The Property Redress Scheme

The Property Redress Scheme.

Yesterday I was delighted to be asked to attend the first meeting of The Property Redress Scheme. This is one of the redress schemes sanctioned by The Government, for all Letting Agents to join later this year. The scheme will be compulsory so that both landlords and tenants can have the correct remedy, if they have a complaint about their agent. The other two schemes are The Property Ombudsmen and Ombudsmen Services. I am pleased to announce I have accepted a role to be on The Property Redress Scheme Advisory Council with Tessa Shepperson and Lord Palmer of Childs Hill. Our roles will primarily be to assist with appeals, from members (lettings agents) in the scheme specifically with regard to their behavior and membership.

I am really pleased that finally a government has adopted a firm stance in bringing in redress as mandatory requirement for the industry. For too long there have been a minority of rogue agents giving good agents a bad name. I remember having a conversation with a well-known property journalist in 2001, saying clearly that there was a real need for a law enforcing that letting agents belong to such a scheme, just like Estate Agents. Now 13 years later this is finally coming to fruition.

Principally this is all about best practice and offering the consumer sufficient protection. Ultimately I welcome this positive move, but when it becomes mandatory that all agents must have Client Protection Monies Insurance in place, so that rents and deposit are protected, then we know we have really achieved something.

It’s estimated that there are currently about 4000 agents that currently do not belong to any form of scheme or association. Our debt recovery department will always pursue a case against a rogue agent that has withheld a landlord’s rent, and often we are forced to start debt recovery proceedings. Lastly it’s important that Landlords and Tenants are educated and informed. We recommend that they use an agent that is affiliated to a recognized scheme or association. Too many times in the past I have seen Landlords instruct agents because of price. It is always better to see if the agent belongs to an association or redress scheme and has Client Protection Monies Insurance in place. That way everyone has peace of mind.For more information on PRS, website http://www.theprs.co.uk

Precise Treatment Reduces Pain

Detail needs experts. Expert time is worth it when it saves you a costly mistake. Main objective: Get the property back. Best action: Very precise treatment.

Serving a notice is actually the most important part of the possession process.

It isn’t complicated but one tiny error can cause dreadful problems.

That’s why we say, don’t DIY and don’t use internet amateurs. It’s not worth it.

1. Compliance Errors
If the tenant doesn’t leave at Step1, the notice had better be valid. Because then it has to go to court. Any little error can get a case thrown out. And you have to start all over again.

2. Attempting Short-Cuts.
In an effort to be quick, some internet services aimed at landlords are using short-cuts around the process. But if the tenant doesn’t leave (50%) these practices can backfire at court and the case thrown out.

3. Trying to Save Pennies.
Internet services have mushroomed and landlords can expect to get what they pay for. To get the process done PROPERLY it takes a certain amount of time for an expert to look over a file and be accurate. Our fees cover that expert time.

Chasing courts for dates, arranging advocates and preparing court papers is time consuming. Especially if you’ve never done it before.

Some landlord and agents have served notices themselves. They believed they were saving a few pounds but it often ended up costing them more.

If you lose a claim, the court can order you to pay the tenant’s defence cost, which can run to hundreds or thousands of pounds.

Our in-house Solicitors are there to get your property back as fast as they can. And we protect landlords and agents from themselves.

As experts, we know that in the rush to get things done, errors can happen. And those errors can can come back later to mess up your case – and the whole process has to start again.

You can speed things up – give us accurate information quickly. Help us to help you.

There are services on the web who will prepare papers BUT they get you to pay the court-fee separately and get you to sign the court papers – so in fact they don’t represent you!

If your notice (at Step1) wasn’t drafted or served correctly you risk wasting your court fees and losing a whole lot of time because of a small error.

We won’t let your case anywhere near a court until we have checked every little detail. To make sure you don’t waste time or money, at Step-2 we first only charge part of the fee.

If your notice is fine, then you just pay the balance of the fee and we issue the claim. If there is a problem with your notice or paperwork, we will advise you what to do next.

Courts take the view that possession proceedings can make someone homeless. So they are very careful. If there’s any error in the notice, they throw the case out. It’s the process. Get it right or lose.

If the notice is invalid, you have to start all over again. The weeks or months you’ve waited are wasted. If there were rent arrears, there are now more.

If there weren’t rent arrears, they might now start. More fees. More lost rent. And still no possession. Tenants can be alerted to making a counter-claim.

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