Harlequin Garden

Registered with Property118.com
Saturday 24th May 2014


Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 152

Harlequin Garden

22:04 PM, 20th March 2019
About 10 hours ago

Appealing valuation from single to five dwellings?

Reply to the comment left by Frederick Morrow-Ahmed at 20/03/2019 - 21:13
I will never know the real reason why the inspection - we've had the place for 20 years and for 20 years we've had to call to have our bins emptied -we regularly took the rubbish to the dump when they didn't come for weeks - apparently it is because of the calls for the rubbish to be collected that a rubbish collector alerted the other departments regarding this. I don't believe this for one second, first they rarely came and secondly a refuse collector collects rubbish (well he's supposed to) the paths never cross to other departments we all know that council departments are just not joined up. I tackled the inspector as she left about this and it was painfully obvious that this wasn't true, she said 'it's a very big house and we wanted to see what was going on' next door has had a lot of attention, he is well known in various London Boroughs as one of the worst of the worst landlords so maybe she'd seen the property on one of her trips, - the rubbish is still not being taken either! I called once to say that 'the bins need taking' (I had to repeat the conversation in my head to work out what had happened) - so they took the bins ... away. Irony was that when the EH officer did her spot call my handyman was power hosing the pavement because next door's rubbish had been left for so long it had stained the pavement. This is how I look after all my properties and this is how I am treated - guy leaving the rubbish is left alone.

There is legislation written in many different ways that gets us on this council tax - I can't recall it all now but it is very clear that if it is able to be used as a 'dwelling' then they can rate/value it. This is what needs to be changed - and get a 'rate' for 'dwellings'; it isn't fair for 10 people to live in one house and pay one council tax but it also isn't fair for each one to pay the same as a self contained flat - which has a value, a room doesn't and the CT is based on monetary value of a property - this is the bit that's wrong. You can't sell the room, you can sell a leasehold flat that can be paying the same council tax, sorry I'm repeating myself but this is what is wrong. HMO's are now an accepted way of living so do the rest to bring it into line, not make a previous system fit (because it doesn't). I've said enough now!

Maybe I'll Airbnb the rooms - you don't have to meet any conditions for that.... Read More

Harlequin Garden

20:36 PM, 20th March 2019
About 11 hours ago

Appealing valuation from single to five dwellings?

Reply to the comment left by Frederick Morrow-Ahmed at 20/03/2019 - 18:04
By not an HMO but run as an HMO I meant I complied with everything that my HMO had to comply with so when the inspection came she could press the alarms to her hearts content (and she did every single one) and they were linked, likewise fire doors etc - she was climbing over my tenants belongings to count the power points - and asking where they were so I just kept pointing to things plugged in - computers, hairdryers etc, the lead usually leads to a power point. It was 3 hours of hell. She even asked what the light meant on the emergency lighting and the building control guy said 'it shows it works'. She was on a mission. This council (Lambeth) has publicised that it has ploughed a chunk of money into the private housing sector to protect tenants, they are going the right way about having more homeless doing it this way.... Read More

Harlequin Garden

17:23 PM, 20th March 2019
About 15 hours ago

Appealing valuation from single to five dwellings?

Reply to the comment left by Frederick Morrow-Ahmed at 20/03/2019 - 16:57
Their explanations of why they can charge Council Tax for a 4x3m room at £1000 a year were so complicated, every time I did a 'ah but' they had something else to say - when I was being threatened, which is the only name for it, to what could be £84,000 back council tax (9 rooms x £1000 at least x 7) it was time to say 'leave it, I'll deal with it'. She said she had the power, she had the power to come in and 'value' them without any notice or permission, she had the power to value them without even seeing them (!) I know when to stop arguing. Trouble is with all these authorities it is up to the 'threatened' to prove it, expensive, lengthy, all consuming. I'm about to have the same happen very shortly in another building I have - I knew it would come and I've had a visit from Environment Health, I'm pretty certain I'm fine on that score, as it has never been an HMO being separate units, but I ran it is if it was an HMO - and I asked the council many times 'so what is it' - I've never hidden it, but suddenly a 'spot visit' and accusations of 'denying access' followed by one arranged to give tenants their 24 hours notice, she turned up with an EH enforcement officer, a planning enforcement officer, and building control officer, no one has got back to me after 3 weeks, but I know it's coming ... they were expecting something they didn't find by the way they spoke outside (CCTV!) - I do wish they'd go and chase what really are the rogue landlords and there are many as we know, but of course they never find them, they never respond so they spend their time chasing those of us above the parapet.

I will have to evict one tenant whose room is now 'too small' - was fine before but too small for an HMO but this is not an HMO - anyone any ideas on this? She is happy to stay, can't afford anywhere else like this and terrified as she has nowhere to go.

Is the aim of all this licensing and legislation to make more homeless? Seems like it to me.... Read More

Harlequin Garden

13:02 PM, 20th March 2019
About 19 hours ago

Appealing valuation from single to five dwellings?

Reply to the comment left by Frederick Morrow-Ahmed at 20/03/2019 - 12:07
I am accepting that 10 people do not live as cheaply as one family (in the case of council tax and this is why the rating system was abolished because of the well spoken of family of 6 living next door to a little old lady scenario) but if this is the way it is going with more and more HMO's in place and licensed (so the various councils are aware of them) then a lower cost system needs to be thought of so that each 'adult' pays his or her way, it isn't fair that 10 adults in one house pay the same as a couple in one next door, but that doesn't mean to say that they pay 5 x as much either! these little rooms have no actual £ value so how on earth they are 'valued' by the VO for council tax which is based on a '£ value' for the unit is quite beyond me, they are valued at the first tier until they get bit enough to swing a cat it seems then you are bumped into the 2nd tier - and I say again, this would not have happened with the community charge. The system is broken.... Read More

Harlequin Garden

16:23 PM, 19th March 2019
About 2 days ago

Appealing valuation from single to five dwellings?

Reply to the comment left by Frederick Morrow-Ahmed at 19/03/2019 - 14:24
Apologies for confusing - The rooms were banded with a couple in a higher band - if they show as over 15sqm (I think this was the cut off, I'm afraid I was switching off very badly at that point) then it is the 2nd band, a couple of mine came up as that but that was because the measurements had been taken prior to the shower rooms put in so pushed them over the edge and were not official floor plans either, they were done 15 years ago for the first HMO license and certainly didn't include the kitchen areas which were there, it was wall to wall. As I said they didn't even poke their head into the rooms to check, they just 'assumed' but assumed correctly that they were pretty much self contained - apart from 2 that had bathrooms on a different floor but they were lumped in with the CT banding - which I would say is questionable as it does not meet the criteria of 'self contained'. The whole house was on one system for heating/hot water, water and electrics. I do think they are making it up as they go along with this 'self contained' business.

They banded them and back dated until the April, they contacted me something like November of that year - so yes they can go backwards and told me they could go back 7 years - how they prove it was in separate units 7 years ago I've no idea but as with all things it's probably for me to prove it wasn't. I paid the back dated and until the new year then did new contracts for the tenants from 1st Jan. As I said it's a damned nuisance getting bills for a day or two days in some cases, I can understand a few weeks but surely it costs them more to bill me for a day than they rake in. I had 4 zero bills a couple of weeks ago, in the same post.

As for contacting the VO for changes, it's no, why would you - but you should be contacting building control if you are putting in new services, kitchens bathrooms, and maybe planning if you are making them self contained - planning will then mark the file and this goes to the VO - none of this applied to me, and I've no idea how they got wind of the self contained units, all tenants were working and none claiming so no cross over there, that is something I'll never know.

I sold as an 'HMO' complete - and the new owner put all the rents up to the LHA so they all had to leave and he's now filled the place with benefit claimants who are the only people who will pay so much for so little - he told me he'd keep the tenants I had and as we all know there is nowhere to go with a liar. There are Landlords and there are those that see it as a money making scheme and take advantage of the disadvantaged and our broken benefits system. A thread for another time.... Read More