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Islington sets out plans to limit 'mega-basements'

27th August 2015

Residents and others have just a few more days to respond to Islington Council’s plans to limit the size of basement extensions and the impact these have on local areas. Soaring property values have led to a steady increase in the number of planning applications for the excavation of large basements in Islington, with the number of planning applications containing basement developments rising from 41 to 62 between 2013 and 2014. The council has published new draft planning guidelines, whic...

Local authorities refer 2.1 million debts to bailiffs in 12 months

27th August 2015

Local authorities in England and Wales instructed bailiffs to collect debts on 2.1 million occasions last year, according to new research by the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline.  The figure shows overall bailiff use by local authorities has risen by 16 percent in the last two years, despite calls for debt collection practices to improve and wide variations across the country. The charity’s 'stop the knock' research, based on freedom of information requests...

North Devon housing association prosecuted for safety failings

26th August 2015

A South-West housing association has been sentenced after capping off a chimney at one of their occupied properties despite the chimney being in use.  The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which prosecuted North Devon Homes Ltd at Barnstaple magistrates’ court on 13th August.  The court heard North Devon Homes Ltd employees were investigating damp at a property at Church Lake, Landkey and in an attempt to solve the problem removed a chimney and ti...

RICS calls for support for ‘millennials’ to get on the property ladder

25th August 2015

The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) is calling for more to be done to help young first time buyers better understand the process of buying a property, starting with increasing their access to knowledge of the local housing market. This news comes after a survey conducted by NatWest revealed that while optimistic about getting on to the property ladder; many ‘millennials’ (young adults aged 22-30) do not have a good understanding of the core buying matters. These include h...

Ealing court fines rogue landlord £75,215

20th August 2015

A landlord has been handed substantial fines totalling nearly £70,000 for failing to licence four properties; protect tenants; comply with improvement notices; and comply with prohibition orders. Mr Gunapalan Vamathevan, also known as Mr Bala, the owner and manager of 51 and 53-55 Old Oak Common Lane, and 10 St Andrews Rd in Acton, W3, received fines for nine offences at Ealing magistrates’ court on Thursday, 6 August. He was also ordered to pay court costs of £5,395 awarded t...

Eviction for anti-social Hackney Homes tenant

18th August 2015

A Hackney Homes tenant who brought misery to residents was evicted last week from his Homerton flat. Dennis McDonald, of Charles Burton Court in Homerton was removed from his home on Wednesday 12 August after physically assaulting neighbours and causing relentless verbal abuse. The Hackney Homes estate safety and anti-social behaviour team received reports from numerous households on the estate complaining about his intimidating and threatening behaviour. The police had arrested McDonald several...

Former social housing employee sentenced for housing fraud

17th August 2015

A former social housing employee has been handed a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for abusing her professional expertise to commit a £66,000 housing fraud. Bolarinwa Odulate failed to declare she was on the property ladder in Southwark when she applied for a second social housing property in Richmond. The 38-year-old former social housing officer used her professional knowledge to swindle benefits intended for vulnerable people. A tip-off from a housing association led to her prosecuti...

Nuisance neighbour removed using new law enforcement powers

10th August 2015

New law enforcement powers have been used to evict a woman from a property in Bury to bring an end to nuisance behaviour associated with her home. A resident of Warwick Close, was previously subject to a closure order in April following reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB) from other residents. It was ruled that they could not set foot within the property for 3 months. The type of nuisance behaviour described to Six Town Housing and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) included drug dealing and mi...

Bailiff regulation reforms leave landlords exposed

10th August 2015

Commercial landlords have raised concerns that changes made to bailiff regulation last year have made it easier for tenants to pay their rent late and remove valuable items from their premises ahead of debt collection.    The British Property Federation (BPF) has raised such concerns in a submission to a ministry of justice (MoJ) review of the first year of the revised commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR) regime.   The new CRAR legislation requires an enforcement agent (as bail...

Illegal right to buy claim ends in conviction

6th August 2015

A former Royal Greenwich council tenant has received a suspended prison sentence following his conviction for attempting to defraud £66,500 in an illegal right to buy claim. Mr Mark Kenny was found guilty and sentenced on Friday 24 July at Woolwich crown court.  In addition to paying the royal borough’s £4400 legal costs, the royal borough has also claimed back £7376 for the costs incurred placing homeless people in emergency housing when Kenny should not have had acces...

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