Section 21 Possession Claims At 15 Year High

Section 21 Possession Claims At 15 Year High.

Commenting on quarterly landlord possession statistics released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action, a firm which specialises in dealing with problem tenants, says that despite an overall 5% fall in possession claims issued at county courts in 2014 versus 2013, he believes the figures are skewed by a more lenient approach taken by social landlords, and that the continued rise in accelerated possession cases which are at a 15 year high, indicate the severity of the UKs housing shortage.

Social landlord possession claims (those made by councils and housing associations, mainly for rent arrears and anti-social behaviour) have fallen by 10,500 in the last year, whilst private landlords seeking hearings before judges have only fallen marginally by 629, but accelerated cases have risen by nearly 2000 to 36026.  Commenting on this, Paul Shamplina says “I’m surprised by these figures for the social housing sector, given the recent introduction of the bedroom tax, cuts in housing benefit and welfare reforms.  Perhaps the directive to the social housing sector was to not be as aggressive during this period of transition.”

Accelerated claims have risen consistently for the last 5 years, in line with growth in the PRS and the drastic housing shortage, but 2014 also saw the highest annual figure of cases since the accelerated possession claims process started in the court system.  Consistent with figures releases by the MoJ, Landlord Action has seen a significant shift in the number of landlords choosing to take the Section 21 accelerated possession route (for a quicker eviction) instead of using a Section 8 for possession only.  According to Landlord Action, this used to be weighted 30/70 in favour of Section 8, but is now closer to 40/60.  However, Landlord Action still maintains they have had very few cases relating to “Retaliation Eviction”, a total contradiction to the figures shelter quoted of 213,000 tenants being evicted by landlords because they complained about disrepairs.

“There is an amalgamation of reasons for this but our research suggests the two most common motives are an increase of landlords wishing to exit the PRS, both to cash in on capital appreciation and because they feel that letting property has become too shrouded in red tape. Secondly, landlords are being forced down this route by tenants remaining in properties on instruction by local authorities, who will not re-house tenants who have “voluntary” made themselves homeless”.  Cases like this are at the highest level since we started in 1999 and this obviously shows the severity of the housing crisis we have. According to English Heritage figures, last year 120,000 fewer houses were built than the estimated 245,000 needed” says Paul.

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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