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Evicting tenants: a potential minefield for landlords

For many landlords, there is a common misconception that any tenant can be evicted from your property when they have done something wrong. Whether they have failed to pay rent or not complied with a term within their tenancy agreement, it seems obvious that as a landlord you should be able to simply remove the…

Fire Safety after Grenfell

In the aftermath of Grenfell there has been growing pressure from Local Authorities and enforcement measures taken by Fire Authorities on owners of large builds to ensure fire hazards attributable to inappropriate external cladding are addressed.

Exit your Diamond Resorts (Europe) timeshare and avoid 2020 maintenance fees

Each year, thousands of Brits are cold called or approached in the street to be hailed as “competition” winners or presented with offers of “free holidays”. The catch being you have to attend a presentation in order to claim your “prize”.

The presentation is a high pressure sales pitch which can last several hours with many people finding it difficult to leave without signing up for a Timeshare, a decision they often later live to regret.

Can you recover costs in a small claims dispute?

The basic position is that for claims which have been allocated to the Small Claims Track, usually with a monetary value of less than £10,000, the Court will not order a party to pay fees or expenses to the other party, subject to certain exceptions.

One of those exceptions is if the Court thinks a party has behaved unreasonably.

Residential tenancy deposits – are you protected?

Landlords and Tenants should take heed of the importance of complying with the legal requirements centring around the protection of tenancy deposits.

As most Landlords will be aware, any deposit paid in connection with an Assured Short-hold Tenancy since 6th April 2007 must be registered with an authorised Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The Tenant must be provided with prescribed information within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. Landlords are required to register the deposit within 30 days of receipt.

Timeshares – not all ‘fun in the sun’

Each year, thousands of Brits are cold called or approached in the street to be hailed as “competition” winners or presented with offers of “free holidays”. The catch being you have to attend a presentation in order to claim your “prize”.

The presentation is a high pressure sales pitch which can last several hours with many people finding it difficult to leave without signing up for a Timeshare, a decision they often later live to regret.

‘Rentagob’ Katie Hopkins successfully sued for defamation

Jack Monroe, a food writer and blogger, has been awarded £24,000 in damages in a libel action brought against Katie Hopkins, Mail online columnist and former The Apprentice contestant.

In May 2015, Mrs Hopkins implied that Ms Monroe had defaced or vandalised war memorials during a series of public tweets. Ms Monroe alleged that she received death threats and abuse from others as a result of these very public tweets and that serious damage had been caused to her reputation.

Advice for landlords on new EPC Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 were made on the 26th March 2015. They introduced a change in the law whereby from the 1st April 2018, it will be unlawful to privately let residential and commercial properties with an EPC rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’, unless one of the exemptions detailed below applies.

It is important to note that the Regulations will not apply to properties that are not required to have an EPC or where a property is let for a period of less than six months or for a term of more than 99 years.

Flat lease extension under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993

This is the right to extend your residential flat lease by 90 years on top of the unexpired term of your existing Lease. The new Lease will be at a peppercorn rent (e.g. no ground rent is payable) and will generally be on the same terms as the existing lease.

To qualify for this right, you must have been the registered owner of the flat at the Land Registry for at least two years and the original term of your lease must be in excess of 21 years.

There are a number of exclusions that will prevent you from exercising this right such as your Landlord being a charitable housing trust. You should therefore contact us to assess your own individual eligibility.

Property fraudsters – who is to blame?

It is commonplace for a legal professional to request proof of identification from their client at the beginning of any legal transaction. For a conveyancer, verifying their client’s identity is a particularly heavy burden to bear. Not only does a conveyancer owe a duty of care to their client, but also to their client’s lender…

Minimum energy changes on the horizon for landlords

As a Landlord of either a Commercial or Residential Property, from 1st April 2018, any properties rented in the private sector must have a minimum energy performance rating of E or above on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards Regime (MEES).

Statutory demand procedure – when to use correctly and when not to use

It has long been accepted that the statutory demand procedure – a preliminary step towards bringing a petition in bankruptcy – is a simple and effective way of recovering debt.

However, what constitutes a debt in the context of insolvency, is not always as straightforward as you might think; particularly in relation to debts contained in recital provisions in consent orders made during divorce proceedings.

Fee increases in insolvency proceedings

As of 16 November 2015, the costs of presenting a bankruptcy or winding-up petition will increase in most cases. This increase will apply to petitions made on or after this date. Whilst the increases are relatively small for both the deposit and Official Receiver’s fees (administration fees payable to affect the bankruptcy order or winding-up order), when considered alongside changes to statutory demands for individual debtors, the rises will make it more difficult for creditors seeking to recover money owed to them, especially from individual creditors.

Advice to ‘buy to let’ landlords on how to avoid costly mistakes – four essential steps

A ‘buy to let’ property can be a sound investment producing a profitable return. However, when a tenant can no longer afford to pay the rent and refuses to vacate the property, matters can go horribly wrong.

At that point, it is too late to put protective measures in place. As a landlord, the protected deposit brings little solace in circumstances where you are not covered against the tenant having the benefit of legal aid to embroil you in protracted and costly litigation.

With the benefit of public funding, a tenant wishing to stay at a property may defend an eviction claim on technical grounds. What’s more, they could also issue a counterclaim for compensation for disrepair, all while continuing to default on rent payments.

Landlords using shorthold tenancy agreements have to register tenants’ deposits or face hefty fines

Landlords in England and Wales who lease out their properties under assured shorthold tenancy agreements have until June 23rd to place their tenant(s)’ deposit(s) in a government backed scheme or face hefty fines.

Despite this legislation coming into effect as far back as 6th April 2007, it is estimated that approximately a third of the 1.5 million private landlords in England and Wales are still retaining tenants’ deposits at the risk of both diluting their legal rights in the event of a dispute with tenants and of being heavily fined for non-compliance.

Breaking bad or breaking even – how to turn break clauses into an advantage

Including break clauses in commercial property leases allows both tenants and landlords the flexibility to terminate a lease before the agreed fixed term has expired and both parties can turn break clauses into an advantage.

The economic downturn has resulted in an increased number of landlords agreeing to break clauses in a bid to make their properties more attractive to businesses. While this allows some flexibility for both parties, these can prove to be the danger that knocks however.

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