Michael Mathews

Registered with Property118.com
Saturday 18th November 2017


Trading Status

Providing essential rental accommodation since

Number of rental properties owned
11 –20

Insures properties through a broker recommended by Property118

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 6

Michael Mathews

4:28 AM, 31st March 2019
About 2 years ago

Dispute on certification for fire doors going to court?

An FD30 fire door (30 minutes minimum fire resistance) can readily be identified by its thickness (usually 45mm vs 35mm of ordinary doors), weight and it being solid (not hollow, filled with honeycomb cardboard)
It takes very little to resist fire for 30 minutes - a stud partition with ordinary plasterboard with a skim coat will do this.
Remember that the guidance on identifying doors as FD30 or FD60 is only "guidance" and not a legal "must" - it is just one (easy) way that you can demonstrate compliance.
Remember also that civil courts decide matter "on the balance of probability" ("more likely than not" or more than 50% likely to be the case) which is a low bar to pass. If you have an invoice or whatever that states the doors are FD30 and the other side have nothing specific (ie: don't have their own fire test results to show this is not the case or can obviously show they are not FD30 - because they are falling into pieces etc), then you have proven that the doors are FD30 on the balance of probabilities / to a greater than 50% likelihood.
Unlike criminal prosecutions, for which the onus of proof is on the prosecutors and they must prove their case "beyond any reasonable doubt", in civil claims the onus falls equally on both sides, but whoever is proven wrong is likely to have to pay the costs of both sides (ie: be ordered to pay the costs of both sides by the court, if asked to do so just after the court makes its judgement on the matter).
Given you have invoices etc that state the doors are FD30 and the other side appear to have nothing (other than a lack of a label on the door, which is not a "must") it is likely that you will win and they will have to pay your costs - it can be a useful tactic to warn the other side about the risk of "adverse cost orders" (the loosing party being ordered to pay the costs).
The way you can "prove" the doors are FD30 is:
- Show them the paperwork
- Provide a witness statement from you, signed with a statement of truth, that says your supplier states they are FD30 - a witness statement signed with a statement of truth counts as "proof" and will stand as fact unless the other side have some positive evidence to contradict it (ie: a fire test they have done, expert visual evidence...)
- Inspect them yourself - if they are ~45mm thick, seem relatively heavy and solid then they are likely FD30 doors (remember that you will need an FD30 door, an FD30 door frame and intumescent strips all around the door or frame)

If they insist on a fire test being the only evidence they will accept, remind them that they will be ordered by the court to pay for this too, if and when they loose.

Remember that the Building Regulations 1991 are elegantly simple - in essence they just require you to take all reasonable measures to make sure the building is fire safe - leaving it to you to determine how to do this - and for you (as "responsible person" for the building) to prove to a court that you had done so, if ever there was a fire and you were ever prosecuted for not making sure the building was fire safe.
Cladding Grenfell tower in flammable material was, and remains always, illegal, as the result was no longer fire safe.
Approved Documents (ie "B" in the case of fire safety) are only guidance in how you may be able to make a brick and timber building fire safe. It is possible for your building to comply 100% with such Approved Documents, but still be unsafe.

Remember, that:

"MUST" = something that you must do by law
"SHOULD" = best practice to do
"MAY" = a way in which you can show you have complied with the law.

Guidance = a MAY = a way you can demonstrate you have complied with the law ie; a label on the door is just one of the ways you can prove the door is FD30 - an invoice, an email from the supplier, visual checks on the door etc are all other ways that can demonstrate "on the balance of probabilities" that the door is FD30 - which can only be the case if the door, wall, intumescent strip and wall around it comply (a chain is as strong as its weakest link)

As for reporting the supplier to Trading Standards - don't do it. The supplier is just seeking not to be sucked into pointless legal action and is not behaving badly enough to warrant such a report. Ideally they would just send you a letter confirming they are FD30, but they don't have to - and if it is evident enough they are FD30, there is not need.

You appear to be dealing with a "jobsworth". You need to respond with a firmly worded letter stating the above. Do not be shy about doing this - courts want you to resolve matters before burdening them with resolving your disputes - if you can show that you have (show them copies of your letters etc), then they will be penalised with higher adverse costs.... Read More

Michael Mathews

22:06 PM, 8th December 2017
About 3 years ago

Deceased father, bankruptcy and land charges from 30 years ago! HELP!

"Adverse Possession" (Squatter's Rights) get the land free of any Encumbrances.

Does the land still belong to you father (deceased)? Is the registered proprietor still your father? or was it inherited by your mother?
If you have been in Possession of the land for over 10 (in the case of registered land) or 12 years (in the case of unregistered land) without the express permission of your father (who couldn't give you permission if he had passed away), then you could claim "Adverse Possession" (squatter's rights) over the land and have it transferred, for free, into your name, free of all encumbrances (they would give you the land without any charges etc attached).
Jeffrey Shaw, a copious contributor to Landlordzone.co.uk (Nether Edge Law solicitors 01142687638) would be best placed to advise you on this as Adverse possession is his speciality. Generally I would expect him to be best placed to advise you in any mess such as you describe!

Be advised: secured debt (mortgages etc) survive any bankruptcy. The Official Receiver would only sell the land if, after having 100% paid back all secured debt or charges, there would be money left to pay back creditors. If the Official Receiver sold the land they would have to pay the secured debt off first, then take their fees, then pay anyone else owed money in the bankruptcy.

I believe, "lost" chargeholders / creditors can be removed from the Land Registry's register if they can't be found and a court agrees.... Read More

Michael Mathews

18:44 PM, 4th December 2017
About 3 years ago

Buying an HMO that is unlicensed and converting to single use?

I run 20 HMOs. Where the law requires me to have an HMO Licence I have them (3 storeys or more).

As far as HMO Licences are concerned, you can easily regularise the situation by lodging an application for an HMO Licence (the landlord's situation becomes legal immediately upon lodging such an application, no matter how long it takes to get one (often months ~£1k). You can also regularise the situation by asking the Council for a Temporary Exemption (see: https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/forms/form/542/en/temporary_exemption_to_licence_a_hmo_-_application_form)

Planning permission was not required to change use from single occupancy to multiple occupancy, but in 2011 (in Manchester and similar times elsewhere) many council's issued a Article 4 Directives that removed people's "Permitted Development Rights" to create HMOs without asking for planning permission.

A change of use - from Single Household (D3) use to Multiple Household Occupation (D4 (upto 6 households) or Sui Generis (over 6 households) ) requires planning permission in areas where an Article 4 Directive has been issued.

But note also, that a change of use back from D4 (HMO) to D3 (single occupancy) strictly also requires planning permission (in Article 4 Directive areas) - though Planning Authorities in most cases would give this automatically and the Enforcement Concordat means that they could not enforce you failure to get Planning Permission for a change of use back from D4 to D3, when they would have agreed to it, had you just asked.

You should note that most mainstream lenders fight shy of any involvement in providing mortgages for HMO houses and that specialised lenders want to check all is in order before they advance a penny - Planning Permission is their key concern. HMO Licences can be applied for often as you are progressing with the mortgage.

Any property that was in use as an HMO at the time of an Article 4 Directive coming into force, has planning permission automatically to be an HMO - not a single occupancy house.... Read More

Michael Mathews

21:33 PM, 19th November 2017
About 3 years ago

Approached by compensation firm about Mortgage Securitisation?

I suspect that the original lender would pick up the sword for all the buyers who had bought their debt - a type of class action in reverse - were they not to succeed in defending their investors from such claims, their investors would never buy another securitised mortgage package ever from them again - what a fine mess for the lenders!
Also, it is my understanding that lenders pass the mortgages over to a Special Purpose Vehicle - a separate legal company like landlords use to purchase, run and finance properties tax efficiently nowadays - before this SVP then sells the bonds. This single SVP would therefore be the immediate owner of the equitable interest - not so hard to find or assert.
According to the MSE thread on this subject, Santander use SVPs called "Holmes Master" and "Fosse Master" for this purpose.
Though every bank might do things differently - as Mark said, some may just sell the income stream, but keep the equitable interest - finding out would be like Russian Roulette - every bank being different, possible cases within a single bank being different. My head is spinning already!... Read More

Michael Mathews

0:06 AM, 19th November 2017
About 3 years ago

Approached by compensation firm about Mortgage Securitisation?

Reply to the comment left by Nicky Andrew at 08/06/2017 - 14:05

states [botched documentation] "is the entire reasoning behind the Ease Your Mortgage introducing the Legal Quest Mortgage Challenge"

Given the pedigree of some of the solicitors behind this scheme, it seems surprising that they should hang their entire case on such a thin thread.... Read More