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This one's on the house: Couple massively out of pocket after turning pub into home

1st October 2014

A couple have been left with a legal bill of over £17,000 after turning a pub into a residential dwelling without planning permission. Jacqueline and Geoffrey Noquet were this week ordered to pay £8,527.50 each in legal fees and made subject to a 12-month conditional discharge after been found guilty of failing to comply with a planning enforcement notice. At a hearing in August, Gary Grant, prosecuting on behalf of Cherwell District Council, told Oxford Magistrates’ Court that betwe...

Opinion: Injunctions in practise

1st October 2014

Victoria Power, a solicitor with the housing management team at Winckworth Sherwood, explains the power of injunctions and the new regulations to come into force this year.  It may be surprising to hear just how many of our clients are not aware of the full extent of their ability to get injunctions against their tenants and against those who directly affect their housing management functions.  Landlords.... know your rights!  As a foreword, the first thing to consider when t...

New letting agent redress schemes slammed as 'vague and bureaucratic'

30th September 2014

A set of new government redress schemes aimed at policing lettings agents have been slammed as "vague and bureaucratic" on the eve of their implementation. From tomorrow, letting agents will be legally required to sign up to one of three redress schemes that the government insists will "ensure tenants have a straightforward option to hold their agents to account". The redress schemes have been introduced in an attempt to stop letting agents charging excessive fees and employing misleading adver...

Tenants warned about housing association loft impersonators

30th September 2014

Chorley Community Housing (CCH) is warning its tenants to check the credentials of people claiming to be working for the organisations, after a spate of reports concerning bogus callers. The men, who appear to be working as a pair, are thought to be taking personal items from people’s lofts after claiming to be checking for inadequate insulation at homes in Adlington. CCH's director of operations, Richard Houghton, said: "We have had two incidents in Adlington recently where men claiming to ...

Housing benefit crook jailed after £55,000 swindle

30th September 2014

A petrol station attendant has been jailed for swindling £55,000 in housing benefit (HB). Crooked Abdul Murshid was given an 11-week sentence after Willesden Magistrates' Court heard he claimed £900 per month in HB from Harrow Council - but the rent at his part-ownership property only amounted to £200. The court heard that the married father of-four used the extra £700 to spend on his family in a fraud that went on for over six years. Murshid, who worked at the Welcome B...

Why won’t council release report on controversial Heygate redevelopment, Lib Dems ask

26th September 2014

Southwark Council's delay in the publication of a viability report on the controversial Heygate estate regeneration project has been questioned by the borough's Liberal Democrats. Despite being ordered by a tribunal to release the documents over four months ago, the council and its partner, developers Lend Lease, have failed to disclose the report - the details of which many campaigners believe will reveal that the redevelopment has been a poor deal for residents.  Now the leader of ...

Care home provider fined over dementia sufferer's death

26th September 2014

One of the country’s biggest care home providers has been ordered to pay over £170,00 for contravening fire safety laws, following a fire in which an elderly woman suffering from dementia died. Anchor Trust pleaded guilty to two offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at Woolwich Crown Court. Paula Parle died at Anchor's Rose Court in Bermondsey following a fire in her room on 26 March 2010. London Fire Brigade (LFB) investigators determined that the fire was cause...

Prison for nuisance visitor

26th September 2014

A nuisance visitor to residents in two areas of Stockport has received a 56-day prison sentence after breaching a court order. John McDonald was forbidden from entering Swinburne Green in Reddish until January next year, after repeated threatening and abusive behaviour towards a resident. The order, which was brought bout by social landlord Stockport Homes, also banned the pest from entering Pendlebury Towers on Lancashire Hill. For breaching the order, McDonald received a 28-day sentence, foll...

American domestic abuse model comes to UK

26th September 2014

A programme with a track record of breaking the cycle of domestic abuse first piloted in San Francisco is to be introduced in a London borough. Harrow Council will become one of the first local authorities in the UK to import the American Family Domestic programme, which has been successful in breaking the cycle of generational domestic abuse. Councillors unanimously approved the £200,000 funding required to set up the programme, which takes a holistic approach to tackling domestic violenc...

Children stealing £millions in housing and cash from their elderly parents

25th September 2014

A shock study has revealed that nearly £25 million in cash and property was stolen from elderly vulnerable people last year - with the majority of thieves being related to their victims. Many of the familial crooks either defrauded their relatives of money, sold their homes without consent, or applied pressure such as blackmail to persuade an elderly person to give away their home. National charity Action on Elder Abuse's (AEA) alarming report on the extent of theft committed against older pe...