[Ben Reeve takes a trip to Edmunton County Court]
Last week I had to get an emergency injunction against a landlord for illegally evicting a tenant and dumping his belongings in the front garden.
Progress or cuts?
I’ve done dozens of the things down the years but never at Edmonton County Court and duly fetched up with the tenant to register the case at 1pm. Only to find that their listings office went over to a new system 4 years ago and you have to ring a number before 12pm just to get an appointment with the listings office.
Every other court I’ve been in, which is Bromley, Lambeth and Woolwich you just rock up.
Edmonton is pretty close to Bow County Court which is due to close this year so more than a few Bow cases will have to go through Edmonton. Can you imagine the backlog and waiting times?????
Officially in the name of progress but actually in the name of cuts.
Proposals are in the pipeline to have online courts for many claims up to £25,000. But before you get too excited, so far the Law Commission has ruled out housing possession cases going through these courts. Doesn’t mean
Doesn’t mean it won’tt happen in future though so keep your eyes peeled.
The MOJ released latest figures towards the end of last year on repossessions by mortgage lenders and landlords in England and Wales.
In the past 12 months 137,733 were, as the article says “Put at risk of eviction”. I don’t quite know what that means but as the figures come from the MOJ I would imagine that this is the number of possession applications registered.
The same piece records that 39,723 renters were evicted by bailiffs.
I have written before that figures for the past 4 years on homelessness have shown the biggest growth reason nationally being eviction following s21 proceedings but there is no homelessness recording of the reasons behind it and accurate records would be impossible to compile, given it’s a ‘No-fault’ process.
15 renters an hour
24 Housing who ran the above article also ran a follow up piece a couple of weeks back which expanded on the previous article that 15 renters an hour are at risk of eviction at any one time. Shelter’s Graeme Brown commented:
“New figures showing hundreds of thousands of renters were at risk of being made homeless last year are shocking but only the tip of the iceberg. Sadly, there are many more people forced to leave a property who don’t go through the courts.”
Yes Graeme, I know, I spend hours travelling from South London to some God forsaken place called North London just to call a number to make an appointment to get the buggers back into their homes and have done so several times in the 3 illegal evictions I have been called in on in the past fortnight.
Lib dem leader Timothy Farron says in the article that renters are being treated as cash cows and I must admit my udders are feeling rather sore at the moment as I totted up how much rent I’ve paid to our landlord in the past 4 years – £64,200.
Roll on our impending move to Nottingham. No more rent no more mortgage.
In some parts of Britain, I could have bought a house for £62k.
Hefty HMO fine for lack of details
The walk of shame this week is being ably strolled by Asad Shazad of Oxford who has been fined a total of £21,000 for running an unlicensed HMO.
One of the fines was for breaking the regulation of not having his details prominently displayed in the property, an omission that cost him £2k alone., a heavy mark up on sticking a piece of paper on the wall with a drawing pin.
Under the Housing and Planning Act the council can now keep all £21,000 of that penalty, which will pay for another enforcement officer, provided the council don’t hive it off to keep a library open.
Deposit face tenants
Letting Agent today revealed a survey of 1,000 tenants and landlords showed a ‘Shocking lack of knowledge about renting’.
A fact that doesn’t surprise me at all. I still regularly see what I have come to call “Deposit face” when interviewing tenants and asking if their deposit has been protected, to be met with a curious kind of blank stare, as if I have just asked them to explain the basics of Keynesian economics, or the working of the Hadron Collider.
Fake letting scam exposure
The main thrust of the article is on fake letting scams costing tenants £63 million a year and bemoans tenant ignorance in the wake of “Such practices being covered extensively by media in the last 12 months”.
Now I am one of those people who writes widely and often about fake landlord scams and I scan the news regularly for such stories and I have to say, I haven’t noticed any extensive cover whatsoever.
I recently did a presentation to Jan Juba’s charity Z2K on common renting scams and more than one housing barrister said to me afterwards that they weren’t aware these practices went on.
But as with all the best jokes, the punchline comes at the end when you read that the survey was conducted by Rent Profile, a landlord checking service.
Don’t get me wrong, I have written repeatedly that tenants should check out their prospective landlords before signing on the dotted and I like the idea that decent landlords would enter a profile on a website so that they can be checked out so I went and had a look at the website.
First thing I see is a testimonial from one landlord saying “I like that Rent Profile alerts me to unauthorised sub-letting of my rental properties”, so I’m a bit confused on whether the service is for tenants or landlords keeping an eye on their tenants.
But a small gripe. I’m heartily in favour of the idea and shall recommend the site to tenants to help them build.
Later this year there is going to be a database of rogue landlords, courtesy of the Housing and Planning Act, so if all the landlords not on the database register with Rent Profile that should have it covered.
The good and the bad but where’s the ugly?
What made me smile this week.
Learning, reasonably successfully to play Stevie Ray Vaughan’s classic “Pride and Joy” on my guitar. The shuffle beat between the upstrokes and the bass notes being one of the hardest techniques I’ve ever had to learn.
See ya in 2 weeks