aside the possession order that had been made.
It is reported here on Nearly Legal which says:
Can a failure to provide a gas safety certificate at the beginning of a tenancy be rescued by a later certificate? The District Judge here held not. However, that ‘once and for all’ failure (at least until a replacement tenancy) sits oddly with the way that the 28 day period for provision of a certificate after inspection during the period of the tenancy, set out in the Gas Safety Regs is expressly disapplied by s.2(2) of the 2015 Regulations. This issue will most certainly be revisited…
More Court Closures
From the Law Society Gazette comes news of more court closures
- Banbury Magistrates’ and County Court
- Maidenhead Magistrates’ Court
- Cambridge Magistrates’ Court
- Chorley Magistrates’ Court
- Fleetwood Magistrates’ Court
- Northallerton Magistrates’ Court
- Wandsworth County Court
- Blackfriars Crown Court
Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said:
‘As we increase the use of digital services, it makes sense to consider the wider role and need for court buildings and assess whether some are still necessary to provide effective access to justice. Where physical courts are to close, every penny raised will be put back into funding changes which will make justice easier to access for all at the same time as offering protections for the most vulnerable.’
Hmm. What about those without online access who can’t afford travel costs to more distant courts?
An article in the Guardian shows that the government is being pressed to take action to reveal foreign ownership of British land and assets.
Theresa May will set out a timetable to break the secrecy surrounding the foreign ownership of British property worth billions after facing a House of Lords defeat at the hands of two Conservative peers.
Lord Faulks, a former Tory justice minister, and Lord Hodgson have been calling on the government to establish a register exposing the beneficial owners of overseas companies and legal entities, and want it done within 12 months.
We shall see.
It looks as if there are big delays in re-cladding tower blocks with dangerous Grenfell type cladding, due mainly to financial issues.
Only three of the 160 social housing blocks identified with the dangerous cladding have been treated so far leaving thousands of people living in fire hazards.
Seven months after the fire that killed 71 people in west London, the number of council and private blocks over 18 metres high across England found to be wrapped in similar combustible plastic-filled cladding has risen to 312, figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government revealed. Almost all of those – 299 – are likely to be in breach of building regulations on fire safety. Officials predict the numbers will continue to rise.
Mind you, even when the cladding is taken off, problems remain:
Temperatures inside the flats of blocks being worked on have dropped because of a lack of insulation. The council has promised to pay tenants extra heating bills
Rent a room relief consultation
If you rent out room this may interest you.
the government wants to explore whether the design of Rent a Room relief provides the right incentives for the rental market as it exists today. At Spring Budget 2017 the government announced that it would review Rent a Room relief, to explore the case for making the relief more targeted to support longer-term lettings.
So depending on how the consultation goes there may be changes later.
Bad news for long leaseholders
A recent Court of Appeal case, Mundy vs the Sloane Stanley Estate, has found in favour of the freeholders which is bad news for leaseholders trapped with expensive ground rent.
Louie Burns, managing director of Leasehold Solutions, said:
“This verdict is an absolutely devastating outcome for leaseholders up and down the country, not just those living in prime central London. It is so disappointing to see that yet again the courts have backed the interests of wealthy freeholders.
“The court’s decision to uphold a lower relativity in leasehold valuations means that freeholders will receive even more money from leaseholders, as leaseholders will now be forced to pay more for their lease extensions – to the tune of many millions of pounds.
“The valuations model at the heart of this case estimates that leaseholders are currently being overcharged by £480m a year. Over the past two decades, that’s a staggering £9.6bn that has been taken from householders due to flawed valuation methods that have favoured freeholders at the expense of leaseholders.
“The Government has recently said that it is willing to tackle unfair practices in the leasehold market, so it is extremely disappointing that the courts have yet again ruled in favour of wealthy freeholders and their lackeys, all of whom have a vested interest in maintaining the unjust status quo.”
We shall have to see if any action is taken by the government on this.
Newsround will be back next week.