Lying tenant jailed

A landlord spoke of his “horrendous” three-year ordeal after a Leeds tenant who faked a statement to back up a county court claim against him was jailed.

 

Elaine’s Moxon’s false statement contributed to a judgement going against landlord Zareef Latif which left him facing county court fines and costs of more than £30,000.

Mr Latif was the landlord of a house in Leeds which was rented by Moxon and her husband from 2011 to 2015.

In 2016 Mr Latif sued Moxon for rent arrears of £4,200.

 

Moxon launched a counter claim for damages and claimed Mr Latif had dumped her property on the street before changing the locks after evicting her and her husband.

A judge subsequently ordered Mr Latif to pay £24,800 to the Moxons for damage to property in respect of her counter claim, plus court costs.

Mr Latif later discovered that Moxon had used her cousin’s name without her knowledge to put a false statement before the court.

Mr Latif reported his findings to police and applied to have the county court judgement against him removed.

Moxon, 52, admitted perverting the course of justice.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said, “It was a thoroughly dishonest and wicked thing to do.”

Mr Latif said, “This woman has put me through an absolutely horrendous ordeal for the last three years.

“It has been a nightmare. She is now where she belongs and I hope to be able to get on with my life.”

Landlord who crammed two tenants into one loft is given big fine

A landlord who crammed six tenants into one house, including two into one converted loft space, has been ordered to pay £15,000 in fines and costs.

 

Suresh Nathan Paramaswara, who owns a three-storey house in Totteridge, must pay £15,281 after failing to obtain a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) licence.

Paramaswara was convicted at Willesden Magistrates Court.

 

Barnet Council inspected the unlicensed property following a tip-off and found four separate lettings and four tenants in “unsatisfactory conditions.”

A Barnet Council spokesperson said “if Paramaswara had applied for a licence, the council would have identified these unsatisfactory conditions during the licensing inspection.”

Couples face record 59-week wait for a divorce

Separated couples are facing a record wait to get divorced as a result of regional divorce centres trying to process a backlog of older cases, according to The Law Gazette.

The Ministry of Justice published quarterly statistics covering January to March this year, showing the average time from petition to decree absolute is 59 weeks.

The ministry says the figures ‘represent the highest figures so far for the periods covered by this bulletin and is a result of divorce centres processing a backlog of older cases.’

The Law Gazette reported that Jo Edwards, head of family at Mayfair firm Forsters, said,

“For years we have been warning that the system is almost at breaking point. It is now clear that the effect of legal aid cuts, lack of funding for signposting alternatives to court and swaths of court closures across the country, has been profound. People are issuing applications in higher numbers than ever before and the courts soaking up the work of the hundreds that have been closed are swamped. As the president of the family division has recently said, the pressure on all those working in the system is immense and taking its toll.”

 

Not all landlords aware of impact of tenant fees

Not all landlords are aware of the impact of the tenant ban fees which came into force in England last month, as reported by insidecoveyancing.co.uk.

According to agents Chestertons, landlords are still unaware that the ban looks back as well as forwards. It says that as the legislation is enforceable on all Assured Shorthold tenancy agreements, landlords don’t just need to adjust, but they must become aware of the complexities involved with unravelling existing tenancies.

It is believed that many landlords are unaware that sections referring to extra costs on agreements drawn up before 01 June 2019 may not be binding when it comes to a tenant moving out of a property, or once the tenancy renews.

As reported by insidecoveyancing.co.uk, Donna Ingram, Head of Tenancy Services at Chestertons said,

“Many landlords are unaware that if a tenant moves out after 31 May 2020 costs cannot be charged to the tenant, even if these were written in to a tenancy agreement. Landlords could be in for a shock next June when services, such as an end of tenancy professional clean, cannot be charged to the tenant despite a clause in the contract. So the wording of tenancy agreements is more important than ever to ensure peace of mind and prevent landlords from being caught out.”

 

 

Thousands of renters in England are living in unsafe homes, according to new research

According to new research, hundreds of thousands of renters in England are living in damp, rotten and unsafe homes.

According to Citizens Advice, although a third of landlords find it hard to keep up with changing rules and regulations, they don’t know their legal obligations.

Citizens Advice is calling for a single national body to set standards for the private renting sector.

Gillian Guy, from Citizens Advice, said, “Too many private renters live in hazardous homes – often with potentially fatal flaws.

“Weak and confusing regulation means landlords can struggle to understand their legal obligations, while tenants find it hard to get problems in their homes resolved.

“The government must establish a national housing body to ensure landlords let property that meet legal standards and gives renters the support they need when they don’t.”

 

New divorce law could lead to ‘spike’ in divorces

Justice secretary David Gauke has said a new law could lead to a ‘spike’ in divorces, but the rate is ultimately like to “remain much the same.”

Mr Gauke said people were holding off until the law changed leading to an increase “in the waiting list.”

Mr Gauke added that it was vital the reforms were made to end the divorce “blame game.”

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill removes the need, in England and Wales, to find fault in order to start proceedings immediately.

The bill was approved by MPs at its second reading.

Mr Gauke told the Commons current rules prevent couples from separating “if they have grown apart” unless they have the means to live apart for two years.

He also said a change in the law would help in situations where there is one abusive partner, but the other does not want to raise these issues in court.

 

 

 

Fraudsters target pregnant woman in ‘cash for crash’ scam

Three people who targeted a pregnant woman in an £18,000 “cash for crash” scam have been sentenced.

City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department discovered the victim had manoeuvred behind the fraudsters’ car on the roundabout when they suddenly braked, causing their victim to crash into the back of them on the M5 roundabout in West Bromwich.

 

Police became involved when insurer Hastings became suspicious of personal injury claims received after the incident.

The court heard the trio claimed that they suffered injuries to their spine, upper back or shoulders. The total value of the claims was £18,000.

 

All three pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and were sentenced.

 

 

Det Con Kevin Hughes, who the led the investigation for IFED, said, “In an effort to make some money, these fraudsters put the safety of the victim and other drivers around them at serious risk.

“It’s a relief to know that no-one was injured, including the victim. Thankfully she and her baby were unhurt.

“Thanks to the initial referral by Hastings Direct and their support throughout our investigation, we were able to ensure these fraudsters were brought to justice.”

 

Model for Online Court moves in to RTA Claims

The dispute resolution forum seen as a model for England and Wales’ online court has begun handling road accident claims in the first step to taking over 80% of all such cases in the province, according to the Law Gazette.

Shannon Salter, tribunal chair, revealed the online tribunal has now taken its first two MVA (motor vehicle accident) PI cases since extending its jurisdiction into this sector in April. The court has exclusive jurisdiction to handle claims up to £29,600 under legislation passed last year to resolve a crisis at British Columbia’s government-owned motor insurer.

The Law Gazette reported that Salter said,

“To put it mildly, PI lawyers were quite displeased about this change.”

To date, the court has handled only two motor vehicle cases, both of which settled at an early stage.

It is expecting to take on 30,000 claims a year.

The online process starts with the presumption that the case is not going to end up in the tribunal, with parties passing through a voluntary negotiation stage and a mandatory mediation stage before they get to adjudication.

 

 

Divorce law shake-up proposed in Commons

Legislation aimed at reducing “mudslinging” between divorcing couples in England and Wales has been proposed in the Commons.

The government says the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill is the biggest shake-up of divorce laws in 50 years.

At present, one spouse must allege adultery or unreasonable behaviour by the other for divorce proceedings to start straight away.

If the bill passes, spouses will only have to state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This can be a joint statement.

The government says the bill has cross-party support and hopes its passage through Parliament will be smooth.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “Marriage will always be a vitally important institution in society, but when a relationship breaks down it cannot be right that the law adds fuel to the fire by incentivising couples to blame each other.

“By removing the unnecessary mudslinging the current process can needlessly rake up, we’ll make sure the law plays its part in allowing couples to move on as amicably and constructively as possible.”

 

 

Divorcee awaits ruling in multimillion-pound court fight with ex-partner

An American divorcee is waiting for a judge’s ruling on the latest round of a High Court fight over millions of pounds worth of property with a former partner.

Mandy Gray, 50, is suing New Zealander Hamish Hurley, 46, after ending a six-year relationship.

They are arguing over the ownership of a “collection of supercars”, a villa in Italy and a farm in New Zealand.

Mr Justice Lavender analysed preliminary arguments about whether or not the fight should be staged in England at a High Court hearing in London.

He is expected to produce a ruling in the near future.

Mr Hurley, who lives in New Zealand, said he was not “domiciled in England” when with Ms Gray and a judge in England should not analyse the dispute.

Ms Gray, who lives in London, said Mr Hurley was domiciled in England “and only be sued here.”

The judge heard the car collection at the centre of the dispute was worth several million pounds and included Ferraris, Porsches and McLarens.

Lawyers representing Ms Gray said she bought the assets at the centre of the dispute.

Ms Gray has described Mr Hurley as a “gold-digger, par excellence” and said he subjected her to “emotional and mental abuse” and “on a number of occasions’” assaulted her.