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Some of the top news items from the past week.

New Case Regarding Rent Repayments Orders

The judgement of the case of Williams v Parmars & Ors was handed down this week. This case regards the approach to the assessment of the amount of a rent repayment order a court should take.

In summary, an RRO was made against a landlord for an unlicensed property. Initially, the first tier tribunal held that the landlord would have to pay 100% of all rent paid to her, minus the cost of the utilities bill. After an appeal, the judge of the upper tribunal held that as the landlord was a first-time offender and it wasn’t a ‘serious breach’, that the fee the tenants would receive was 80% of the rent (except for a tenant of an undersize room who had been particularly affected, who received an award of 90% of rent).

This differs from previous cases and now the courts will have to look at what it considers to be the degree of ‘badness’ of the landlord’s conduct (and any relevant previous convictions), and set against that any bad conduct by the tenants. After this, the court will then need to come up with its reasons for where on the scale of badness it places the landlord’s conduct. This will affect the amount of money the landlord will need to pay.

Propertymark implores Government to bring in tax incentives for landlords in London

Propertymark, the letting agent body has asked that the government and local council review how landlords and properties are taxed within London, as stock continues to dry up within the capital.

Brexit and covid related travel bans have affected London’s property market, arguably greater than other areas within the UK. London has the lowest number of properties per letting branch of any other region in the UK, with 126 homes compared to the national average of 196.

In addition to this, the demand for properties in London has increased within the same timeframe, largely due to London’s houseprices being unattainable for many.

Greg Tsuman, an ARLA propertymark board member said that:

Section 24 changes and extra stamp duty on second homes has meant that landlords are paying more tax than ever before. The pending changes to energy efficiency rules will also bring further costs to landlords meaning the market will continue to be unfeasible for new and existing investors

Shelter claims that one in five renters in England is harmed by poor housing conditions

The Housing charity shelter is claiming that one in five tenants in England are harmed by poor housing conditions such as mould, damp and cold which are the main triggers affecting renters health.

According to a survey by Shelter, around 26% of tenants have suffered either mentally or physically from mould, dampness of their properties as well as being unable to heat their homes. This was followed by worries of constantly being unable to pay rent and fear of eviction as the other significant worries for tenants.

The findings came as councils also warned that waiting lists for affordable housing are set to double next year to 2.1 million. This is largely due to the fact that covid stopped many housing developments being built, an estimated 100,000 fewer houses.

HMRC cracking down on holiday day let tax avoiders

Accounting group Hacker Young have warned holiday letting landlords not to under-declare their income, as HMRC views holiday let landlords as an ‘obvious target’ for tax investigations.

The HMRC can request information from holiday letting sites such as Airbnb to check that the declared income is correct. Hacker Young have identified that this process can fairly easily identify tax avoiders.

There has been a staycation boom this summer, caused by the pandemic and lockdown, meaning that HMRC will expect to see a rise in income due to the boom. Hacker Young predict that this boom will create an added incentive for HMRC to conduct investigations on landlords.

You have been warned!

Bye Bye the Court Housing Pilot Mediation Scheme

The Government’s court mediation service for landlords and tenants undergoing possession proceedings pilot service has ended. The scheme, which begun in February 2021, was introduced as a way to ease the backlog of court cases caused by the pandemic by having free mediation with the hope of settling the matter outside of court.

However, the pilot has this week quietly been withdrawn, as seen on the government page.

It would be interesting to know why.  Could it be that it was not being used?  What do you think?


Newsround will be back next week.

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