Tackling ‘Retaliatory Eviction’ Needs More Resource

Landlord Action Says Tackling ‘Retaliatory Eviction’ Needs More Resource To Guarantee Accuracy.

Landlord Action’s latest figures show a 30% rise in claims for possession under Section 21 over the last six months, raising concerns that Government plans to tackle ‘retaliatory eviction’ will require greater resource if it is to find a fair solution for both landlords and tenants.

Applying pressure to rid the market of rogue landlords who exploit tenants is imperative. In principle, Landlord Action fully supports plans to stop ‘retaliatory eviction’, acknowledging that as a firm, they too have experienced a minority of landlords who would prefer to evict a tenant complaining of disrepair to a property, via a Section 21 (S21) notice, rather than carry out the necessary work. However, Founder of Landlord Action, Paul Shamplina, has two main concerns:

Firstly, he believes the complexities with determining what is deemed ‘reasonable repair’ will require consideration on a case by case basis to avoid landlord’s possession claims being unnecessarily thrown out. “We deal with hundreds of possession cases every year and the causes are rarely black and white” comments Shamplina.

He argues that whilst there are a handful of rogue landlords, there are also some tenants who don’t pay rent for months on end and then use previously unreported ‘disrepair’ issues to string out a court case. Then there are the more ambiguous cases; perhaps an amateur landlord who can’t afford the repairs if the tenant doesn’t pay the rent, or a tenant that simply can’t afford the rent, in which case a S21 writes off arrears but hands possession back to the landlord.

Taking this into account, coupled with possession claims across the UK hitting a 9 year high *, Shamplina questions whether the Government has set aside enough resource to tackle this.  “Environmental Health Officers are already overloaded without the added strain of investigating properties reported under ‘Retaliation Eviction – S21’. Even if they do have the resources, what is deemed reasonable or unreasonable in respect to work carried out and will it be the council’s final word?”

Landlord Action is calling for there to be very clear guidance on how tackling ‘retaliatory eviction’ will be put into practice, so that neither landlord nor tenant can abuse the system. “Yes, we want standards to be raised and tenants to live in acceptable properties, but we don’t want reputable landlords, the majority of whom do carry out repairs, to suffer in the process” 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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