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PR activity report for April/May 2014 May 2012


Press releases/feature articles written and distributed this month April - “Extortionate court fee increases will impact landlords seeking possession” April/May – Letting Agency Awards Entry May - Landlord Action says tackling ‘retaliatory eviction’ needs more resource to guarantee accuracy May – Feature for Residential Property Investor Magazine May - Landlord Action names its top five busiest courts for landlord possession claims

Upcoming Activity -

Negotiator Awards Entry

Requests responded to this month April – Rosalind Renshaw – Looking for comment on rising court fees April – Rosalind Renshaw – Looking for comment from Justin Selig May – The London Magazine – comment on Labour’s proposed reforms to PRS May – The Sunday Times – running a piece on eviction. Passed on press releases and details from Paul Shamplina.

Upcoming Coverage -

The London Magazine Residential Property Investor feature

Press cuttings Press Cuttings from March 2014 Date Publication March Property Professional The Negotiator The Negotiator

Title AVE The trend that is Rent-to-Rent N/A Managing Arrears

Movers and Shakers – Julie Herbert appointment Residential Property Tenants’ belongings Investor The Sunday Landlords warned of ‘rental Telegraph guarantee’ pitfalls PREVIOUS AVE Press Cuttings from April & May 2014 Date Publication Title th 5 April The Guardian Landlords are always wrong, right? The two sides of the eviction story

Circulation: 10000 AVE:£1192.22 Circulation: 10000 AVE:£980.39 Circulation: 11000 AVE:£579.60 Circulation: 421305 AVE:£4164.16 £6916.37 AVE Circulation:203069 AVE:£579.60


9th April

Property Industry Eye

‘Secret’ rises in court possession fees slammed as extortionate

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9th April

LandlordZone

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9th April

Property118

Extortionate court fee increases Extortionate court fee increases will impact landlords

9th April

Property Reporter

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10th April

Letting Agent Today

Landlords to feel impact of 'Extortionate' court fee rises Landlord Action slams government fee rises

10th April

Landlord Law Blog

Court fee increase on 22 April 2014

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11th April

Landlord Today

Landlords face “extortionate” court fee increases for evictions

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11th April

Property Wire

Increased court fees in UK set to hit landlords seeking repossession Expert Agent News Landlords face “extortionate” court fee increases for evictions Hexham Courant Warning over possession stampede after court fees hike Today’s Landlord Landlords face price hike on repossession of properties Eastern Housing Calls for more resources to News tackle ‘retaliatory eviction’ South West Housing Calls for more resources to tackle ‘retaliatory eviction’ London Housing Calls for more resources to News tackle ‘retaliatory eviction’ North West Housing Calls for more resources to News tackle ‘retaliatory eviction’ South East Housing Calls for more resources to News tackle ‘retaliatory eviction’ Housing News Calls for more resources to Online tackle ‘retaliatory eviction’ Property Reporter 30% rise in section 21 possession claims reported

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8th May

Property Industry Eye

Nine-year high in court claims for landlord repossessions

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8th May

Rent Pro

30% Rise in Section 21

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11th April 11th April 21st April 6th May 6th May 6th May 6th May 6th May 6th May 6th May

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Circulation:13677 AVE:£748.16 N/A Circulation:2714 AVE:£579.60 Circulation:2714 AVE:£526.70 Circulation:2714 AVE:£492.20 Circulation:2714 AVE:£492.20 Circulation:2714 AVE:£575.00 N/A N/A


May May May June

Possession Claims Residential Property Big jump in court fees for Investor Magazine rental possession cases Property Investor Court Fee increases labeled News “extortionate” UK Landlord Court fee increases hinder Magazine landlords seeking possession The Negotiator Landlord Action slams court fees Total Number of Cuttings Total AVE

Circulation:11000 AVE:£434.07 Circulation:12000 AVE:£795.99 Circulation:20000 AVE:£356.87 Circulation:10000 AVE:£292.30 26 £5,872.69

Total of cuttings: 26 Total AVE (advertising equivalent) ££5,872.69 Please note that we cannot provide the advertising equivalent for online coverage, or circulations figures. This is just for print coverage. A press release was also sent out towards the end of May so coverage for this come in June.


‘Secret’ rises in court possession fees slammed as extortionate April 9, 2014

Sharp rises in court fees for the possession of rented properties have been described as “extortionate” and unjustified – with criticism that they have been all but kept secret. The barely-publicised changes are due to take effect on April 22. They will raise fees by up to 60%. The consultation quietly took place over the Christmas and New Year period. Only lawyers appear to have been asked for their views, judging by the response. Currently, the application for possession after service of a Section 8 notice costs £175, the same as for a Section 21 notice. Both are to go up to £280 in just under two weeks’ time. The possession claim online (PCOL) service, which can only be used after a S8 notice on rent arrears grounds, currently has a substantially discounted fee of £100. This will rise by 150% to £250, removing much of the incentive to use the online service. Paul Shamplina (pictured), of evictions firm Landlord Action, says the rises are extortionate and only justifiable if a more efficient service is offered in return.

Shamplina said: “Are the courts going to employ additional staff to warrant this massive price increase so that landlords are at least getting a more efficient service, such as an earlier hearing date on a S8 claim, or a Possession Order following a Request for Possession on a S21 case within two weeks rather than six?” Shamplina said the increases are apparently being justified in that the landlord will be able to apply for a costs order against the tenant to recover the costs incurred. But Shamplina said this argument is a nonsense: “If a tenant can’t pay their rent, which is often why they are being served notice in the first place, it is unlikely that they will pay a costs order that is not even a County Court Judgment. “The rises are ludicrous and will have a huge impact on those landlords and letting agents that find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to start eviction proceedings.


“Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair. “As a company that has fought for the rights of landlords from the start, we have always endeavoured to ensure our services are priced fairly and competitively. “Whilst we will try to swallow some of these increases, at such a great hike, we will inevitably have to pass some of this on to our landlords and agents. “It is actions such as these which discourage new landlords from entering the market, which is concerning at a time where there is a desperate shortage of rental stock.” Landlord Action said that while there has been little warning of the planned rises, it could spark a stampede of possession cases in the next two weeks as word gets round and agents and landlords try to beat the rises. The only fee which is not rising is the warrant of possession when a bailiff is required, which remains at £110. Any publicity about the rises does not seem to have been communicated by, for example, press releases or by loud protests from landlord or agent associations. However, the full changes can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/pt8zuom


Extortionate court fee increases 09 April, 2014

Extortionate court fee increases will impact landlords seeking possession Landlord Action has lambasted Government plans to increase court fees as “extortionate”. The planned changes, which take effect from 22nd April 2014, will see fees relating to Section 8 (PCOL) claims and Accelerated (S21) claims, increase by as much as 60%, which Paul Shamplina says are only justifiable if landlords are to receive a more efficient service in return. Currently the application for possession, which is used after service of a section 8 notice, costs £175, the same as an accelerated possession claim used after service of a section 21 notice. From 22nd April, this will increase to £280. The possession claim online (PCOL) service, which can only be used after a section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds, currently has a substantially discounted fee of £100. This will rise by 150% to £250, making the discount for using the online system far less appealing. The Government has stated “the benefits brought by a simplified approach with a fee which reflects the average cost of issuing such proceedings justifies the change.” Commenting on the extent of the rises, Paul Shamplina questioned “Are the Courts going to employ additional staff to warrant this massive price increase so that landlords are at least getting a more efficient service, such as an earlier hearing date on a Section 8 claim, or a Possession Order following a Request for Possession on a Section 21 case within two weeks rather than six?” The increases are apparently justified in that the landlord will be able to apply for a costs order against the tenant to recover the costs incurred. Shamplina rejects this arguing that if a tenant can’t pay their rent, which is often why they are being served notice in the first place, it is unlikely that they will pay the costs order that is not even a County Court Judgment. “The rises are ludicrous and will have a huge impact on those landlords and letting agents that find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to start eviction proceedings. Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair” says Shamplina. He continues, “As a company that has fought for the rights of landlords from the start, we have always endeavoured to ensure our services are priced fairly and competitively. Whilst we will try to swallow some of these increases, at such a great hike, we will inevitably have to pass some of this on to our landlords and agents. It is actions such as these which discourage new landlords from entering the market, which is concerning at a time where there is a desperate shortage of rental stock.” Landlord Action says there has been little public warning of the planned rises but suggest it could spark a stampede of possession cases in the next two weeks from landlords trying to beat the rises. The only fee which is not rising is the warrant of possession when a bailiff is required, which remains at £110. www.landlordaction.co.uk


Extortionate court fee increases will impact landlords Paul Shamplina - Published on 09/04/2014 Landlord Action has lambasted Government plans to increase court fees as “extortionate”. The planned changes will take effect from 22nd April 2014, where fees for possession claims will see one of the largest increases at 60%, and could spark a stampede of possession cases in the next two weeks from landlords trying to beat the rises. Currently the application for possession, which is used after service of a section 8 notice, costs £175, the same as an accelerated possession claim used after service of a section 21 notice. From 22nd April, this will increase to £280. The possession claim online (PCOL) service which can only be used after a section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds, currently has a substantially discounted fee of £100. This will rise by 150% to £250, making the discount for using the online system far less appealing. The Government has stated “the benefits brought by a simplified approach with a fee which reflects the average cost of issuing such proceedings justifies the change.” Paul Shamplina says in response: “The rises are ludicrous and will have a huge impact on those landlords and letting agents that find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to start eviction proceedings. Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair. As a company that has fought for the rights of landlords from the start, we have always endeavoured to ensure our services are priced fairly and competitively. Whilst we will try to swallow some of these increases, at such a great hike, we will inevitably have to pass some of this on to our landlords and agents. It is actions such as these which discourage new landlords from entering the market, which is concerning at a time where there is a desperate shortage of rental stock.” Landlord Action says there has been little public warning of the planned rises but fully expects a rise in enquiries as landlords become aware over the next two weeks. The only fee which is not rising is the warrant of possession when a bailiff is required, which remains at £110.


Landlords to feel impact of 'Extortionate' court fee rises Wednesday, April 09, 2014 Published by WARREN LEWIS Landlords & Lettings

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Landlord Action has lambasted Government plans to increase court fees as “extortionate”. The planned changes will take effect from 22nd April 2014, where fees for possession claims will see one of the largest increases at 60%, and could spark a stampede of possession cases in the next two weeks from landlords trying to beat the rises. Currently the application for possession, which is used after service of a section 8 notice, costs £175, the same as an accelerated possession claim used after service of a section 21 notice. From 22nd April, this will increase to £280. The possession claim online (PCOL) service which can only be used after a section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds, currently has a substantially discounted fee of £100. This will rise by 150% to £250, making the discount for using the online system far less appealing. The Government has stated “the benefits brought by a simplified approach with a fee which reflects the average cost of issuing such proceedings justifies the change.” Paul Shamplina says in response: “The rises are ludicrous and will have a huge impact on those landlords and letting agents that find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to start eviction proceedings. Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair. As a company that has fought for the rights of landlords from the start, we have always endeavoured to ensure our services are priced fairly and competitively. Whilst we will try to swallow some of these increases, at such a great hike, we will inevitably have to pass some of this on to our landlords and agents. It is actions such as these which discourage new landlords from entering the market, which is concerning at a time where there is a desperate shortage of rental stock.” Landlord Action says there has been little public warning of the planned rises but fully expects a rise in enquiries as landlords become aware over the next two weeks. The only fee which is not rising is the warrant of possession when a bailiff is required, which remains at £110.


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Landlord Action slams government fee rises Thursday, 10 April 2014Written by Graham Norwood

A legal consultancy says government plans to increase court fees from later this month are “extortionate” and could force landlords into trying to beat the increase deadline. The changes from 22 April 2014 mean fees for possession claims will increase by 60 per cent. Currently the application for possession, which is used after service of a section 8 notice, costs £175 - but this is rising to £280. The possession claim online service, which can only be used after a section 8 notice is issued on rent arrears grounds, currently has an online discounted fee of £100 but this will rise by 150 per cent to £250. The government says the new fees reflect the true costs by Paul Shamplina for consultancy Landlord Direct says the rises are “ludicrous” and will have a huge impact on letting agents and landlords who have to start eviction proceedings. Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair says Shamplina. “We will try to swallow some of these increases [but] we will inevitably have to pass some of this on to our landlords and agents. It is actions such as these which discourage new landlords from entering the market, which is concerning at a time where there is a desperate shortage of rental stock” he says. The only fee which is not rising is the warrant of possession when a bailiff is required, which remains at £110.


Court fee increase on 22 April 2014 Posted on April 9, 2014 by Tessa Shepperson •0 Comments

Just a quick update to let you know that the County Court fees will be going up from 22 April. (Thanks to Property 118 and Paul Shamplina for alerting me to this). The increases are quite large – a standard eviction will go up from £175 to £280 and the PCOL (possession claims online service used for rent arrears evictions) will go up from £100 to £250. There will also be increases in the money claims fees and various other fees. You can see a full list of all the increases alongside the old fee in Appendix A (p41/44) in >> this report. The only fees which are not going up (so far as eviction proceedings are concerned) are the bailiffs fees – this is because enforcement costs are going to be subject to a separate review. No doubt they will go up too, later. So if your solicitor tells you that the cost of evicting your tenant has gone up – its not because he is being greedy! Its because the court fee has gone up. No doubt there will be a lot of pressure on the courts in the leadup to 22 April as people rush to issue their proceedings before the deadline.

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Landlords face “extortionate” court fee increases for evictions Friday 11th April 2014

Eviction service Landlord Action has lambasted Government plans to increase court fees. The planned changes take effect from 22 April 2014. Fees for possession claims will see one of the largest increases at 60%, and Landlord Action claims they could spark a stampede of possession cases in the next two weeks from landlords trying to beat the rises. Currently the application for possession, which is used after service of a section 8 notice, costs £175, the same as an accelerated possession claim used after service of a section 21 notice. From 22 April this fee will increase to £280. The possession claim online (PCOL) service which can only be used after a section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds, currently has a discounted fee of £100. This will rise by 150% to £250, making the discount for using the online system far less appealing. The only fee which is not rising is the warrant of possession when a bailiff is required, which remains at £110. The Government has stated “the benefits brought by a simplified approach with a fee which reflects the average cost of issuing such proceedings justifies the change.” Landlord Action Paul Shamplina said: “The rises are ludicrous and will have a huge impact on those landlords and letting agents who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to start eviction proceedings. Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair.”


Increased court fees in UK set to hit landlords seeking repossession FRIDAY, 11 APRIL 2014

UK government plans to increase court fees means that landlords seeking repossession of their properties face higher costs and has been branded as extortionate. The planned changes, which take effect from 22 April, will see fees relating to Section 8 (PCOL) claims and Accelerated (S21) claims, increase by as much as 60%, which Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action says are only justifiable if landlords are to receive a more efficient service in return. Currently the application for possession, which is used after service of a section 8 notice, costs £175, the same as an accelerated possession claim used after service of a section 21 notice. From 22 April this will increase to £280. The possession claim online (PCOL) service, which can only be used after a section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds, currently has a substantially discounted fee of £100. This will rise by 150% to £250, making the discount for using the online system far less appealing. The government says that the benefits brought by a simplified approach with a fee which reflects the average cost of issuing such proceedings justifies the change. The increases are apparently justified in that the landlord will be able to apply for a costs order against the tenant to recover the costs incurred but Shamplina rejects this, arguing that if a tenant can't pay their rent, which is often why they are being served notice in the first place, it is unlikely that they will pay the costs order that is not even a County Court Judgment. ‘The rises are ludicrous and will have a huge impact on those landlords and letting agents that find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to start eviction proceedings. Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair,’ he explained. ‘As a company that has fought for the rights of landlords from the start, we have always endeavoured to ensure our services are priced fairly and competitively. Whilst we will try to swallow some of these increases, at such a great hike, we will inevitably have to pass some of this on to our landlords and agents. It is actions such as these which discourage new landlords from entering the market, which is concerning at a time where there is a desperate shortage of rental stock,’ he added. He also pointed out that there has been little public warning of the planned rises and it could spark a stampede of possession cases in the next two weeks from landlords trying to beat the rises. The only fee which is not rising is the warrant of possession when a bailiff is required, which remains at £110.


Landlords face “extortionate” court fee increases for evictions Friday 11th April 2014

Eviction service Landlord Action has lambasted Government plans to increase court fees. The planned changes take effect from 22 April 2014. Fees for possession claims will see one of the largest increases at 60%, and Landlord Action claims they could spark a stampede of possession cases in the next two weeks from landlords trying to beat the rises. Currently the application for possession, which is used after service of a section 8 notice, costs £175, the same as an accelerated possession claim used after service of a section 21 notice. From 22 April this fee will increase to £280. The possession claim online (PCOL) service which can only be used after a section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds, currently has a discounted fee of £100. This will rise by 150% to £250, making the discount for using the online system far less appealing. The only fee which is not rising is the warrant of possession when a bailiff is required, which remains at £110. The Government has stated “the benefits brought by a simplified approach with a fee which reflects the average cost of issuing such proceedings justifies the change.” Landlord Action Paul Shamplina said: “The rises are ludicrous and will have a huge impact on those landlords and letting agents who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to start eviction proceedings. Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair.”


Landlords face price hike on repossession of properties New UK government plans to increase court fees means that landlords seeking repossession of their properties face almost extortionate costs to do so. The UK Government has revealed plans that could see the price of landlords seeking repossession orders hit extortionate rates. The Government has announced that it plans to increase court fees relating to Section 8 (PCOL) claims and accelerated s21 claims, by as much as 60 per cent. Currently an application for possession, used after service of a section 8 notice, costs £175, however from 22 April this will increase to £280. PCOL claims occur after a landlord has issued a section 8 notice relating to rental arrears. This currently costs £100, however the new plans will mean this could rise by 150 per cent, to £250. According to the Government, the changes are to counter a series of insignificant claims, whereby the cost of issuing the proceedings would not justify the change. The increases are apparently justified in that the landlord will be able to apply for a costs order against the tenant to recover the costs. However, critics have claimed that if a tenant is in a position whereby they cannot meet their rental obligations, they are unlikely to pay the costs of an order which doesn’t carry County Court Judgement ramifications. One such critic, Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action, said: “The rises are ludicrous and will have a huge impact on those landlords and letting agents that find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to start eviction proceedings. Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair. “As a company that has fought for the rights of landlords from the start, we have always endeavoured to ensure our services are priced fairly and competitively. Whilst we will try to swallow some of these increases, at such a great hike, we will inevitably have to pass some of this on to our landlords and agents. It is actions such as these which discourage new landlords from entering the market, which is concerning at a time where there is a desperate shortage of rental stock.”


30% rise in section 21 possession claims reported Tuesday, May 06, 2014 Published by WARREN LEWIS

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 landlords’ 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.


Nine-year high in court claims for landlord repossessions Written by: ROSALIND RENSHAW | May 8, 2014 Email Print

There has been a 30% rise in claims for possession under Section 21 over the last six months, taking them to a nine-year high. According to evictions firm Landlord Action, the rise reported by the courts raises concerns that Government plans to tackle so-called ‘retaliatory eviction’ – where a landlord gets rid of a tenant who has asked for repairs – will require an enormous amount of resources. Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, said he fully supports plans to stop ‘retaliatory eviction’, saying that his own firm has 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, Shamplina said every case would have to be considered individually. He said: “We deal with hundreds of possession cases every year and the causes are rarely black and white.” He argues that whilst there are a handful of rogue landlords, there are also tenants who do not 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 – an amateur landlord who cannot afford the repairs if the tenant doesn’t pay the rent, or a tenant that simply cannot afford the rent, in which case a S21 writes off arrears but hands possession back to the landlord. Shamplina questioned whether the Government has set aside enough resources. He said: “Environmental health officers are already overloaded. “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? “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,” he concluded.



PR Activity Report for April & May 2014