[Ben Reeve Lewis is on his own this week ..]
Living a bachelor life this week as Frazzy is in the Dominican Republic for her work as a travel agent. War is hell huh?
I admit the flat could be tidier but I really will get around to clearing up the beer cans and take away cartons no later than an hour before she is due back….I promise.
I don’t begrudge her the occasional all expenses paid jollys. Last year it was the Cayman Islands and California the year before that but what irks is the text messages saying how tired she is and what hard work it all becomes visiting swanky resorts and restaurants whilst looking at pictures on facebook of her laying in a hammock with a cocktail.
Which one is the true face of her week?
So the beer cans and take away cartons are my treat, “A man’s gift to himself” as Liam Neeson says in Rob Roy, although he was talking about honour, a more lofty sentiment than just not being arsed to clean up.
Innovative ideas flooding in …
You may recall I wrote an article a couple of weeks back about the proposed Housing Bill due for October. Well Brandon Lewis has been vocal about the forthcoming plan as covered in 24 Dash.
It isn’t just about the increasing rogue landlord enforcement powers that I wrote about. There are a lot of promises to build new homes and specifically mentions the plans for Ebbsfleet in Kent where a complete new town is to be built.
I recall when this was first mooted, reading of warnings from the Environment agency that Ebbsfleet sits on a flood plain of considerable concern to the department but Lewis seems to have ignored this when he says:
“It does have the opportunity to ensure we do have really good quality master planning.”
Really? Fancy popping down the corridor to the environment agency for a chat mate?
The overall plan is to build 150,000 new homes by 2020. Fair enough but he is sending a covert warning to nimbyism and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England when he says:
“What we can’t afford to do is agree that we need more houses as long as we put them somewhere else.”
Mind you I doubt even the CPRE will complain if Ebbsfleet gets built over. Have you seen it? It’s that ugly, industrial bit on the A2/M2 in Kent with all the train lines and anyway, give it a few years and it will be converted into a wetlands nature reserve. Britain’s first floating town.
I love an innovative idea, even an unintentional one.
Mortgage repossessions on the Up
I was down in lovely Wareham in Dorset yesterday, training the homelessness team for Purbeck Council and we got talking about trends in homelessness. Interesting that my prediction and that of seasoned homelessness professionals is that next year will see an increase in applications from mortgage borrowers being repossessed.
Its not only the looming interest rate rise but also the news, reported on the BBC by way of a CAB report that nearly 1 million homeowners are coming under the cosh for opting for interest only mortgages to keep monthly costs down who are now facing the end of the term with no way of clearing the capital.
The CAB say that 934,000 owners do not have a plan for paying it off.
Admittedly some are a few years from having to face the music but many took them out 25 years ago when they were as fashionable as white gloves and glow sticks at a rave.
The figures in the article conflict between the estimates of interest only mortgages proffered by the CAB, the FCA and the Council for Mortgage Lenders but whoever’s is the most accurate it is still in the millions and whilst some will have set in place contingency plans, probably hundreds of thousands wont.
The predicted flash points as various interest only mortgages mature are 2017, 2027 and 2032.
I shall be around for the first flash point next year training homelessness workers how to beat the banks off with a sharp stick, which I have successfully done hundreds of times.
Hopefully by 2027 I will have earned enough from doing so to retire to a chair in the garden with the collected works of George Pelecanos and Graeme Greene to wade through, broken only by boxed sets of The Wire and Treme when it rains.
By 2032 I dare say I shall be dribbling in an old folks home and will have completely forgotten my own name, let alone how to fill in an N244. But at least someone else will be clearing up my beer cans.
I want to depart from hot news for a bit to talk about something lurking around in the background for a while which should be getting wider attention.
It was covered by Nearly Legal back in June. A private member’s Bill launched by MP Karen Buck concerning the standard of rental properties to amend the current legislation section 8 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Its second reading will be on the 16th October.
Said section 8 requires that when let, a property should be fit for human habitation and remain so during the life of the tenancy but when it was drafted it only applied to tenancies which are for less than three years and where the rent level, unchanged since 1957 is for £80 per year if you live in London or £52 if you live elsewhere.
Given you cant rent a shared pair of underpants in London for £82 section 8 has lain dormant. Hence Ms Buck’s interest in updating it.
She proposes raising the time constriction to tenancies of less than 7 years, meaning it will cover all tenancies before they become long leases and getting rid of the rental limit, meaning all properties let must be fit for human habitation.
Landlord Law Blog readers are all decent folk and will probably be wrinkling their brows in incomprehension at why anyone would allow their investment to not be in a decent condition but trust me…..you haven’t been into the properties I have been working in for past 25 years.
If Charles Dickens were alive today he’d be turning in his grave. Which is a daft Alan Partridge-esque catchphrase I tried to work into every single episode of Channel 5’s ‘Nightmare tenants, slum landlords’ but which to my frustration never made it through the editor’s cuts, so I’m using the joke here.
** Stop Press **
Before I get to “What made me smile”, the Ben Reeve-Lewis version of Trevor MacDonald’s “And finally”, I thought it worth doing a STOP PRESS: following news that dropped through the ether on Thursday afternoon.
Its an interesting Stop Press as well, as it is a sign of how mad and disorganised this government is with rushing through legislation to please the pollsters whilst leaving the lawyers fuming.
Earlier this week Tessa reported on the new incoming smoke alarm regulations, only to find that before the week was out, government have pulled it because legally it was all over the place and is unlikely to resurface until next year. See Property Industry Eye for a full explanation.
Also the new Section 21 notice format, promised in July has finally been ushered in by the legal midwife, 3 weeks premature.
It looks simple enough and God knows it should be, and it reflects points raised in the Deregulation Act but as Tessa just pointed out to me it doesn’t have a saving clause, as per Lower Street Properties v. Jones, which means that if the hapless landlords get things wrong by even a single day the notice will be less than 2 months and all bets are off again.
Possession proceedings Snakes and ladders for the landlord. Do not pass go, do not collect £200.
What made me smile this week
Beer and take-aways aside it was reading the prize for the best joke of the Edinburgh fringe this year by Darren Walsh
“I just deleted all the German names off my phone. Now it’s Hans free.”
Top man, see ya next week.