Landlord Action On BBC ’ Inside Out’

Landlord Action On BBC ’ Inside Out’ – A Stark Reminder.

Yesterday I carried out some filming with BBC One’s ‘Inside Out’ programme.  After setting off early and getting stuck on the dreaded M25, I eventually arrived in Orpington to meet my landlord Brian at his property, where an eviction with the county court bailiff was due to take place.  Incidentally, two days earlier, the same landlord had been filmed by this very film crew at a possession hearing for on another rent arrears case in Bromley County Court. This too was against a tenant who had been receiving housing benefit which had been cut, and had consequently fallen on hard times.

While waiting for the bailiff, I got chatting with Brian – a builder by trade.  He had 15 properties but was planning to sell three of these, two of which were the cases we were dealing with.  He was fed up with the councils not paying the housing benefit directly to him.  As a result of the cuts, he was finding that more and more of his tenants were withholding housing benefit and not passing it on.

The pleasant court bailiff from Bromley County Court attended on time and we proceeded to knock at the property, the tenant was not dressed and was still in the process of packing.  Some five months after serving the initial Section 8 notice, the tenant was still not ready to vacate!  Whilst the tenant prepared to leave, myself and Brian were left waiting…and waiting!  The bailiff informed us she had a further eight evictions that morning so had to leave, but would return if the tenant failed to go.

Eventually, the tenant emerged along with a number of black bags. She informed the landlord he could clear the rest of the flat – yet a further expense for him.  She did however state that she wanted her washing machine…which still had clothes in. Now I’ve been doing this kind of work for over twenty five years and have seen some real dumps, but this was a stark reminder of what the everyday landlord has to go through.

When we entered the property, there were clothes left everywhere, food out on the side and rubbish in every room – when you see the programme Inside Out on BBC One (due out in September), you will see what I mean.  I think you will also enjoy Brian’s honest assessment of being a landlord which is quite refreshing – with a few expletives bleeped out.

By the way, the landlord was owed over £6000 in rent arrears; the tenant was claiming Housing Benefit but had failed to go to the council in February this year to complete her application, meaning that Brian did not receive a penny.  He will also have to refurbish the entire property.

The tenant in this instance has made herself homeless.  She knew she owed rent but could not even be bothered to put in her application for housing benefit which would then have paid her landlord.  A claimant tenant such as this takes things for granted and expects landlords to bear the cost of everything. This kind of attitude gives good Housing Benefit tenants a bad name which I find increasingly infuriating.

By the way, the tenant was going straight to Bromley Council to be re-housed. Maybe they should watch the programme and see what she did with regards to the state of her previous property and the rental arrears she ran up before she is allowed to enter the PRS again.

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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