Renters unsure after change in law

The new law which makes charging upfront fees for services including viewings, credit checks, references and setting up a tenancy illegal has still left renters unsure.

Landlords or agents found charging the fees can be fined £5,000 for a first offence.

 

According to the English Housing Survey, the average amount of additional fees paid before the ban was between £100 and £300,

According to the BBC, research from Citizens Advice found 42% of people paying letting agents’ fees had to borrow money to pay them.

 

Enquiries to Citizens Advice about tenant fees increased by 54%, to 430, in the month after the law was introduced, while The Property Ombudsman (TPO) received 68.

The BBC reported that a TPO official said most had been from renters unsure whether the new law affected existing tenancies.

Those who signed a tenancy agreement before 1 June may still face fees in their contract for the next 12 months, including renewal fees.

 

 

Home Office refuses to end indefinite detention of immigrants

The Home Office has rejected calls from parliament’s human rights committee to cease the indefinite detention of immigrants, according to The Law Gazette.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) recommended a 28-day limit on immigration detention, claiming the current detention system is ‘slow, unfair and expensive to run.’

Earlier this year the JCHR said, ‘Indefinite detention causes distress and anxiety and can trigger mental illness and exacerbate mental health conditions where they already exist. Moreover, the lack of a time limit on immigration detention reduces the incentive for the Home Office to progress cases promptly.’

Last week, the Home Office that a time limit would ‘severely constrain the ability to maintain balanced and effective immigration control, potentially incentivise significant abuse of the system, and put the public at risk’ as reported by The Law Gazette.

Chair of the JCHR, Harriet Harman, said, ‘Home Office immigration detention is arbitrary, unfair and breaches human rights. Repeated detention and release, which characterises the system, shows that it must be reformed.’

 

 

Airbnb host fined £100,000 for letting council flat

An Airbnb host who rented out his council flat to tourists has been fined £100,000 and evicted.

Council tenant Toby Harman, 37, created the fake identity “Lara” to rent out his flat.

Harman was taken to court. Following a failed appeal he was evicted and ordered to pay £100,974 in unlawful profits.

Airbnb said the council property listing had been removed from its website. A spokeswoman said,

“We regularly remind hosts to check and follow local rules – including on subsidised housing – and we take action on issues brought to our attention.

“Airbnb… works with London to limit how often hosts can share their space and we support proposals from the mayor of London for a registration system to help local authorities regulate short-term lets and ensure rules are applied equally to hosts on all platforms in the capital.”

 

 

Dubai ruler to face divorce hearing in London’s High Court

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s divorce hearing against his wife, Princess Haya, will resume in London’s High Court this week.

 

Princess Haya, who was educated in Britain, left her husband and moved to the UK.

Both parties released a statement earlier saying the legal battle related to the welfare of their two children and not divorce or finances.

 

One issue that has been highlighted during the case is that of one of the Sheikh’s older daughters, Princess Latifa, who said that he shouldn’t be given custody of his young children, saying she was kidnapped and forced back to her father when she tried to flee the family home in Dubai earlier this year.