Warning All Landlords – Retaliation Eviction Bill Will Come In

Warning All Landlords – Retaliation Eviction Bill Will Come In.

On 11th February, the Government’s amended Deregulation Bill was debated in the House of Lords. The main part of the Bill relates to ‘Retaliation Eviction’, meaning that landlords will not be able to serve a Section 21 notice in England or Wales within six months of the council serving a notice of improvement on a landlord. This would be served if a landlord failed to give an “adequate response” within 14 days of being informed of disrepairs by a tenant. As previously discussed, the issue I still have is that 14 days is not a reasonable enough length of time. A landlord could quite easily be away on holiday, for example. I am in agreement with Lord Ahmed, that 28 days would be a far more realistic timeframe for a landlord to respond. The landlord should not expected to carry out the repairs within this time.

My other concern relates to Councils not having the necessary resources to be able to inspect properties in good time. This is something I addressed in the evidence I provided to The Cross Party Parliamentary committee for the Private Rented Sector at on the 27th October (where the initial Bill was talked out at The Houses of Parliament) as well as dealing with the issues of dis-repairs causing Landlords further delays. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon proposed that landlords should still proceed with the Section 21 possession action at court, and if the council had still not dealt with the issue by the time the judge hears the case, then the tenant would not have a defence to the proceedings on the grounds of retaliation eviction.If a tenant lists disrepair issues after a section 21 notice is served by a landlord, then a landlord can still proceed as normal, ‘Retaliation Eviction’ does not apply. It is very important that landlords keep a paper trail of correspondence they have with tenants in regards to disrepair issues and problems gaining access to inspect the property.  It can provide a crucial defence for a landlord at court.

I have always said that the figures issued by Shelter suggesting 213,000 renters have been affected by ‘Retaliation Eviction’ was guess work. If any organisation would know about this, it would be us, as we deal with landlord/tenant issues on a daily basis and have a good handle over the scale of this problem. In reality, the figures are much, much smaller. When we did conduct a survey, only 2% of landlords that used us reported wanting to evict a tenant because they had asked for repairs to be carried out. Much of the time, it is because relationships between the landlord and tenant have broken down or the landlord wishes to evict on other grounds, such as arrears or anti-social behaviour. There are only a small minority of landlords that will exploit tenants, taking rents for properties that are in poor condition and refusing to carry out repairs.  I would like to see these landlords named and shamed and councils to take more prosecutions to ban these landlords from renting in the PRS.

I just worry that the majority of good landlords could end up being exploited by tenants playing the system, relying on delays by the councils and courts in order to remain in properties for longer.

The Bill also proposes that a section 21 notice cannot be served at the beginning of a tenancy, but only after the first 4 months. Although the Lords have debated these amendments and it went through on the vote, there is still an opportunity to lobby for amendments, for instance on the 6 month moratorium on Section 21 after the repair notice is served. The Bill still has to go through the Commons and back to the Lords before it gets Royal Assent. Most new law is enacted in either April or October, so it is unlikely to come into force this April as the time is now very tight. We will have to wait and see.

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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