3 Years Running: Buy-To-Let Legal Services Award
Property Investor News
A rise in rent arrears cases has been followed by an increasing number of tenants defending eviction cases at court and appealing judges' decisions, with figures of defended cases rising from 9% last year to an all time high of 13%, so far this year, according to the eviction specialists Landlord Action.
"There are a multitude of reasons for this increase with blame falling on both parties," says company founder Paul Shamplina. "However landlords are suffering as listed county court closures are putting pressure on neighbouring courts to manage the workload, which with an increase in defended cases, is taking even longer, leaving landlords without rent.
"Firstly, as the increasing cost of living and rising rents puts a strain on tenants, our instructions for rent arrears cases going to court have risen by 11% up on the same time last year. Secondly, experienced landlords are becoming less tolerant of defaulting tenants and any unacceptable behaviour towards the treatment of their property."
However, the recent boom in the lettings market has also encouraged some new amateur landlords who are most at threat. With free advice for tenants now more readily available from organisations such as Shelter and Citizens Advice Bureau, more tenants are becoming conversant about rental laws than are their landlords, and some are using this to their advantage.
"A delaying tactic used by tenants, such as filing a defence on the day of the hearing making it difficult for the judge to grant a possession order within the listed five minutes, is resulting in many cases being adjourned to consider further evidence," said Shamplina.
"These, often sham defences, put forward so the tenant can remain in a property for longer rent free, are putting amateur landlords in financial hardship through expensive court costs and loss of rent until the second hearing. In some circumstances, we have landlords who will continue a rent arrears case and try to evict the tenant under section 21, possession only cases."
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.