Some of the main stories this week.
Errors in Section 8 Notices
In this case, the landlord issued the notice on 7 November 2018 but in error, the date for the proceedings to start was given as 26 November 2017.
The tenant claimed that the notice was invalid because of the error but the landlord argued that a reasonable recipient of the notice would realise the notice should have said 26 November 2018 and was a mere typographical error.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the landlord saying that a reasonable recipient of the notice would have appreciated that an error. David concludes
In summary, then, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that minor typographical errors in a section 8 notice will not invalidate it although these errors will need to be minor and it will still need to be clear to a reasonable tenant what is required.
David considers that similar errors in section 21 notices would likewise not render then invalid.
The Guardian has published several articles critical of Airbnb based on research showing that in some areas there is one Airbnb for every four homes.
The highest incidence of Airbnbs was in Edinburgh Old Town, where there were 29 active listings for every 100 properties. The article also cites area Woolacombe (the subject of a separate article), Georgeham and Croyde, in Devon, as having 23 listings for every 100 properties.
The effect of this is causing concern, with Dan Wilson Craw, the director of housing pressure group Generation Rent saying
The unchecked growth of online holiday lettings is depriving communities of much-needed homes. In rural areas and cities alike, the story is the same: young adults can’t afford to settle down in the areas they grew up in.
The problem is also particularly severe in London where Camden Council is now calling for a mandatory register or licensing system of short-term lettings that are listed on the likes of Airbnb.
In London planning rules restrict short term lettings without specific permission to a maximum of 90 nights per year – but data shows that some 48% of homes available for short let exceed this limit. However, it is difficult for the Council to locate these properties as owners use avoidance tactics such as listing a property across multiple sites, using different locations and different photos.
Which means that the true extent to which the short-term let market is being exploited remains a hidden issue.
The reason why many landlords are turning to short term holiday lets is that it is more profitable. The tax regime is more favourable and there are less restrictive regulations. Which leads us to …
Calls for a change in the tax regime
The National Landlord Association and the Residential Landlords Association, soon to formally unite, have issued a joint statement calling for the Chancellor to use his first Budget to reverse a decline in the supply of rented housing.
Pointing to extremely low confidence among landlords, who are selling more properties than they are buying, with others switching to short-term holiday lets for tax reasons, Chris Norris, director of policy and practice at the NLA, said
The tax system with which landlords must contend is no-longer fit for purpose. HM Treasury has constructed a series of barriers to investment, which make running an efficient and successful lettings business borderline impossible.
David Smith, of the RLA, said:
The tax system is failing. It encourages the provision of holiday homes over long-term properties to rent, it deters investment in new housing, and provides no support to those wanting to make energy-efficient improvements.
We shall have to see if this has any effect, previous similar calls having invariably fallen on deaf ears.
A warning for expert witnesses
There is an interesting story I spotted in the Law Society Gazette on expert witnesses.
The case involves a consultant who acted as an expert witness in clinical negligence proceedings. Unfortunately for the claimant, he turned out to be so incompetent, that the case had to be discontinued.
The Judge ordered him to pay £88,800 to cover the costs wasted as a result of his input saying
Whilst it would not be right to use him as an example to send a message to experts, it is right that experts should all understand the importance of their duties to the court and the potential consequences if they fail in them.
The consequence for the claimant was that she lost her entitlement to have her case tried on its merits. A considerable amount of court time has been wasted. And there were significant consequences to the NHS in terms of costs.
This was a clinical negligence case, but I don’t see why, if an expert in, say, a disrepair claim were to be similarly incompetent, a Judge, following this case, may decide to make a similar order.
The message of this case is that ‘expert’ witnesses should actually be ‘expert’ and know what they are talking about.
- Electrical safety reminder: New regulations likely to kick in this July
- Housing charity Shelter taken to task over its £15 million annual public funding
- Property Industry Eye reports on TPO expulsions and the reasons for them
- Agent fined over a two-bedroom flat where 32 people took it in turns to sleep
- Tenants’ deposits worth £5.2bn taken out of the economy last year, says new research
Newsround will be back next week.