Tag: Sutton

Your landlord meeting or event could be advertised here – contact us for more information

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 31 Dec 2024

If you are organising a meeting or event for London landlords then you can reach a wide audiance by getting it listed on the London Property Licensing website. For trade fairs and council or landlord association meetings there is no charge. Yes, it’s completely free! We only charge to advertise […]

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Property Investor Show – 4 & 5 October 2024

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 04 Oct 2024

Date: Friday 4 & Saturday 5 October, 10am to 6pm (5pm close on Saturday) Venue: Excel, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1XL Cost: Free About: The UK’s leading event property expo is the premier exhibition for anyone looking to make money from property investment – in the short or long term. Better still, […]

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Where next for regulation of the private rented sector?

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 09 Jul 2024

With the general election now behind us, we have a new Labour government with a significant parliamentary majority and a strong mandate for change. Within the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (the department has reverted to its old name), the Rt Hon Angela Rayner MP has been appointed […]

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National Landlord Investment Show – 3 July 2024

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 03 Jul 2024

Date: Wednesday 3 July, 8.30am – 5pm Venue: 1 Old Billingsgate Walk, London EC3R 6DX Cost: Free About: Visit the National Landlord Investment Show and get unparalleled advice, meeting leading suppliers, networking and sharing knowledge with your peers. Entry is free, all you have to do is register. More information […]

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Lewisham Selective Licensing Scheme started on 1 July 2024

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 01 Jul 2024

Date: Monday 1 July 2024 About: A new selective licensing scheme came into force in the London Borough of Lewisham on 1 July 2024.  The new selective licensing scheme covers sixteen council wards (based on the pre-May 2022 ward boundaries): Within these areas, a licence application must be submitted for all […]

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Before imposing a financial penalty or pursuing a banning order against a private landlord, the local authority must serve a valid notice of intent

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 20 Jun 2024

The precision and clarity of notices of intent (NOIs) served by local authorities is crucial, especially since some defects in the notices can invalidate them while others don’t, leaving landlords uncertain. Contrasting outcomes in two recent cases discussed below demonstrates that if the council wants to punish you for breaches […]

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Government promise review of local authority property licensing schemes

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 08 Apr 2024

In a letter that was leaked to the media, Jacob Young MP, Minister for Levelling Up has written to all Conservative MPs setting out a range of proposals to ensure the Renters Reform Bill strikes the right balance between delivering security for tenants and fairness for landlords.  In the letter, […]

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Brent Selective Licensing Scheme started on 1 April 2024

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 01 Apr 2024

Date: Monday 1 April 2024 About: A new selective licensing scheme came into force in the London Borough of Brent on 1 April 2024 with the effect that the whole of Brent is subject to selective licensing except for one ward, Wembley Park.   The new selective licensing scheme covers […]

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Government U-turn on HMO licensing exemption for properties housing asylum seekers

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 14 Feb 2024

In a significant development, the government have withdrawn draft regulations that would have exempted properties occupied by asylum seekers from the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing regime. A Judicial Review challenging the lawfulness of the draft Houses in Multiple Occupation (Asylum-Seeker) Accommodation (England) Regulations 2023 was due to take […]

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Upper Tribunal ruling explores adequacy of reasons for serving landlord civil penalty notices

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 10 Feb 2024

The Upper Tribunal has provided guidance and advice on the vexed question of how local authorities should comply with their duty to provide reasons when issuing civil penalty notices (“CPNs”) that allege the commission of housing offences [Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council v Wang [2024] UKUT 24 (LC)]. Under s.249A of […]

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Latest government updates on regulation of the private rented sector

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 13 Sep 2023

If you are organising a meeting or event for London landlords then you can reach a wide audiance by getting it listed on the London Property Licensing website. For trade fairs and council or landlord association meetings there is no charge. Yes, On 7 September 2023, government published an update […]

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Can landlords return a tenancy deposit by cheque?

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 06 Sep 2023

There are various reasons why a landlord of residential property might want to give a tenancy deposit back to the tenant. If the landlord wants the tenant to move out, early return of the deposit will help the tenant with getting together cash needed to secure new accommodation. Sometimes it […]

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Sharp fall in private rental listings means London’s housing pressures going from ‘bad to disastrous’

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 07 Aug 2023

New research shows a 41% reduction in the number of London properties available for private rent since the Covid-19 pandemic, amid warnings that turbulence and supply constraints in the private rental market is worsening near record levels of homelessness across the capital. The analysis – which represents the most comprehensive […]

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Appeals against the imposition of financial penalties under Housing Act 2004: extensions of time when appeals are submitted late

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 29 Jun 2023

The Upper Tribunal (“UT”) has allowed an appeal brought by a landlord against a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (“FTT”) that had refused him an extension of time in which to bring a challenge against a council’s imposition of a £13,250 penalty. In Kazi v. Bradford MDC [2023] […]

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Excessive and unjust – Upper Tribunal decision on council’s civil financial penalty policy

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 23 Jun 2023

This landmark judgement by the Upper Tribunal brings further clarity to how civil financial penalties for HMO licensing offences should be calculated. In March 2022, Leicester City Council imposed a civil financial penalty of £29,817 under section 72(1) of the Housing Act 2004. It was a two storey property containing […]

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Rent Repayment Orders: why a landlord’s excuse must remain reasonable for the duration of the offence

Author: LPL Admin | Date: 06 Apr 2023

The Upper Tribunal has imposed a rent repayment order on a landlord despite accepting that he was told by the council that he did not need a licence and that he would later be invited to apply for a licence. The case of Marigold and Ors v Wells [2023] UKUT […]

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Nine point guide to spotting an out-of-date tenancy agreement

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 06 Dec 2022

It is very important for landlords and letting agents to keep their tenancy agreements updated. Housing law changes constantly, and an old agreement will contain references to legislation which has been repealed. An out-of-date template will not accurately reflect the rights and duties of the landlord and tenant. Implied terms, […]

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How far do managers of HMOs need to go to ‘ensure’ compliance with the Management Regulations?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 03 Oct 2022

In the recent case of Adil Catering Limited v The City of Westminster Council [2022] UKUT 238 (LC), the Upper Tribunal addressed the question of what does ‘ensure’ mean in the Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Management Regulations. The Tribunal was concerned with the scope of the duty imposed on […]

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Cost of living crisis set to cause homelessness spike in London

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 26 Aug 2022

London faces a possible homelessness spike in the coming months due to the cost-of-living crisis and increases in private rents, boroughs have warned. The cross-party group London Councils highlights new analysis showing that fewer than one in ten properties listed for private rent in the capital are affordable to Londoners […]

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Public Accounts Committee give their verdict on the private rented sector

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 27 Apr 2022

In a report published 13 April 2022, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee says it is “too difficult for renters to realise their legal right to a safe and secure home” and that local authorities – constrained by a lack of support from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) […]

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How can landlords help low-income families manage the rising cost of living?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 28 Mar 2022

You know there’s a problem in the private rented sector when letting agents start talking about the unaffordability of properties for their prospective tenants. Agency chain Hamptons recently released research that sounded the alarm that households are about to be hit by ballooning energy bills and other cost of living […]

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Understanding banning orders for landlords and letting agents

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 28 Feb 2022

Banning orders came into force on 6 April 2018 and have given power to local authorities to apply to the First-tier Tribunal (“FtT”) for a ban against private residential landlords or agents where they are convicted of committing a “banning order offence” against a tenant, other occupier of the property […]

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Mayor of London announces new funding to train housing enforcement officers

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 27 Feb 2022

To improve housing standards in the private rented sector, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has announced new funding to train local authority housing enforcement officers. Nearly a fifth of privately rented homes (18 per cent) fail the Government’s Decent Homes standard, although it is not an enforceable standard in […]

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New guidance on lead enforcement responsibility for fire safety in purpose built blocks of flats

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 21 Feb 2022

New guidance has been published to help assess whether Local Housing Authorities (LHAs) or Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) should take lead enforcement responsibility for fire safety in purpose built blocks of flats. The guidance, published in January 2022, has been developed jointly by the Local Government Association, National Fire […]

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Liability of Company Directors for Housing Offences

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 31 Jan 2022

Corporate structure such as limited companies offer business owners and managers a way to avoid personal liability when things go wrong. The protection offered is mainly protection from commercial risks – the debts of a company do not become the debts of the shareholders and directors can only be held […]

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How to get named and shamed: a guide to notoriety and public disgrace for landlords and agents

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 15 Dec 2021

Public shaming as a form of punishment might sound barbaric and outdated, but it still exists, adapted for the digital age. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 created the legal foundation for the Government’s Database of Rogue Landlords and Agents, and the promise of this register of criminal landlords and […]

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Tenants are worried about paying their energy bills this winter

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 14 Dec 2021

With the current fuel crisis seeing an increase in energy prices, ongoing hikes in household bills are proving to be a major concern for millions of households across the country, including private tenants. Almost half of renters surveyed (49%) are worried about how they will pay their bills, with 57% […]

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Government lacks clear vision and strategy for regulating the private rented sector, says NAO

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 10 Dec 2021

A pivotal report by the National Audit Office (NAO) published today (10 December 2021), has found that the way private renting is regulated is not effective in ensuring the sector is fair for renters or that housing is safe and secure. Of concern, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and […]

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New safeagent enforcement toolkit helps councils to tackle rogue letting and managing agents

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 29 Nov 2021

A new letting agent enforcement toolkit has today (29 November 2021) been published by safeagent, the UK’s leading not for profit accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents operating in the private rented sector. According to safeagent, effective enforcement is crucial if we are to stamp out rogue agents in […]

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What factors are considered when determining the amount of a Rent Repayment Order – Williams v Parmar [ 2021] UKUT 244 (LC)

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 28 Oct 2021

The First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property) (“the Tribunal”) has a wide discretion when determining whether to make a rent repayment order. A rent repayment order is an order allowing tenants and local authorities to seek repayment of rent paid where the landlord has committed an offence under section 40(3) […]

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No more RROs against superior landlords – what next after the Court of Appeal’s decision in Rakusen v Jepson?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 27 Sep 2021

The Court of Appeal has ruled that only the ‘immediate’ landlord of a tenant can be liable for a rent repayment order in the important decision Rakusen v Jepson. In the First-tier Tribunal, and then a second time in Upper Tribunal, the landlord’s argument that they could not be liable […]

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NRLA survey finds less than half of councils have issued any civil penalties in the last three years

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 13 Aug 2021

Over half of local authorities in England have not issued any civil penalties against rogue or criminal landlords in the last three years according to a new survey by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA). Since April 2017 councils across England have been able to issue civil penalties of up […]

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Fire safety developments in residential buildings

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 10 Aug 2021

The tragic loss of 72 lives in the Grenfell Tower disaster over 4 years ago brought fire safety in high rise residential buildings (HRRB) into sharp focus. The rapid spread of flames externally was a result of failings to the external wall system ACM and insulation cladding. The ongoing public […]

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Is ‘rent-to-rent’ a doomed business model?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 29 Jul 2021

There’s no question that ‘rent to rent’ is a risky business model, but many landlords are drawn to its promises of easy money and hassle-free letting. Rent-to-rent continues to be popular among landlords, especially in London. ‘Rent-to-rent’ is a way of letting properties where the owner grants a lease to […]

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Confusion over electrical safety regulations leads to threat of enforcement action

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 29 Jun 2021

I was recently asked for advice by a long standing client who operates a small portfolio of private rented properties. The landlord’s query related to a small HMO in a London Borough. I was familiar with the property as I had inspected it several years earlier. A property licence had […]

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Will private landlords be forced to join a ‘redress scheme’?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 29 Apr 2021

In England property managers and letting agents are required to be a member of a ‘redress scheme’. A redress scheme is an independent body set up to resolve complaints made by consumers against a member of the scheme. Landlords and agents who have complained to an agent can escalate their […]

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Paper determination’ process is not a fair way to determine criminal guilt says Upper Tribunal

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 25 Feb 2021

To make a rent repayment order or uphold a financial penalty on appeal, the First-tier Tribunal has to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a criminal offence has been committed. Cases in the tribunal will not result in a criminal conviction, but a finding that a landlord or agent has […]

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Pause routine electrical inspections and new property licensing schemes

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 21 Jan 2021

To help control the spread of coronavirus, safeagent, the UK’s leading not-for-profit accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents, is calling for a pause in the implementation of new electrical safety regulations, and new property licensing schemes. Although visiting rented properties to prepare licence applications and undertake routine electrical testing […]

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High Court rules on possession notices and deposit certificates given by company landlords

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 19 Jan 2021

The High Court recently handed down its decision in Northwood Solihull Ltd v Fearne & Ors [2020] EWHC 3538 (QB). This is an important case for corporate landlords as it explores the requirements for companies when signing notices seeking possession and deposit prescribed information certificates. In the case the judge, […]

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Financial Penalties – not limited to just landlords and agents?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 26 Nov 2020

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduced a power for local authorities to impose fines of up to £30,000 on landlords and agents who commit a ‘relevant housing offence’ under section 249A(2) of the Housing Act 2004. These civil penalties, alongside banning orders and enhanced rent repayment orders, have changed […]

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Mayor of London launches new property licence checker

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 18 Nov 2020

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today (18 November 2020) launched a new online tool to help private renters discover if their properly has been correctly licensed. The property licensing regime in London has become extremely complicated, with over thirty five additional and selective licensing schemes currently in force […]

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Temporary Exemption Notices and the extended time period for Notices Seeking Possession

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 28 Sep 2020

When a property is required to be licensed under the Housing Act 2004 but does not have a licence, in some circumstances the landlord or agent, may request a temporary exemption notice instead of applying for a licence. To do so, the landlord or agent must inform the local council […]

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Can Selective Licence conditions require a landlord to attend a training course?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 12 Aug 2020

In March this year the Upper Tribunal considered an appeal brought by a landlord who objected to a condition in a selective licence. The landlord, Mr Berg, argued that Burnley Borough Council had no power to impose a requirement for him to attend training courses under the conditions of a […]

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Court of Appeal rules on law on gas safety certificates and section 21 notices

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 08 Jul 2020

On 18 June the Court of Appeal delivered its judgement in the eagerly anticipated case of Trecarrell House Limited v Rouncefield (2020) EWCA Civ 760. In a split decision, the Court confirmed that where a landlord has given the tenant a gas safety record (“GSR”) late, the s.21 notice will […]

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How many wash hand basins are required in a licensed HMO?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 03 Jul 2020

When the mandatory HMO licensing scheme came into force in April 2006, the government directed that in HMOs with five or more occupants, all units of living accommodation must contain a wash hand basin, unless there was already a sink. This highly prescriptive requirement was amended the following year by […]

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High Court confirm strict liability for operators of unlicensed HMOs

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 28 May 2020

The Divisional Court have delivered their judgment (read here) in the joined cases of R (Mohamed) v Waltham Forest LBC, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) intervening and R (Mohamed) v Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court, Waltham Forest LBC et al, Secretary of State for HCLG intervening [2020] […]

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Age UK London urge landlords to look out for their older tenants

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 27 May 2020

Age UK London have published a list of different ways that landlords can support older tenants during the COVID-19 crisis. They are urging landlords to get in touch with their older tenants to ensure they are safe and well and receiving all the support they require. The number of older […]

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Does the Covid-19 lockdown mean I can delay starting my appeal or application to the Tribunal?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 04 May 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every part of the justice system, with most hearings being conducted by telephone or videoconference where they are not postponed. The Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal is in some ways in a better position than other courts and tribunals since most of its work […]

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How quickly should an HMO licence application be processed?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 02 Apr 2020

In a recent blog post Richard discussed the government’s online HMO licence application process and raised the question of whether tacit consent can apply to licensing as the government website suggests (read here). He kindly invited me to write a further blog post discussing this issue. The concept of tacit […]

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Government encourage local authorities to pause new additional and selective licensing schemes

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 01 Apr 2020

In response to COVID19, new government guidance is encouraging local authorities to pause all additional and selective licensing schemes not yet in force. The guidance was published on 28 March 2020 as part of a wider package of guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities. It reinforces the vital importance […]

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First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber postpone all London hearings in response to COVID19

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 25 Mar 2020

In response to the COVID19 crisis, the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber have issued new Directions that apply to all London cases with effect from 19 March 2020. Regional Tribunal Judge Powell has postponed all listed hearing dates including mediation hearings until after 29 May 2020. The postponement applies to all […]

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Delay new property licensing schemes, says safeagent

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 18 Mar 2020

safeagent, the leading not-for-profit accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents, is calling for new property licensing schemes in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) to be placed on hold to free up resources. In the wake of the Coronavirus, safeagent says licensing schemes not already in force should be delayed […]

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Do landlords who already have an EICR need a new report to comply with the new electrical safety regulations?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 26 Feb 2020

The Government published the draft Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 in January which, subject to parliamentary approval, will impose new electrical safety standards in private rented properties from July 2020. The new regulations will be phased in – coming into force on 1 June […]

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A matter of respect: Upper Tribunal reinstates ‘generous’ penalties for Housing Act 2004 licensing offences

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 17 Feb 2020

In Waltham Forest LBC v (1) Marshall (2) Ustek [2020] UKUT 0035 (LC) (read here), the Upper Tribunal has affirmed that, when considering an appeal against the amount of a financial penalty imposed under section 249A, Housing Act 2004, the First-tier Tribunal must give “special” and “considerable” weight to the […]

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Submitting HMO licence applications via the gov.uk website

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 28 Jan 2020

Whilst many councils have developed their own HMO licence application process, some councils signpost landlords to the online application process on the gov.uk website. In some areas, it is the only way you can apply for an HMO licence. Late last year, I was instructed to prepare an HMO licence […]

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Residential Property Tribunal Decisions – December 2019 update

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 15 Dec 2019

Following the rapid expansion of housing regulatory powers, the role of the First-tier Tribunal has become increasingly important as an entry level challenge and review mechanism for the regulatory decision-making process. Keeping abreast of Tribunal decisions can be challenging for all parties. Whilst we publish blogs on significant Upper Tribunal […]

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Section 21 notice of seeking possession: “use it or lose it”

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 29 Nov 2019

The ‘use it or lose it’ rules at s21(4D) of the Housing Act 1988 (read here), which apply only in England, prevent a landlord from starting a possession claim more than six months after a section 21 notice is served. The rule that a section 21 notice would expire after […]

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How does the property licensing ‘fit and proper person’ test apply to spent convictions and underlying conduct?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 15 Nov 2019

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) has held that local authorities may – consistent with the protections in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and when determining applications for property licences under the Housing Act 2004 – consider evidence of conduct underlying spent convictions, and that they are in principle entitled […]

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Banning Order stops landlord from letting property for five years

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 19 Sep 2019

A banning order has been made against a landlord in Telford, David Beattie. The order will prevent Mr Beattie from letting housing in England (or engaging in letting or property management work) for a period of five years, subject to an exception allowing him to deal with some existing tenancies. […]

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Upper Tribunal ruling on licence revocations when a property is sold

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 21 Aug 2019

There has been an interesting new decision on the licensing of houses in multiple occupation. In Taylor v Mina An Ltd [2019] UKUT 249 (LC) (read here), the Upper Tribunal (UT) has overturned a refusal of a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) by the First Tier Tribunal (FTT). In some ways […]

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Successful appeal against a civil penalty for an alleged HMO licensing offence

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 13 Aug 2019

Since 2017, local authorities have been able to impose a financial penalty if they are satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that someone has committed a relevant housing offence in England. The relevant offences are: If a relevant offence has been committed, the council can issue a penalty of up to £30,000 […]

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How to rent guide updated, again!

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 02 Jul 2019

On 31 May 2019, the government updated the How to Rent guide (here). This was the guide introduced as part of the changes made by the Deregulation Act 2015. The guide needs to be given to all tenancies that are new or renewed for a new fixed term after 1 […]

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Could a change in Prime Minister spark a change in policy for the PRS?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 30 May 2019

With Theresa May having announced she will step down as Prime Minister, the private rental sector will cast an eye on events, with more than a passing interest in the consequences. The past four years have brought radical change to the buy to let industry, at a time when demand […]

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An end to “no fault” eviction? A legal FAQ on the repeal of section 21

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 03 May 2019

The Government has announced that it is consulting on plans to abolish “no fault” eviction in England by repealing section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. The proposed scrapping of section 21 is to be accompanied by a package of reforms to residential tenancy law, including changes to the Section […]

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What is the acceptable size for a bedroom in a licensed HMO?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 19 Mar 2019

What may seem like a simple question unfortunately has no simple answer. In my experience, assessing the suitability of bedroom sizes is one of the most challenging aspects of HMO licensing. It is an issue I first touched on in a blog published in 2016 (read here). In this latest […]

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Fitness For Human Habitation Act places new obligations on private and social landlords

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 15 Feb 2019

Just before Christmas, on 20 December 2018, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill received its Royal Assent becoming the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 (‘FFHH’ for short) (read here). This Act makes changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that all landlords ensure that […]

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Is the hiring out of property on Airbnb a breach of the lease?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 10 Dec 2018

Bermondsey Exchange Freeholders Limited v Ninos Koumetto (as Trustee in Bankruptcy of Kevin Geoghehan Conway) (2018) (Unreported) This was an appeal before HHJ Luba QC on whether the short term letting/commercial hiring of a flat on Airbnb was prohibited by the terms of a lease, and whether the granting of […]

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Is a ‘let only’ agent responsible for HMO licensing?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 22 Nov 2018

Many letting agents still take the view that licensing a property is something for landlords to worry about and they can simply leave it up to them. But managing agents who consider that ensuring that any required HMO or selective licence is in place is not their responsibility are quite […]

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Why Rent Repayment Orders can pose a significant financial risk for private landlords

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 15 Oct 2018

It is over 12 years since Rent Repayment Orders were first introduced under the Housing Act 2004. The legislation enables local authorities and/or tenants to recover up to 12 months rent if a landlord operates a licensable property without applying for a licence or a temporary exemption from licensing. In […]

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Important changes to section 21 notice of seeking possession procedure after 1 October 2018

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 06 Sep 2018

As all landlords and agents should be aware the Deregulation Act 2015 made substantial changes to the operation of section 21 notices in Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England. These changes first came into effect on 1 October 2015 but only for tenancies which started or were renewed for new […]

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Court decides that property licensing fees must be charged in two stages and the names of occupants cannot be demanded on a licence renewal application

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 10 Aug 2018

The case concerns R (Gaskin) v Richmond-upon-Thames LBC [2018] EWHC 1996 (Admin) A three Judge Divisional Court has decided that the HMO licensing scheme under Part 2, Housing Act 2004, is an authorisation scheme for the purposes of the EU Services Directive 2006 (EU Directive 2006/123/EC) and the Provision of […]

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Conviction for managing an unlicensed HMO quashed on appeal: an application must be decided before instigating a prosecution

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 19 Jul 2018

Mirza (1) City Based Lettings Limited (2) v Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Crown Court, HHJ Gittins, on appeal from Newcastle Magistrates’ Court, 8 June 2018 The Appellants appealed against the decision of the District Judge finding them guilty of three offences under s.72(1) Housing Act 2004: having control of or […]

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Environmental Health and Housing: issues in public health

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 13 May 2018

A staggering amount has changed around housing policy and law since Environmental Health and Housing was first published in 2001. The completely revised second edition, ‘Environmental Health and Housing: issues in public health’ is due for publication in June 2018. This edition places environmental health more centrally within the public […]

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Can a landlord really say ‘No DSS’?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 16 Mar 2018

A recent report on the BBC (read here) has raised the issue of whether or not a landlord can refuse a tenant solely on the basis of them being on state benefits. It has been quite widely reported and has even caused a question to be raised in the Welsh […]

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Khan and Reid: the Upper Tribunal considers the length of landlords’ property licences

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 05 Dec 2017

Twice this year the Upper Tribunal (UT) has considered appeals relating to the length of a landlord’s property licence. The first appeal was Waltham Forest v Khan [2017] UKUT 153 (LC) and the second was Waltham Forest v Reid [2017] UKUT 396 (LC). In both appeals the UT examined Waltham […]

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Letting agent fee ban bill published

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 10 Nov 2017

The government has today published its response to the consultation on banning letting agent fees to tenants (read here) along with a draft bill (read here). Consultation Response There was a disparity between the views of agents and tenants in terms of the response to the consultation. Most agents felt […]

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Fire safety in HMOs

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 20 Jul 2017

The shocking events at Grenfell Tower have rightly brought renewed attention to fire safety in residential property. Over the following weeks, months and years there will be a forensic examination of both what went wrong at Grenfell Tower, and more generally, how the regulatory framework for fire safety can function […]

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The absolute tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 26 Jun 2017

The Grenfell Tower fire should never have happened – pure and simple. The fact that it did and with such disastrous consequences represents a fundamental and systemic failure in the management, refurbishment and regulation of our housing stock. At least 79 people are dead or missing presumed dead according to […]

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The court of appeal gives guidance on the use of housing improvement notices

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 19 Jun 2017

In Wood v Kingston Upon Hull City Council [2017] EWCA Civ 364, the Court of Appeal considered who should be served with improvement notices and what should be contained in them. The background Mr Wood was the freehold owner of a first floor flat. Kingston upon Hull City Council considered […]

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The importance of client money protection for landlords and tenants

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 07 Jun 2017

Following recommendations from a government working group to move forward with the mandating of Client Money Protection (CMP) for agents in England, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell announced the following via Twitter on the 27th March: “Today we confirmed we’ll require all agents to protect the client money they handle.” CMP […]

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Are you thinking about investing in HMOs?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 17 May 2017

Understanding all the rules and regulations around Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) is never an easy task. Will the property need planning permission or an HMO licence, what is involved in managing an HMO and is it the right investment decision for you? With so many landlords thinking about entering […]

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Your starter for TEN: temporary exemptions to property licensing

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 10 Apr 2017

There are sometimes situations where a landlord, through no fault of their own, finds themselves falling foul of one of the property licensing schemes created by Part 2 or Part 3, Housing Act 2004. That is HMO or selective licensing. Landlords can commit criminal offences and be liable for fines, […]

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New civil penalty regime marks a step change in housing regulation

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 06 Apr 2017

Today’s announcement (6 April 2017) of new civil penalty notices for certain housing offences is likely to come as a surprise for many landlords and letting agents (read here). After all, the compliance risks are huge – a civil penalty of up to £30,000 could be enough to drive many […]

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Investigating carbon monoxide poisoning in private rented homes

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 21 Mar 2017

In early 2016 I was contacted by The National Grid with regards to Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. During the call I was made aware of an investigation about a number of C0 poisoning incidents following an ambulance call and A&E treatment over the weekend. According to National Grid, the common […]

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As a house in multiple occupation (HMO) landlord, am I liable to pay council tax?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 07 Mar 2017

The rules governing who is liable to pay council tax when the property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) are complex. The definition of HMO for council tax purposes is different to that contained in the Housing Act 2004 and used in the context of residential property licensing. Whether […]

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Advice for Landlords: How NOT to do rent-to-rent

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 13 Jan 2017

‘Rent-to-rent’ or ‘guaranteed rent’ has become a popular business model for landlords and letting agents, particularly in London. In a rent-to-rent arrangement the landlord grants a lease to an individual or company, usually for 2-3 years. That person then finds tenants who will occupy the property on a short term […]

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Could you help to improve the health of children and communities in Africa?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 14 Dec 2016

In the UK we are extremely fortunate; we take safe drinking water piped to our homes for granted, while people in countries like Uganda and Zambia are not so lucky. Can you imagine having to carry all the water you use from a dirty pond more than 1km away? The […]

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Should criminal record checks be extended to landlords and letting agents?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 30 Nov 2016

A strange question you might think and why would it be needed? Yes, fully understandable for employment that involves working with children but for everyone letting out a private rented property – surely a regulatory step too far? Well, under a little known clause inserted in section 125 of the […]

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Disturbing Changes to The Property Ombudsman Letting Code

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 27 Oct 2016

The Property Ombudsman has made some further amendments to its code of conduct for lettings agents (read here) as from 1 October 2016. This is part of a change to all of the various codes of practice. There are a number of small changes but there is also one very […]

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Streamlining the licence application process can save time and reduce costs

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 11 Oct 2016

Keeping up to speed on all the new landlord licensing schemes has become an increasingly complex task for landlords and letting agents. Yet discovering your property needs to be licensed is the first of many hurdles you will need to overcome. The process of applying for a licence can vary […]

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Can you transfer a mandatory HMO, additional or selective licence to a new owner?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 15 Sep 2016

With the roll out of property licensing schemes, it is much more common for investors to purchase a property that was licensed under a mandatory House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), additional or selective licensing scheme. Knowing that a property has been licensed will provide some reassurance that a licence application […]

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Helping landlords carry out regular safety checks and meet their legal obligations

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 28 Jul 2016

Conditions for England’s nine million private tenants in rented accommodation are currently worse than in any other housing sector according to Government reports. Around a third of properties fail to meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard and millions of tenants experience potentially life threatening risks, such as electrical hazards and […]

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HMO Licensing and Fees, Again!

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 08 Jul 2016

When a landlord seeks a licence from a local housing authority to use his property as an HMO or because a selective licensing scheme is in operation the local authority is entitled to charge a reasonable fee, set by them, as a pre-condition for processing the licence application. The power […]

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Will my mortgage lender find out if I apply for a property licence?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 21 Jun 2016

If you are renting out your property, you need to ensure that you have permission from your lender or you could find yourself in breach of the terms and conditions of the mortgage, and that is not a good place to be! It is an issue I often get asked […]

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HMOs and Landlord Notices

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 01 Apr 2016

I was recently instructed on an interesting case defending a prosecution for a series of HMO offences by a London borough with a substantial licensing scheme. The property was illegally sub-let which meant that the landlord was in breach of his existing licence conditions. The prosecution was defended at trial […]

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Understanding the role of the Property Ombudsman

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 08 Mar 2016

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme has been providing landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers a free, fair and impartial alternative dispute resolution service since 1990. More than 27,000 sales and lettings agents are currently registered with TPO which is estimated to represent 95% of sales agents and 85% of letting agents […]

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GetWinterReady campaign for landlords helps prevent a potential claim

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 25 Feb 2016

This winter has already been a trying one for many landlords. The storms sweeping across Britain in December and January have left a lot of damage behind, to homes and businesses in Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Scotland. At the moment, it looks like more storms might be on the way. […]

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The How to Rent guide has been updated from 1 February 2016

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 09 Feb 2016

The update has been caused by the introduction of the Right to Rent also on 1 February which requires landlord to check the identity and immigration status of all their occupiers. The How to Rent guide has been updated so that tenants are aware that landlords will be asking for […]

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Earn more in rent by charging less with RentSquare

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 01 Feb 2016

An inefficient housing market currently leaves landlords needlessly out of pocket as countless properties are unnecessarily left unoccupied. These void periods result from properties being marketed at prices that tenants either: a) think are too high for the size and location, or b) cannot afford Sitting around waiting for an […]

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What is the minimum size for a bedroom in a licensed HMO?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 25 Jan 2016

If only I could give you a simple answer! The issue of room sizes within licensed HMOs is something that is regularly debated amongst property professionals and causes huge confusion for all concerned. So when it comes to room sizes, how do you know what rules apply in your area? […]

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Should mandatory HMO licensing be extended in 2016?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 22 Dec 2015

As many people will know, the government’s consultation on widening the mandatory HMO licensing scheme closed on Friday 18 December and a decision is expected early in 2016. As a Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner with significant expertise in housing regulation, I wanted to share an excerpt from my own personal […]

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Landlords must make sure that they are aware of licensing

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 24 Nov 2015

There has been a recent HMO prosecution appeal which makes a key point about publication of property licensing schemes. When making an HMO licensing designation there is a duty under s83 of the Housing Act 2004 on the local authority to ensure that the designation is notified in the local […]

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New Regulations on heating provision in HMOs

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 05 Nov 2015

New regulations on the provision of heat and energy in HMO properties have the potential to affect a great many HMO landlords. A European Union Directive on Energy Efficiency was updated in 2012. One of the key elements of energy efficiency is ensuring that those people who are directly using […]

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London Property Licensing: the first six months

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 21 Oct 2015

Six months ago today, we flicked the switch and launched the London Property Licensing website. I remember the moment well. It marked the culmination of months of hard work, research and innovative web-design to develop a new web-based information resource for London landlords and letting agents. But at that time […]

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Property Redress in London: how does your Borough shape up?

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 18 Aug 2015

It is estimated that more than a quarter of households in London are now renting their property. With demand for rental property far outstripping supply, tenants are facing steep competition to secure a place to live in the capital. It has been reported that up to nine tenants are chasing […]

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The government are proposing new measures to crack down on rogue landlords

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 06 Aug 2015

On 3 August 2015, the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched a consultation document on a range of new measures to crack down on rogue landlords who rent out unsafe, overcrowded and badly managed properties. The government point out that 4.4 million households now rent privately in England, […]

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Tackling rogue landlords: analysis of private rented housing prosecutions in London

Author: Bumblebee Design | Date: 12 May 2015

There has been much discussion about the need to take effective action to crack down on rogue landlords who evade the law and place tenants’ lives at risk. In 2013, Shelter launched a campaign to ‘evict rogue landlords‘ and to date, over 100 councils have signed up including more than […]

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