Order sends “clear message” to landlords who fall short of their responsibilities

A woman has been banned from managing properties in two London boroughs following a landmark court order.

“Rogue landlord” Katia Goremsandu was slapped with the Criminal Behaviour Order as a consequence of the dangerous condition of the homes she was renting out.

She was convicted of breaching the regulations set out in the Housing Act at a court hearing in London last month.

The controversy surrounded a flat in Gloucester Terrace, Bayswater, where inspectors uncovered a number of serious health and safety failings.

She has also faced criticism for offences in Haringey and has now been banned from managing a property in either borough for the next ten years.

A breach of the strict conditions would be classed as a criminal offence, carrying a maximum custodial sentence of five years.

Antonia Cox, Westminster’s cabinet member for public protection and licensing, said the action against Ms Goremsandu would serve as a warning to others.

“The order means that the likelihood of her being able to reoffend is now significantly reduced,” she said.

“This sends a clear message to all landlords that they have a responsibility to their tenants and that bad practice will not be tolerated.”

It is important to seek expert legal advice if you are involved in a landlord and tenant dispute of any description, for guidance please contact our head of Dispute Resolution Stephen Silverman or visit.

Think tank wants action to improve property market for smaller firms

The capital’s commercial property market is not doing enough to support small businesses, a think tank has claimed.

A report prepared by Future of London calls on local councils, developers and landlords to help nurture a more favourable environment.

The research points out that SMEs make up 99 per cent of all businesses in the city and employ four out of ten workers.

Despite this, they are facing a growing number of challenges, with an increasing volume of office spaces being converted into residential property and rents continuing to spiral upwards.

Alexei Schwab, head of programme at Future of London, said: “London’s public sector has a unique opportunity to support small businesses and promote regeneration through workspace.

“Councils can use planning powers to protect existing space; work with developers and operators to shape appropriate workspace in new developments; and use their own buildings and land to provide workspace.”

The report – entitled Workspace that Works – is currently being picked over by the London Assembly, where officials acknowledge the growing difficulties facing smaller businesses.

If you need advice relating to any aspect of a commercial property transaction, our experienced lawyers can provide support at every stage of the process. For further advice please contact the head of the Property team Michael Stock or visit.

MP fears gig economy workers are being “ripped off”

A major parcel delivery firm has faced criticism after it emerged that couriers who cannot find cover, if they have to take a day off sick, face charges of up to £250.

Details of the policy being applied by Parcelforce emerged earlier this week, amid renewed concerns about the working conditions confronting workers employed in the so-called gig economy.

Around one in four of the firm’s delivery drivers are self-employed, which means they are paid per delivery and must fund their vehicle, fuel and insurance out of their own pocket.

Most controversial are the charges imposed if a member of staff is unable to arrange cover for their own sick leave.

Given that a worker typically earns £200 for a 12 hour shift, a day’s illness could cost an individual a total of £450.

“We all hate it,” one courier told The Guardian. “My colleague handed in his notice after being told he was being fined £750 for being off sick for three days.

“If we’re off sick, we don’t get any payment at all but we still have the same costs, apart from fuel.”

Frank Field MP, who chairs Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee, said: “It almost looks as though some companies are now engaged in a bidding war, to see who can slap the biggest penalty on workers who are sick.

“Again it goes to show how badly we need a national minimum level of decency to be enforced in the gig economy, alongside a National Living Wage, so that workers aren’t ripped off by the companies they work with.”

A Parcelforce spokesman said: “Many owner-drivers do not actually do the route themselves, but employ someone to do it for them. Self-employed owner-drivers agree to cover the cost of fulfilling their routes if they are unable to do it themselves and are unable to provide cover.”

For expert advice on employment rights, please contact the head of our Employment team Susan Bernstein or visit.

Personal injury experts want better deal for dog attack victims

A woman who was permanently scarred after being attacked by a dog has lent her support to a national campaign which would make it easier for people in her position to claim compensation.

Kerry Stevens was bitten on the thigh by a Pitbull cross while delivering a parcel in Eastbourne in October 2014.

Despite her ordeal, the 44-year-old has not received damages, on the grounds that the couple looking after the dog at the time of the attack were not its official owners and the animal was not set on her deliberately.

“When I found out I would not get any compensation, I was absolutely disgusted,” Ms Stevens told her local newspaper.

“I have been left physically and emotionally scarred by this. I can’t wear the clothes I used to wear, I can’t stand up for too long otherwise my leg gets swollen, I can’t go swimming for fear people will be disgusted by my scar.

“I have muscle damage to my leg where the dog ripped out the muscle, and there are some parts of my leg I can no longer feel. I have had six operations, with more to come, and I have to take time off work after each surgery.”

The campaign is being co-ordinated by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Neil Sugarman, APIL’s president, said: “Victims of other crimes can claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme to help put their lives back on track, and rightly so.

“But casualties of violent dog attacks were removed from the scheme four years ago, unless the dog was used deliberately to attack, rather than its owner being careless or reckless about it.”

It is important to seek expert legal advice if you believe you have the grounds to pursue a personal injury claim.  For guidance please contact our head of Dispute Resolution Stephen Silverman or visit.

Cash grant to help the capital’s first-time buyers

London will receive more than £2million to help first-time buyers, many of whom are struggling to get on the property ladder.

The region has received the sum from a new fund, which has been filled with additional money raised from the Stamp Duty on second homes.

The Government is reallocating the revenue – totalling £60million – across nine different areas of England.

It will be distributed to “community-led” groups to support initiatives for the development of new affordable housing.

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said: “The high number of second homes can be a frustration for many who struggle to find an affordable home in their community.

“This new fund will help tackle that by boosting supply and making sure community groups are at the heart of delivering new homes, so that this is a country that works for everyone.”

Labour has suggested that the Government still isn’t doing enough to tackling the nation’s “housing crisis” and called for more radical action to address the shortage of homes.

If you need guidance with any aspect of the conveyancing process, please contact the head of the Property team Michael Stock or visit.

PM plans to sweep aside “unacceptable” domestic violence laws

The Government has announced it will be ushering in new domestic violence legislation, amid concerns that the way the authorities respond varies dramatically across the country.

Ministers have called the apparent disparity between regions “unacceptable” and Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed she will take personal charge of the new Domestic Violence and Abuse Act.

Among the main aims of the law will be to address any ambiguities attached to current legislation, with policymakers also hoping to raise awareness of the problem.

Announcing the overhaul, Mrs May said: “Domestic violence and abuse is a life-shattering and absolutely abhorrent crime; tackling it is an key priority for this Government – and something I have always attached a personal importance to, both as Home Secretary and now as Prime Minister.

“I am clear that we need to build on the measures I introduced as Home Secretary – including the new offence of ‘controlling and coercive behaviour’, Domestic Violence Protection Orders, and the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme – and ensure that no stone will be left unturned in delivering a system…that works better for victims.”

Polly Neate, chief executive of the charity Women’s Aid, said: “It is very welcome news for survivors of domestic abuse that the Prime Minister is planning to legislate for a step change in response to domestic abuse.

“There is scope to make the legal framework surrounding domestic abuse clearer and more comprehensive; survivors desperately need an approach across all agencies that genuinely responds to their needs and helps them to truly recover.”

OGR Stock Denton knows that divorce proceedings involving domestic violence can be particularly sensitive. If you require advice please contact our head of Family Law Peter Martin or visit.

Backlash against probate fees proposal

Lawyers at OGR Stock Denton have joined the chorus of criticism of plans to overhaul probate fees.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed at the end of last month that a hugely controversial overhaul of the current structure is set to be introduced in May.

The changes will mean that the largest estates will be charged as much as £20,000.

Under the current system, the fees are imposed at a flat rate of £155 if the individual is applying through a solicitor.

By contrast, the new charges will operate on a sliding scale. While this will mean that estates of less than £50,000 will be exempt, the largest will be saddled with substantial costs.

Priti Shah, Private Client Partner at OGR Stock Denton, said: “In Jersey, probate fees are linked to the value of the estate but they do not have any Inheritance Tax in Jersey.

“To impose such fees in England is like levying a disguised Inheritance Tax charge, as executors do not have a choice but to pay these fees if they have to obtain a grant of probate to administer the estate.”

Senior Associate Geoff Dennis said: “It is disappointing that the overwhelming majority of respondents who objected to the original MoJ consultation have been ignored.

“Further, this massive increase in the probate fee could present a significant obstacle for bereaved families at a difficult time if they do not have access to sufficient funds upfront to cover this.”

The Government had previously admitted that the increases are part of plans to raise an additional £250million for the Courts and Tribunals Service, but has tried to argue the change in arrangements will make for a fairer system.

If you need further guidance on the probate process please contact Private Client Partner Geoff Dennis or visit.

OGR Stock Denton invited to speak at Women in Business Network event

A lawyer from OGR Stock Denton has presented at a Women in Business Network (WIBN) event, with an update on the firm’s Company and Commercial services.

Associate Isabelle Fatton spoke at a meeting of the Liverpool Street chapter of the organisation, which was set up to enable women to gain new business opportunities through word-of-mouth contacts.

Isabelle said: “I was delighted to be able to present at WIBN to be able to tell other members about our Company Commercial work at OGR Stock Denton LLP.

“The meeting was well-attended and those present clearly found our discussion interesting.”

The department has a wealth of experience offering advice to businesses of various sizes across a range of sectors. The team also has considerable experience advising in matters which involve multiple jurisdictions.

For advice on any aspect of our Company and Commercial services, please contact the head of the department Gitta Altmann or visit.

Much-publicised mistake costs senior figure her job

Failing to declare a possible conflict of interest this week cost the job of a senior figure at one of Britain’s biggest institutions.

Charlotte Hogg, who was poised to become a deputy governor at the Bank of England, agreed to resign after she failed to disclose that her brother was employed at Barclays.

Her mistake, which came to light as Ms Hogg prepared to face Parliament’s Treasury Committee earlier this month, breached the bank’s code of conduct.

The case throws into sharp relief the importance of organisations of all sizes ensuring that staff adhere to corporate governance requirements at all times.

In her resignation letter, Ms Hogg – who had been at the bank since 2013 and had even been tipped to take over from incumbent governor Mark Carney – apologised for her omission.

“It was an honest mistake: I have made no secret of my brother’s job – indeed it was I who informed the Treasury Select Committee of it, before my hearing,” she said.

“But I fully accept it was a mistake, made worse by the fact that my involvement in drafting the policy made it incumbent on me to get all my own declarations absolutely right.”

The Bank now intends to tighten up its code of conduct, which Ms Hogg had previously helped to shape.

Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Treasury Committee, said: “This is a regrettable business with no winners. Ms Hogg has acted in the best interest of the institution for which she has been working. This is welcome.

“It is also welcome that the Bank has responded immediately by announcing an internal review.”

Leading North London law firm encourages learning difficulty work placements

A leading North London law firm is encouraging businesses to offer work placements to people with learning disabilities following the success of a scheme at the firm.

Finchley-based OGR Stock Denton LLP is encouraging employers to look at offering such placements after taking on two people with learning disabilities through Langdon Community a charity that supports adults with learning disabilities to live independent lives and supports them into long term employment opportunities.

The firm has also taken on another person with learning difficulties through the Kisharon charity organisation.

Richard Denton, Managing Partner at OGR Stock Denton LLP, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Marcus, Yosef and Shya to the team. Staff have embraced having the additional support available and having them on board has been beneficial to the firm as a whole. We hope that this equips them with the necessary skills that will help them build their careers in the workplace.

“I’d strongly encourage any employer to look into offering work placements to people with learning disabilities. Our experience with Langdon and Kisharon has been excellent.”

David Peters, Employer Engagement Consultant at Langdon, added: “OGR Stock Denton has fully embraced diversity within its workforce and have been incredibly supportive of our Langdon People and have made great efforts to find unique solutions to challenging situations to bring the best out of them.

“Langdon continue to work closely with OGR Stock Denton to help the firm select the right individuals to meet its needs. With its continued commitment to recruiting people with learning disabilities, OGR Stock Denton have showed great commitment and dedication in being an inclusive and diverse employer.”