Geoff Cunningham

Registered with
Wednesday 10th August 2016

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 13

Geoff Cunningham

11:54 AM, 12th March 2021, About 9 months ago

Sefton entraps Hotel Landlord into providing Free Emergency Accommodation to their Homeless

I thought this was a particularly egregious case so I asked a friend who worked in this area to look at it. This is his answer
"Weirdly written in the style of Piers Morgan and we know what happened to him!

I looked up the court judgement and your/the flowery rhetoric does not disguise the facts of the matter.

Ball said she had not obtained an HMO (house in multiple occupation) licence because she believed she ran a hotel. In this she was clearly incorrect. She might also have have believed she was running a fairy kingdom but the facts of the case rule out both options. It was indisputably an HMO and as such required a licence.

The judge said in his/her ruling “Ball’s main line of defence that the local authority directing tenants to her constituted permission is untenable.”

Whether or not she had given the Homeless Section to understand she had a licence is unclear but in any case The first time Council officers from the Licensing Section inspected the property in August 2018 they decided it was an HMO and informed her of this.

The first duty of a local authority is to work within the law. Once the court had ruled that the persons had been placed illegally they would have had no option other than to recover what was an illegal payment. For any officer knowingly not do do so would have made him or her personally responsible for the illegal payment and liable to surcharge. Practically this would be the Chief Exec in this case. A council may not ignore the court ruling and “write off” the money owed on the basis it isn’t fair. They might write the payment off down the road having taken all reasonable steps to recover the debt. (By then she would be bankrupt anyway)

One can view this as the all powerful Council pursuing poor inexperienced landlords or a grasping landlord trying to pull a fast one by skillful use of the regs on hotels/HMOs. It is hard to tell whether Ball falls into the latter category but I don’t think the council is at fault.

Ball made the point in her case that she was inexperienced and the judge, rightly in my view, discounted this as being irrelevant to the case. Surely any sensible person would have obtained legal advice prior to embarking on a course of action which was at best contentious.

I do think you are tilting at the wrong windmill with this one. I think the council acted entirely within the law. If you don’t like the law don’t blame the organisation charged with the task of implementing it."

2 sides to every case!... Read More

Geoff Cunningham

9:11 AM, 24th February 2021, About 10 months ago

32% of PRS stock built before 1919

Let's be clear. A brand new house built to building regs will perform badly. The design criteria are not adequate in a high fuel cost environment and in GB the as-built dwelling is only about 50% as energy efficient as the design intended. A root and branch overhaul of the way we build and inspect building is required. Think Passiv Haus. If you are not aware of how a house can be built, Google it and then lobby for it.... Read More

Geoff Cunningham

13:11 PM, 17th February 2021, About 10 months ago

Surely I am not the only landlord worried about new EPC requirements?

SAP, or Standard Assessment Procedure, is the Government method for setting the energy performance standards for new build properties. It is not an ambitious standard and is certainly not the best available. EPCs use RDSAP, which stands for Reduced Data SAP , because much of what the surveyor uses has to be assumed from the SAP standard which prevailed at the time of construction. It is a poor attempt to estimate how near the dwelling is to a poor standard.
To bring an existing building up to the near zero carbon standard which government has committed us to cannot be done easily or economically. If we are going to hit our emissions targets then public money will need to be spent. Think of a large program of works with a budget of £30k to £40k per house and 20 million houses! The good news is that the exchequer gets much of that back over say 30 years as the savings on capital spending on power provision, Vat and income tax receipts from the army of new jobs created, savings for the NHS, the boost to spending as power bills are reduced etc. etc.
Parliament is stuffed with lawyers etc but few who are the least bit interested in building. We use so much because our homes are built to outdated regulations but politicians think the way to reduce fuel bills is cheap fuel. The cheapest fuel is the fuel you don't use. Fix the fabric of the buildings first and the need for Heat Pumps (which lose their competitive advantage when the temperature outside drops) and Hydrogen boilers (which use more expensive fuel with Nox emission issues) disappears.
Not much practical help for landlords in the here and now but the direction we need to push is for better building because the problem is squarely in the lap of the government who preside over a broken system.... Read More

Geoff Cunningham

12:05 PM, 13th June 2019, About 3 years ago

10% report same problem 10 times in social homes!

That sounds like a long overdue reform. What is also long overdue is a wholesale revision of our building regs. They are not fit for purpose in a high fuel cost environment. Grenfell Tower was inspected 16 times when the cladding was installed and passed building regs.
Build to modern standards like Passiv House and the need to heat a house is removed. Retrofit properly and you can get near that goal.
If a house is fully insulated, draft-proof, and has heat recovery in the ventilation system you don't need to add heat except in extreme weather.... Read More

Geoff Cunningham

10:00 AM, 29th December 2018, About 3 years ago

Any takers to help Liverpool City Council get it right?

It's like voting ... if you don't vote you can't complain about the result of an election.
If you won't get involved in a consultation then don't winge afterwards that you weren't heard. Get involved and if it is a sham you can say so with evidence to back your view.... Read More