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Yesterday on social media the landlord community were up in arms. A story we broke of government plans to increase court fees came into effect on the 22nd of April. We have lambasted these increases as "extortionate" The changes will see fees relating to Section 8 (PCOL) claims and Accelerated (S21) claims increase by as much as 60%. As our founder Paul Shamplina rightly pointed out this could only ever be justifiable if landlords are to receive a more efficient service in return. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the case.
The charges for an application for possession Currently the application for possession, which is used after service of a section 8 notice, costs £175, the same as an accelerated possession claim used after service of a section 21 notice. From 22nd April, this will increase to £280.
The possession claim online (PCOL) service, which can only be used after a section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds, currently has a substantially discounted fee of £100. This will rise by 150% to £250, making the discount for using the online system far less appealing.The Government has stated “the benefits brought by a simplified approach with a fee which reflects the average cost of issuing such proceedings justifies the change.”Commenting on the extent of the rises, Paul questioned “Are the Courts going to employ additional staff to warrant this massive price increase so that landlords are at least getting a more efficient service, such as an earlier hearing date on a Section 8 claim, or a Possession Order following a Request for Possession on a Section 21 case within two weeks rather than six?”
The increases are apparently justified in that the landlord will be able to apply for a costs order against the tenant to recover the costs incurred. Paul rejects this arguing that if a tenant can't pay their rent, which is often why they are being served notice in the first place, it is unlikely that they will pay the costs order that is not even a County Court Judgment “The rises are ludicrous and will have a huge impact on those landlords and letting agents that find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to start eviction proceedings. Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair” says Shamplina.
Paul continues, “As a company that has fought for the rights of landlords from the start, we have always endeavoured to ensure our services are priced fairly and competitively. Whilst we will try to swallow some of these increases, at such a great hike, we will inevitably have to pass some of this on to our landlords and agents. It is actions such as these which discourage new landlords from entering the market, which is concerning at a time where there is a desperate shortage of rental stock.” These rises were announced with little warning giving Landlords no time to prepare and many are clearly frustrated and angry. Our advice to Landlords is to act quickly and speak to us directly is you are worried about these changes and the effect on your property. These changes combined with increased delays in an already overburdened court system are clearly bad news. However with our proven track record and experience we always aim to deliver a fast and efficient service to landlords. We use the latest technology and legal expertise to ensure we put you back in control as soon as possible. Our detail focussed approach ensure that further unnecessary delays are prevented. We are completely against these changes and will continue to campaign and lobby at the highest level to ensure that the the voice of the landlord community is heard.
Landlord action was set up by landlords for landlords with problem tenants. That is, tenants who are in rent arrears or break some other part of a tenancy agreement. Landlord & tenant law is a specialist area and we found solicitor charges were too much and too vague. When you have a bad tenant you want to evict them fast. Any landlord would want a bad tenant out. they want advice and help with the law. And that's what we do. We are experts in this area and unlike solicitors, we only act for landlords, never tenants. And we'll help recover the outstanding rent. Our free advice line is open to all landlords and we have carried out thousands of evictions.