The Social Housing Time-Bomb

The Social Housing Time-Bomb.

With social housing more reliant on the private sector than ever before, it must be time for the government to start building council houses as a priority. Council waiting lists for housing according to Shelter are approaching 2 million and waiting times to get re-housed are running at 9-20 years in some areas, it’s no wonder we are in crisis.

Currently we are struggling to build over 100,000 homes a year. A recent report by the Institute For Public Policy Research says it we continue to build at the current levels by 2025 England will have built  450,00 fewer homes than are needed to meet current demand.

At present  a staggering £23 Billion is being spent on housing benefit. Yes some landlords have benefited, and in a minority of cases have charged over-inflated rents. However with an ever changing system starting with direct payment to tenants (introduced in 2008, and which we actively campaigned against)  to the introduction of rent-capping, and now the much maligned Universal Credit, the private rental sector is needed more than ever. This is a big concern to us at Landlord Action. A recent story featured on the BBC, that I was involved in, highlighted dramatically some of the key issues. A tenant in receipt of benefit deliberately withheld payment and refused to pass it on to the landlord. We have subsequently been instructed to evict this tenant and collect the arrears. This type of situation is becoming all too common and is bad for anyone.

One of the key issues I have identified in speaking to landlords on a daily basis,especially small landlords, is that more and more of them are now experiencing arrears and this is causing a lot of frustration. Many landlords are fed up of persistent  payment problems and have subsequently decided they no longer wish to rent their properties to housing benefit claimants. This ultimately means less property for rent and also tarnishes the reputation of the majority of housing benefit tenants who manage their finances responsibly and may  need to move to new properties as their circumstances change.

To me is a no-brainer. The government needs to start building social housing again as soon as possible to promote growth, jobs and equality.

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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