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PR activity report for May 2013 May 2012


Press releases/feature articles written and distributed this month 25th April - “Relief for thousands of landlords thanks to Court of Appeal Rule” says Landlord Action 30th April - Legal Action Against Bank of Ireland Gets Green Light 2nd May - Social landlord speaks out on housing benefit nightmare tonight on BBC’s The One Show 22nd May - Landlord Action encouraged at BoI decision to reverse some mortgage rate hikes

Upcoming releases -

Update on Class Action

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Problem with deposit schemes o Product to solve deposit scheme problem

Requests responded to this month 2nd April – Money Marketing looking to write something on Class Action. Liaised with Justin Selig and this has now been in print. 3rd May – BBC Berkshire Radio – request to be on with Sandra Trivedy. 9th May – Financial Adviser – Asked to provide update comment following distribution of Class Action press release. Justin Selig gave comment to Iona Bain. 15th May – Leopard Films – Looking to film a series for BBC on rogue tenants and landlords. This was passed to Paul who has since spoken to Yasmin Pasha 22nd May – Money Box – Interview with Justin Selig on Class Action Additional activity     

YPN article on Class Action Against BoI Belvoir Letting Agent – Agony Uncle Buytolet.com – expert column Pitched Paul as a spokesperson to ITV breakfast show to discuss impact of welfare reforms on landlords Property Reporter – Blog / In the Spotlight

Upcoming Coverage -

PropertyDrum YPN Magazine


Press cuttings Date 26th April

Title Advance rent not a deposit

AVE N/A

26th April

Publication The Independent (Blog) Property Reporter

Relief for thousands of landlords thanks to Court of Appeal Rule

N/A

26th April

BuytoLet.com

Landlords relieved over Court of Appeal decision

N/A

30th April Landlord Today

Solicitors confirm rent in N/A advance case is good news for landlords

30th April

Letting Agent Today

Solicitors confirm rent in N/A advance case is good news for landlords

30th April

Rentman

Solicitors confirm rent in N/A advance case is good news for landlords

1st May

The Herald

N/A

1st May

BoI legal action moves closer

Circulation: 4981 AVE: ÂŁ583.83

1st May

Mortgage Introducer Mortgage Introducer Magazine Money Marketing

Customers consider legal action BoI legal action moves closer

BoI borrowers push ahead with class action against rate hike

N/A

1st May

Landlord Zone

N/A

1st May

Your Mortgage

Legal action against Bank of Ireland re: interest rate hikes gets green light Landlords get green light for Bank of Ireland class action

1st May

What Mortgage

Legal action may be taken against Bank of Ireland for tracker interest rate rise

N/A

1st May

BuytoLet.com

Good chance of success for legal action over hiked BTL mortgage rates

N/A

1st May

Property Investor News

Possible legal action against Bank of Ireland

Circulation: 12000 AVE: ÂŁ557.70

1st May

N/A

N/A


2nd May

Property118

Landlord News on the BBC One Show at 7pm Tonight

N/A

2nd May

LandlordZone

N/A

2nd May

Property Reporter

BBC’s One Show to Highlight “Housing Benefit Nightmare” Social landlord speaks out on housing benefit nightmare

2nd May

Mortgage Finance Gazette

Bank of Ireland could face legal action over tracker rate rise

N/A

2nd May

Residential Property Rent in advance is not Investor deposit, Court of Appeal rules BBC One The One Show

Circulation: 11000 AVE:£354.57 N/A

BBC Berkshire Radio

N/A

2nd May – 19.00 3rd May – 17.30

Drive Time discussion with Paul Shamplina and Sandra Trivedy Bank of Ireland Rates Double

N/A

7th May

Financial Times

4th May

Coventry Telegraph

Rent Ruling’s a Big Relief for Landlords

8th May

Mortgage Strategy

BoI’s tracker landlords chase class action against ‘unfair’ rate hike

9th May

Nottingham Post

Rent in advance ruling welcomed

15th May

FT Adviser

Borrowers take action over ‘unfair’ rate hikes

16th May 19th May

The Sentinel Mail on Sunday

N/A Circulation: 1,715,707 AVE:£1810.00

21st May

BuytoLet.com

22nd May

Landlord Zone

22nd May

Property Reporter

Taking unruly tenants for you Bank of Ireland's mortgage tracker increase 'may be illegal' Bank of Ireland makes partial U-turn Landlord Action Celebrates Success in Bank of Ireland Decision Landlords celebrate as Bank of Ireland backs down over mortgage rates hike

22nd May

What Mortgage

Landlord Action encouraged at BoI decision to reverse some mortgage rate hikes

N/A

Circulation: 305685 Readership:1012777 AVE:£1023.84 Circulation: 31064 Readership:88071 AVE:£5517.60 N/A

Circulation: 60648 Readership:133301 AVE:£436.05 N/A

N/A N/A

N/A


22nd May

Best Advice

BoI to reverse some mortgage N/A rate hikes

22nd May

Mortgage Finance Gazette

Bank of Ireland reverses some N/A mortgage rate hikes

22nd May

Knutsford Guardian

22nd May

Winsford & Middlewich Guardian Northwich Guardian

Court ruling a relief for thousands of landlords Court ruling a relief for thousands of landlords

22nd May

Circulation: 4271 AVE: £92.22 Circulation: 14782 AVE: £380.78

Court ruling a relief for thousands of landlords Stretford & Court ruling a relief for Urmston Messenger thousands of landlords Crewe & Nantwich Court ruling a relief for Guardian thousands of landlords Mortgage Landlord Action encouraged Introducer by BoI reversal

Circulation: 10393 AVE: £869.44 Circulation: 23892 AVE: £268.92 Circulation: 30756 AVE: £142.00 N/A

Interview with Justin Selig

N/A

24th May

BBC Radio 4 Money Box Bucks Free Press

Ensure your rent

29th May

Mortgage Strategy

BoI reverses tracker rate hike for 1,200 ‘to treat customers fairly’

Circulation: 17838 AVE: £87.63 N/A

30th May

Warrington Court Ruling a relief for Guardian thousands of landlords Total Number of Cuttings Total AVE

23rd May 23rd May 23rd May 23rd May

Circulation: 24541 AVE: £592.96 45 £12,717.54

Total of cuttings:45 Total AVE (advertising equivalent) £12,717.54 Please note that we cannot provide the advertising equivalent for online coverage, or circulations figures. This is just for print coverage.


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By Alex Johnson Property Friday, 26 April 2013 at 4:03 pm

Advance rent not a deposit The Court of Appeal decided this week that rent paid in advance does not count as a deposit (in the case of Johnson v Old), a decision that will bring relief to hundreds of landlords, according to Landlord Action. Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, said: “We have almost 200 landlords who have been nervous about acting for possession. The outcome of this case is great news for landlords. They can now go ahead with confidence, knowing where they stand with the taking of deposits and the classification of advanced rent. A different outcome would have caused ambiguity, leaving a big question over the system.”


Relief for thousands of landlords thanks to Court of Appeal Rule Friday, April 26, 2013 Published by WARREN LEWIS Landlords & Lettings

| 0 Comments

The Court of Appeal’s decision that rent paid in advance does not count as a deposit in the long-running case of Johnson v Old, will bring much welcomed relief to hundreds of landlords, according to Landlord Action The tenant, who was asked for six months rent in advance because she did not have a set income (also common practice when tenants fail a credit check), tried to dispute a Section 21 notice claiming the advanced rent was in fact a deposit. Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, an organisation helping landlords and property professionals deal with problem tenants, comments on what this landmark ruling means for landlords. "We have almost 200 landlords who have been nervous about acting for possession. The outcome of this case is great news for landlords. They can now go ahead with confidence, knowing where they stand with the taking of deposits and the classification of advanced rent. A different outcome would have caused ambiguity, leaving a big question over the system.” We receive calls to our helpline daily regarding the holding of deposits and advanced rents stated on tenancy agreements. This particular case also highlights the importance of thorough due diligence when forming a tenancy agreement. We are very pleased at the ruling and feel it will provide a much needed boost of confidence in the system.”


Landlords relieved over Court of Appeal decision 26th April 2013 By Emily Spaven

The Court of Appeal has ruled rent paid in advance cannot be considered a deposit, therefore it does not need to be protected. This is the latest ruling in the long-running case of Johnson v Old. The landlord required his tenant to pay six months’ rent in advance because the tenant had failed to pass the required credit checks. The tenant also paid a deposit, which was properly protected by the landlord in a tenancy deposit protection scheme. At the end of the agreed tenancy period, the tenancy became periodic, with the tenant being required to pay her rent monthly, a month in advance. The tenant fell into arrears, so the landlord served a Section 21 notice and applied for possession of the buy-to-let property. The tenant argued that a Section 21 notice was invalid, as the rent paid in advance had not been properly protected. In the original ruling at Brighton County Court, deputy district judge DJ Collins ruled in favour of the tenant and said the advance rent should have been protected in the same way as a deposit. This decision was overturned on appeal, but that verdict too was granted an appeal, which was ruled on this week in favour of the landlord.


Had the Court of Appeal decided that the rent in advance was a deposit, the landlord would have had to return the six months’ advance rent plus pay a penalty of up to three times the amount to the tenant. Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, a leading organisation helping landlords and property professionals deal with problem tenants, said: “The outcome of this case is great news for landlords.”

“A different outcome would have caused ambiguity, leaving a big question over the system.” He went on to say Landlord Action knows of almost 200 landlords who have been nervous about acting for possession, but now they can proceed with confidence. “A different outcome would have caused ambiguity, leaving a big question over the system,” Mr Shamplina added. He said Landlord Action receives calls to its helpline every day regarding the holding of deposits and advanced rents. One of the main complicating factors in this case was the wording in the tenancy agreement between Johnson and Old. It expressed the rent as being payable monthly in advance, but then went on to state the rent for the whole six months should be paid in advance. “This particular case highlights the importance of thorough due diligence when forming a tenancy agreement. We are very pleased at the ruling and feel it will provide a much needed boost of confidence in the system,” concluded Mr Shamplina.


Solicitors confirm rent in advance case is good news for industryTuesday 30th April 2013 The Court of Appeal decision in the Johnson v Old case is unquestionably good news for landlords and agents, the winning legal team has said. It has also emerged that hundreds of landlords may have held off serving Section 21 notices pending the outcome of the case. One firm alone, Landlord Action, has 200 clients who were in this position. Paul Shamplina, of Landlord Action, said they had been nervous about initiating action for possession. He said: “The outcome of this case is great news for landlords. They can now go ahead with confidence, knowing where they stand. “We receive calls to our helpline daily regarding the holding of deposits and advance rents stated on many tenancy agreements. We are very pleased at the ruling and feel it will provide a much needed boost of confidence.” Shoosmiths represented the landlord and its view on the complicated case comes after considerable debate on LAT as to whether the court ruling really did clarify whether rent in advance should, or should not, be treated as a deposit. Linda Howard, from Shoosmith Access Legal’s team, managed the case all the way through to the Court of Appeal and says the judgement does clarify what was a potential loophole in the law that could have been very bad news for landlords. The leading judgment was made by Sir John Chadwick at the Court of Appeal, upholding the decision of HHJ Simkiss, “much to the relief of landlords everywhere”, says Howard. She said: “We’re delighted with this result. The Court of Appeal has applied a bit of common sense in this case. Lots of landlords take payments up front from tenants who fail referencing. If these payments were all at risk of being treated as a deposit, all sorts of problem would ensue.” However, she added: “What this case does show is that landlords and their agents need to take care when drafting their tenancy agreements. “We weren’t involved in drafting the original tenancy agreements in this case, but if it had it been a bit clearer, this litigation could probably have been avoided. “Tenancy agreements do need to be written so that ordinary people will be able to work out what they mean, but it’s essential that they are also legally and linguistically precise so there is no room for misinterpretation of misunderstanding.” The case stemmed from an initial decision by a District Judge that successive payments of six months rent up-front made by Ms Old, the tenant, were in reality deposits. As the landlord had failed to protect them, this prevented Mr Johnson, the landlord, from being able to serve a valid Section 21 notice. The matter then went to appeal on July 31, 2012, where the decision was overturned by His Honour Judge Simkiss, saying that the payment was rent and not a security. Ms Old then secured legal aid which allowed her to take that decision to the Court of Appeal – which ruled in the landlord’s favour. The Shoosmiths’ blog goes into the case in some detail, and can be read on this site today.


BoI borrowers push ahead with class action against rate hike 1 May 2013 1:06 pm | By Samuel Dale Landlords being hit with a tracker mortgage rate hike by the Bank of Ireland today are pushing ahead with a class action for damages after a “positive” legal opinion. In February, the Bank of Ireland revealed it is more than doubling the rate for 13,500 borrowers on its tracker mortgages, some 7 per cent of its borrowers. Around half of those affected are buy-to-let borrowers who will see rates increase from 1.75 per cent above base rate to 4.49 per cent above base today. Residential borrowers will see their rates rise in two stages, firstly to 2.49 per cent today and then to 3.99 per cent on 1 October. The bank blames the rise on increasing capital requirements. In response, more than 250 landlords have looked to form a class action against the bank and sought legal opinion. They claim the change in mortgage contract is unfair and should not be allowed to stand. Yesterday the group received the full barrister’s opinion detailing their options and chances of success and Law Department solicitor Justin Selig, who is leading the legal action, is today writing to all members to inform them of the next steps. All class action members are being encouraged to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Borrowers are then being split into two categories of amateur and professional landlords. Amateur landlords, who have other jobs and own only one or two properties, may be deemed consumers and a test case with the Office for Fair Trading will be pursued. Professional landlords are being given a range of options to pursue such as suing for damages. If it proceeds to litigation then landlords will be claiming damages for the extra 2.74 per cent rate increase for the rest of the term. For a 15-year term, landlords will be claiming 41.1 per cent of the value of their debt or £82,000 for a £200,000 mortgage. Property118.com owner Mark Alexander, who is part of the action, says: “The barrister did not put a percentage on it when rating our chances of success but his report was very positive. We are very confident because there is plenty of case law, particularly for consumers, comparable to this action.”


Landlords get green light for Bank of Ireland class action ByJulia Rampen | 26 Apr 2013 | 0 Comments

Fifty landlords planning a class action against the Bank of Ireland have been given the go ahead to challenge it before the May rate rise. The Law Department principal Justin Selig, who is leading the case, received a “very positive” response from a barrister consulted after the lawsuit was suggested. He said: “It looks like the bank’s actions are open to challenge on a number of different fronts. What we need to do is work out how we are going to do it and get as many people involved as possible.” There were a couple of different approaches the landlords could take, he said. In particular, there was the question of whether claimants should pay the increased rate when it begins next month. Selig encouraged other landlords hit by the rate rise to contact him if they wanted to join the class action: “The Bank of Ireland is going to be using all the big legal firms. But I am not worried about that because we have got a good case and we have good people – we will bring in expert support.” Landlords began planning a class action after the Bank of Ireland announced it would be doubling rates on certain tracker mortgages earlier this year. Those hit included mortgage broker Caroline Grierson, who said she felt 'cheated' and questioned the need for rates to rise by such a large amount. A coalition of landlord representatives decided to challenge the decision on the basis that even if the small print allowed for a rate increase, the move was inherently unfair.


Legal action may be taken against Bank of Ireland for tracker interest rate rise Landlord Action, in association with Property118.com, may take legal action against the Bank of Ireland following a massive rise in its tracker mortgage rate. Justin Selig, Landlord Action director and solicitor, has obtained expert opinion that such an action would have good chance of success. In February, Bank of Ireland and Bristol and West wrote to 13,500 borrowers those who took out tracker mortgages prior to 31 October 2004, advising that the rate would increase from 1 May 2013. The buy-to-let rate will rise from 2.25 per cent – made up of Bank Rate plus 1.75 per cent – to 4.99 per cent, representing Bank Rate plus 4.49 per cent. For residential customers, changes will be introduced in two stages. From 1 May, they will pay Bank Rate plus 2.49 per cent. On October 1, it goes up to 3.99 per cent. Borrowers are incensed because they believed that they were on lifetime tracker mortgages paying a fixed margin over the Bank of England base rate. So far almost 300 mortgage holders have requested the forms to sign up and join the action. Joining costs £100+VAT. Landlord Action says that borrowers will get advice, and prepared letters of complaint. To join contact justin@landlordaction.co.uk Andrew Tyrie MP, who chairs the Treasury Select Committee, has written to the Financial Conduct Authority asking it to investigate potential mis-selling and to examine whether the Bank of Ireland mortgage agreements contained unfair clauses. Which? has called on Bank of Ireland “to do the right thing by mortgage customers” and believes that the bank is potentially treating customers unfairly by hiking rates using clauses buried in the small print. The consumer watchdog is urging customers to complain if they were led to believe their rate would track the Bank of England base rate by the same amount for the term of their mortgage or if their mortgage had ‘life’ or ‘lifetime’ in its name. Which? has created a free online tool to make it easy for consumers to complain directly to the Bank of Ireland, at www.which.co.uk/bankofireland. Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Burying such important changes in the small print is wholly unfair. Bank of Ireland is taking advantage of its customers by hiking rates at a time when the base rate is static.” In a statement Bank of Ireland said: “This increase is permitted by a specific clause in these mortgage contracts, which allows an increase in the interest rate differential after the guarantee period (i.e. after 31 December 2006). This clause was clearly referenced in the pre-sale offer document provided to the customer and the customer’s intermediary prior to completion. “This change reflects the significant increase in the cost of funding these mortgages since 2008 and the need for banks to maintain greater levels of capital. This rate increase does not affect Post Office customers. “Bank of Ireland has a range of mortgages available to customers who would like to review their mortgage options. If a customer decides to move to an alternative mortgage provider, no Early Repayment Charges will apply. “Bank of Ireland has provided a dedicated support line and encourages customers who wish to discuss the impact of the increase on them to contact the Bank in the first instance (Freephone telephone number: 0800 345 7512). “We are conscious of the consequences for our customers and will treat any associated difficulties with appropriate care.”


Good chance of success for legal action over hiked BTL mortgage rates 1st May 2013 By Emily Spaven

Landlords who take legal action over the Bank of Ireland’s hiked buy-tolet mortgage rates should enjoy success in court, Landlord Action has claimed. The Bank of Ireland and Bristol & West recently wrote to their customers who took out tracker mortgages – both buy-to-let and residential – prior to 31st October 2004, advising that their rates would be increasing. A statement from Landlord Action said: “Buy-to-let and residential mortgage holders are incensed because they believed that they were on lifetime tracker mortgages paying a fixed margin over the Bank of England base rate.” Justin Selig, director at Landlord Action, added: “Not only does this impact those landlords who are directly affected because they have Bank of Ireland or Bristol & West mortgages, but also all other landlords who stand to lose if the Bank of Ireland are allowed to get away with this, because other lenders will be sure to follow with their own interest rate hikes.” Landlords recently began discussing their dissatisfaction on the Property 118 forum and Landlord Action stepped in to investigate. Mr Selig, who is also a solicitor, has obtained expert advice that legal action against the Bank of Ireland would have good chance of success.


Landlord News on the BBC One Show at 7pm Tonight Published 02/05/2013 Bigger Text

News Sourced by Property118 News Team

LANDLORD NEWS – private landlord speaks out on housing benefit nightmare tonight on BBC’s The One Show A landlord from Bracknell, Berkshire, has spoken out about her nightmare ordeal after her housing benefit tenant failed to pass on the payments. This issue has been widely reported and discussed within the buy-to-let industry but now a landlord has come out publicly to talk about it. The non-payments left Mrs Trivedy and her self-employed partner in an extremely difficult financial position. As a result of the welfare reforms and implementation of Universal Credit thousands of ordinary landlords fear that they will see more of this kind of problem. It is expected to affect the whole country and BBC1 are covering the issue on The One Show tonight, Thursday 2nd May at 7pm. They will feature Mrs Trivedy and Landlord Action, the problem tenant specialists, who she went to for help. After meeting her current partner, Mrs Trivedy decided to sell her four bedroom house in Bracknell from a previous relationship so that they could buy somewhere together. After failing to sell the property quickly enough, she took the decision to let it out, which for three and half years provided the perfect solution. When her previous tenants moved out and an acquaintance from her daughter’s school, with five children of her own, expressed an interest in the property, it seemed like the perfect solution. The prospective tenants explained that they had fallen on tough times but that the £1,200 housing benefit they were due to start receiving would cover the rent. They agreed to set up a direct debit straight to Mrs Trivedy’s account. From the moment the family moved in (December 2011), the payments were not consistent and with the housing benefit being paid in arrears every two weeks, there was already a shortfall of £20 per month which the tenants were supposed to make up. Four months ago, the payments stopped altogether. On communication with the tenants, Mrs Trivedy was told to liaise with the local housing allowance office, to no avail. After attempting to speak to the tenants at the property to discuss the issues and try to work out a payment schedule, the tenants called the police to file a harassment case. Mrs Trivedy has since received abusive text messages from the tenants via her mobile phone. In desperation, Mrs Trivedy called on the help of Landlord Action who have since issued a Section 8 possession notice, the process of which was filmed by The One Show.


Mrs Trivedy says “The tenants are now approximately £4,400 in arrears and that sum is mounting all the time. As a result, we are struggling to pay the mortgage on the house. My partner is selfemployed so income is irregular and despite taking as much overtime at work as I can, we are living off next to nothing just to get by. What’s more, the house is a complete wreck after the tenants brought dogs into the property which subsequently had puppies. It will cost us thousands to get it back to a liveable state.” Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, says “The majority of social tenants do pass on housing benefit, but the cuts made in the welfare reforms are going to put many under increased financial pressure. Our experience in dealing with cases such as this is that most tenants would prefer to have their payments made directly to the landlord so that they can budget more effectively. Not enough has been done to protect landlords. Over the last few years we have seen a rise in these problems and now with the new Universal Tax Credits monthly payments, our concern is that more and more landlords will see problems and many will turn their back on the social sector.”


LandlordZONE BBC’s One Show to Highlight “Housing Benefit Nightmare” May 2, 2013 on 11:51 am | In News | No Comments

A social landlord speaks out about housing benefit nightmare tonight on BBC’s The One Show – 2 May 2013 A landlord from Bracknell, Berkshire, has spoken out about her nightmare ordeal after her tenant, who is claiming housing benefit, has failed to pass on the payments, leaving Mrs Lucy Trivedy and her selfemployed partner in an extremely difficult financial position. This is an issue which has been widely reported within the buy to let industry but now Mrs Trivedy, alongside problem tenant specialists Landlord Action who has been helping on the case, will appear on the BBC’s The One Show tonight, Thursday 2nd May at 7pm, to discuss her situation which could now threaten thousands of landlords as a result of the welfare reforms and implementation of Universal Credit. After meeting her current partner, Mrs Trivedy decided to sell her four bedroom house in Bracknell from a previous relationship so that they could buy somewhere together. After failing to sell the property quickly enough, she took the decision to let it out, which for three and half years provided the perfect solution. When her previous tenants moved out and an acquaintance from her daughter’s school, with five children of her own, expressed an interest in the property, it seemed like the perfect solution. The prospective tenants explained that they had fallen on tough times but that the £1200 housing benefit they were due to start receiving would cover the rent. They agreed to set up a direct debit straight to Mrs Trivedy’s account. From the moment the family moved in (December 2011), the payments were not consistent and with the housing benefit being paid in arrears every two weeks, there was already a shortfall of £20 per month which the tenants were supposed to make up. Four months ago, the payments stopped altogether. On communication with the tenants, Mrs Trivedy was told to liaise with the local housing allowance office, to no avail. After attempting to speak to the tenants at the property to discuss the issues and try to work out a payment schedule, the tenants called the police to file a harassment case. Mrs Trivedy has since received abusive text messages from the tenants via her mobile phone. In desperation, Mrs Trivedy called on the help of Landlord Action who have since issued a Section 8 possession notice, the process of which was filmed by The One Show. Mrs Trivedy says “The tenants are now approximately £4400 in arrears and that sum is mounting all the time. As a result, we are struggling to pay the mortgage on the house.


My partner is self-employed so income is irregular and despite taking as much overtime at work as I can, we are living off next to nothing just to get by. What’s more, the house is a complete wreck after the tenants brought dogs into the property which subsequently had puppies. It will cost us thousands to get it back to a liveable state.” Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, says “The majority of social tenants do pass on housing benefit, but the cuts made in the welfare reforms are going to put many under increased financial pressure. Our experience in dealing with cases such as this is that most tenants would prefer to have their payments made directly to the landlord so that they can budget more effectively. Not enough is being done to protect landlords and with proposals to make the new Universal Tax Credits a monthly payment, our concern is that more and more landlords will turn their back on the social sector.” About Landlord Action Landlord Action is a UK based organisation helping landlords and property professionals deal with problem tenants. Founded in 1999 as the first ever fixed-fee tenant eviction specialist, they revolutionised this area of legal practice. They have acted in 20,000 problem tenant cases and are considered the authority in this field. Unlike solicitors, Landlord Action will not act for tenants, only landlords and property companies. Landlord Action run a free advice line to help landlords and property professionals understand their rights: 0333 240 9767 www.LandlordAction.co.uk About Paul Shamplina Paul Shamplina is one of the key founders of Landlord Action with 25 years experience in the legal field. He has previously worked as a legal clerk, private investigator, debt collector and certified bailiff. He has appeared regularly on TV and radio and lectures across the UK at landlord seminars and events and still works full time in the office, heading up the team of advisors. Paul believes passionately in the rights of the landlord and is always available for comment on any landlord/tenant matters.


Social landlord speaks out on housing benefit nightmare Thursday, May 02, 2013 Published by WARREN LEWIS Landlords & Lettings

| 0 Comments

A landlord from Bracknell, Berkshire, has spoken out about her nightmare ordeal after her housing benefit tenant failed to pass on the payments. This issue has been widely reported and discussed within the buy-to-let industry but now a landlord has come out publicly to talk about it. The non-payments left Mrs Trivedy and her self-employed partner in an extremely difficult financial position. As a result of the welfare reforms and implementation of Universal Credit thousands of ordinary landlords fear that they will see more of this kind of problem. It is expected to affect the whole country and BBC1 are covering the issue on The One Show tonight, Thursday 2nd May at 7pm. They will feature Mrs Trivedy and Landlord Action, the problem tenant specialists, who she went to for help. After meeting her current partner, Mrs Trivedy decided to sell her four bedroom house in Bracknell from a previous relationship so that they could buy somewhere together. After failing to sell the property quickly enough, she took the decision to let it out, which for three and half years provided the perfect solution. When her previous tenants moved out and an acquaintance from her daughter’s school, with five children of her own, expressed an interest in the property, it seemed like the perfect solution. The prospective tenants explained that they had fallen on tough times but that the £1200 housing benefit they were due to start receiving would cover the rent. They agreed to set up a direct debit straight to Mrs Trivedy’s account. From the moment the family moved in (December 2011), the payments were not consistent and with the housing benefit being paid in arrears every two weeks, there was already a shortfall of £20 per month which the tenants were supposed to make up. Four months ago, the payments stopped altogether. On communication with the tenants, Mrs Trivedy was told to liaise with the local housing allowance office, to no avail. After attempting to speak to the tenants at the property to discuss the issues and try to work out a payment schedule, the tenants called the police to file a harassment case. Mrs Trivedy has since received abusive text messages from the tenants via her mobile phone. In desperation, Mrs Trivedy called on the help of Landlord Action who have since issued a Section 8 possession notice, the process of which was filmed by The One Show. Mrs Trivedy says: “The tenants are now approximately £4400 in arrears and that sum is mounting all the time. As a result, we are struggling to pay the mortgage on the house. My partner is self-employed so income is irregular and despite taking as much overtime at work as I can, we are living off next to nothing just to get by.


"What’s more, the house is a complete wreck after the tenants brought dogs into the property which subsequently had puppies. It will cost us thousands to get it back to a liveable state.” Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, says: “The majority of social tenants do pass on housing benefit, but the cuts made in the welfare reforms are going to put many under increased financial pressure. Our experience in dealing with cases such as this is that most tenants would prefer to have their payments made directly to the landlord so that they can budget more effectively. Not enough has been done to protect landlords. "Over the last few years we have seen a rise in these problems and now with the new Universal Tax Credits monthly payments, our concern is that more and more landlords will see problems and many will turn their back on the social sector.”


Bank of Ireland could face legal action over tracker rate rise Landlord Action, in association with Property118.com, has been investigating the possibility of legal action against the Bank of Ireland following a huge hike in its tracker mortgage rate. Justin Selig, Landlord Action director and solicitor, has obtained expert opinion that such an action would have good chance of success. The investigation was started with landlords in mind but the legal action will include residential mortgage holders too. In February, Bank of Ireland and Bristol and West wrote to 13,500 borrowers those who took out tracker mortgages prior to 31 October 2004, advising that the rate would increase from 1 May 2013. The buy-to-let rate will rise from 2.25 per cent - made up of Bank Rate plus 1.75 per cent - to 4.99 per cent, representing Bank Rate plus 4.49 per cent. For residential customers, changes will be introduced in two stages. From 1 May, they will pay Bank Rate plus 2.49 per cent. On 1 October, it goes up to 3.99 per cent. Borrowers are incensed because they believed that they were on lifetime tracker mortgages paying a fixed margin over the Bank of England base rate. Landlords began discussing the issues on the Property118 forum and Landlord Action stepped up to investigate on their behalf. So far almost 300 mortgage holders have requested the forms to sign up and join the action. Joining costs £100+VAT. Landlord Action says that borrowers will get advice, and prepared letters of complaint. To join contact justin@landlordaction.co.uk

Andrew Tyrie MP, who chairs the Treasury Select Committee, has written to the Financial Conduct Authority asking it to investigate potential mis-selling and to examine whether the Bank of Ireland mortgage agreements contained unfair clauses. Which? has called on Bank of Ireland “to do the right thing by mortgage customers” and believes that the bank is potentially treating customers unfairly by hiking rates using clauses buried in the small print. The consumer watchdog is urging customers to complain if they were led to believe their rate would track the Bank of England base rate by the same amount for the term of their mortgage or if their mortgage had ‘life’ or ‘lifetime’ in its name. Which? has created a free online tool to make it easy for consumers to complain directly to the Bank of Ireland, at www.which.co.uk/bankofireland. Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Burying such important changes in the small print is wholly unfair. Bank of Ireland is taking advantage of its customers by hiking rates at a time when the base rate is static.” In a statement Bank of Ireland said: “This increase is permitted by a specific clause in these mortgage contracts, which allows an increase in the interest rate differential after the guarantee period (i.e. after 31 December 2006). This clause was clearly referenced in the pre-sale offer document provided to the customer and the customer's intermediary prior to completion. “This change reflects the significant increase in the cost of funding these mortgages since 2008 and the need for banks to maintain greater levels of capital. This rate increase does not affect Post Office customers. “Bank of Ireland has a range of mortgages available to customers who would like to review their mortgage options. If a customer decides to move to an alternative mortgage provider, no Early Repayment Charges will apply. “Bank of Ireland has provided a dedicated support line and encourages customers who wish to discuss the impact of the increase on them to contact the Bank in the first instance (Freephone telephone number: 0800 345 7512). “We are conscious of the consequences for our customers and will treat any associated difficulties with appropriate care.”


BoI’s tracker landlords chase class action against ‘unfair’ rate hike Around half of those affected are buy-to-let borrowers who saw rates increase from 1.75 per cent above base rate to 4.49 per cent above base last week. Residential borrowers saw their rates rise in two stages, firstly to 2.49 per cent last week and then to 3.99 per cent on 1 October. The bank blames the rise on increasing capital requirements. In response, more than 250 landlords have looked to form a class action against the bank and sought legal opinion. They claim the change in mortgage contract is unfair and should not be allowed to stand. Earlier this month the group received the full barrister’s opinion detailing their options and chances of success and Law Department solicitor Justin Selig, who is leading the legal action, is writing to all members to inform them of the next steps. Borrowers are then being split into two categories of amateur and professional landlords. Amateur landlords, who have other jobs and own only one or two properties, may be deemed consumers and a test case with the Office for Fair Trading will be pursued. Professional landlords are being given a range of options to pursue such as suing for damages. If it proceeds to litigation then landlords will be claiming damages for the extra 2.74 per cent rate increase for the rest of the term. For a 15-year term, landlords will be claiming 41.1 per cent of the value of their debt or £82,000 for a £200,000 mortgage. Property118.com owner Mark Alexander, who is part of the action, says: “The barrister did not put a percentage on it when rating our chances of success but his report was very positive. We are very confident because there is plenty of case law, particularly for consumers, comparable to this action.” Separately, consumer protection group Which? has hit out against the Bank of Ireland’s tracker rate hike and is offering a free online tool to encourage those affected to complain. A BoI spokeswoman says: “Should

a customer decide to take legal advice in relation to this increase they are entitled to do so and the Bank will deal with any legal proceedings through the proper legal channels.”


Bank of Ireland's mortgage tracker increase 'may be illegal' By Richard Dyson, Financial Mail On Sunday PUBLISHED: 22:25, 18 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:45, 19 May 2013 Under fire: Bank of Ireland

The Bank of Ireland may have acted illegally when it increased tracker mortgage rates for 13,500 borrowers by up to 122 per cent. Trackers are supposed to rise and fall in line with the Bank of England base rate, which has been at 0.5 per cent since 2009. But Bank of Ireland, which is the banking partner of the UK Post Office, invoked a clause in contracts that it says allows it to scrap tracking and raise rates when it wants. Some landlords’ rates more than doubled. Rises are effective this month. Justin Selig, of the Law Department, a London firm specialising in commercial and property litigation, is acting for 100 borrowers. Rather than going direct to court, he wants to try other avenues such as the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Office of Fair Trading first. Selig says there are several fronts on which the bank could be attacked, including alleged breaches of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, ‘placing this in the jurisdiction of the Office of Fair Trading’. On Monday, his office will submit a presentation to the OFT and the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA has already received complaints from MPs on this issue. Selig is encouraging borrowers to complain to the FOS, even though there are doubts about whether the landlord loans are within its remit. He says: ‘Most of the borrowers, even if they are landlords, should be protected.’ Bank of Ireland says: ‘This increase is permitted by a specific clause in these contracts.’


Bank of Ireland makes partial U-turn 21st May 2013 By Emily Spaven

Bank of Ireland has written to 1,200 of its mortgage customers informing them they will not face previously announced interest rate hikes. The bank wrote to 13,500 UK customers in February to tell them the rates on their tracker mortgages would be increased. Buy-to-let mortgage customers were told their rates would rise from Bank of England base rate plus 1.75% to base rate plus 4.49%, which means an overnight rise from 2.25% to 4.99%. Owner-occupiers were told their mortgage rates would increase from 1.39% above the base rate to 3.99% above, which means a rise from 2.49% to 4.49%. After reviewing complaints, it has decided to not increase rates for two groups of customers, including 1,000 flexible mortgage customers who had received a letter that might have caused them to believe the rate they were paying was fixed for the full term of their loan. A further 200 or so people who switched to a tracker mortgage will also escape the rate increase because information they were sent stating the differential was variable did not detail the circumstances under which it could be changed.

“Banks are obliged to look into every single complaint so their decisions must always be challenged.” Des Crowley, chief executive of Bank of Ireland UK, said: “We have said from the outset that we will review all customer complaints individually and that we are committed to treating customers fairly throughout the process, it is on this basis that we have removed these customers.” Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, said the Bank of Ireland reversed its mortgage rate increase for over a thousand borrowers because of the complaints it received from landlords. “This is landlord power and this should be a lesson to all landlords. Lenders have the power to try it on and then wait to see what happens. However, under the regulations, the banks are obliged to look into every single complaint so their decisions must always be challenged,” he added Mr Shamplina went on to say landlords who feel they are being unfairly treated must complain – the latest decision by the Bank of Ireland is proof it can work.


Landlord Action Celebrates Success in Bank of Ireland Decision May 22, 2013 on 2:14 pm | In News | No Comments

After nearly three months of campaigning, and encouraging landlords to complain, Landlord Action is delighted to hear that the Bank of Ireland has reversed its previous stance on mortgage charges for its existing Buy to Let clients. Following the Landlord Action campaign the bank has written to the 1,200 borrowers who were threatened with an increase in their mortgage rate to advise them that they will not face the change after all, following a review of customer complaints. Landlords will be particularly relieved as some buy-let-let customers were facing rises of three times their existing monthly payment. Justin Selig, Solicitor and Partner at Landlord Action, who has been instrumental in driving the campaign to overturn the bank’s rate hike, made the following comment: “The Bank of Ireland has reversed its mortgage rate increase for over a thousand borrowers and it’s all because we all complained. This is landlord power and this should be a lesson to all landlords. If nobody had complained they would’ve just carried on, but we all united and we won. Lenders have the power to try it on and then wait to see what happens. However, under the regulations, the banks are obliged to look into every single complaint so their decisions must always be challenged. We stand by our own advice – if you are being unfairly treated, complain, complain, complain and the BOI decision is proof that it can work.” Mr Selig of Landlord Action is still looking into the cases for the remainder of the affected borrowers but would like to thank all those landlords who came forward and put their names in to a group action. “It’s because of people like them that the bank has backed down” he concluded. Landlord Action is a UK based organisation helping landlords and property professionals deal with problem tenants. Founded in 1999 as the first ever fixed-fee tenant eviction specialist, they revolutionised this area of legal practice. They have acted in 20,000 problem tenant cases and are considered the authority in this field. Unlike solicitors, Landlord Action will not act for tenants, only landlords and property companies. Landlord Action run a free advice line to help landlords and property professionals understand their rights: 0333 240 9767 www.LandlordAction.co.uk


Landlords celebrate as Bank of Ireland backs down over mortgage rates hike Wednesday, May 22, 2013Published by WARREN LEWIS Landlords & Lettings

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Bank of Ireland has partially backtracked on a steep rise in mortgage rates for UK customers, saying some will no longer be hit by the increase In February, the bank told 13,500 UK customers on tracker mortgages that it planned to increase the margin on their loans from 1 May, citing the rising cost of funding and need for banks to maintain greater levels of capital. Buy-to-let customers saw typical pay rates rise from base rate plus 1.75% (2.25%) to base rate plus 4.49% (4.99%), while residential customers saw the first of two staged rises that would eventually move pay rates up from 1.39% above base rate (2.49%) to 3.99% above (4.49%). Des Crowley, chief executive of Bank of Ireland UK, said: “We have said from the outset that we will review all customer complaints individually and that we are committed to treating customers fairly throughout the process, it is on this basis that we have removed these customers.� The decision still means more than 12,000 customers face a steep rate rise - after believing their rates would stay low because they were linked to the Bank of England rate, currently 0.5pc. Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "These customers should not have been subject to the price hike in the first place and this announcement just shows that Bank of Ireland did not properly review who it could be applied to. "Bank of Ireland should now re-examine the position of all customers affected by the rate rise - especially those who were sold a 'lifetime tracker' - and we hope the Financial Conduct Authority will monitor this. "Customers who feel they've been unfairly treated should continue to complain." Landlord Action wrote "The Bank of Ireland has reversed it's mortgage hike for over a thousand borrowers. And it's all because we all complained. This is landlord power. And this should be a lesson to all landlords. We believe that lenders will always try it on. And then they'll wait see what happens. If nobody complains they can just carry on. But under the regulations, the banks are obliged to look into every single complaint. So complain, complain, complain! The banks' decisions must always be challenged. Today's BOI reversal is proof that it can work. We can't let the banks ride roughshod over us. By sticking together, making a group noise and by making individual complaints we can get the banks to change. Our lawyer Justin Selig is still looking into the cases for the remainder of the affected borrowers. Justin says we should all thank those landlords who came forward and put their names in to a group action. It's because off people like them that the bank has backed down. See - something has come out of our efforts so far. So


many more borrowers could benefit with a bit more effort. C'mon!" Customers have a right to complain to the Bank of Ireland, and if they remain unsatisfied after eight weeks, they can go to the Financial Ombudsman Service. However, only some with a buy-to-let mortgage can complain to the Ombudsman. This is because buy-to-let mortgages aren't regulated, meaning the Ombudsman can't look into complaints about them, except in certain circumstances, where for example, advice was given. If you're unsure, take your complaint to the Ombudsman anyway.


Landlord Action encouraged at BoI decision to reverse some mortgage rate hikes After nearly three months of campaigning and encouraging landlords to complain, Landlord Action is pleased to hear that the Bank of Irelandhas written to the 1,200 borrowers, who were threatened with an increase in their mortgage rate, to advise them that they will not face the change after all, following a review of customer complaints. However there are still many buy-let-let borrowers facing rises three times their existing monthly payment. Landlord Action believes that the banks reaction to the campaign will encourage even more landlords to come out and voice their complaints. Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, made the following comment: “The Bank of Ireland has reversed its mortgage rate increase for over a thousand borrowers and it’s all because we all complained. This is landlord power and this should be a lesson to all landlords. Lenders have the power to try it on and then wait to see what happens. However, under the regulations, the banks are obliged to look into every single complaint so their decisions must always be challenged. We stand by our advice – if you are being unfairly treated, complain, complain, complain. This BOI decision is proof that it can work. Landlord Action are still looking into the cases for the remainder of the affected borrowers but would like to thank all those landlords who came forward and put their names in to a group action. “It’s because of people like them that the bank has backed down. We believe that many more borrowers could benefit with a bit more effort” he concluded.


BoI to reverse some mortgage rate hikes The Bank of Ireland has written to the 1,200 borrowers who were threatened with an increase in their mortgage rate, to advise them that they will not face the change after all, following a review of customer complaints. However Landlord Action, which has been campaigning on the issue, believes there are still many buylet-let borrowers facing rises three times their existing monthly payment. Landlord Action believes that the banks reaction to the campaign will encourage even more landlords to come out and voice their complaints. Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, said: “The Bank of Ireland has reversed its mortgage rate increase for over a thousand borrowers and it’s all because we all complained. This is landlord power and this should be a lesson to all landlords. Lenders have the power to try it on and then wait to see what happens. However, under the regulations, the banks are obliged to look into every single complaint so their decisions must always be challenged. “We stand by our advice – if you are being unfairly treated, complain, complain, complain. This BOI decision is proof that it can work.”


Bank of Ireland reverses some mortgage rate hikes The Bank of Ireland has written to 1,200 borrowers, who were threatened with an increase in their mortgage rate, to advise them that they will not face the change after all, following a review of customer complaints. In February, Bank of Ireland wrote to 13,500 borrowers who took out tracker mortgages prior to 31 October 2004 informing them of rate rises, some more than doubling from 2.25 per cent to 4.99 per cent. Landlord Action believes that more landlords will complain following the bank’s latest retraction. Paul Shamplina (pictured), founder of Landlord Action, commented: “The Bank of Ireland has reversed its mortgage rate increase for over a thousand borrowers and it’s all because we all complained. This is landlord power and this should be a lesson to all landlords. “Lenders have the power to try it on and then wait to see what happens. However, under the regulations, the banks are obliged to look into every single complaint so their decisions must always be challenged. We stand by our advice - if you are being unfairly treated, complain, complain, complain. This BOI decision is proof that it can work." Landlord Action is still looking into the cases for the remainder of the affected borrowers but would like to thank all those landlords who came forward and put their names into a group action. Shamplina concluded: “It's because of people like them that the bank has backed down. We believe that many more borrowers could benefit with a bit more effort.”


Landlord Action encouraged by BoI reversal Landlord Action has said it is encouraged by the Bank of Ireland’s recent decision to reverse some mortgage rises for its borrowers as it may encourage more customers to complain. Ryan Fowler, 23 May, 2013 Landlord Action has been campaigning against the rises for almost three months and has actively encouraged complaints from landlords. However it warned that whilst it is encouraged by the decision there are still many Buy-to-let borrowers facing rises three times their existing monthly payment. Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, said: “The Bank of Ireland has reversed its mortgage rate increase for over a thousand borrowers and it’s all because we all complained. This is landlord power and this should be a lesson to all landlords. “Lenders have the power to try it on and then wait to see what happens. However under the regulations the banks are obliged to look into every single complaint so their decisions must always be challenged. “We stand by our advice - if you are being unfairly treated, complain, complain, complain. This BoI decision is proof that it can work.” Landlord Action said it is still looking into the cases for the remainder of the affected borrowers but would like to thank all those landlords who came forward and put their names in to a group action. “It's because of people like them that the bank has backed down. We believe that many more borrowers could benefit with a bit more effort," he concluded.


The Bank of Ireland last week reversed its tracker mortgage rate hike for 1,200 of 13,500 affected customers. On 1 May, the bank increased the rate on its tracker rate mortgages. For buy-to-let borrowers, the rate jumped from Bank of England base rate plus 1.75 per cent to rate plus 4.49 per cent.

For residential borrowers, the increase will be applied to in two separate stages. From 1 May, it rose from base plus 1.75 per cent to base plus 2.49 per cent. From 1 October, it will be subject to yet another increase, taking it to base plus 3.99 per cent. The BoI says the increases are due to extra capital requirements. The bank is being pursued by more than 300 customers in a class action who argue the contract term was unfair and the rise should not stand. But BoI now says it has identified two groups of customers who will receive a refund for anything charged since 1 May and will not be subject to the rise. It says the decision has the backing of the Financial Conduct Authority. The first group specifically relates to 1,000 flexible mortgage customers who were actively using the flexible facilities on their mortgage account. These customers received a specific administrative letter linked to their transactions that might have caused some customers to believe the rate would last for the whole mortgage term. The second group relates to around 200 customers who switched their mortgage to a base rate tracker mortgage. These customers received documentation showing that the rate could change but the banks says the mortgage conditions did not detail the circumstances when a change could occur. BoI chief executive Des Crowley says: “We have said from the outset that we will review all customer complaints individually and that we are committed to treating customers fairly throughout the process, it is on this basis that we have removed these customers.” Landlord advice firm Landlord Action founder Paul Shamplina says: “Lenders have the power to try it on and then wait to see what happens. However, under the regulations, the banks are obliged to look into every single complaint so their decisions must always be challenged. “We stand by our advice - if you are being unfairly treated, complain, complain, complain. This BoI decision is proof that it can work.”



PR activity report for May 2013