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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Why the government’s scapegoating of landlords for the rental crisis must end

Earlier this month the Tenant Fee Ban was introduced, after much fanfare from the Government. However, it is not the only piece of regulation and policy change set to affect the landlord market this year. It joins what can only be described as a slew of restrictive government policies – including tax changes, tougher HMO requirementsand the recent announcement / threat to ban ‘no fault’ evictions– whichmany would agree amount to an unfair and sustained attack on the landlord market.

It is clear the government seems to have forgotten landlords are oftenjust ordinary, hardworking people and savvy investors,who have saved to buy an additional property as a nest egg or source of income. A report from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) recently criticised the government’s approach, concludinglandlords are unfairly being discriminated against and scapegoated for the rental housing crisis.

By squeezing profit margins and pushing landlords to exit the market, there is a very real danger that the recent government policies will start to undermine the UK rental sector altogether. The fact of the matter is, the rental market is growing, and landlords fulfil an incredibly important role in providing essential property stock. Instead of increasing red tape and making it harder for landlords to turn a profit, the government should be supporting and encouraging the sector.

Appropriate planning is now incredibly important to ensure you avoidany financial, practical or legal ramifications of new and upcoming legislation. So, as a landlord, what should you be doing to navigate this new regulatory landscape and make sure your assets are protected?

As most will know, the Tenant Fee Ban means the only payments that can now be levied at tenants by landlords or agents are rent, dilapidation deposits and default fees, with the deposit limit reduced from 6 weeks to 5.However, the biggest danger for landlords is the removal of an agent’s ability to charge for tasks like reference checks. Nightmare tenants can wipe out profit through property damage or failure to pay rent. It is therefore vital to commit to paying for reference checks and a rent guarantee to ensure all parties are fully protected. Alternatively, make sure you are using a reputable agent who will continue to carry out these tasks properly, potentially by using deposit replacement schemes that include these as standard.

Another significant change has been to HMO licenses, traditionally required in any property where five or more people live over three floors but are not part of the same family. Non-compliance can result in unlimited fines, a criminal record and a ban from acting as a landlord in the future. What many don’t realise is that HMO rules can be different for each borough, and numerous councils are getting much stricter about enforcement (encouraged by the fact they now profit from any fines!). For example, in Camden, London, HMOs are now required for any property with three unrelated persons, and also within properties on a single floor. Tenants are also being invited to report non-compliance, encouraged by the fact that landlords can be forced to repay all rent to tenants for the length of their contract. In just one of the London boroughs, there have been 1,200 prosecutions of landlords and agents for HMO breaches in the last five years, so ensuring you are HMO compliant by checking your borough’s specific rules is an absolute must.

On 20th March this year, the Homes Act 2018, or ‘Fitness for Human Habitation Act’, also came into effect. While not entirely new, rather a clarification and bringing into line of previous legislations, it is harsher in a number of ways. There are now 29 hazards that landlords are responsible for monitoring – including damp, mould, cold, asbestos, heat, and radiation to name a few. Tenants can take landlords to court and sue if it is found they have failed to maintain standards in one of these areas. The problem here is that it can be incredibly difficult, as an independent landlord, to both have the necessary knowledge on these matters and make sure you are compliant. This is where a knowledgeable and reliable agent or advisor is key.

Finally, the government have also announced that they intend to end ‘no fault evictions’, by removing the Section 21 notice. Although their proposals presently lack any real detail, this will make it even harder for landlords to get rid of disruptive tenants. Their current suggestion that Section 8 notices should be used instead, by which grounds such as failure to pay rent must be provided for eviction, are little comfort thanks to a backlogged court system thatwith three-to four-month delay in hearings can make this an incredibly lengthy and costly option. Given the lack of detail, there might still be opportunity to adjust this law, and so lobbying MP’s and Parliament members on this could provide some relief.

Rental yields are improving and buy-to-let can still prove to be a good investment for many, so you should not necessarily be put off. However, it is vital to remember the onus is now on you to put the necessary precautions in place to protect both your property and rental income.

Information and education are key – to this end I will also be hosting a number of round table events aimed at helping local landlords understand and navigate recent policy changes. Attendees will be able to ask questions, gain insight and discuss their experiences with experts from Martyn Gerrard, ARLA and local councils. For more information and to register your interest click here or email HO@martyngerrard.co.uk.

Simon Gerrard is the managing director of Martyn Gerrard.

  • SCN Lettings

    Unfortunately landlords and agents are just " vote fodder" for the main parties. But what they fail to realise is that there are 2.5 million landlords and god knows how many agents who will have a vote.

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    I doubt the tories will gain many votes from tenants though, generation rent would be more likely to be left wing or too lazy to vote at all.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    If push comes to shove I could accept S21 being replaced by revised S8 conditions................................. EXCEPT in cases of rent default.
    That way everyone would know it wasn't a no- fault eviction; it was for rent default
    Surely nobody would support a system which would allow tenants not to pay rent until evicted!?
    Indeed the S21 process in cases of rent arrears should allow immediate removal of rent defaulting tenants by police with no need for recourse to court action after 1 month and 1 day of rent default which is 2 month's in rent arrears.

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    Shelter and Councils advise tenants to stay put and not pay rent until evicted currently.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    I'm not sure about the paying rent thing as you could still be evicted but with no rent arrears.
    So tenants should still pay rent even if they are delaying vacating by forcing the LL to evict them.
    I could suffer some relatively small court costs as long as tenants paid the rent til vacation date.
    Of course tenants don't pay rent as they know the LL can't and probably won't do much about attempting recovery.

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    In Hounslow Borough, S.8 evictions takes over 11 months, minimum legal costs £5,000, plus building renovations-for excluded occupiers (Lodgers).

    The Govt.’s ‘Rent a Room’ and Residential Property investment schemes should be regulated by FCA or another regulatory body to penalise them if a warning ⚠️ sign is not published to clearly state ‘The Landlord/Homeowner/Investor Will lose all the income from Rent, and will incur additional building renovations, as well as potentially high Legal costs when following these schemes’.

    Paul Barrett

    Mate you simply are talking utter b###ocks!!
    Go away and do some research after which you will find you are completely wrong about lodgers

     
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    Abi, I can't understand how you say a sec 8 takes 11 months, would you like to email me the details via my web site contact please ?
    Thanks

     
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    Possession Friend UK,
    Apologies it took a while to get the details from my friends:
    Timelines-excluded occupier:
    06 Oct 18 - verbal notice 1 month NTQ, lodger refuses to accept, txts the landlords, goes to Hounslow council.
    The council advise lodger to seek a written NTQ, duly provided by Landlords, taken to Council by the lodger.
    Oct 18-Council tells the homeowners in writing that they have classified and are satisfied that the lodger is a tenant by way of definition under the Housing Act 2000 hence not to attempt to ask them to leave without a Court order, or the landlords will face criminal proceedings. Also with multiple false allegations including that CCTV has been installed in shared areas to spy on the lodgers breaching their human rights to quiet enjoyment of their home (confused-as it’s also the Landlord’s home, they live there), although this couple have had CCTV in their home since 2016!
    Nov 18-The Landlords have a face to face meeting with Hounslow Council staff for an amicable solution, very disrespectful & arrogant Council staff team member repeats the same as per the Oct 18 letter above, advising the Landlords to wait till Feb 19 before giving 2 months NTQ & obtaining a court order for eviction.
    The lodger stops paying rent-apparently based on the Council team members advise.
    Dec 18-No Rent. The Landlords decide to contact a solicitor, who contacts Hounslow Council and gets the same answer as above. Issues a s.21 notice with 2 months NTQ.
    Feb 19-Lodger doesn’t leave, suddenly another female and 3 children appear in her room. No rent & Anti social behaviour getting worse due to Council support, s.8 issued provides another 2 weeks NTQ.
    06 Mar 19-s.8 application in court. Court date received for 24 May.
    Apr 19 - Lodger assaulted one of the landlords & damages property inside the home, which is reported to Police, who ask for the evidence that it was the lodger. No action taken by Police due to lack of evidence, & they are unable to evict, advise against changing locks as there are children seen in the room, Landlords advised to wait for court order to evict, and call 999 in case of an emergency.
    May 19-Eviction order issued on 24 May, 2 weeks for lodger to leave.
    Jun 19-Lodger doesn’t leave on 6th June, Solicitors applies for Bailiffs to Hounslow court & receives an email from the Hounslow council team asking for the Bailiffs court order so that they can House this excluded occupier lodger redefined as tenant by them.
    The solicitor estimates that due to courts being busy (based on the time gap from application submission to previous hearing date), & council involvement, it may be July or even possibly August before the lodger/tenant can be evicted.
    11 months timeline is based on the first notice in October 18 to lodger/tenant till estimated quitting and room repossession expected in August 19.
    So this couple has lost rent since Nov 18, and still waiting for s.8 eviction to gain repossession of a room in their home.
    Hope it provides the necessary information.
    Sharing it on this platform rather than by email, to make other users aware and hopefully assist if they are facing a similar situation.
    I am ignoring the nonsensical comments by PB in this thread re Lodger’s eviction.
    Landlords must be aware that if a local Council gets involved, the same process as a tenant eviction has to be applied to evict a lodger.

     
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    Agree 100% PB

    Paul Barrett

    But what is even more worrying he is a housing advisor with alleged legal knowledge.
    I bet the Council run rings round this twit.
    His can anyone be so ignorant especially having been involved in the housing sector.
    I live his contention the homeowners have to psy for repairs for excluded occupiers!!!!!!?
    Homeowner to lodger.
    If you don't like the conditions FO!!!!
    But then surely we are only talking about a room or would the Live-in LL accept living in bad conditions.
    His house His rules.
    Don't like it FO!!
    It seems there is far more knowledge about things in these for a than any alleged housing advisor can give.
    I've never heard so much rubbish being spouted.
    If this is the standard of advice that Hounslow tenants/lodgers receive then god help them!!!

     
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    Paul Barrett - Clearly the lodger/tenant is going to get a house based on the court order.
    LL is out of pocket with lost rent, legal expenses and damaged room plus shared areas in this case. Perhaps you should rent to a lodger in Hounslow, Ealing, or Hillingdon to personally see the issues faced by the LL’s due to laws favouring lodgers/tenants, before publishing anything else showing more of your moronic intelligence in a professional forum.

    Paul Barrett

    Mate you simply don't understand the lodger laws.
    It matters not if a lodger objects to being given NTQ subject to it being the NTQ period agreed in the Lodger Agreement.
    The LODGERS should have been locked out.
    The Council was in no legal position to stop a homeowner booting out lodger/s.
    If lodgers refuse to go the most expedient way to legally get rid of them AFTER the NTQ period has expired is to change the locks while they are out.
    They are entitled to have their goods and chattels returned to them.
    This maybe at the doorway.
    But under NO circumstances should the homeowner/live-in LL allow the lodgers readmittance.
    This is all basic stuff you should know.
    The regulations governing lodgers are completely different.
    To assist you in your ignorance I recollect an excellent site devoted to all things lodger..
    I believe a Mandy Thompson runs it.
    What she doesn't know about lodgers isn't worth knowing..Trouble is I cannot for the life of me remember the site.
    Try a search on property 118 which I'm sure you must have heard of.
    I believe you must accept that your knowledge about lodgers is very poor.
    That is potentially not your fault as most housing issues involve TENANTS.
    But they are two very different species!!!
    Hounslow Council has managed to pull the wool over your eyes.
    They are obviously very adept at deceit which let's face it is their job!
    To convince any LL not to make lodgers or tenants homeless for obvious reasons.................basically it would cost a fortune to house the legally removed lodgers.
    What better way than to BS a lodger LL to prevent removal of that lodger in a timely fashion.
    You simply have to accept you are wrong and that Hounslow Council have done you and your associate up like a Kipper!!!
    What is done is done.
    You might be able to refer the matter to the Local Govt Ombudsman.
    But they are mostly useless.
    I suggest let bygones he bygones but only on the basis that you educate yourself about lodger regulations.
    This will then put you in an excellent position to proffer informed opinion.
    I learnt the stuff about lodgers from the likes of Mandy.
    I believe on property tribes the ever so clever David Smith who is part of the RLA and is vastly experienced in all things housing etc that he has info on the site about lodgers and their status.
    These are people that can be implicitly trusted!!
    Trust what they say and you won't go wrong.

    But as a advisor you should know all this already!
    It seems you DON'T.
    DON'T trust what Hounslow Council state.
    They have an agenda and will not give impartial advice!!!
    Councils will lie and cheat in an effort to prevent lodgers and tenants from being made homeless.
    The HRA has put even more financial pressure on Councils.
    They will do anything to prevent homelessness.
    That includes lying and cheating.
    Checkout the Spareroom website.
    Much very useful info on there.
    Think about this if lodgers had the rights that Hounslow Council maintains is the case do you honestly believe that spareroom would be as successful as it is!?
    The beauty of the web is that for our issues there are a few very knowledgeable professionals who are prepared to share what they know with us dummy LL.
    Only by keeping up to date on what they state do I know what I know.
    I rely on them to prevent me making costly mistakes that have occurred with your associate.
    Obtaining relevant knowledge to prevent issues is always the better way.
    But you must engage.
    I am on various LL fora and I read all the threads.
    This is a daily thing.
    Do it while watching the TV or in alone time in the smallest room in the house!!!!
    If you don't believe me check out the sites I have mentioned where you will find I speak the truth.
    Remember the whole point of all this engagement is to stop LL of all types being stitched up by Govt and Councils.
    So we all working towards the same end and would not knowingly give you duff information!!
    My moronic intelligence by the way is far superior to yours on this lodger issue.
    Indeed I have houses in Ealing which are let to TENANTS.
    if I chose to let to lodgers I know that I could get rid of them easily and there is nothing Hounslow Council could do about it
    Statute Law overrides Hounslow Council every time.
    Lodgers do not have tenant rights and your associate does not and did not have to use S8 to remove them.
    Go away and do your research and I expect an apology for calling me moronic!!
    There is also a very knowledgeable LL on property tribes called Gary Hodge.
    Lodgers are his thing and I defer to him every time.
    Gospel or as near as you can get is what he does.
    He has only been a lodger LL for about the past 10 years........so what does he know!!!!
    Have a post with him.
    Yours is a very interesting case.
    It is a salutary warning has to how Councils can take advantage of the poirbokd LL.
    Don't get MAD; get even, educate yourself

     
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    Paul Barrett & others contributors in this forum-
    The existing Lodger eviction case is coming to a close now awaiting Bailiffs order. My friends do not wish to change the locks now & face any legal issues/criminal record at their age so they convey thank you for the advise re lodgers.
    They had read Gov.UK and online advise before responding to the Council, were subsequently advised by the lawyer and Police not to change the locks on lodger’s or main home door to avoid criminal charges.
    These are educated, a retired school teacher and public servants so their intellect and ability to research and do the right thing is higher than most of the ones claiming to know better about English laws re Lodger eviction (or any other matters).

    However since I have seen many similar cases in Hounslow & Ealing with LL’s needing to go to court for lodger evictions, if anyone has a local Person, Locksmiths’s (aware of similar scenarios) or contacts in these areas, I can share it with the voluntary organisations including CAB teams to help empower LL’s.
    I am guessing it’s an individual decision of LL’s-some would be happy to take the risk by changing locks, others wouldn’t especially if the CAB, Council, Police and Solicitors advise against it.
    A voluntary/pro bono organisations can not advise to change the locks and make a lodger homeless, they can provide referrals to the LL’s Or Lodgers to contact the Council, Royal Mail, Lawyers, Interpreters (for non English speakers), Support organisations & advise them to search websites etc.
    Any useful contacts info will be appreciated for sharing with local LL’s.
    This matter is closed now.
    Thank you.

     
  • Suzanne Morgan

    I agree and posted a small comment here yesterday.REad MY LIPS. SPARE ROOM LODGERS HAVE NO TENANCY RIGHTS.

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    Suzanne Morgan:
    Your lips statement does not hold true in a court, & poor landlord would end up with a hefty fine, criminal record with prison sentence of community service along-with paying rent back or compensation to the lodger!!
    Anyone taking your advise will be in Landlord today’s news highlights ‘Landlord jailed and fined by a judge in Hounslow (or Ealing). Lodgers/excluded occupiers do have rights if the Council supports them. As per the Hounslow Council, Met Police & a County Court judge criminal proceedings and fines Will (not Can) be issued if a Landlord/Homeowner attempts to evict a lodger without a court order, followed by a Bailiffs order if the lodger doesn’t leave just after the first court order!
    Anyone taking the theoretical advise of ‘Lodgers have no rights’ & changing main door or room locks beware of local police, council and judge (if a lodger goes to court) issue criminal proceedings.
    Should anyone in this forum require evidence of this fact, just search the database of Ealing and Hounslow Boroughs county court cases.
    Matter closed. Thank you.

     
  • Paul Barrett

    Oh dear it is very sad you have come to your very incorrect conclusions.
    If someone listened to you very few homeowners would take in LODGERS.
    They do because they KNOW the Lodger has no tenancy rights.
    You simply don't understand the law and yet you continue to peddle your misunderstandings.
    You don't need intellect to work out that what you state is simply incorrect.
    The law is the law and I can assure you that under NO circumstances do you need to use the S8 or S21 process to get rid of lodgers.
    It maybe that in your case there was some doubt as to whether they were LODGERS.
    A live-in LL must be able to access all areas that the lodgers occupy.
    Any locked doors are OK providing the LL has a key to access those locked areas.
    Changing locks to prevent the entry of a Lodger to a property is the only practical way that a live-in LL has of preventing a lodger from returning who has received NTQ which has expired.
    There can be issues if lodgers have exclusive use of a part of a home whereby the LL cannot access.
    That inadvertently creates a potential tenancy.
    But providing there is no doubt as to the status of the occupiers as lodgers then they are to be dealt with as such.
    You won't be told and you insist that you are correct.
    Nobody on here agrees with you.
    You are doing a disservice to your fellow LL in maintaining the rubbish that you are correct.
    I suggest you don't bother posting in future as you refuse to accept you are wrong and as such this confuses those who might be considering taking on lodgers.
    Indeed I have a 4 bed house in Ealing which potentially could become my PPR.
    I would intend to take 3 single and unrelated Lodgers.
    Note that it would be only 3 unrelated lodgers plus me.
    As soon as there are 5 occupiers the property is subject to Mandatory HMO licensing with all the issues that causes.
    Should I need them to vacate I would follow the statute law to get rid of them.
    There is nothing Hounslow Council could do to stop me.
    Indeed I would refuse to have anything to do with Hounslow Council as it is none of their business how I get rid of my lodgers providing I follow the due legal process which I understand how to manage and you DON'T.
    YOU bizarrely insist on sticking to your misconceptions.
    You believe council and police when they are both wrong.
    Indeed you can call Police if the lodger attempts to gain access once the locks have been changed.
    I suggest that you attempt to converse with Matt Hutchinson who owns Spare room.
    His very successful business has been founded on the flexibility of the lodger process.
    He probably understands more than many how the lodger process works.
    You need to educate yourself because if you don't you could end up giving duff advice to other lodger LL which would be unconcionable seeing as you have been given all the correct advice.
    I suggest you stop listening to Hounslow Council and the Police neither of whom have a clue about the correct lodger eviction process.
    You really do need to listen to your peers and stop believing you are correct when it is so obvious to everyone that you aren't.
    As your associate is very near the end of the process you are using to get rid of the lodgers you might as well let things take their final course.
    But ultimately a this has been unnecessary.
    Obviously a great shame your associates have been led up the proverbial garden path.
    It has cost them time and money NONE of which has been necessary.
    Perhaps out of this whole sorry saga everyone has learnt something.
    As an aside the lodger strategy is one that is to be commended to the many homeowners that have spare rooms.
    If these were fully utilised it would make significant inroads into the housing issues of the UK.
    The Spareroom website is the defacto place that lodgers visit to source lodger accommodation though it is also possible to arrange AST lettings as indeed I have done on a few occasions.
    A very effective site and for my particular usage FREE!!
    As it happens I have NEVER had to give NTQ.
    The lodgers have always done that.
    As regards my tenants taking in lodgers I always encourage my tenants to take on a lodger if they are struggling financially.
    Providing I know the lodger details then this process works fine.
    When I have evicted a tenant the lodger goes at the same time!!!
    In light of your experience you may wish to make representations to Govt as to how the Rent a room process is being compromised by rogue councils using law inappropriately when it comes to getting rid of lodgers who refuse to vacate when given notice to.
    Perhaps there needs to be more explicit Govt information disseminated to councils to ensure they do not provide erroneous advice and carry out legal processes incorrectly.

  • Suzanne Morgan

    Paul Barrett. Great post. The spare room site is very specific and addresss all the information required when signing up both for LL and Tenant. Have used if for years
    Hope that others are now clear on this issue.

    Paul Barrett

    Yep I just believe it is a great shame that the lodger process has been used incorrectly.
    This brings the excellent RFR strategy into disrepute.
    This is completely undesirable.
    It is hard enough to persuade homeowners to take in lodgers as it is.
    This scare story where things have been done incorrectly is enough to put anyone off.
    It would put me off!!!
    Fortunately I know more than ABI but other perhaps more nervous homeowners would read the details of this case and decide not to take in lodgers.
    That would be a shame but that is what fake news does.
    In light of the current housing shortage in areas of high demand lodgers are a partial solution to this problem.
    Lodgers should be encouraged.
    Indeed I would go further than Govt has and allow all lodger income to be tax free.
    No lodger LL declares more than the current RFRA of £7500 anyway.
    Govt cannot detect anymore received.
    So just have done with it.
    ALL lodger income should be tax free.

     
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    Paul Barrett - Hope everything turns out well with your prospective lodgers in Ealing for the Council or Chiswick CAB to not send you any warnings.
    LL’s in this specific case had relied on Gov.UK Rent a Room Scheme, & Lodgers agreement from Spareroom, total residents 3 adults from different household families (2 LL’s-1 lodger). Hounslow Council overruled Spareroom document (signed agreement by both parties) & Police advised LL’s to contact CAB.
    CAB and any of the countrywide Law Society staff or volunteers work within defined statutory compliant guidelines and would not advise anyone to ignore Council or Police advise.
    2 clear options were left for LL’s-1. Change locks to take the risk of criminal proceedings, dragged out court case & fines by council along with the stress and social stigma, or 2. Apply to court for lodger eviction via s.21 or s.8 rule using Self representation or appoint a solicitor. They opted for 2nd method.
    Spareroom is indeed a good website, nonetheless if a lodger doesn’t leave and Council gets involved (Hounslow or elsewhere), along with the Police refusal to remove the lodger despite ASB, then there is no other lodger eviction alternative to a court case & long wait to follow the due legal process.
    Landlord Today, Gov.UK, and Spareroom are amongst the resources advised/shared with LL’s (as well as tenants) approaching Met Police, CAB, Age Concern and pro bono Law/other voluntary Societies reference documents. Best wishes to everyone considering Future LL ventures with Lodgers sharing own home. Do so with an informed Risk based approach. Hopefully it will be successful. Have a great weekend All.

     
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    There is no Houses Crises, no shortage of housing, they are just building thousands of flats clearly not required, look around you its mad. there are huge Council waiting lists and no surprise how big that is, many are on there not because they couldn't live without it but because its subsidized of free, they are not stupid when you have designed a system where everything is provided & there for the taking just push Husband to one side and they qualify. The Government must hate the family Unit to have gone to those lengths to destroy it, no wonder their children have issues & Society gone to the dogs, now packing them into high rise Flats which is what's happening not good for kids stuck in there playing weird games on their consul or watching crazy films getting fatter every day getting obese ending up with health problems, maybe getting fire brigade to take down the door to get them out. Flats without gardens waste of time for children, why not spent the money building proper houses with gardens like 1930 although big developers wouldn't as much money for old rope as repetition Concrete Frame that would be a shame.
    Then help to buy nonsense costing the Tax Payer £Billions to subsidized plus loss of Stamp duty & in many cases not required as they could have bought anyhow, have you seen the figures so many earning £80k pa others even over a £100k all on new build up to 600k in London probably all Flats, existing property don't qualify more nonsense looking after big developer.
    Regarding the Law on LL's or lodgers there is no such thing for sure, the Council is well above the law and do what ever they want and get a cut of the spoils, if you do everything right don't think that you are protected, have you not been following the cases after which they call it a successful outcome and give themselves a clap on the back as if there was ever going to be any other outcome.

  • Suzanne Morgan

    Abi I am correct as are other contributors here. Spare room lodgers with a resident landlord the landlord can give notice as the lodger does NOT have a tenancy Fact Fact Fact. Please accept this as legal irrefutable fact.

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    Suzanne Morgan - It’s a theoretical fact as per Gov.UK, Spareroom and relevant laws, until a Council decides that the Housing Act 2000 overrules a Signed Lodger agreement (received by LL from Spareroom in this case) to redefine a Lodger as a Tenant.
    The Lodger uses shared areas with LL (to date).
    LL’s have been told in clear terms to wait for Bailiffs or face arrest by Met Police (instead of entering the room or changing locks) although they have the keys to Lodger’s room.
    Therefore the Housing Act has to be considered when advising anyone to only rely on Spareroom, Gov.uk or other excellent free resources available for public to use.
    Not sure if this is a Council staff fraud case or a friend helping friend using internal processes, but the Council team member also updated the Tax register to show the Lodger as the Primary resident liable for tax, although the signed Spareroom Lodger agreement clearly stated that the Council tax and all bills were included in the Lodger’s monthly rent.
    The LL became aware after the council tax team wrote to them about credit due on their bill hence they called the helpline to check why they had received a credit note. The tax team response was ‘there was an internal “miscommunication” resulting in removal of LL’s/homeowners name from the council tax bill’.
    Fast forward, the LL started receiving postal mail from multiple unknown names at their address, they had to contact CAB and Royal Mail to get that stopped. The lodger accused LL of having withheld her passport expected by postal mail hence although she wanted to but couldn’t leave. We assisted LL and Royal Mail confirmed in writing that the Lodger had redirected her as well as several other people’s mail from LL’s home address.
    This is just one of many cases of Lodgers defrauded LL & Council Housing/benefits system.

    Each Council uses their own criteria’s about Lodgers-the Law is in favour of Lodgers (or Tenant’s), Police and courts go by The Council’s rules-LL’s beware. Best wishes with your Lodgers.

     
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    Michael Foley
    Your observations are 100% correct, both in historic and current housing situation context, plus children’s lifestyle disadvantages in jungles of bricks without private gardens. Thank you.

  • Paul Barrett

    No Council would ever beat me.
    They would be given short shrift.
    If the lodger strategy is allowed to be compromised then that defeats a major plank of Govt policy.
    Govt needs to impose some order here.
    We simply cannot have Councils inventing rules which don't pertain.
    Hounslow Council seems to be off the scale as to its incompetence.
    As regards your other comments totally agree with your contentions.
    Can't see anything changing though can You!!!??

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    Paul Barrett - Landlord Today is already recommended and referred by on most of Property/Real Estate investors, owners Legal and Professional as well as Voluntary bodies.
    As you are Ealing based, I have sent a recommendation to local CAB and Law Society Admin staff to include contacting yourself (subject to relevant laws) for help re any LL’s in dispute with councils regarding Lodger agreement status/eviction. The volunteer organisations will engage with yourself subject to their internal processes.

    Thank you for your and everyone’s contributions increasing all users knowledge base.

     
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    Agree , i love taking on the council, useless clueless brainless. Over paid apart from the gardeners, cleaners. Not the contracted out on 25 year contract workers, crazy idea. They rip us off on Council Tax. Should Tax students. Sack police commissioners and rebate our council tax.

  • Paul Barrett

    ABI mate you won't give up will you!?
    You are simply wrong in all your contentions.
    However you now mention Council Tax fraud.
    There maybe more to this case than meets the eye.
    Under NO circumstances can lodgers appear on Council Tax statements.
    The property is the home of the live-in LL and therefore is responsible for any bills.
    Lodger rent is meant to include everything including toilet rolls EXCEPT food and clothes washing powder.
    Though I included everything except food.
    From what you quote there may have been some skullduggery going on here.
    WITHOUT the FULL facts it ISN'T really possible to assess the veracity of things.
    But for a normal lodger situation without frsud then what I and others have stated is correct.
    Hounslow Council is wrong though with fraud that might throw a different light on things.
    Please stop disseminating incorrect information about lodgers.
    Something appears to have gone very wrong in your case.
    But your case cannot and must not be considered as representative of the way the normal lodger process works.
    Under no circumstances would I allow any lodger to have a bill in their name.
    It is my home therefore my responsibility.
    I supply basic bband and of course if the lodger wanted enhanced facilities then they would have a bill for that service in their name.
    When you advise that fraud has occurred then that might change things.
    Council Tax fraud is a serious criminal offence.
    You can end up in prison!!!
    But please stop comparing lodgers with tenants as though they are the same thing.
    They aren't!
    It doesn't matter how many times you keep repeating your incorrect information you are still wrong!!
    I have been a victim of Council Tax fraud by a rogue tenant who I eventually evicted.
    I was able to beat her as she didn't pay imagine I would do as I did.
    She was a serial fraudster and it was my error of judgement in taking her on.
    So your case may not have been a normal lodger situation.

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    Paul Barrett - Unfortunately your statement ‘Under NO circumstances can Lodgers appear on Council Tax statements’, is 100% inaccurate.
    I have seen the signed lodger agreement, Hounslow Council tax bills for the last 2 years pre lodger arrival, and post lodger Council tax after the Lodger went to the council to complain about LL having given a notice to vacate room without a Court Order.
    Legally speaking, a lodger can get a Council tax bill from Hounslow council once they have a Lodgers agreement-quoting from Hounslow council’s advise to the solicitor.
    As I said in previous comments-Councils have the power to overrule a Spareroom or other legally drafted Lodger’s agreement. If a Lodger refuses to leave, & LL changes the locks, when Councils get involved then the LL is certainly looking for potential criminal prosecution, loss of rent and further short/long term ban on becoming LL/having lodgers in their home. That’s the reality of this case, regardless of whatever you have experienced.
    LL beware of sharing your home with lodger/s.
    Eviction of a tenant from A separate property where LL doesn’t live may cost financially but it doesn’t impact LL’s own home lifestyle, a difficult Lodger supported by Council does!
    So again, LL should be aware of risks of taking in Lodgers under rent a room Scheme. Sure enough, in case of lodger or council problems, they should approach you first instead
    of local CAB, Law Society Or a Lawyer/Residential evictions specialist.

     
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    I love taking them on aswell jobsworths the lot of them basically the mafia in my eyes but at least the mafia admit who they are. We are taking the council and DWP to court because they paid the housing direct to numerous tenants already in months of arrears after us filling out the forms for direct payment cost us over 15k in rent due to their internal errors. They said get it off the tenant even though it was their mistakes .We are going to go for the jugular these parasites just can’t keep getting away with their outrageous incompetence and sneaky money grabbing tactics to say I hate them isn’t strong enough

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    I agree totally, get them into court, good on you.

     
  • Suzanne Morgan

    Paul thanks for your post to Abi I had given up or I should have gone off and shot myself !! As you say, there is more to Abi's friends situation than meets the eye. I for one am more than happy and content to know how the law currently stands. I rent a property out to tenants and also have a lodger under the spare room scheme and know the difference as am licensed under Smart Wales accredited Landlord License as is the law in Wales.

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    Suzanne Morgan - There is nothing more than the Hounslow council harassing a LL with a Lodger in their home. You shooting (or not) yourself wouldn’t change the reality of this LL needing a court order+Bailiffs to evict a lodger from their home in Hounslow.
    Somehow I am sure that this LL would rather live with empty rooms in their freehold home (at least for the next 6-12 months whilst contemplating taking Council to court, complaining to MP’s etc) without the stress of keeping a lodger/stranger in own home or use the Govt’s Rent a Room Scheme even if Hounslow council had a registered landlord scheme or offered them 5 times the rent to keep lodgers.

    Personally we have 3 spare rooms but being involved in these type of cases at least 2 days every month, I would certainly not share my home with a lodger due to laws clearly being against LL’s & Council’s overruling legal Lodger agreements resulting in high costs & stress for LL’s.
    In closing, Lodger agreements are worthless if a council states so.
    S.21 Or s.8 Due Process to obtain a Court order+Bailiffs order will be required for Lodger eviction if a Council asks for it. LL would face criminal proceedings, fines and a ban if using any other Lodger eviction process.

    Paul Barrett

    You may state what you state but the facts are you are wrong..Councils cannot overrule a lodger agreement.
    They cannot convert it to an AST or common law tenancy.
    Yours is a strange case and if it was as you stated the whole RFR scheme would be undermined.
    Perhaps you should contact the MHCLG.
    Explain to them that Hounslow Council have ignored statute law etc etc.
    It could well be that your representations bring about a change in lodger law etc.
    In 40 years I have never heard of a live-in LL having to use S8 to get rid of lodgers.
    I have used S21 and S8 to get rid of 5 rent defaulting tenants.
    I would never have used the process to get rid of a lodger.
    In your case something seems to have gone horribly wrong.
    You may wish to pursue this situation to achieve compensation from the council though I would imagine you are pretty fedup with the whole situation and just want to move on.
    We appreciate your warnings but us lodger LL are extremely confident about our understanding of lodger law and as such we can safely disregard your experience.
    It is obviously a great shame that you have been given all this aggro by a clearly incompetent council.
    My sympathies are with you but I know I and my fellow LL are supremely confident that our understanding of lodger law is correct and yours ISN'T!!
    I can see how you might be given to believe certain things based on your bitter experience with Hounslow Council.
    I would suggest that you should not be put of in the future from using the lodger strategy.
    It does work as evidenced by the millions of home owners who do take on lodgers safe in the knowledge that they can get rid of them if required relatively quickly.
    If your experience was repeated across the sector there would be millions of homeless lodgers.
    It would also be the case that lenders would withdraw permission from homeowners to take on lodgers.
    Currently a lender will usually permit 2 lodgers.
    If lodgers were now subject to S8 and S21 such permission would be withdrawn.
    Obviously if the property is mortgage free the homeowner can do as he wishes mindful of the new Mandatory HMO regulations.
    I think your case just shows how extremely rogue some Councils are.
    Any court would rule against them and award compensation.
    But all that would cost time and money which I doubt you have much of.
    As such this arrogant council might well pull the same stunt.
    As yet I don't have lodgers in my Ealing house so it is academic for me.
    But I know I will have no problems at all should I ever need to remove a lodger from my Ealing property in the borough of Hounslow Council.
    You with your bitter experience have a much more jaundiced view of this and I don't blame you!!
    But for now us lodger LL will carry on as before WITHOUT any qualms that what was visited on you won't be on us.
    But thanks for your warnings anyway.

     
  • Suzanne Morgan

    Abi . thank you for your response to my post. You have been respectful all the way through this long dialogue here. I spoke to my sisters partner who is a solicitor regarding the Spare room letting to a lodger and he concurs with me and Paul that a lodger occupying a Spare room in a domestic household where the family pay rates and bills and charge only for the accommodation have no legal right to remain if the home owner terminates the license with appropriate notice. If the lodger shares facilities such as a kitchen and stays as a 'paying guest' then there is no tenancy agreement. It would be the same provision as a guest house or care home. You have been shafted or who ever is in the predicament you tell of has been shafted. These facts are from a Para Legal who deals with Estate/Letting Agent in Chepstow. Good luck however and hope the appalling situation is resolved your end.

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    Take this useless council on and also ask their legal team to put it in writing, they will run for the hills Abi.

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