Thousands of tenants are evicted from their homes every year, but to make sure that eviction firms follow correct procedure they should all be regulated, according to Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action.
With the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice revealing that repossessions now take on average 43 weeks, the eviction specialist believes that landlords simply cannot afford to restart the process due to compliance errors.
Shamplina is calling for unregulated eviction companies to become part of a redress scheme to help clean up the industry and protect landlords from further unnecessary expense.
He says that his firm has been increasingly working with more landlords who have not only been let down by their tenant or letting agent, but subsequently “their unregulated eviction firm”.
He commented: “To improve standards and provide a better service, we acquired status as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) in landlord and tenant law, authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This means if a landlord has a complaint, they can report it.
“But not all companies are regulated, so landlords have nowhere to turn if they have a complaint, and this needs to change.
“Belonging to a redress scheme would be the first step to making improvements and ensuring consumer confidence.”
Shamplina’s views are supported by David Smith, partner and head of operations at Anthony Gold Solicitors, who warns that unregulated providers can often provide advice which is “misleading” or “plain wrong” and the lack of insurance or a complaints process leaves landlords with nowhere to turn when things go wrong.
“A robust complaints mechanism is a key component of giving landlords confidence in the reliability of such services,” he added.
Sean Hooker, head of redress at the Property Redress Scheme is unsurprisingly also supportive of the idea of eviction companies being better regulated.
He said: “Eviction is a highly technical skill that should be conducted professionally and sensitively. It is also an area where practitioners should be very aware of the service they provide to their customers.
“This is where access to redress comes in, allowing landlords and their agents to have their service complaints determined by an independent and impartial third party and things to be put right. The introduction of such a provision, will raise standards in the eviction world, provide customers peace of mind and confidence in the sector and increase the reputation and standing of those specialists that provide a necessary and valuable service.”