It’s All Action in August

It’s All Action in August.

There’s a theory that August is a quiet month of the year, particularly in the property world, with kids off school and people taking summer holidays. Not here at Landlord Action! We’ve had an extremely busy month, not only doing our every day job of helping landlords regain possession of their properties, but filming, advising on industry issues and trying to effect change that will help landlords now and in the future. Here’s a flavour of what’s been going on.

Section 21 notices – We attended another Government Think Tank meeting, along with other industry figures, to hear about and assist with the new proposed Section 21 which is believed to be going live from October 2015. The revisions will make it easier for landlords to serve Section 21 notices on tenants, the end date of expiry after 2 months will be much simpler and will include fixed term and periodic provisions combined in one form.

Notice of Abandonment form – The DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) attended our offices last week because we have been consulting on new procedures and the new proposed notice of abandonment form – typically used when a tenant absconds from a property mid-tenancy. We are pleased they have asked for our input on this because we feel it is something that has needed to be addressed for some time.

Black Listing – In another meeting this month, we learned of Government proposals to bring out a ‘black list’ of rogue letting agents and landlords.  We gave our full support to the idea that any letting agent found to be stealing rent (I.e. not passing it on to the landlord) should be placed on a list, jointly supported by all property redress schemes and letting agent associations, and which should then be for consumer use, namely landlords and tenants. It’s very important also that Rogue Landlords are named and shamed.  This is the link to the DCLG’s consultation on the subject.

Obviously, sitting on the advisory council for the Property Redress Scheme, my aim is to ensure the standards of letting agents are improving and that the few rogue operators don’t tarnish the reputations of those good agents who offer a great property management service to landlords.

Client Money Protection – There is a tendency to always think a problem tenancy is the result of a bad tenant, but our debt recovery department is regularly involved with acting on behalf of landlords who are trying to recover rent from rogue agents who have not passed on rent to landlords.

For me, when the Government makes it mandatory for all letting agents to have Client Money Protection Insurance in place, then we will know our industry really has made great strides in thoroughly protecting our landlords and tenants

Filming – This month I have also started filming the next series of ‘Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords’, with Channel 5 has just confirmed will be 10 episodes long and due to air in March 2016. It doesn’t seem two minutes since the last series finished.  We’re very grateful to our clients for agreeing to participate on this Channel 5 program as their stories could just help to save hundreds of others.  I’m planning to expose more professional bad tenants, subletting scammers and rogue letting agents.

So, there are lots of very early mornings and late nights at Landlord Action at the moment, as we keep numerous plates spinning in our efforts to raise standards and protect the good guys of the industry.

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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