x
By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
STAY CONNECTED!
    
newsletter-button
Written by rosalind renshaw

A growing number of tenants are defending eviction cases at court and appealing judges’ decisions, with figures of defended cases rising from 9% last year to 13% so far this year.

The rise is even where the tenant is in arrears – and courts are increasingly likely to be sympathetic. In other cases, the tenant simply knows more about lettings law than the landlord, and can run rings around the latter.
 
The claims are from Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action. He said landlords are suffering as listed county court closures are putting pressure on neighbouring courts to manage the workload, which with an increase in defended cases means long delays, all the while leaving landlords without rent.
 
He said: “As the increased cost of living and rising rents put strain on tenants, our instructions for rent arrears cases going to court have risen. At the half-year point, these were 11% up on the same time last year. 

“Experienced landlords, who already know the market and are aware of the competition for rental properties, are less tolerant of defaulting tenants and unacceptable behaviour towards the treatment of their property.”
 
However, amateur landlords are most at threat, according to Landlord Action.

Shamplina said that with free advice for tenants now more readily available from the likes of Shelter and Citizens Advice Bureau, many are now more conversant on rental laws than their landlords, and are using this to their advantage.
 
Shamplina said: “A delaying tactic used by tenants, such as filing a defence on the day of the hearing, making it difficult for the judge to grant a possession order within the listed five minutes, is resulting in many cases being adjourned to consider further evidence.

“Thus the tenant can remain in a property for longer rent-free, putting amateur landlords in financial hardship through expensive court costs and loss of rent until the second hearing.
 
“In a recent instruction, a landlord we are working on behalf of had an eviction date of  October 27. The tenant has since been to court to appeal the case on the grounds of disrepair, something which was not mentioned at the first hearing.

“We did not receive notification of appeal and the judge has allowed the tenant to file a defence and counterclaim against our client, whose case has now been adjourned until February 2012, leaving the landlord extremely distressed.”
 
Shamplina warned landlords not to neglect their duty of care in relation to reported repairs and maintenance issues, even if the tenant is in arrears.

He said: “In this instance, if the case goes to court, quite rightly tenants have grounds to defend the case put against them, along with the support of free legal advice by duty solicitors which is now available to tenants.”
 
He added: “We are finding that even when the grounds for possession are mandatory under Ground 8 of the Housing Act (owing two months rent arrears), judges are being much more sympatric in this tougher economic environment, making issues even more difficult for landlords who do have a genuine case.”

Comments

  • icon

    HAHAHHA you landlord scum make me feel sick. It makes me feel good to hear you guys are finally getting a taste of your own medicine. No longer can you sit back, leeching and swindling tenants like parasitic scumbags. Look at all of you here, trying to make out you're hard done by. Truly laughable. I guess you all got a bit carried away on the buy-to-let. Maybe you should have stuck to your crappy day jobs instead of getting into things you a) are too think to understand b) can't afford.

    Bert O'Brian - LOL I do hope your joking - you do realise long term interest rates have been propped up by the Bank of England, and indirectly through the government's 'austerity' programme. House prices are yet to be affected significantly. I suggest you take a look at American house prices since 2006... you should all be afraid, VERY AFRAID, that something similar might happen here. If it does, all you snooty, uneducated jobsworths on here will be in the gutter, and good riddance too.

    • 15 May 2012 23:38 PM
  • icon

    Bert O Brian does not have a clue about the realities of life
    Without people taking risks with their capital there would be no place for tenants to rent who certainly would NOT be able to afford to buy .
    Property prices WILL NOT reduce as there is massive amounts of negative equity.
    I have £18000.00 of negative equity and yet I am providing good quality accommodation.
    If interest rates go up I will be bankrupted and the tenants will be homeless.
    NOBODY will be able to buy my portfolio as they would need about £200000.000 of deposit monies.
    Therefore it is in everybodies interests to keep interest rates low as there is not enough lending or deposits available to buy all repossessed property if they go up.

    • 20 October 2011 20:12 PM
  • icon

    Landlords should be aware that you may only enforce a Section 21 notice once the AST period of whatever length has expired.
    A Section 8 notice HAS to be used during a AST period.
    You may issue a Section 21 notice during an AST period.
    It has to be a Section 21 B which I always issue 1 moth into an AST period.
    Remember you may issue a Section 8 citing Ground 8; 2 months rent arrears on the 2nd day of the 2nd month that rent has not been paid.
    14 days later you may apply on Form N5 for possession of your property on the basis of 2 months rent not having been paid which is a mandatory ground whee the judge MUST give possession.
    This only works if you are paid rent in advance.
    If paid in arrears you have to wait for 2 calendar months to elapse before you may issue a Section 8 notice.

    • 20 October 2011 20:02 PM
  • icon

    All the tenant scum out there who choose not to meet their contractual obligations have no excuse and to state that landlords should take such non-payment of rent as a business risk just about sums up the tenant scum who choose not to pay rent and manipulate the system.
    I suggest ALL landlords take out RGI policies and if the tenant or their guarantor fails the RGI process then DON'T take them on as tenants.
    You will be covered for up to £50000.00 per claim and you may continue with a RGI policy once the original term has expired without further credit checking.
    I have used best insurance; but there are are other RGI providers.
    Any tenant who has a poor credit rating or has not paid rent or trashed and stolen items from a tenanted property. will have to find the nearest available park bench.
    No landlord unless they can suffer losses of about 10 months rent and about £3000.00 of refubishment costs once the tenant has been evicted should take on any tenant without RGI
    Also ALL lanlords should sigh up th the 2 free landlord referencing services.
    tenantid.co.uk and landlordreferencing .co.uk.
    Both these services enable landlords to communicate with eachother irrespective of what a tenant tells the prospective landlord.
    ALL details of tenants should be applied to these 2 services and that way we landlords will prevent tenant scum defrauding us of contractual rent and damaging and stealing from our properties.
    The fightback against wrongun tenants should begin now.
    Of course all this is ok providing we as landlords provide the services that tenants are paying for.
    We as landlords need to meet our contractual obligations and respond in timely fashion when the services that a tenant is paying for cease working.
    I think they call that a civil contract where both parties who willingly enter a binding legal contract both have obligations towards eachother.
    I would suggest to tenants who are not obtaining the services that they are paying for; advise the landlord that until remedial works are carried out the rent will be witheld.
    Nothing will concentrate a landlords mind than rent being witheld.
    This does not mean the tenant may go and spend the unpaid rent; just withold it until the landlord corrects things.

    • 20 October 2011 19:25 PM
  • icon

    @Alan

    "Where are the landlords' human rights? "

    LOL

    loser

    • 18 October 2011 22:20 PM
  • icon

    @alan - couldn't have put it better myself.

    As you say, the poor deserve everything they get - no one asked them to be poor - I certainly didn't.

    They could have woken up on time today and decided to find a job, or a better paying job, but instead they decided to whine about minor details like:

    "I work a 60-hour week, but rent on a substandard, damp studio flat is more than my entire take home pay", or

    "but landlords have been bailed out by: the Bank of England cutting interest rates; incredibly generous housing benefit for landlords; restrictive planning regimes which restrict the supply of housing despite there being loads of land to build on; state-owned banks reducing the capital to be repaid on BTL mortgages without repossessing; being able to write off interest payments against tax; and a policy of currency depreciation in favour of house price depreciation - where's my bailout?"

    You couldn't make it up. Tenants should wake up and smell the dry rot. Kids these days don't know they're born.

    • 18 October 2011 19:08 PM
  • icon

    Is this a country that honours private property and capitalism and human rights?

    Tenants can live in a house free for 6 months and get free legal aids while landlords are forced by the law to pay for the tenant's housing cost and lose money and maybe the house.

    Where are the landlords' human rights?

    Those tenants who are in arrears and defend them in court are absolutely liars. Why do they pay 6 months' rent when they don't have to? The fact is, they don't, and they will repeat that on the next rented house. After all, 6 months' rent is quite a lot of money.

    For those tenants who are trying to find all sorts of excuses: if you cannot afford something, it is YOUR own fault but anyone else's. Nobody else should pay for you, not the landlord.

    • 18 October 2011 18:47 PM
  • icon

    Ta Matey, by be I could let a room out Bruno

    • 18 October 2011 17:07 PM
  • icon

    @Bruce

    you rumbled me - have a tenner, and a free house in Stoke

    • 18 October 2011 16:04 PM
  • icon

    Andy Blackburn + Si1, your really Sibley, do I collect my £5

    • 18 October 2011 14:45 PM
  • icon

    @Andy Blackburn

    ;)

    quite right

    they should retract voting rights for dim renter scum too

    • 18 October 2011 14:38 PM
  • icon

    @Andy Blackburn

    I think you should read what you've written. How will this country be able to afford what you are proposing.

    Think about it.

    • 18 October 2011 14:16 PM
  • icon

    @Warren

    Whilst I sympathize with the landlord losing their credit rating if they aren't able to meet their mortgage payments. It is however a business and as such they have to prepare for such eventualities. It is the mass of amateur landlords on the whole that have little or no equity in their portfolios that are most liable.

    Sad though it may seem many of these amateur are going to fail when interest rates return to more normal in the medium term.

    • 18 October 2011 14:07 PM
  • icon

    Si1 - I think you're being too harsh on Warren.

    I firmly believe in free market forces. I see no contradiction in also saying that government (with a small 'g') should ensure that:
    1. house prices rise at a minimum of 10% p.a.
    2. landlords should never, ever be able to lose money, whether by depreciation in capital values or through rental voids.
    3. even if house prices rise at 10% per year, and even if there are no rental voids, if a landlord still cannot pay his mortgage without dipping into his own pocket, the government, either local or central, should make up the shortfall.

    Without these three basic needs being satisfied, we can regard ourselves as living in a failed state, like Somalia.

    • 18 October 2011 14:01 PM
  • icon

    @Warren

    "I hear what you are saying but if you stop paying your rent, 9 times out of 10 the mortgage will not get paid"

    I don't actually care.

    jeez - if a landlord is playing things that precariously then he is an idiot and deserves to get cleared out

    business risk

    not my problem

    • 18 October 2011 13:50 PM
  • icon

    @Si1 - Contracts should be respected "in the spirit of the contract".

    I hear what you are saying but if you stop paying your rent, 9 times out of 10 the mortgage will not get paid. Mortgage doesnt get paid the Landlord ends up with Bad Credit and at the end of the tenant moves away with his credit in tact...after the property has been repossessed.

    • 18 October 2011 13:43 PM
  • icon

    The best strategy is to filter out the bad tenants in the first place. Asking a lower rent will let you pick and choose the best tenant from a large pool of applicants. Being greedy and asking a premium will get you a small pool of applicants. Those that do apply may not care about the high rent because they don't intend to pay it for long, or plan to sublet to an additional family to share the cost

    • 18 October 2011 13:05 PM
  • icon

    "it is still not right to enter into a contract with someone to provide you with a roof over your head in exchange for money, and then decide not to pay for the property. "

    Really, it all depends on the strength of the legislation - myself I would not intentionally enter into a rental agreement without fully intending to pay the full contract out, and of course trust comes into it; it is easier for me to get good future contracts if I am trustworthy. But events happen don't they, and if I was legally covered to defer rent in the event of financial difficulties whilst maintaining a roof over my head, then I might well take that legal route.

    If landlords don't like the heat then maybe they should get out of the jungle. Renters commonly have no such option.

    • 18 October 2011 12:34 PM
  • icon

    I totally agree with Warren.

    What tenants also need to realise is that homelessness isn't such a bad thing. It's much cheaper than renting, and if you fall asleep with a McDonald's cup next to you, you might even make money. You get a better tan than those silly roof-dwellers, and you can choose where you want to move to every day of the week.

    If renters spent less on iPads, they might be able to afford their own house and become respectable. The average house in London is still only £350k, you'd only have to forego 175 iPads to scrape together a 20% deposit, then discipline yourself into buying 2.5 less iPads a month in order to service an interest only mortgage.

    The younger generation are feckless, aren't they?

    • 18 October 2011 12:07 PM
  • icon

    I just wanted to say that, what tenants have to remember is that even though it may appear that landlords are "loaded", it is still not right to enter into a contract with someone to provide you with a roof over your head in exchange for money, and then decide not to pay for the property.

    I agree the section 21 route is the best option, as the section 8 can be challenged.

    • 18 October 2011 11:55 AM
  • icon

    Finally accepted by a reputable social landlord, paying social rents. Market rents should be driven down to social rent levels and AST's scrapped in favour of protected secure tenancies. I'm glad I've a secure tenancy now and can paint my walls whatever I like. I might even take up smoking! I can even hang pictures on the wall and put up shelves deemed "illegal" in my old AST flat. I was even charged £60 to renew (aka photcopy) my contract by Martin & C***ts my previous letting agent. No more spikey hair gelled letting agents, no more unprofessional "bodgit" twit (its my pension innit) landlords. Tenants of the UK revolt!

    • 18 October 2011 11:07 AM
  • icon

    @Dave - my post was a joke.

    However, I suspect the other posts on this article are serious. Reading articles and associated posts like these makes me despair for humanity.

    • 18 October 2011 11:03 AM
  • icon

    Barry Mafia wrote:
    "The tenants I hate the most are the ones with children. When I last evicted a family, I almost felt a pang of guilt when I saw them begging in the streets two weeks later.

    Then I looked at my bank balance and pretty much forgot about that old family."

    Barry Mafia you are a heartless bastard.

    I have nothing more to say.

    • 18 October 2011 10:35 AM
  • icon

    Several of our current vendors took the easy and greedy option to let their properties to housing benefit tenants, paying way over the market rent. Westminster Council has subsequently slashed housing allowance to below market rates for the area. Now these landlords a are trying to sell and these scumbag scrounging tenants are refusing to leave as once their current tenancy ends they will be on the reduced housing allowance rate and will be forced to find cheaper accommodation, more than likely in a cheaper area. And as your article points out they are getting free advice from the CAB and shelter, to play the system further. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!

    • 18 October 2011 10:24 AM
  • icon

    Tennants are becoming more legally smart nowadays because so many of them have had to deal with bad landlords who take advantage of them and just want to make money out of the human need to be sheltered.

    • 18 October 2011 10:23 AM
  • icon

    great thanks for the advice having problems with my landlord
    been to court 3 times in last 2 years next hearing in may 2012 rent free is the way to go my flat is damp and have told them loads now it's pay back.

    • 18 October 2011 10:23 AM
  • icon

    The tenants I hate the most are the ones with children. When I last evicted a family, I almost felt a pang of guilt when I saw them begging in the streets two weeks later.

    Then I looked at my bank balance and pretty much forgot about that old family.

    Lovely new young professional couple have now rented the flat - more our sort of people.

    • 18 October 2011 10:03 AM
  • icon

    I don't see what the problem is. Just evict them on s21 grounds and focus on claiming rent arrears once they are out. At least you'll have the property back first. I would never evict on non payment of rent arrears for the reasons highlighted in this article. S21 is a way better way to go.

    • 18 October 2011 09:47 AM
  • icon

    Things are likely to continue to spiral downwards when the courts start doing to private landlords what they are already doing to Registered Providers of Social Housing. Private landlords, unlike registered providers, are not likely to be considered as 'Public Bodies' for the purpose of a proportionality challenge (Human Rights Article 8), but the Courts are and the pressure is now on their need to consider if an action is proportionate. If momentum is maintained, this is likely to be the case and undoubtedly it will hit private landlords wherever a mandatory ground is relied on, causing even greater delay.

    • 18 October 2011 08:48 AM
  • icon

    There are 2 things you can do, pay the tenant to leave or take out rental insurance when you let the flat out. Also make sure the tenant becomes black listed, all rental agencies should take out references from previous landlords and should not be allowed to get away with it!

    • 18 October 2011 03:47 AM
Zero Deposit Zero Deposit Zero Deposit