Retaliation Eviction – Can the Councils Cope?

Retaliation Eviction – Can the Councils Cope?

Today [Thursday 1st October], as part of The Deregulation Act 2015, a whole range of changes come into force which affect whether or not a landlord can serve a Section 21 notice on an assured shorthold tenancy (in England) as well as changes to the form itself.

However, following lengthy consultation, leading tenant eviction firm, Landlord Action, has raised concerns that not enough has been done to inform landlords of the changes and questions whether the Government has enough resources in place to properly enforce measures against so-called ‘retaliation eviction’.

Just some of the key changes which come into effect for new tenancies entered into from 1st October, include the use of the new prescribed Section 21 notice which combines fixed term and periodic.  A section 21 notice can no longer be served in the first four months of a tenancy and a section 21 notice will now have a 6 month life span.

Despite recognising that the changes are in response to the ever growing private rental sector and a need for best practice, Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action has expressed several concerns over the changes, commenting:

“There have been a lot of significant changes in a short amount of time and I would like to have seen the Government proportion a greater budget to educating landlords, particularly those that don’t use agents to manage their properties, to ensure they are up to speed with new legislation.  We still receive calls to our advice line on a weekly basis from landlords who don’t know about the deposit scheme which came into effect 8 years ago.”

Less than twelve months ago, Paul Shamplina sat before The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector at the Houses of Parliament arguing against a law on retaliation eviction. With just a small minority of rogue landlords guilty of such tactics, Shamplina maintained tenants could abuse the system and use it to remain in properties rent free for longer.

As part of the Deregulation Act 2015, tenants will now have the first four months of a tenancy to file a complaint to a landlord with regards to issues of disrepair.  Shamplina adds “Good landlords will deal with complaints within the given 14 days, but my concern is the level of resource the local authorities have in place to action environmental health officers to carry out inspections when staffing levels have been cut to the bone. Landlords’ circumstances can change and if they need to end their tenancy, but can’t because they are waiting for an inspection or to gain access from the tenant, landlords are going to lose valuable time.”

If a property is considered in disrepair, landlords are unable to serve a section 21 notice for 6 months from the date an improvement notice is served by the council.

“I think this could lead to a huge spike in complaints from tenants.  I am a bit fed up of all the frequent landlord bashing. It is about time there were more positive statements for landlords in the Private Rented Sector which now stands at approximately 19% of the housing market” concludes 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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