Law firm Ascent has launched a new service for landlords which is designed to speed up and increase the recovery of late and missing rent payments from tenants.
The firm is offering a full range of debt collection services from contacting tenants and collecting late payments, to issuing court possession orders and enforcement.
The launch coincides with the release of findings from a joint Ascent and Residential Landlords Association (RLA) survey which reveals that 30% of landlords think that rent arrears have become a bigger challenge than 12 months ago. It also found that two thirds have not changed how they deal with the problem.
According to the latest Tenant Arrears Tracker by estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, the number of tenants who were seriously behind on their rent has risen to the highest level in two years. It found that there were 74,000 tenants who owed more than two months’ rent at the end of the second quarter – up 7.2% on the same time last year.
Matt Wightman, vice chairman at Ascent, said: “This new responsive service is a cost effective solution which is designed to provide a one stop shop for all landlords with outstanding tenant debt.
“Our survey with the RLA has highlighted that landlords feel that the problem of rent arrears is getting worse and this has been backed up by the latest Tenant Arrears Tracker by estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains.
“This new service from Ascent provides a timely and cost-effective solution and we are very confident that our strong proposition will fill a gap in the market and make a real difference to landlords who are struggling with late payments.”
If a tenant falls into arrears with their rent, Ascent can be instructed to contact them and collect the debt irrespective of whether the tenant lives in the property, or has vacated it and not provided contact details.
If the tenant remains in the property and continues to not pay rent, Ascent can issue either a Section 8 or Section 21 notice of possession on behalf of a landlord. If they fail to leave after a Section 21 has been issued, Ascent can apply and obtain a court order for possession. This also includes a judgment for any outstanding rent arrears.
If the resident occupies the property beyond the date for possession and the landlord does not want to wait for a county court bailiff to enforce the order, Ascent has the power to ask the court for permission to use one of its own high court enforcement officers.
Harry Dhaliwal, director at Belvoir, said: “We have instructed Ascent Performance for our rent arrears collection and have already been delighted with the amount of outstanding arrears collected to date. By getting involved in the recovery process early meant unnecessary litigation was avoided.”
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