Landlord Action sends Warning to Negligent landlords
Landlord Action, an organisation specialising in tenant eviction, is warning landlords that they too need to ‘play by the book' for a hassle-free tenant eviction. Founder Paul Shamplina, says despite being unaware of the state of a property at point of instruction or other deciding factors which may have led to the landlord/tenant relationship breakdown, he is all too aware that there are two sides to every story and that errors made by landlords who try to cut corners are one of the most common reasons for delaying proceedings.
Attending to maintenance issues is a landlord's obligation, regardless of whether the tenant is withholding rent. Ignoring such issues can cause greater problems further down the line as one landlord from London, who sought the help of Landlord Action to deal with a rental arrears case, recently found out. Describing the case, Paul Shamplina says "This particular landlord had rented out separate rooms in his property. Unfortunately, he was an amateur and unbeknown to us, had not obtained a Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) license from his local council, which is required for any property comprising three storeys or more and occupied by five or more persons of two or more households."
"After taking on the instruction, we served a Section 8 Notice for rent arrears but the tenant refused to pay, the tenant made counterclaims and we decided to wait for the tenancy to expire but during this time the tenant had called the local council because of dilapidations and health hazards in the property" says Paul. The council served notice to the landlord for failing to comply with mandatory health and safety rules, however, the landlord failed to inform Landlord Action that the council were now involved and that he did not have an HMO license.
After the tenancy expired, Landlord Action was ready to draft proceedings against the tenant. Paul continues, "During this time, the landlord became impatient and frustrated waiting for a court date, which in some parts of London can take 8-10 weeks. He got what we call at Landlord Action ‘Landlord Rage'. He went to the property and confronted the tenant asking him for rent and telling him to leave. Knowing his rights, the tenant stood his ground, yet the landlord forced his way into the room and began removing the tenant's belongings and changing the locks."
The Police were called and the landlord had to let the tenant back in for unlawful eviction, only to return a few weeks later even more enraged. This time, the landlord had a physical altercation with the tenant resulting in the tenant obtaining an injunction against him. The landlord ignored the injunction and failed to attend court, and as result was ordered to pay the tenant £10k in damages and was prosecuted by the police for assault.
Landlord Action withdrew the case because naturally the tenant had a defence and counterclaim against the landlord. Paul concludes "Some landlords choose to cut corners, avoid paying extra legal fees and then become frustrated when things don't go their way, but as in this case, it doesn't pay off and just highlights the importance for landlords to adhere to laws and regulations. As a landlord you have a duty to ensure your property complies with health and safety regulations and these should be attended to at once." Paul advises landlords to have a reputable service provider with a clear paper trail that details the repairs that have been carried out. "It is not uncommon for tenants in rent arrears to use maintenance issues to counterclaim as a delaying tactic in court in order to stay in the property for longer, rent free."
Paul Shamplina, Founder of Landlord Action
Tel: 0208 906 3838
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