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Jonathan Sandford
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Jonathan Sandford
The law with regard to property matters is nowhere near as common sense logical as we might think and hope. A colleague of mine did a favour for an acquaintance who is a landlord here but lives in Turkey most of the time. Precisely why, I don’t know, but the ‘favour’ consisted of having the rent paid into his account each month which he then remitted to the landlord’s bank account in Turkey. There was no other involvement. A random council inspection revealed that there were 4 adults in the flat and the subsequent offence was having an unlicensed HMO. The tenants said they were all related – cousins, no less and with the council unable to prove otherwise, the HMO element was withdrawn and not having a Selective licence was substituted. The council instituted proceedings against my colleague for managing a property without a licence and of course, he totally denied this. However the law says that even though my colleague had nothing to do with finding the tenants, setting up the AST, referencing the tenants and dealing with maintenance issues that the tenants had reported, the sheer act of collecting the rent – even though it went straight into his account and straight out again was regarding by the Housing Act 2004 as “managing or being in control of a property”. A QC was retained who advised him to plead guilty to mitigate the level of fine as there was no way he would be able to win that one. He was fined £5000 with a 50% reduction because of an early guilty plea. To this day, he has never regarded himself as having been the manager of, or in control of that property and while he thinks (as do I) that this part of the law is bonkers, there was no defence that could have stood up at the Frist Tier Tribunal. The managing agent absolutely got away with one there

From: Jonathan Sandford 23 July 2021 21:02 PM

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