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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Estate agents renting out sub-standard accommodation

An investigation by BBC’s Inside Out found that two high street estate agents have allegedly been renting out sub-standard “beds in sheds” housing without residential planning permission. It seems that a garage without external windows was rented out to a young family, whilst another garage conversion without planning permission was being advertised as “stunning, newly refurbished, bright and airy”.

Commenting on the discovery, property ombudsman Christopher Hamer said: “A letting agent is the professional in the transaction. It’s the agent’s responsibility to make further inquiries to be more diligent in understanding the status of that property before they describe it to prospective tenants. Based on their experience, if they see something that’s not right in terms of the residential status of that property, they need to be more diligent than normal.

It’s essential to ensure that any property you are renting out not only meets required standards, but that you have prepared all the relevant documentation. This set of documents is easy to use and covers all aspects of residential property management, from approving tenants through granting a tenancy to terminating the letting.

High Court bans BitTorrent sites

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has succeeded in obtaining a court order requiring the UK’s major internet service providers (ISPs) to block three BitTorrent websites – Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy – which allegedly offer links to pirated material.

While the BPI said the sites in question infringe copyright on a “significant scale“, others argue that blocking sites in this way is ineffective and does not deal with the issue comprehensively. Commenting, Loz Kaye, the leader of Pirate Party UK, said the BPI was “out of control” and that the “UK has now handed the power over what we see on the internet to corporate lobbyists.

Although piracy is endemic in this digital age, these Copyright Legal Documents can assist individuals and businesses in managing and protecting their copyright.

Republic acquired by Sports Direct

Sports Direct has purchased Republic for an undisclosed sum, just two weeks after the ailing fashion retailer went into administration. The deal is set to safeguard over 2,100 jobs.

Commenting on the news, Hunter Kelly, joint administrator from accountancy group Ernst & Young, said “The brand Republic is well recognised and well respected by customers for offering quality, high-fashion goods and it is a testament to its strength that Sports Direct has made this investment to secure its future and High Street presence.

These template Company, Asset or Business Sale Documents have been created for companies that are selling their entire business or the shares in their business.

Whisky fire results in fine

Scotch whisky manufacturer The Edrington Group Limited has been fined £40,000 after a fire broke out in a warehouse. Thousands of litres of the highly flammable spirit went up in flames following an accident involving a pumping hose and the ceiling lights.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the central aisle lights in the warehouse should not have been used in a flammable atmosphere and that the filling equipment was not suitable for use to transfer a hazardous substance like alcohol at pressure. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Commenting, HSE Inspector David Stephen said “Had the company taken the simple steps of checking the light fittings were suitable for use in a flammable atmosphere and that the equipment used to transfer the alcohol was fit for purpose this incident could have been prevented.

All businesses should ensure that they follow a systematic method of looking at work activities, assessing what could go wrong and deciding what controls need to implemented in order to prevent loss, damage or injury. This set of template risk assessment forms can help.

Workplace stress affecting business performance

According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Zurich, 42% of SME managers believe that stress had a noticeable impact on business over 2012, with a third finding that stress at work resulted in a negative impact on overall business performance.

Commenting, Richard Coleman, director of SME at Zurich Insurance said “It is perhaps not surprising that the fragile business climate has had such an impact on workforce stress and morale, and if these issues aren’t addressed they could have serious long-term consequences for business stability and performance.

If you are concerned about stress at work, you may like to take a look at this template Mental Health and Stress Policy. It’s designed to enable employers to comply with their legal obligations to provide employees with a safe and healthy workplace.