Landlords warned about using Gumtree on tomorrow night’s “Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords” Channel 5 TV show

Landlords warned about using Gumtree on tomorrow night’s “Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords” Channel 5 TV show.

“Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords” airs its second episode of the third series tomorrow night at 9pm on Channel 5 which explores the fallout one landlord faces after deciding to let her property through Gumtree.

Despite not knowing much about how Gumtree operates, Vicki McNaught made the decision to list her property on the site as it was a cheaper alternative to using a letting agent. Initially, Vicky was delighted when a young professional moved into her flat promising to look after the place. He boasted of a private education and his references showed a great career in the city, but it didn’t take long before he stopped paying the rent.

Looking back, Vicky would do things very differently. She says: “We’ve learnt that bad tenants are more likely to target sites like Gumtree because they hope they will be subjected to fewer checks. In the future, we’d always go through an agent – although even this has no guarantee. It’s the law that needs to change to make landlords less vulnerable to unscrupulous tenants.”

Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action and Brand Ambassador of Hamilton Fraser, who stars in the show, knows all too well of these situations. He comments: “This guy is a serial bad tenant. He has been evicted previously after running up costs of £30,000 in unpaid rent and stolen furniture from an overseas landlord. In Vicky’s case, he used false references to secure the property.”

Paul wants this episode to act as a serious warning to landlords about using free classified websites to advertise their property to rent. “We’ve come across many similar cases in the past where we see serial bad tenants prey on less experienced landlords who let their properties on consumer websites. Unfortunately, the majority of these landlords are deceived by well educated con artists. With absolutely nothing in place to safeguard landlords, they find themselves in all sorts of trouble.” He says.

My advice would always be to use a credited letting agent who can let your property through the correct procedures and are up-to-date with all legislation in the private rented sector. However, for any landlords already using such sites then you need to be careful. Ensure you have thorough referencing checks done and look out for the telltale signs of a serial bad tenant. For example, are you being rushed by the tenant for them to move in as soon as possible?”

“Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords” is a twelve part series on Channel 5. The programme delves into the dark side of the buy-to-let market showing the complexities landlords and tenants face on a daily basis.

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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