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Opinion: 'Tricky legal road ahead' for RTB

14th April 2015

By Jonathan Turner.Head of Housing at law firm Bevan BrittanThe issue of providing affordable housing is now at the centre of the election debates after today’s Conservative proposals to give housing association tenants the right to buy their homes. The vision is to promote a new generation of aspirational property owners – while balancing the need for thousands of new affordable homes across the country. But there is a tricky legal road ahead. Feelings are strong on all sides, wit...

Private landlords demand council delays licensing scheme

26th March 2015

A private landlords group is demanding that Liverpool City Council postpones the launch of a city-wide licensing scheme. According to the National Landlords Association (NLA), the scheme's current application process - which is due to go live on 1 April - will put every landlord in Liverpool in breach of the law. The NLA also claims that the current online application process provided by the council does not meet legal requirements to allow landlords to comply with the new scheme, which would make...

Housing officer jailed for rape

25th March 2015

A former council housing officer has been jailed for raping a "vulnerable" woman. Clive Glasford, who worked for Birmingham City Council, attacked the single mother at her home while her child slept next to her. Birmingham Crown Court heard that on 12 December 2013, the victim awoke to find Glasford, 47, having sex with her. The trial's judge said: “She was unconscious which meant she was in no position to consent. When she woke up she tried to stop you doing what you were doing. The pos...

Council seizes £400,000 family home

24th March 2015

A council has taken possession of a four-bed house as part of a crack down on empty properties. Croydon Council used a complusory purchase order to seize the detached home in Purley, which has been abandoned since the mid-1990s. The local authority took the step as a last resort after years of unsuccessfully trying to get the owner to do up the property and ensure it was lived in. It will now auction the house to a suitable buyer who must then refurbish it and let it to new tenants within an a...

OPINION: Landmark disability discrimination judgment

19th March 2015

By Jonathan Hulley (photo), partner and head of housing management at Clarke Willmott LLP The Supreme Court’s recent unanimous dismissal of an appeal against the eviction case between affordable homes provider Aster Communities and one of its tenants, Mr Jonathan Akerman-Livingstone, who suffers from complex post-traumatic stress disorder, is a significant development in the debate on the nature and role of duties owed by public and private landlords under the Equality Act 2010. The ruling mean...

Supreme Court ruling fails to end benefits cap controversy

19th March 2015

The government’s benefits cap remains so controversial that even court rulings are seen in a radically different way. In the latest development, anti-child poverty group CPAG said the Supreme Court had ruled Wednesday that the cap breaches international law on the rights of children. However, CPAG added that the court declined to overturn the controversial policy, leaving the issue to be settled “in the political, rather than the legal arena”. In stark contrast, Work and Pension...

Hyde Group secures its first Unlawful Profit Order

18th March 2015

Hyde Group is warning any tempted residents not to illegally sublet their homes after the housing association secured its first Unlawful Profit Order. The unnamed tenant was ordered to pay a total of £17,662, including Hyde's 5k legal costs, and told to vacate the property within 14 days at a county court hearing in Croydon. The tenant had sub-let the whole property and consequently lost assured tenancy status. The UPO was introduced through the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013. ...

£500,000 inheritance tax-dodger jailed

10th March 2015

A woman who lied to avoid paying more than £500,000 inheritance tax has been jailed for nearly three years. Following the death of her aunt in 2010, Theresa Bunn told HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that the estate was worth around £285,000 - which is below the threshold for paying inheritance tax. However, an HMRC investigation discovered that the estate was actually worth more than £1.5 million. The 56-year-old confessed that not only had she failed to declare substantial cas...

Minister hastily backtracks after condemning benefit sanctions

4th March 2015

Business minister Nick Boles has withdrawn his comments that benefit sanctions are "inhuman" and "unreasonable" and instead said he was "a strong supporter". The Daily Telegraph reported that Boles got into hot water after his local newspaper, the Grantham Journal, said he’d hinted of future changes by a Conservative government. In a humiliating withdrawal, the Tory MP for Grantham and Stamford said: "Benefits sanctions are an essential part of our reforms to end the something for nothing cult...

Loan shark prosecuted

27th February 2015

A loan shark has been prosecuted on two charges of illegal money lending. Nondon Roy, 25, from Prestatyn was sentenced yesterday via video link to four months' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 in costs. Roy, the owner of a food takeaway, was lending in the Rhyl area to members of the Pakistani and Bangladeshi community. He previously appeared at Caernarfon Crown Court in January to plead guilty to two charges against him. Th...