It Friday news time but we are creeping up to Christmas so not so much news now.
Sadiq Khan and rent controls in London
One story which will upset London landlords is that Sadiq Khan is considering introducing rent controls in the capital.
One person calling for this is Sian Berry, co-leader of the Greens who said
We all know how sky-high rents are a particular problem for Londoners, a leading cause of homelessness and poverty with many, many working people struggling to pay them
However, the RLA said that evidence from “all around the world” shows that when rent controls are introduced and prices are decoupled from the value of properties it “hurts both tenants and landlords”. Their policy director David Smith said:
It is curious that the Mayor is considering introducing rent controls at a time when rents in London are falling according to official data.
The Labour Party in Wales has previously rejected rent controls arguing that they reduce incentives to invest in new property when we need more and lead to a reduction in the quality of housing. The same would be the case in London.
The Wilsons in the news
Kent landlords Fergus and Judith Wilson are once again in the news, as Judith Wilson has been ordered to pay around £25,000 (£10,000 fine and approx £15,000 costs) after failing to comply with an order to fix a disabled tenants hot water supply.
The Wilsons, who it seems are not as wealthy as people think – the Judge disclosed that Judith pays herself just £23,000 pa – have responded by saying that they will have to evict someone in order to sell a property to pay the fines.
In fact Fergus, never one to shy away from bad publicity, has stated that they are actually going to evict all their tenants and sell up:
They’ve got two months: we’ll probably give it until January 14 – let them get Christmas out the way. Then we will be giving them two months to go, because that’s the statutory amount, from April onwards they will be made homeless.
Which could cause a bit of a problem for Ashford Council who will have the job of rehousing them – if they can’t find anywhere else to go and fall into the ‘priority need’ category.
However, not all stories about the Wilsons are negative. In another case, the Judge was highly critical of the local CAB who had helped tenant Ella Payne with a claim against the Wilsons. The Judge said that in fact the Wilsons had behaved in a respectable and professional way towards the defendant, and found for the Wilsons.
Slum landlords ordered to pay record fines
The courts are using the Proceeds of Crime Act against slum landlords as landlords Harsha Shah, Chandni Shah were ordered to pay £116,000 in a confiscation order, Harsha’s brother Sanja Shah was ordered to pay £41,000 in fines and their agent Jaydipkumar Valand £5,000.
According to the Guardian the landlords were earning more than £100,000 per year by squeezing tenants on ‘sleeping shifts’ into rooms fitted with up to four beds. Needless to say, this was an illegal and unlicensed HMO.
In another case in the same area (LB Brent) Vispasp Sarkari was ordered to pay a record £1,5 million penalty for breaking planning rules and converting properties illegally into bedsits.
It looks like the chickens are coming home to roost – at least in Brent.
- the UK’s terrible broadband system is laid bare in a report
- three agents found guilty of scams in North London
- More than half of Universal Credit claimants in Caerphilly are in rent arrears
- RICS says that Brexit gloom will hit the housing market