Welcome back to another Friday Newsround
The Scandal of our Courts being sold off for profit
I am still shocked by Ben’s post from yesterday (which is actually based on an article by former Judge Nic Madge in Legal Action Magazine) which explains how the sale of our court buildings have:
- Caused major problems in our justice system while
- Putting millions into the pockets of property developers.
Surely this should never have been allowed to happen? But property developers and millionaire investors have the ear of government whereas we don’t. Think on this when you vote.
Letting agent and landlord both liable for unlicensed HMO
There are two points which come from this story on Property Industry Eye:
- Letting agents can be fined as well as landlords if they are managing HMO properties which are unlicensed
- You need to be very careful who you let property to if you do not want your property to be an HMO. If tenants are not one family it is probably an HMO. (See more on my free course here).
HMRC to fine tenants for not paying their landlord’s tax
This extraordinary story comes from Nearly Legal blog. I quote:
the tenant has no way of knowing their landlord’s actual address, let alone whether they are an overseas landlord or not. (Don’t even suggest the land registry. That does not show landlords, just registered owners.)
Then there is this ‘deduct the tax from your rent payments and send it to HMRC thing. The rent payments are contractual. There is no basis for the tenant to turn around and say, “yes, I know it looks like I am in arrears, but actually I’ve just been paying your tax and HMRC made me do it”.
So, basically, HMRC would be asking tenants to get themselves evicted if they comply, or face a fine if they didn’t.
Have any readers had this happen to them?
20% of Letting Agents still don’t have client money protection
A report in Property Industry Eye today reports that some 20% of agents still don’t have CMP. Which is quite shocking.
Eddie Hooker, chief executive of Hamilton Fraser, parent company of Client Money Protect, said:
The requirement for all letting and property management agents in the private rented sector in England to join a Client Money Protection scheme has been heavily publicised, and agents cannot hide behind ignorance as an excuse for non-compliance.
Those who are not complying with their legal obligations under the Act could face a fine of up to £30,000, so we urge all agents to check that they are covered as a matter of urgency.
The people most at risk are landlords as tenants money is (assuming it has been protected) safe under the deposit schemes and once they pay rent to the agent the landlord cannot require them to pay it again.
However, this is very serious for landlords who can suffer enormous losses if letting agents go bust while holding their money if it is not protected by CMP.
So landlords looking to instruct a new agent should ALWAYS ask about the CMP cover.
Some good news on Social Housing
The Labour Conference has now pledged to build 155,000 social rent houses as soon as it comes into power which is good news.
There is also this Guardian article which looks at how many councils are now building ‘smart, environmentally friendly and beautifully designed homes’. Such as this estate in Norwich of over 100 Passivhaus homes:
With intelligently designed streets, and patches of grass for children to play on, this energy-efficient development in Norwich – rented out by the council with secure tenancies at fixed rents – exemplifies the smart, environmentally friendly and beautifully designed homes now being built in greater numbers by local authorities.
Let’s hope they are able to build many more.
- Norwich City council backs calls to abolish section 21
- More than 8 million people are living in unsuitable housing
- Calls mount for a crackdown on No DSS ads
- Calls for a National Investment fund to deal with the problem of empty homes
- ARLA criticises Labour for rent control plans
You may want to watch Sean Hooker and I discuss housing news issues of the day in our most recent Westminster briefing.
Newsround will be back next week.