Ben Reeve-Lewis

Registered with
Wednesday 2nd November 2011

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 556

Ben Reeve-Lewis

10:55 AM, 24th September 2015, About 6 years ago

Landlord licensing

Until July 2015 I was part of the London Borough of Lewisham's rogue landlord enforcement team. We were formed with the sole purpose of avoiding licensing by doing exactly what David Lawrenson suggests above.

Lewisham's model is a multi agency unit pooling together TROs (Me) EHOs, planning enforcement, building control and trading standards. We also worked in partnership across boroughs and very closely with the Met Police, immigration police, utility company revenue protection teams etc. We identified 29 existing local authority enforcement powers between us and we used as many as possible in every case.

1 year in, I took Newham's annual figures and broke them down into monthly averages and our targeted approach more or less matched their success rate. Difference is we utilised existing teams where Newham employed around 120 enforcement officers to kick start theirs.

But portfolio counsellors and senior council executives want publicity and good statistics. While we quietly got on with the job (the team is still going) events overtook us.

Last week I attended a meeting of enforcement officers where we were informed that back in April 19 other London local authorities were carrying out consultations on licensing, where a couple of years before it was only one or two and most rejected the idea at that time because they knew to do it effectively means a massive financial investment.

David will recall attending an event a couple of years back where enforcement officers pretty widely rejected licensing for its impracticality. The tide has turned and in councils, enforcement officers now look with grave reservations on licensing as an inevitability.... Read More

Ben Reeve-Lewis

13:03 PM, 11th January 2014, About 8 years ago

Tenant offering to pay 6 months rent up front

Reply to the comment left by "Joe Bloggs" at "11/01/2014 - 12:27":

But I've never worn a kilt in my life?!?!!? :)... Read More

Ben Reeve-Lewis

11:31 AM, 11th January 2014, About 8 years ago

Tenant offering to pay 6 months rent up front

Joe there is periodic and there is "PERIODIC????"

You have to ask yourself "If I was a tenant and my landlord kept coming around to visit the property every month would it make want to leave?", because the definition of the criminal offence of harassment in Section 1 (3)a; of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 is acts that are done that are 'LIKELY' to cause the residential occupier to give up their accommodation.

Periodic visits are totally acceptable and advisable but every month could p[ut a landlord in a tricky position. Even if a council took no action under the PFEA then the actions can still be considered as a civil offence of "Breach of covenant for quiet enjoyment".

You have to balance out reasonable safeguards with a tenant's rights to occupy peacefully without interference or being treated like a naughty school child.

Micro-managing like that is also just as stressful on the landlord. I was one once, I wouldnt do it again, I think there are easier ways of making a living. Cannabis farming for instance haha... Read More

Ben Reeve-Lewis

14:52 PM, 10th January 2014, About 8 years ago

200 Housing benefits tenants are served section 21 notice by Kent Landlord

Reply to the comment left by "Jeremy Smith" at "10/01/2014 - 10:39":

Jeremy there isnt a fixed amount on which a council would evict.

For a start a bog standard council tenancy is called a "Secure tenancy" and there isnt an automatic ground for eviction for them. All 20 grounds are at the judge's discretion.

However if the council's tenancy has been taken over by an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO....standard practice) then they might be an Assured Tenant instead, in which case there is a mandatory 2 month ground.

Unlike PRS Landlords social landlords have to follow the "Rent arrears pre-action protocol", which is a whole host of stuff that has to be done before they even apply for possession.

the protocol is a set court requirement that sits alongside a social landlord's own internal procedures. If the landlord fails to follow either procedure then their case wil get thrown out of court.

Applying for rent arrears in any event on such a small sum will probably result in even the most landlord friendly judge giving an ear-bashing to the hapless housing officer. As is the case in the PRS, letters are sometimes sent just to rattle people's cages. The sender of those letters may know full well their claim wouldnt stand a prayer.

And also, as is the case in the PRS sometimes a clueless untrained housing officer thinks they have a good case.... Read More

Ben Reeve-Lewis

14:43 PM, 10th January 2014, About 8 years ago

Tenant offering to pay 6 months rent up front

Reply to the comment left by "Sue P" at "10/01/2014 - 14:39":

Totally agree Sue.

........................but do a courtesy visit 6 weeks in with a bottle of wine to be on the safe side haha... Read More