The new Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service kicks in tomorrow - it offers early legal advice, free of charge, to anyone at risk of possession proceedings and loss of their home.
Advice can be provided in relation to Housing, Debt and Welfare Benefits issues, and this assistance includes so-called ’In Court Duty’ on-the-day emergency advice and advocacy to anyone facing possession proceedings.
Under the new scheme, the Legal Aid Agency is extending court duty scheme work to include early legal advice on housing, welfare benefits and debt from the moment a landlord or lender issues a notice to repossess. This is non-means and non-merits tested.
A government statement says: “The service enables anyone at risk of losing their home or facing possession proceedings to get free legal advice, and representation in court, regardless of their financial circumstances.”
Private and social housing tenants, owner occupiers, leaseholders and those with shared ownership, immaterial of the reasons why they are facing losing their home, can access the service, providing they have written evidence of a risk of possession proceedings or loss of their home.
Examples of written evidence include a letter or notice from a landlord where an informal licence exists; notice to quit from a landlord where a renting arrangement lacks the security of tenure; letter before action as required by the Pre-Action Protocol For Possession Claims based on Home Purchase Plan Arrears in Respect of Residential Property; notice seeking possession served by a landlord; and a letter from the court notifying the Client that possession proceedings have been issued.
A list of providers who can deliver Housing Loss Prevention Advice Services from tomorrow can be found on the Gov.Uk site.
The Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service replaces the Housing Possession Court Duty Service which only offered ‘on the day’ emergency advice and advocacy.
The fear amongst some landlord and property professional bodies is that the risk of potentially losing expensive and long-winded court cases may deter landlords from seeking repossession.
You can find out more about the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service here.
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