Jo Westlake

Registered with
Saturday 27th June 2015

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 21

Jo Westlake

12:47 PM, 19th January 2020
About 5 days ago

Is size everything?

There are bedroom rules and over crowding rules to consider. Plenty of information about both online.

It will partly depend on who rents the house - a family or a group of friends sharing. A family is regarded as one unit. 3 or 4 unrelated people make it an HMO, 5 or more make it a licensable HMO. The number of tenancy agreements doesn't alter the above but can affect the number of mortgage lenders willing to lend.
Once a tenancy has been granted how a family choose to use rooms is up to them as long as the house isn't deemed to be overcrowded.

The rules that apply to licensed HMOs are very clear in terms of size and ceiling height. Smaller HMOs are a bit less clear cut but a phone call to your local authority Private Sector Housing team should clarify.

It's unfortunate that Planning Permission is still being granted for some incredibly small rooms. I saw one in a show house recently that was 4.12m2! They tend to be displayed as a nursery or study and described as bedroom 3. Having a legal minimum of 6.51m2 for all new builds would be a real step forward.
Smaller rooms can work perfectly well especially for children (and I'm certainly not in favour of prohibiting the use of any existing bedrooms) but if we are going to have minimum space standards let's start with not granting planning permission for any more tiny rooms.... Read More

Jo Westlake

10:19 AM, 6th January 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Jenrick overhauls tenancy agreement to help end pet bans

Leslie Clarke makes a very good point about leasehold properties.
Some properties just aren't suitable for pets and it is completely unreasonable to expect neighbours to just put up with dogs barking all day or encounter them on communal stairwells, etc.... Read More

Jo Westlake

21:01 PM, 5th January 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Jenrick overhauls tenancy agreement to help end pet bans

What level of proof are tenants going to have to provide that a pet is well behaved? A letter from their vet, previous landlord, animal psychologist and previous neighbours? Anything less than that isn't really proof. What happens when that pet dies and they get a different one?

I have got some tenants with dogs but in all cases I have known the tenants for a significant amount of time before I became their landlord. Letting to people who you know to be decent, responsible human beings who happen to be pet owners is very different to allowing unknown tenants and their pets to move in and potentially cause huge damage to your property and annoyance to the neighbours.... Read More

Jo Westlake

9:20 AM, 23rd December 2019
About a month ago

Crisis Waiting to Happen

How many landlords currently use the Section 21 Eviction process when really Section 8 would be more appropriate?

Section 21 causes inconvenience and costs to a tenant but doesn't damage their reputation or leave a blot on their rental history.

If only Section 8 is available surely having an eviction on your history is going to be just as traceable and just as damaging as a CCJ.

Now that letting agents are banned from charging tenancy fees are they issuing as many Section 21 Eviction notices? Was it primarily just a way to boost an agent's income? Have self managing landlords ever made a habit of evicting good tenants for no reason?

How often was Section 21 used as a fast track to Social Housing? Does a Section 8 Eviction exclude someone from qualifing for Social Housing as their actions have made them intentionally homeless?... Read More

Jo Westlake

17:16 PM, 21st December 2019
About a month ago

Our right of way blocked by a conservatory built by neighbour?

Was the access right mentioned in your deeds?
I had a similar situation with a neighbouring property. The previous owner of the neighbouring house had bricked up the gateway about 5 years before I bought my property. There were covenants in both sets of deeds mentioning the pedestrian right of access across the neighbours garden. After the neighbour sold his house to new owners I decided I wanted to use the access as garden maintenance for my house was a nightmare without it. Various solicitors letters were exchanged. In the end after a sledgehammer was used my new neighbour decided to sue their conveyancer for not advising them of the implications of my right of access. They received substantial compensation in the region of 10% of the price of their house. Certainly enough for them to buy my access rights and a large piece of my garden for £14K and also build a two room extension. It took best part of 5 years for them to get the compensation but I think we were all delighted with the outcome.
As far as I can remember 20 years has to have elapsed before it is deemed that an access right has been abandoned. In my case it was easy to prove usage as the covenant had been inserted less than 20 before.... Read More