Unhappy tenants can now sue their landlords

A new law has come into force enabling people living in rented accommodation the opportunity to sue their landlords over unfit homes.

On Wednesday, March 20, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act came into effect, allowing tenants to go to the courts if they feel their landlord is not keeping their property well maintained.

This Act will apply to tenancies of less than seven years in England and Wales in an update of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

 

Legal action can be taken on a number of issues, including properties that are too cold or too hot, have damp or mould as well as noise and lighting issues.

 

 

 

 

Businessman ordered to give his ex £25m

An Omani businessman worth more than £300million has been ordered to give his ex-wife £25million after she argued she needed a £400,000-a-year for holidays and a further £60k for pocket money.

The Family Division of the High Court in London heard the case of Talal Al Zawawi, 48 and his ex-wife Leila Hammoud, 36.

Ms Hammoud said she needed £400,000 a year for holidays for her and their three children, more than £60,000 a year to buy jewellery, more than £60,000 a year ‘pocket money’, £60,000 a year for ‘spectator events’ and £24,000 a year to buy shoes.

Mr Justice Holman concluded that about £21 million would meet her needs and about £3 million would be suitable for the children’s needs.

The calculations included more than £5million for a house and £75,000 for a car.

The judge said Mr Al Zawawi and Ms Hammoud could be named in media reports but he said their children should not be named.

Mr Justice Holman highlighted that under Omani law Ms Hammoud would get no financial provision and said it was right that she should make a cash claim in England.

 

Humanist marriages ‘least likely to end in divorce’

According to new figures, Scottish couples who chose a humanist wedding are less likely to divorce than those who had other types of marriage ceremony.

The statistics were revealed by BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme, obtained from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS).

Humanist weddings have been legal in Scotland since 2005 and are now reportedly more popular than Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic weddings combined.

In 2017-18, there were 5,702 humanist marriages in Scotland.

Northern Ireland legally recognised humanist weddings last year after a Court of Appeal ruling said it would breach human rights not to do so.

In England and Wales humanist ceremonies are permitted but do not carry legal recognition, meaning humanist couples must register their marriage civilly if they want to have a humanist wedding.

 

Home Office to amend registration rules for vulnerable EU citizens

The Home Office reached an out-of-court settlement with the charity The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) who had threatened a judicial review over the registration system for EU citizens.

JCWI agreed to drop its application for a judicial review after Sajid Javid’s department made changes to its guidance to caseworkers in relation to vulnerable citizens.

The Public Law Project, acting on behalf of the JCWI, said, “Following key concessions to the claim by the home secretary, JCWI have today withdrawn their claim.”

It said the agreement would have implications for hundreds of thousands of citizens nervous about their status because they were elderly, a carer, a stay-at-home parent, mentally ill, a student, homeless or out of work through no fault of their own.

As part of the settlement, the government has unequivocally confirmed it will not refuse settled status to anyone who is “economically inactive”, works part-time or lacks private health insurance.

The government has also amended rules that would have allowed Home Office caseworkers to refuse settled status to EU citizens who had previously been served with a removal notice.

Cash Buyers Saving Thousands when buying Property

New research suggests cash buyers can save thousands of pounds when buying a house compared to those buying with a mortgage.

 According to finance specialist One77 Mortgages, who analysed house price data from the Land Registry, it costs those buying with a mortgage on average 9 percent more than cash buyers.

Alastair McKee, managing director of One77 Mortgages, said,

“Many home sellers will be drawn to a cash buyer as it can often mean a quicker, smoother selling process with less paperwork and no onward chain, which can be hugely appealing to someone that needs a quick sale in particular.

“However, savvy buyers will know they are in this stronger position and, as a result, they will often negotiate more off the asking price than they otherwise would, with the seller tending to accept it, resulting in a lower sold price achieved.

“When considering what works best for you, it’s really down to priorities. If you need to sell quickly, then a cash buyer is the way to go, but if the sold price is more important, it’s worth holding out for an offer at full asking price.”

 

 

£20k Fine for Landlord

A ‘negligent’ landlord from Camberwell has been ordered to pay costs of more than £20,000 after failing to apply for a licence.

Omo Ayoade, 45, appeared in Camberwell Magistrates’ Court after complaints from his tenants and after he failed to apply for a license.

A resident living in one of his three flats had complained to Southwark Council about bed-bugs in November 2017.

Following that, the council became aware of a collapsed ceiling that still hasn’t been fixed since it fell in.

After a council visit, Ayoade was ordered to fix the ceiling but failed to do so. The council then said they would fix it themselves and bill Ayoade for the work.

As well as failing to apply for a new landlord license, Southwark Council said Ayoade had also ignored their letters.

 

The council had already taken action against Ayoade in 2013 when he was told to pay costs and fines totalling £1,938 over failing to comply with an improvement notice after various problems with his homes were discovered.

 

Landlord accused of illegally renting out property claims he is being “ruthlessly” victimised by Council

A landlord who is accused of illegally renting out property has said he “is only helping people.”

Robert Crow, 69, is accused of breaching a court order which banned him renting out his Southend property after he was convicted of 18 offences in September.

Mr Crow attended Southend Magistrate’s Court.

His address has repeatedly been the subject of complaints of antisocial behaviour and was the scene of a stabbing in October 2017.

Mr Crow claims he “is only helping people”, saying those he has housed “would die” if not taken in.

The 18 charges against Mr Crow related to the dangerous, insanitary and substandard living conditions of the property including water leaking through lights, an insanitary kitchen, bath and shower facilities which were caked in filth and tiny bedrooms hoarded with rubbish.

 

UK Property Transactions Fall By Over A Third

UK property transactions have been reducing at a rapid rate, according to recent research.

The study carried out by estate agent software platform, Reapit, found that UK property transactions have fallen by over a third in the past three months.

Property transactions between November 2018 and January 2019 fell by 36% compared to the same time frame over the last five years.

The research revealed sellers are reluctant to place their properties on the market during such an uncertain time. The 10% market reduction in instructions during this time signifies a five-year low point.

Statistics that have been based on the five-year average also suggest properties currently under offer have declined by 8%.

Gary Barker, CEO of Reapit, said, “Although house prices remain reasonably resilient, our research sheds light on the extent to which Brexit uncertainty has affected property transactions in the past three months. Our data reveal that property sales per estate agent have dropped by a third when compared to the long term average.

“The 36% drop in sales represents an unprecedented five year November to January low. It’s doubly concerning for estate agents because seasonally, this is a quieter period for transactions compared to the summer months.

“It’s fair to say that the housing market is holding its breath as we await the Brexit outcome. Nobody wants to risk being on the wrong side of a potential house price crash, so the market sentiment is to wait and see.”