Tag Archives: discussion

The slightly unusual dilemma of a Croydon landlord Fun Stuff, Latest Articles, Question of the Week

This is our favourite and most popular ‘Readers Question’ to date, hence we re-bublish it from time to time.

Dear Mark (and all Property118 readers)

I think my wife might be having an affair with one of my tenants. The usual give away signs are all there, lots of “girlie nights out”, which she never used to do, and phone calls where the other person just hangs up when I answer the phone, mainly when I wouldn’t usually be at home. It’s been going on for months and I didn’t put two and two together until recently.

When I do 1471 the callers number has been withheld but the other day the callers number was there so I called it back and sure enough it was one of my tenants. He said he must have called my number by accident but soon after that my wife got a text and had to “pop out” because one of her work colleagues had apparently “lost her keys” and couldn’t lock up. I offered to take her but she insisted on going alone as her friend had told her she was having marriage problems so they might go for a drink afterwards for a girlie chat. The slightly unusual dilemma of a Croydon landlord

When she got home she said she was having another night out with the girls on Friday so I decided just to agree. My plan was to stake out my tenants property and she if she would turn up.

I remember my wife showing this tenant around the property when it became vacant and raving about how good looking he was. She also did the check in so I’ve never actually met him but I have spoken to him on the phone a few times.

Friday came and I decided to get a taxi from work and get dropped off around the corner from my tenants house so my wife had no chance of spotting my car if she did turn up. I decided to climb onto the garage roofs opposite my property, armed with my camera and telescopic lens where I could get a better view and a good shot. I laid on the roof for around an hour in the dark and cold, continually focussing my camera on my rental property so I could get the perfect shot for evidence purposes.

Whilst I was up there waiting I zoomed into the roof area and noticed that I have a few tiles missing and the guttering is coming away from the roof. My questions, therefore, is: does anybody know a good roofing contractor in the Croydon area?

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FOS rule West Brom Tracker Rate Hike is fair Advice, Landlords Stories, Latest Articles, Legal, Mortgage News, Property Investment News, Property118 News

The FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service) have done it again! FOS rule West Brom Tracker Rate Hike is fair

In the past the FOS have controversially agreed that rate hikes applied by Bank of Ireland, Skipton Building Society (Amber Homeloans) and also the Danske Bank (formerly National Irish Bank) were fair. Therefore, is it really that shocking that FOS would also rule in favour of West Bromwich Mortgage Company?

Following a judicial review in the case of Millar & anor -v- Financial Services Ombudsman [2014] IEIC Mr Justice Garard Hogan recently ruled that the Irish FOS were wrong in their contractual interpretation in a rate hike case that the Millars brought against Danske Bank [source1].

This supports the Property118 members’ lack of confidence in the UK FoS decision making process, and hence the decision for Property118 to raise funds to enable their members legal team to stand toe to toe on 21st January 2015 with the West Brom legal team at the Commercial Courts in the Rolls Building.

Property118 members have raised nearly £500,000 and these funds are set to grow as a result of people who complained to the FOS realising that Property118 were right all along to take a representative action to the Courts.

The National Landlords Association initially recommended its members to pursue the FOS route and await the outcome of that before considering legal action. Many of those who followed this advice are enquiring about joining the representative action organised by Property118 as a result of the FOS finding. **West Brom has indicated through its legal team that it will apply the finding of the Court across the board to all affected borrowers**, so all additional support to ensure the right result is achieved is essential.

The Property118 representative group are happy to welcome all who have received the FOS rejection letter. The same financial commitments to those who joined prior to the deadline will apply, plus a small price for the administration costs associated with Cotswold Barristers applying to the Courts to have the names of the newly represented participants added to the claim. A new deadline of 19th December has been applied, this will definitely be the final deadline for legal reasons.

Newcomers are interested in joining the fight in the full knowledge that sufficient funds have already been raised and that the case will be heard on 21st January 2015.

Each member has paid £1,000 into an escrow account held by BARCO (The Bar Council’s Escrow service) plus a further £500 to Property118 and Cotswold Barristers to cover legal costs and associated running and marketing costs of the campaign for each represented mortgage account. Some members have a dozen or more represented mortgages, most have one or two. In the event of the case being won the majority of funds will be returned, plus of course a refund of any over-payments to West Brom and the satisfaction of their terms being upheld as per the borrowers understanding of the tracker rate mortgage contracts they entered into.

Every newcomer to the Property118 reduces the financial exposure to the funds already raised on the basis that all costs are shared pro-rata to funds committed.

** Beware false promises! **

Back in 2009 the CEO of the Skipton Building Society went on record that they would honour an interest rate cap [source2] just one year before that promise was reneged upon [source3]. However, insufficient funds were raised to take the case to court and borrowers have been left high and dry by the FOS and the FCA who decided the rate hike was fair despite the promises made. Perhaps that’s why West Brom borrowers want the certainty of being represented in the Property118 vs West Brom Court case, whilst it is still such a cost effective option?

If you are affected, and are not already a member of the Representative Action, please complete the form below for more details on how to get involved.

Oops! We could not locate your form.

 


Property118 Members vs West Bromwich Mortgage Company Advice, Buy to Let News, Cautionary Tales, Favourite Articles, Financial Advice, Landlord News, Landlords Stories, Latest Articles, Legal, Mortgage News, Press, Property Investment News, Property Investment Strategies, Property News, Property118 News

UPDATE – 31st March 2014

Since publishing this article our campaign has raised over £450,000 and legal action has now commenced. The official closing date for borrowers to be represented in this action was 28th March 2014. However, it may still be possible to be included in the representative action by paying additional fees to cover administration and Court fees to be added to the list of represented claimants. For further details please Contact Carla Morris-Papps at Cotswold Barristers – telephone 01242 639 454 or email carla@cotswoldbarristers.co.uk

West Brom Tracker Mortgages

Property118 Members vs West Bromwich Mortgage Company

Property118 Members vs West Bromwich Mortgage Company

Borrowers representing 84 mortgage accounts affected by the West Bromwich Mortgage Company 1.9% rake hike to their tracker rate mortgage margins attended a secret meeting of paid up campaign members on 27th February 2014. At that meeting it was confirmed that 420 affected mortgages are currently represented by the campaign group.

Property118 had previously created a secure forum for paid up members of the group to discuss various legal strategies, one of which was a proposal to West Brom to consider arbitration as an alternative to Court action. Each member had paid £240 for each affected mortgage plus a contribution to a campaign marketing campaign.

Arbitration was proposed for tactical legal reasons which were explained by the groups advisers, some details of which must remain confidential for legal reasons.

This would have been significantly quicker and cheaper for all concerned and had massive upsides to West Brom in that the outcome would be confidential. In other words, if West Brom had lost the case, nobody would have “officially” known about it other than those who had already paid to be a member of the campaign group. This would have meant the worst case scenario for West Brom would be losing no more than 10% of their reported £19 million of additional annual profits from this rate hike.

West Brom refused!

This refusal now plays very nicely into our hands for litigation purposes as it will be frowned upon by the Courts, especially if we lose our case and end up having to pay costs associated with the David and Goliath battle. 😉

The attendees of the meeting voted unanimously to proceed immediately with litigation on the basis proposed by (Mark Smith – Barrister-At-Law) as explained below. Thanks were offered to Justin Selig and his team at The Law Department for his sterling work to date in helping us get to this position. Without their help our campaign may never have got this far.

Litigation will commence during the week of 31st March 2014 with the service of Court Papers. This provides a final opportunity for any remaining affected borrowers to commit to the action by Friday 28th March.

We already have more than double the necessary funds on account to pay our own legal team. Mark Smith has agreed to represent borrowers for a fixed fee of £120 + VAT per affected mortgage subject to there being at least 250 borrowers committed. Further details in his Terms of Business and Instruction letter which can be downloaded by completing the form at the bottom of this page.

Existing campaign members are also reminded that they MUST complete and return the instruction form  to Mark Smith to act for them and the required additional funds by 28th March 2014.

The deadline for submission of instructions has now expired, sorry.

Costs Funding

The primary concern of existing members that had to be overcome was their potentially unlimited liability to the West Brom’s legal costs in the event of losing the case and the “open cheque book” often associated with legal cases. It was agreed that all fears could be overcome by creating a fund to be held in a BARCO escrow account (BARCO is the Bar Council – the regulators of Barristers). This account will provide evidence to the Courts that we have sufficient funds on account to settle the other sides costs in the event of losing the case and having an adverse costs order awarded against the group.

The first step of the legal action will be a costs hearing, as part of a “Case Management Conference”. This is where both sides must submit their costs budgets for the case to the judge and where the judge decides upon reasonableness. If either side fails to do this then the maximum they can claim for costs against the other side is the Court fee, i.e. £175! It is extremely rare for judges to award costs in excess of the agreed costs budget.

Our estimate is that based on the number of affected mortgages being represented, and the possibility of more people now wishing to be represented at this stage, the BARCO account could contain as much as double the other sides costs budget. This is why we are so confident about costs not exceeding the amount of funds that will be held in escrow. In the extremely unlikely event of the groups funds being insufficient to meet a potential costs order the group would have an opportunity to withdraw their case and settle the other sides costs to date.

If/when we win, the contents of the BARCO account will be rolled over to deal with all of the costs associated with the inevitable appeal case and if/when that is won the funds will be returned to members. If we lose, the contents of the escrow account will be used to pay costs awarded to West Brom and the balance of funds will be returned pro-rata to members.

The case will be fought on the basis of a representative action. This means that the ruling of the Courts will only apply to those borrowers who have paid to be represented in the case. There will be no free rides!

We fully appreciate that some affected borrowers will not be able to raise the necessary funds in time to be part of this action so there is a Plan B. Affected borrowers who are not represented may have another opportunity to make claims in a few years time. In the meantime they will continue to pay the higher rate and will probably be expected to forfeit any refund of overpayments in return for a no-win-no-fee arrangement. This could be a far more expensive option, hence the reason why so many affected borrowers are so keen to be part of the imminent legal action.

The legal strategy and process we are undertaking will be a very simple one. There will be no witnesses called so there will be no surprise twists such as those often seen on TV where a new witness or new evidence appears at the last minute. On this basis, we anticipate the case, including any appeal, to be concluded before Christmas.

We will only be asking the Courts to rule on two things:-

1) Based on the documentation produced by West Brom, do they have the right to increase the tracker margin?

2) Based on the documentation produced by West Brom, do they have the right to call in loans within 28 days without the borrower being in default?

There has been lots of discussion about whether West Brom did or did not provide all of the documentation they are now relying upon. This is not relevant to our case.

There has also been much discussion about Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations; again this is not relevant to our case.

It has been questioned whether in fact the mortgages issued by West Brom were indeed trackers, this cannot be denied by West Brom as this is the basis they report them to the rating standards agencies – see this link

The agreed level of funds to be deposited into the BARCO account is £1,144 per affected mortgage being represented. For example, somebody wishing to have 10 affected mortgages represented will need to deposit a further £11,440 into the BARCO account. Existing members will receive a refund of unused funds which they paid into the client account of The Law Department. New members will need to pay an additional premium of £356 per mortgage to the Property118 marketing fund to equalise the financial contributions and efforts of the forerunners of the group.

Therefore, the net payment per affected mortgage for members will be:

  • For existing members who have already instructed The Law Department £994 (assuming a refund of £150 per affected mortgage from The Law Department)
  • For new members the total cost per mortgage to be represented will be £1,500

We have created a simple set of instructions explaining how much you need to pay and who you need to pay it to here >>> http://www.property118.com/simplified-payment-instructions-join-west-brom-action/

Remember, if/when we win you will get more than this amount back when you also factor in 100% of the extra 1.9% interest you have been paying which will also be refunded. The worst case scenario is that you will get none of this money back if we lose. If you can live with that you should proceed.

The reason we have chosen this strategy as opposed to buying ATE insurance is that it costs us much less if we win. We are in this to win this. The above strategy means that we all know what we stand to lose and can proceed with our eyes wide open, confident that our liabilities are limited.

If the balance of the BARCO account associated with this action is less than £250,000 by close of business on Friday 28th March 2014 the legal action case will be aborted, funds will be returned to members within 14 days and that will be the end of the line for this campaign for myself and Property118 – at least for 12 months or more anyway. If necessary we will then take another look at Plan B.

UPDATE – 31st March 2014

Since publishing this article our campaign has raised over £450,000 and legal action has now commenced. The official closing date for borrowers to be represented in this action was 28th March 2014. However, it may still be possible to be included in the representative action by paying additional fees to cover administration and Court fees to be added to the list of represented claimants. For further details please Contact Carla Morris-Papps at Cotswold Barristers – telephone 01242 639 454 or email carla@cotswoldbarristers.co.uk


Bank of Ireland Tracker Rate Legal Campaign Fundraising re-launched Latest Articles

The Bank of Ireland Tracker Rate Legal Campaign began in March 2013.

History to date

100 affected BoI borrowers each paid £150 plus VAT into an initial legal fees fighting fund and instructed Justin Selig of The Law Department to obtain Counsels opinion on the merits of our case.

Consensus of legal opinions was that regulators should fight the case on several bases including Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations.

Detailed complaint letters were prepared by The Law Department with assistance of Counsel and submitted to the OFT, FOS and the FCA.

The OFT immediately passed their case over to the FCA.

The FCA sought our permission to send our complaint to the Bank of Ireland on the understanding that we would be copied into their response. BoI employed a QC to respond to the FCA and our legal team duly received a copy which was “wishy washy” to say the least. Nevertheless, the FCA felt they had concluded their duties and didn’t consider our case any further.

The FOS are still prevaricating after 10 months!

The complexities of the case lead us to believe, at the time, that it was unlikely that we would be able to raise sufficient funds to progress to Court. Therefore, fundraising was suspended whilst we re-grouped to consider our options. Nevertheless, the PR battle has progressed well on the back of a very similar case affecting borrowers of the West Brom Mortgage Company. A few hundred additional borrowers have completed an “Expression of Interest” form in respect of taking legal action against the Bank of Ireland since the fundraising was suspended. These people have paid nothing.

Moving forward

Those members who paid fees into the legal action fund have been briefed on considerable work undertaken by The Law Department, Counsel and even a QC, all of which have been working without payment since fundraising was suspended. Given the success of the fundraising for legal action against the West Brom Mortgage Company and the advice and strategies agreed between the enhanced legal team we are now far more confident that funds will be raised and that privately funded litigation will be successful.

To obtain a copy of the briefing which was sent to clients who instructed The Law Department, so that you can make a decision of whether to be a party to ongoing legal action, will require you to instruct The Law Department and make an initial payment of £150 plus VAT (i.e. £180 in total).

Payment can be made my cheque payable to “The Law Department Client Account” or by electronic transfer to:

Account Name: The Law Department Client Account

Account Number: 06658997

Sort Code: 12 24 82.

Reference: your full name

To instruct The Law Department you will also need to complete and return a letter of instruction and return it with the following documentation:-

  1. Proof of identity – copy passport of driving licence
  2. Proof of residence – a utility bill for your home address within the last three months
  3. A copy of your mortgage offer letter
  4. If available, a copy of any terms and conditions and other literature you have obtained in connection with your mortgage. This includes and marketing literature.
  5. Link to Letter of Instruction Template HERE

On receipt of the above you will receive further details of advice and strategies. You will then be given the option of whether to commit to litigation or not.

Proceeding to litigation

This will require 150 people to each pay an additional £500 into The Law Department client account as a gesture of commitment and for each affected borrower to agree to a further potential liability of £1,000 if/when litigation commences. If the number of instructions is greater than 150 then the liability will fall pro-rata, for example, if there are 300 instructions the additional potential liability will halve.

If legal action is aborted funds paid will be refunded less costs shared pro-rata.

Our legal team are confident of a positive outcome if sufficient funds can be raised/pledged to commit to further legal action. Bank of Ireland Tracker Rate Legal Campaign Fundraising re-launched

Secure Forum

Members who agree to proceed to litigation on the above terms will be granted access to a highly secure internet forum. The forum operates on the same technology as electronic banking, is hidden from search engines and has several additional layers of security. The purpose of this forum will be to share confidential, commercially sensitive and legally privileged strategies and for members to ask questions, either via private messages or via the secure forum where Q&A’s are likely to be of interest to all members. The private messaging service will also enable members to communicate in confidence, and securely, between themselves, e.g. to swap telephone numbers.

To-Do List – 4 simple steps

1) Tell everybody you know to support the marketing campaign (details below)

2) Share this post via your social networks (see icons at the bottom of this page)

3) If you use Twitter please re-tweet these Tweets…


4) Marketing

The success of our campaigns are highly dependent upon quality marketing including PR and meeting with centres of influence. Property118 operates a “not for profit” business model and is, therefore, totally reliant of donations to fund marketing and other activities such as the creation and ongoing hosting our the above mentioned secure forum. Whether you are immediately affected by a tracker rate hike or not, it is in your interests to support the Property118 marketing fund to raise awareness of important issues which could affect all landlords and to discourage lenders which YOU have tracker rate mortgages with from hiking your tracker rate margins. For further details please CLICK HERE.

All comments via the existing Bank of Ireland discussion thread please CLICK HERE


Campaigns Against Tracker Mortgage Rate Hikes Reach Parliament Latest Articles

David Morris MP and Mark Alexander considering an Early Day Motion at the Houses of Parliament 21-01-2014

David Morris MP and Mark Alexander considering an Early Day Motion at the Houses of Parliament 21-01-2014

The campaigns organised by members of Property118 against hikes to tracker rate mortgage margins moved up a gear yesterday when I was invited to meet with David Morris MP and his aide Andre Walker at The Houses of Parliament. I spent 90 minutes with them in total. I also managed to get a very quick 5 minute meeting in between parliamentary debates with Jason McCartney MP (Colne Valley) who has been very supportive of our campaign in terms of meeting his locally affected constituents and lobbying fellow MPs.

Over 20 MPs have expressed concerns and support for their  constituents affected by the actions of West Brom Building Society and Bank of Ireland. A debate in the House of Commons has already been applied for by two MPs.

Campaigners have been lobbying their MPs over the last few months and much support has been pledged. Many of the MPs wrote to John Westhoff, CEO of the West Brom, but all were fobbed off by similar letters claiming that their rate hikes were legal and necessary to subsidise other areas of there business which have performed badly in recent years. Senior banking barristers and an eminent banking QC have poured over the Terms and Conditions and believe what these lenders are doing to increase their profits is an illegal breach of contracts. In both cases the terms of the mortgage offer letters contractually and legally take precedent over conditions specified in the lenders mortgage conditions booklets which are generic to fixed, standard variable and tracker rate mortgages. It is terms in the more generic booklet that West Brom and Bank of Ireland are ‘hanging their hat on’ in respect of their hikes to the margins being charged to their borrowers over the Bank of England base rate.

Campaigners feel that the mortgage lenders are attempting to use their financial muscle and the disincentive in respect of huge costs to litigate to evade justice but the strategy of these lenders does not appear to be working.

To date, over £100,000 has been raised and lodged with Solicitor Justin Selig which is enough to commence legal action. More will be required to fight a case at appeal which is highly likely as a strategy from the lenders if/when the campaigners win the first round of litigation in the lower Courts. With this in mind, alternative strategies to litigation are being considered to settle the argument out of court in the short term because the MPs cannot progress matters once the judiciary are involved.

As fortune would have it, whilst I was at the meeting David Morris MP was invited to submit a question to Chancellor George Osbourne on Tuesday 28th. Mr Morris seized the opportunity and immediately submitted a question relating to the conduct of mortgage lenders. We should find out later this week whether it is approved.

As if that wasn’t enough from my first visit, I was also introduced to several other MPs between debates. These were only quick introductions but many of them are aware of the campaign due to the excellent lobbying of Property118 members.

The icing on the cake was helping to draft an EDM “Early Day Motion”, which has now been submitted by David Morris MP, which will be publicly available and no doubt of much interest to the press. The more MPs that sign up to support this EDM the more likely it is for the debate to take place and for the motion to be passed. We also prepared a very short briefing note to be distributed to other MPs showing an interest. There is a LOT more to be done on our side too. I need all campaign members, whether directly affected or not, to contact your MP again and to ask them to add their support to Early Day Motion number 976.

I strongly recommend following up any electronic correspondence with a telephone call because MPs are bombarded with thousands of emails every day and they can very easily be overlooked.

To contact your MP please click here, then copy and paste the text below:-

Dear ……

As one of your constituents I am asking you please to add your support to Early Day Motion number 976 as submitted by David Morris MP. Below is the content of the EDM and some background notes for you to consider. Given the importance of this matter I would also request you to apply for a debate. If a telephone call or meeting would help, either with me or the campaign organiser please let me know.

SUBJECT – Conduct of Mortgage Lenders – EDM number 976 

That this house condemns mortgage lenders breaching tracker rate mortgage contracts by unilaterally increasing the margin they charge over the Bank of England base rate in order to increase their profit margins and deliberately targeting borrowers where consumer protection law is ambiguous; and calls on the Government to investigate alleged associated recent activities of the Bank of Ireland and West Bromwich Building Society.

Additional Notes

There are believed to be 2.5 million tracker rate mortgages, i.e. mortgages which track the Bank of England base rate at a fixed margin for a defined period

137,000 readers are following a campaign to expose this scam via the Property118 internet forum as concern that other mortgage lenders will follow suit is increasing

Alleged examples of deliberate misuse of ambiguous consumer protection laws include ….

  • 12,200 Bank of Ireland mortgage accounts whereby a mixture of homeowner mortgages and buy to let mortgage borrowers were targeted – all of which pre-dated the Oct 2008 mortgage regulations
  • 6,700 West Brom Building Society mortgage accounts whereby landlords with 3 or more properties have been targeted – there is no case law to define what would constitute a consumer landlord although there is case law to acknowledge that landlords can be consumers. Therefore, Unfair Consumer Contract Terms legislation may or may not apply and it would appear that the WBBS are relying on affected borrowers not being able to raise sufficient funds to challenge this or litigate other points of contract law.

All comments via the main forums please.

Link to Bank of Ireland forum

Link to West Brom forum

David Morris MP commented “I’m extremely concerned about the fact that mortgage lenders are increasing the margin they make on tracker mortgages. This practise is damaging to the economy, immoral and may even be illegal. The Financial Conduct Authority must investigate this urgently.”

REQUEST FOR HELP!

I expect to be called to London to provide further briefings to both MPs and and the media and intend to use the campaign marketing fund to pay for my travel expenses, wining and dining key contacts and loss of *fee-earning time from other consultancy work, (*capped at a maximum of £500 per day). We need to top this fund up and I am highly reliant on your generosity for this as the people I will be meeting will not be too impressed if the lunch budget only extends to a McDonalds or a Subway! Please donate HERE.

If you haven’t already signed up please complete the form below.


Complaint to ASA re West Brom Tracker Mortgages Website Advertising Latest Articles

COMPLAINT TO ADVERTISING STANDARDS AGENCY

I have just completed my online complaint to the ASA. It is a five step process. The basis of my complaint was targeted only at the statement of the West Brom website. My thinking is that if we over-complicate matters for the ASA they might decide to refer the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman or the FCA and we know know what a black hole those organisations can be. Therefore, focussing purely of the website advertising, and what I beleive to be a smoking gun case, will hopefully be useful for us to use as evidence in our main legal battle. Needless to say, it will also be a great annoyance to West Brom and very embarrassing for them if/when complaints are upheld.

If you want to do something similar and make a complaint of your own this is the link you will need to get you started >>> http://www.asa.org.uk/Consumers/How-to-complain.aspx

The first 4 steps of the complaint process are very simple to complete, it’s just your details and a few questions to answer regarding the basis of your complaint.

Step 5 of the complaint process is the meaty bit, i.e. the basis of complaint. Below (in this dark blue colour) is what I wrote …..

The West Bromwich Building Society website said

“Tracker mortgages give you the certainly of knowing that the rate you pay will move in line with Bank Base Rates”

I took this at face value, as it would appear 6,700 people who purchased this product did.

Bank Base Rates have not moved for nearly 5 years but West Bromwich Building Society have decided to increase the interest rate on my buy to let tracker mortgage by 1.9% as of 1st December 2013. Therefore, my complaint is the statement on the West Bromwich Building Society website was misleading. This is the sole purpose of my complaint to ASA at this stage.

For further information …..

West Bromwich Building Society are pointing to small print in their Mortgage Conditions to justify this increase and I am taking legal advice together with a large group of other affected borrowers about this. I also believe their mortgage documentation was misleading and that their hike in interest rates is not legal but that’s another story.

You may also wish to note that West Bromwich Building Society also believe they have the right to call in these mortgages within 28 days, even if their customer isn’t in default. They are actually using this as a veiled threat in response to complaints from their customers about the interest rate hike. The legal action group I am part of are also taking Counsels advice on this point as this appears to be out of sync with the rest of the mortgage market. Again there was not mention of this on their website or on their offer documentation. It was another clause buried into their mortgage conditions brochure.

I backed this up with the following link with an explanation that I took this screen shot from the West Brom website and now host the screen shot on my website as evidence for all to see. Link here >>> http://www.property118.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/West-Brom-Screen-Shot-21.png Complaint to ASA re West Brom Tracker Mortgages Website Advertising

Since making my complaint to the ASA I have gathered further evidence of the West Brom’s misleading financial promotions for their tracker rate mortgages which appeared on their website back in January 2008. This evidence was obtained via the “Wayback Machine” – see >>> http://web.archive.org/web/20070701010120/http://www.westbrom.co.uk/westbrom/mortgages.category?id=26

All comments via THE MAIN DISCUSSION THREAD PLEASE


Choosing a property location Latest Articles

My buy to let property portfolio is within three miles of my main residence but I would venture further out. My main concern is that I won’t know other areas as well. Choosing a property location

In the past I’ve looked at Rightmove to understand how much properties can be rented for and how many have been let recently. Also, whether its close to a mainline station, town centre and access to motorways for commuters.

With living in the south, places are more expensive and therefore require a bigger deposit.

What are the key things other landlords/investors research when identifying new opportunities with limited knowledge on location?

Thanks

Paul


HMO Question – are basins in bedrooms mandatory? Latest Articles

Is it a legal requirement that every bedroom in a licensable HMO has to have a wash hand basin?

I have been jumping through hoops for a year to try and get a licence on a three storey 6-bed HMO. I had a letter from the council in 2011 saying that as I had three bathrooms and two separate WCs, all with wash hand basins, I didn’t have to put basins in the bedrooms, but would have to when I re-licensed in five years time. HMO - Bedrooms with basins mandatory?

I have now been given a draft of a licence to check which requires me to put basins in within two months.

Thanks

Edna

 


Letting Agent won’t release rent (6 months paid in advance) Latest Articles, Letting, Lettings & Management

My tenants have paid 6 month rent in advance ( as they did in the previous 6 months with no problems) due to them being students.

The Letting Agent is dragging its feet and will not release the 6 months rent to my bank account stating the tenants have to sign a form allowing this to happen. Letting Agent won't release rent

Previously there was no mention of the tenants having to sign a form.

Tenants have been in my property since 18th October and I have not received any rent payment, I have had many conversations with staff at my letting agents and they keep fobbing me off.

I am unsure as to what to do next, what would you do?

Thanks

Michelle


HMO Internal locks ‘deal breaker’? Advice, Latest Articles

I’m at the point of exchange on an HMO licensed 5 bed house, currently let to students. I received a letter from the mortgage lender Birmingham Midshires (BM Solutions) saying one of their conditions is that there are ‘no internal door locks’. I checked and there are thumb locks on all the bedrooms. The letting agent who manages the house asked the students about removing them, they refused. BM Solutions logo

I’ve heard stories about BM Solutions withdrawing the offer after exchange, and apparently there will be 5 days between exchange and completion. I can’t risk losing 20% of my deposit if they discover there are still internal locks. What should I do? Is this really a deal breaker?

Apparently it’s only 1 of the students that has a problem with the locks being removed, but as I don’t yet own the house I can’t speak to her directly and can’t change the contract, everything is dealt with by the letting agent.

Has anyone else come up against this one? Should I risk it and tell the mortgage lender that I did request the locks to be removed (if they ask)? Or should I actually pull out now before it’s too late?

Any advice much appreciated.

Regards

Duncan


What accountancy software do landlords use? Latest Articles, Tax & Accountancy, Tax and Accountancy

Hi all,

I’m fairly new to property investing and brand new to this site. Thanks Property Geek, Rob Dix, for your podcast on Mark Alexander that pointed me here.

Quick question; what accountancy software does this community recommend? What accountancy software do landlords use?

I currently only have three properties, but plan to scale to a lot more. I use spreadsheets for now, but it may be nice to use something with cool, pre-customised reporting and dashboards.

I’m going to use odesk to find a Virtual Assistant to do the book-keeping for me: they could use excel, but again, I want to know if there is something better out there. I’ve checked out Xero, but it seems more relevant to a trading company.

Any recommendations?

Thanks

Martin


Tax Treatment of Equity Loans for Buy to Let Landlords Advice, Buy to Let News, Commercial Finance, Financial Advice, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Legal, Mortgage News, Property Investment Strategies, Tax and Accountancy, Tax News

I have been posting on numerous forums about the introduction of equity loans into the UK buy to let mortgage market, a common question is the tax treatment.

Equity loans do not attract interest in the normal way, there are no regular monthly payments. One UK lender, funded by USA equity house JC Flower & Co. (a leading financial services investment company with funds in excess of £5billion) has entered the UK market and others may follow. Their return on investment is earned when the loan term expires or or sale or refinance of the property, whichever is sooner. Their return is capital plus a share in capital appreciation equal to double their investment. For example, if they provide top up finance of 10% of a property value their return with be 20% of the increased capital value plus their investment when the funding is redeemed.

As you may know, I was previously a former commercial finance broker. When I was practising I was renowned for digging into complex funding, tax and legal structures to explore opportunities and threats which others may never have considered.

Note to all – I no longer provide advice and this post must not be treated as advice.

The tax treatment of the redemption of BTL equity loans will be very interesting.

Let’s use this example. Equity loans can sit over and above traditional interest bearing mortgages but for the sake of simplicity I have based the following example on equity funding only.

Property value at outset £100,000
Equity loan at outset £20,000

Property value at sale £200,000
Capital gain £100,000 (or is it and if so how is it shared? – see below)
Equity loan capital repaid £20,000
Profit on Equity loan to lender £40,000

Now does the £40,000 profit on the equity loan to the lender reduce the owners capital gain to £60,000 or is the owners gain still treated as £100,000?

The lender operating the first of these schemes has already stated they will bill their return as interest at the point of loan redemption. However, that’s not to say HMRC will see it that way, only time will tell. Therefore, my suggestion to all landlords considering this type of finance is to plan for the worst and hope for the best in terms of tax treatment. As has been proven many times, the law says you can call something pretty much whatever you like but case law or legislation will determine what it really is. Case in point, advance rent or deposit? – see Johnson vs Old

So will profits made by equity lenders need to be used to offset rental profits? If so there could be a substantial paper loss created in the year of redemption. Unused losses may be rolled forward, assuming losses are made, but such losses are only offsettable against future rental profits. No problem, in fact potentially very advantageous, IF you continue to make rental profits going forward. However, if this was your only property you may be stuffed by having to pay CGT on the full £100,000 of gain and not being able to utilise the carry forward losses. Note that rental losses can not be used to reduce other taxable income.

I can’t see HMRC allowing landlords to choose how they apply the lenders return to suit their individual circumstances, i.e. as either interest or a share of capital gain,  but we can live in hope, not that that’s a good strategy of course! If HMRC do allow a choice to be made that would be utopia from a tax planners perspective 🙂

What I would suggest to all considering equity loans is that they should plan for the worst case tax scenario and hope for the best case tax scenario. In other words, make decisions based on the worst case tax scenario and if that works then fine. Obviously there are many other aspects of the deal to consider too which is why I am an advocate of taking professional advice as opposed to taking a short sighted approach and simply jumping into deals unadvised just to save initial fees.

If you are a portfolio landlord who makes good rental profits then treating the lenders return as interest could be extremely tax advantageous if the tax regime remains as it is today. This is because income tax rates are greater than capital gains tax rates for higher rate tax payers.

Therefore, for landlords who will continue to make rental profits, post redemption of their equity loans, this is particularly attractive in my opinion. At worst, if HMRC decide to treat the lenders returns as capital gains, landlords will pay a lower CGT bill and not be able to offset interest. For a landlords with no ongoing rental profits post redemption of an equity loan, having the lenders return treated an interest charge is highly unlikely to be attractive whereas having the returns treated as capital gains will be far better for them.

If, of course, your equity loan is secured against your private home then no CGT is payable on sale anyway.

Tax Treatment of Equity Loans for Buy to Let Landlords

Tax is not the only consideration.

I have listed 11 good reasons for considering the product and 9 downsides in my main post about equity loans. That’s not to say that everybody should think equity loans are the best thing since sliced bread just because my list of pro’s and cons is 11 vs 9, it doesn’t work that way. The reasons for NOT doing something can be very different to reasons FOR doing something, they are not necessarily like for like considerations. For example, I also prefer a strategy of high gearing combined with high liquidity over a low gearing strategy because that’s what suits me and my attitude to risk. It does not mean that people who prefer a different strategy are either wrong or right, it just proves we are all different, hence we have other preferences such as careers, holidays, cars, films, food and where we live.

For further information and discussion about equity loans please CLICK HERE.


Good debt recovery agent? Latest Articles

Debt-Recovery

Good debt recovery agent?

I have recently had an absconding tenant who owes me £5,000 in rent arrears.

I have used debt recovery agents previously for different tenants but with very limited success. One even tried to avoid passing on the debt they successfully collected, fortunately I caught them out and got my dues!

I’m not prepared to employ a substandard or disreputable agent in this case, especially given the amount of money owed and the degree to which I treated this particular tenant fairly.

Therefore please could anyone recommend a company who can carry out both tracing and debt recovery with whom they have had a positive experience?

Many thanks

Genghis Perriman

Oops! We could not locate your form.


Help regarding being a victim of subletting Latest Articles

A well known national letting agency franchise office based in Ealing advertised flatshare, I viewed the property and agreed to pursue a tenancy. My agreement is for the duration of 3 months, all bills included.

The tenant I share the flat with (Mr G) was claiming to be a tenant at first with the agent supporting this but is now claiming to be the landlord and he has been subletting this property out for four years. We have written and audio proof of this. Help regarding being a victim of subletting

The agent (who has close relations to the tenant acting as landlord) has confessed that his ‘client’ is subletting.

The owner of the property currently resides in South Australia.

I have reason to believe Mr G is committing benefit fraud as a result of all he has divulged to me regarding his five bedroom villa in Iran and and in Inverness of which he put the ownership in his daughter’s name. He is in receipt of many state benefits including disability claiming he cannot work and earn.

Neither Mr G, acting as my landlord, nor the agent can provide me with a current valid gas safety certificate. I have seen a photocopy of one issued in 2010. Mr G is refusing to provide me with gas central heating, he cannot provide a valid reason of refusal. Two different employees from two different energy companies checked our gas facility two weeks ago and concluded that the cooker is unfit for use and needs replacing for safety reasons and there is an issue with the box that links to the boiler. Mr G is refusing to consider the law and the health and safety of others by not addressing these repairs.

I have documents that state that Mr G is the landlord, which prove he is subletting to me but I have not been provided with documentation to prove whether he may or may not have the actual landlord’s permission to sublet the property.

These are also the points I have raised with the property owners own letting agents, another very large national firm. They have been very sympathetic with my predicament, however, they do stress that the actual landlord “may seek legal action to remedy this situation” and that the actual landlord has no legal obligation to me. I completely understand this and assume this to mean I must leave the property ASAP, although, according to Shelter, my tenancy agreement with the illegal landlord, Mr G, still stands and I have until 3rd December to vacate the property. We are getting conflicting advice so don’t know which way to go next.

Could you please suggest anything?

Thank you so much for your assistance.

Best Wishes

Mrs Saadeh

 


Are freeholders obliged to insure against escape of water? Insurance, Landlords Insurance, Landlords Stories, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management, Property Maintenance

I am a leaseholder in a large block of flats built in 2007.

After two flats were severely damaged by water escaping through pipes our insurance had the excess for escape of water increased to £20,000. Year by year this was reduced to £12,000. However, last year the insurance company said this was an error and they would not include escape of water in our policy. Hence we now do not have any cover for escape of water.

My questions are: Are freeholders obliged to insure against escape of water

  1. Does the freeholder have to provide such cover?
  2. Can insurance companies opt out like this or is it like subsidence that the existing company has to cover you?
  3. Is this a usual scenario? That is do blocks of flats often not have such cover?

Any advice or help would be most gratefully received.

I should mention that this escape of water was due to poor building by the developers and not the usual flooded bathroom. Hence the insurers probably consider the building as a whole a risk.


Landlords lose the Zero Tariff with the energy companies Latest Articles

Most savvy landlords will have negotiated with their energy providers, so that in between tenants the tariff automatically reverts to a zero tariff. This was not advertised widely for obvious reasons. It avoids annoying bills for 46p (or even £2.46!) to cover standing charges for a couple of days. It also means that if you are renovating for a couple of weeks you pay just for the energy that you use whilst you are doing that. Some companies overlook small amounts anyway – but not all and in any event it can take an extra ten minutes on the phone whilst organising the changeover of tenants. Landlords lose the Zero Tariff with the energy companies

I have just discovered that two of the providers that I use SWALEC and British Gas are abandoning this tariff, even for landlords, even for short periods, because of the new legislation. If I can find one provider who will continue with this then I will transfer all of my accounts across my whole portfolio, as it is just such a pain. It is not just the money, as the smaller the amount the more irritating it becomes, wasting paper, postage and time etc

I recently put up a BTL property for sale and if this had been in place it would have cost for every week that it was on the market. The other option would have been to cut off all the supplies, leaving the new owner (or tenant if applying it to void periods) to pay a huge re-connection fee.

I think it is disgusting that over the last few years the rules have changed so that we now have to pay for Water Rates, Council Tax and the latest – energy bills – when the place is unoccupied and even, in some cases, uninhabitable. I can’t see that this battle has been fought and it cannot be right. Can it?

Has anyone found a company that will continue to overlook small amounts between tenancies or who will continue with the zero tariff?

If one of them chooses to do this then I think it will be a winner.

Regards

Gilly


I’m losing a tenant every 6 months, please help! Latest Articles

Hi all,

My fifth tenant has now decided to leave after having been subject to 6 months of abuse and hell from the neighbour adjoining the maisonette. All four previous tenants have left after six months and have all cited this neighbour from hell as the culprit for their misery and reason for leaving. This has put me at substantial financial loss, not to mention the stress. This is my first property and subsequently my first time as a landlord. I am losing a tenant every 6 months

I have exacerbated all my options. The troublesome neighbour likes to throw his weight around and seems to relish in bullying my tenants. He is also very devious, he has filed noise complaints against each one of my tenants with the council and complains to both letting agents about the noise. My current tenant mentions that the last straw was when the neighbour abused and threw stones at his Mum while she was visiting, thus instigating my tenant to angrily shout at the neighbour who recorded the interaction on his phone. When my tenant called the Police they did nothing as the neighbour had footage of my tenant shouting.

Emails from my previous four tenants include incidents where the troublesome neighbour, grabbed Tenant A round the throat and threatened him in my property. He jumped over the garden fence and threatened Tenant B. Threats to steal, shoot, beat up Tenant C and Tenant D apparently used to come home from work and watch TV wearing headphones so as not to disturb him, the list is a lot longer than this.

Police have been called on six separate occasions by two different tenants (the others were too scared to).

I have contacted the landlord of the property direct. Their letting agent is not prepared to do anything about it giving the excuse that it is one tenants word against another. I am have now lost my fifth tenant! Is this not evidence enough that the neighbour is the cause of the problem?

My letting agent has tried to influence the other letting agent but I feel both have dragged their feet hoping that the dust will settle. My letting agent now is refusing to re-let the property due to this neighbour.

I feel like I only have two options:

1) Reluctantly sell the property or

2) Try and re-let the property by switching my current agent to the same letting agent who oversees the troublesome neighbour. This eliminates the denial that there is a problem and who causes it due to one letting agent getting to hear about all the problems at both properties without any middlemen diluting the seriousness of the allegations. The problem with this option is whether the letting agent would evict the troublesome tenant or just be happy to allow my tenants to leave and enjoy the inctreased income from the renewals.

What other options do I have?

Please help.

Mark Lintern


How far back can overpaid Housing Benefit be reclaimed from Landlords? Landlord News, Latest Articles

I am looking for confirmation of the legislation regarding reclaiming Housing Benefit overpaid directly to a private landlord. Is it true that if a council decides that an overpayment of Housing Benefit has been made they have up to 6 years to reclaim this money?

The tenant in question had a backdated Housing Benefit payment of circa £1800 made in 2010. We are not clear on the reason for the re-assessment and why this backdated payment was made by the HB department.

The tenant remains in one of our properties. We have previously had a situation where a tenant received a backdated payment of HB, we refunded the tenant this amount and they subsequently left our property. After this the HB department wrote to us and explained that the backdate was incorrect and they re-claimed the money from us. We at that point had no recourse to collect the money from our former tenant as we could not trace them.

As a result I want to be clear on exactly what powers HB department have to reclaim incorrect payments and specifically if there is a time limit which they must adhere to. My housing officer believes they have this option for up to 6 years from the payment but this seems prohibitive to me.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

JuliaHousing benefit


West Bromwich Tracker Rate Mortgages Legal Action Group Legal

West Brom Tracker MortgagesNearly 1,000 people have registered an interest in the Class Action groups challenging the legality of the increases to tracker mortgage interest rate margins proposed/implemented by West Bromwich and Bank of Ireland. Many of the people who have registered are not affected at this time but are sufficiently concerned about the potential knock on effects to the attitudes of other lenders to make a donation to the Class Action Marketing Fund. We must spread the word to ensure that we win these cases in order to to discourage other mortgage lenders from following suit. Tracker Rate Class Actions Updates

Funds raised towards the legal fighting fund are being held in a solicitors client account which complies fully with The Law Society rules and is protected by client money protection insurance and the solicitors compensation fund until they are billed.  The objective is to raise sufficient money to be in a position to fund group action court cases and associated legal expenses insurance. No court cases will begin until such time as sufficient funds are raised to protect and limit the liabilities of all participants to the amount of funds pledged up front. If Court cases are not required or are not affordable then any surplus funds held on account will be returned pro-rata to the members of each group.

The reasons we started this campaign are very simple:-

1) We believe the actions of West Brom are immoral

2) We believe the actions of West Brom are unlawful, i.e. they have no legal grounds to increase their tracker rate margins

3) We have no wish to subsidise other areas of the West Bromwich Building Society business model

4) We are fearful of other lenders following suit if West Brom are allowed to get away with this

On these grounds we have raised more than enough money to cover the initial legal work and the costs of obtaining Counsels opinion. In fact, even after taking these costs which amount to £15,000 out of the funds raised to date we are 25% towards our minimum target fund raising to commence litigation.

We will NOT settle on any basis.

In our opinion we are more likely to raise the required funds on this basis.

We have a moral duty to do what is right for those who support the values upon which this campaign was started. Our promise to all who support these values is that we will not sell out on you at any price. We will continue to fight this injustice and we will fight any other lender who tries to follow suit.

Are you with us?

To Do List

  • Complete the Class Action Expression of Interest Form – Link here You will then receive emails advising you what to do next.
  • Please make a donation to the marketing fund to help spread the word – link here
  • If your are directly affected then complain to your mortgage lender and copy in the Financial Ombudsman Service using this letter template

Latest media coverage in which our campaigns are named/linked

BBC Website

BBC TV News Channel “Your Money” (10 minutes and 18 seconds into the programme)

The Telegraph

iDoStuff

Guild of Residential Landlords

What Sam Saw Today – part One

What Sam Saw Today – part Two

House Selling Advice

Chesterfield Post

Also see our forums …

West Bromwich Building Society

Bank of Ireland

If you haven’t already signed up please complete the form below.

Tracker Rate Class Actions Updates


Tracker Rate Class Actions Updates Buy to Let News, Commercial Finance Broker Blog, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Mortgage News, Property Investment News, Property News

Over 1,000 people have registered an interest in the Class Action groups challenging the legality of the increases to tracker mortgage interest rate margins proposed/implemented by West Bromwich and Bank of Ireland. Many of the people who have registered are not affected at this time but are sufficiently concerned about the potential knock on effects to the attitudes of other lenders to make a donation to the Class Action Marketing Fund. We must spread the word to ensure that we win these cases in order to to discourage other mortgage lenders from following suit. Tracker Rate Class Actions Updates

Funds raised towards the legal fighting fund are being held in a solicitors client account which complies fully with The Law Society rules and is protected by client money protection insurance  and the solicitors compensation fund until they are billed.  The objective is to raise sufficient money to be in a position to fund group action court cases and associated legal expenses insurance. No court cases will begin until such time as sufficient funds are raised to protect and limit the liabilities of all participants to the amount of funds contributed up front. If Court cases are not required or are not affordable then any surplus funds held on account will be returned pro-rata to the members of each group.

Latest media coverage in which our campaigns are named/linked

BBC Website

BBC TV News Channel “Your Money” (10 minutes and 18 seconds into the programme)

The Telegraph

iDoStuff

Guild of Residential Landlords

What Sam Saw Today – part One

What Sam Saw Today – part Two

House Selling Advice

Chesterfield Post

Tracker Rate Class Actions Updates

Existing supporters of the Class Action campaign are to be congratulated for their efforts to date.

If you wish to get involved please see the To-Do list below.

  • Complete the Class Action Expression of Interest Form – Link here You will then receive emails advising you what to do next.
  • Please make a donation to the marketing fund to help spread the word – Link here
  • Complain to your lenders and copy in the Financial Ombudsman Service – letter template here
  • email watchdog@bbc.co.uk
  • Write to your local MP – find your local MP via this link several MP’s have already referred this matter to the chancellor of the exchequer or the chairman of the treasury select committee. The more support the better so we need everybody to write.
  • Contact your local newspapers – use this Press Release as a base and add your personal story as the media love case studies with local interest
  • Post articles linking back to Property118 on websites/blogs and post links in Facebook Groups and other online forums

West Bromwich BS Class Action Update

The reasons we started this campaign are very simple:-

1) We believe the actions of West Brom are immoral

2) We believe the actions of West Brom are unlawful, i.e. they have no legal grounds to increase their tracker rate margins

3) We have no wish to subsidise other areas of the West Bromwich Building Society business model

4) We are fearful of other lenders following suit if West Brom are allowed to get away with this

On these grounds we have raised more than enough money to cover the initial legal work and the costs of obtaining Counsels opinion. In fact, after taking these costs out of the funds raised to date we are 27% towards our minimum target fund raising to commence litigation. Now I don’t know about you but if Counsels opinion is that we have a VERY strong case I would definitely consider paying a lot more than I’ve paid already to take this all the way. £240 a case is a tiny fraction of what we all stand to lose, not just in terms of this lender but possibly others too.

In a months time we will have Counsels opinion. These are the scenario’s I have considered.

1) Worst case scenario is that we will be advised that we do not have a case. If that happens, costs to date will be taken from the funds raised and we will all get a refund pro-rata.

2) We are advised that we have a good case but we do not have enough money in the pot to fight it. We will then have to set a closing date for the fund and have a vote amongst members on how much they are prepared to pay if necessary. I suggest a pledge of up to one years worth of savings because if we start trying to set amounts we could be going back and forth forever more if people decide they are are in at one level and out at another. If we still don’t have enough money pledged at the end of such an exercise then it’s possibly game over, i.e. contributions are refunded net of expenses to all named borrowers.

3) We have enough money in the pot and counsels opinion is that we should fight.

We will NOT settle on any basis.

In our opinion, we are more likely to raise the required funds on this basis.

We have a moral duty to do what is right for those who support the values upon which we started this campaign in the first place. Our promise to all who support these values is that we will not sell out on you at any price. We will continue to fight this injustice and we will fight any other lender who tries to follow suit.

Who’s with me?

West Bromwich Legal Action So Far

Tracker Rate Mortgage Class Actions UpdatesWe appointed solicitors to consider the actions of the West Bromwich BS tracker mortgage hike in interest rate margins at the beginning of October. Well over 100 affected borrowers have sent their papers and fees to the solicitor representing the group.

The solicitor acting for the group has been asked NOT to commit chargeable time to respond to individual telephone calls and emails from affected borrowers, this is to preserve funds. All questions should be raised via the Property118 forums to prevent duplication of efforts.

Around £15,000 of the funds raised to date will be used to complete the following steps. The balance will be held towards a Court action fighting fund, the target for which is £100,000 plus.

  1. To seek counsels opinion on the legality of the actions of West Bromwich and to seek advice on the most direct legal options to pursue. The solicitor acting for the group has appointed one of the UK’s leading banking barristers at Stone Buildings London
  2. The solicitor acting will provide template letters for all paid up members to send to the solicitors who acted in the transaction. This letter will advise the solicitors to put their PI insurers on notice and also ask the solicitors to comment on why they did not offer advice on the clauses now being used by West Bromwich BS.
  3. A further template letter for affected borrowers to submit as a follow up to initial complaints to the Financial Ombudsman service will also be prepared by the solicitors acting for the group and will be based on counsels opinion. There is no rush to do this, we have up to six months, hence the decision to await Counsels opinion in respect of the best possible legal arguments to present.
  4. The solicitor acting on behalf of the group has already sent  a letter to Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee. A response is awaited.
  5. The solicitor acting on behalf of the group will submit formal complaints to the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Ombudsman Service once Counsels opinion has been received. A further complaint may be submitted to the Advertising Standards Authority dependent upon counsels advice.

Bank of Ireland Class Action Update

More pressure needs to be put on the Financial Conduct Authority to obtain their own independent advice as to the legality of the actions already implemented by the Bank of Ireland.  They received our barristers opinion, sent it to BoI who obtained comment from their QC and then decided to do nothing further. Our solicitor is of the opinion that the FCA response was a “whitewash” as they did not seek their own independent advice prior to making a decision. The more noise we can make about this the better as we need them to reconsider their position. Pressure is intensifying from the Treasury Select committee to lean on the FCA as more MP’s get embroiled in the debate following complaints from their constituents. Fundraising will recommence in due course, in the meantime, a QC working at the same chambers as the barrister we instructed has volunteered to review the opinion of our barrister and the responses from the FCA and the Bank of Ireland.

Fees applicable to the Bank of Ireland Class action are likely to be £240 per property, less any fees paid to date. We will advise you when the fundraising re-commences. Our objective is to significantly increase the numbers of interested parties before fund raising recommences. We are quietly confident that the promotional activities described in this update article will increase the numbers of interested participants.

The Financial Ombudsman Service are yet to make a decision based on the formal complaint regarding the actions of Bank of Ireland. It has been 7 months now since the FOS opened this case and their are still pontificating how to deal with it. If you believe this is an unacceptable delay the address to write to is The Financial Ombudsman Service, South Quay Plaza, 183 Marsh Wall, London E14 9SR.

In both cases

Preference remains to persuade a regulator to take the cases to Court as this will significantly reduce costs to affected borrowers.

Disclosure – in group legal action cases it is normal for both sides to be aware of each others legal arguments before a Court case commences. Therefore, there is no risk to debating legal points in open forum. There is, however, a positive upside in that it continues to provide media with new stories and people to contact for case studies. Exposure is what we need to build the group.

The Marketing Fund

The purpose of the marketing fund is to increase awareness of the campaign. This fund is held separately to the Class Action legal fighting fund which is held in a solicitors client account protected by client money protection insurance. The marketing fund is administered by Innovative Landlord Solutions LLP which is the owner of Property118.com.

Initiatives funded so far include sending letters to a database of mortgage brokers and financial advisers. The database was rented from Equifax and we chose to send letters as opposed to emails in order to guarantee delivery. We have also completed significant Search Engine Optimisation to make it easier for people surfing the internet to learn about our campaigns.

A Press Conference, open to paid up members of the Class action Group, and those who have contributed to the marketing fund, will be organised shortly after we have receive Counsels opinion on the West Brom case and the QC’s opinion in respect of our submission of the BoI case to the FCA, their response and the BoI’s QC’s response to the FCA. All responses are anticipated to be received towards the end of November with the Press Conference being held in London shortly thereafter. Surplus funds in the marketing fund, which are still continuing to flow in nicely, are being held towards this event. Funds raised since our first call for donations to a Marketing Fund on 3rd October are now approaching £4,000 of which £3,375 has been utilised to date.

Facebook Marketing

We have done some research and we are able to contact in the region of 230,000 to 420,000 people via Facebook for a budget of £800. These will be friends of friends of people who have “Liked” the Property118 Facebook page. On the basis that people socialise with like minded people this could be an excellent target audience.

Details via this link >>> http://www.property118.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Facebook-Promo.png

The beauty of this type of advertising is that we can add credit to reach more people as and when we receive donations.

If you wish to donate to the the fund please see >>> http://www.property118.com/much-appreciated/ and send us an email to let us know that you wish the funds you have donated to be used to fund Facebook marketing. The email address to write to is mark@property118.com

All comments via the main discussion threads please.

Bank of Ireland

West Bromwich Building Society

If you haven’t already signed up please completed the form below.


£700 per room council tax! Latest Articles

I am trying to find out when council tax would become payable by the room instead of for the whole property.

I am not getting a clear answer from the valuations agency who keep coming back with it all depends on the layouts and
if its individual tenancies and what the tenancies actually say. council-tax-going-through-the-roof

I would like them to give me examples of both which they appear not to want to do.

If I created studios with their own shower room then a living room come bedroom with a kitchenette in it on separate tenancies.

In addition the studios would all share a utility room consisting of washing machines and tumble dryers and all access to the studios would be doors off the main front door, would they try and charge the council tax per unit?

Many thanks

Kathy


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