3 Years Running: Buy-To-Let Legal Services Award
Landlord & Buy-to-let Magazine 28 March 2011
Landlord Action, a company specialising in tenant eviction, has seen a fifteen percent increase in the number of overcrowding cases. The firm is dealing with more cases in London than anywhere else in the country, which, they believe, is a direct result of the recession.
Paul Shamplina, director and co-founder, explains, "The most common cases appear to be organising gangs looking for an easy money making scam. They take out a tenancy and then sublet to multiple occupants. The worst case we have dealt with was a three bedroom, one bathroom, semi detached house in North London which was found to have had 53 occupants, all illegal immigrants. They were mattresses literally littering the floors from wall to wall in every available space. The sanitation issues were stretched to say the least."
"Another case was of a lady who had a lovely two bedroom flat in Victoria. Her tenant paid six months rent up front but she later discovered that 18 sets of bunk beds had been put into her property and was being used as a youth hostel. A website in china was offering students visiting London accommodation at £20 per night"
Paul's recommendation to landlords is to ensure that they have a good relationship neighbours or caretakers so that anything untoward is brought to their attention as soon as possible. Most cases are reported by vigilant observers who often complain about noise levels or disrepair to the property due to excess occupants. Depending on what available time and resources the local police have, they don't always want to get involved, often classing it as a civil matter.
If a landlord's only option is to deal with the issues themselves, he has a stark warning, "if a landlord suspects subletting is happening in the property, whilst I would advise that the sub tenants are spoken to directly to clarify the situation as they may well be unaware of the circumstances themselves, a landlord should never accept payment direct from this source, as this would be seen to be giving them authority to be in residence."
I would suggest that, if they are happy for them to remain, they cut out the middle man by going through the proper procedures to have the tenancy negated, then draw up a new tenancy for each resident. Under no circumstances should they accept payment rent until the matter is sorted."
He also recommends that both landlords and tenants use a reputable letting agency and landlords use a referencing company. Both parties should ensure that they are dealing with someone who is actually who they say they are by insisting on seeing photo ID, and, in the tenants case, proof the property is available for rent by the legitimate owner. If a landlord does decide to handle is themselves, they should ensure that due diligence is carried out.
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.