Having to evict a tenant is a rare event for most landlords, but a small proportion of tenants cause landlords, for one reason or another, to have to resort to this. Rent arrears is the most common reason, but there are other issues as well, such as damage to the property, anti-social behaviour, or when a tenant just won’t leave when he is supposed to do, all of which might warrant such drastic action.
For landlords everywhere it’s the stuff of nightmares, the tenancy is about to end but the tenant just won’t move out, starting a spiral of legal action that is estimated to take on average 9 months and in the worst cases scenarios cost over £10,000 in loss of income and legal fees. That figure could then rise to £16,000 for those living in London.
Landlord possession orders and warrant process times have increased in the first quarter of this year, despite being down on last year as a whole. The shocking fact is that for those landlords looking to get their properties back, (from the time they make a claim to the time it takes to repossess by a bailiff) it can take up to 43 weeks.
Between January to March 2017, 35,188 possession claims were registered by Landlords in England and Wales. According to the Ministry of Justice, a staggering 25% of these possession claims were escalated to a repossession being carried out by a county court bailiff. That’s on average a hundred rented homes visited by a court bailiff a day and being forced to leave.
But how can you avoid the nightmare? One way to get the help you need is to take out an agreement with a letting agent who will cover the fees if anything does go wrong. This is what Croyden based Rut Patel experienced last year.
When he began renting his three properties ten years ago, little did he think that he would ever come across a tenant who would fall into arrears or refuse to leave, but that’s exactly what happened to this veteran landlord.
Mr Patel’s Croydon-based property had been occupied on a six-month tenancy agreement with lettingaproperty.com and had experienced no problems during that period, but when the tenant refused to leave at the end of the rental term and pay the final monthly instalment of £800, the situation very quickly escalated into a bitter dispute and a growing financial challenge.
Having served a Section 21 notice and witnessed no change in the situation, Mr Patel had no other option than to lean on his letting agent for help.
He comments: “Thankfully, I had signed up to one of the services which included rent guarantee and legal insurance meaning that I could recover the lost rent and any legal expenses I would have normally incurred.
“It’s very much the rent guarantee safety net I wanted from my agent. Never thought I would have to use it but so glad I opted for it from the word go, especially as I was able to leave everything to the agent and not have to get too involved.”
The letting agent took care of everything from serving notices, liaising with the tenant to working with their insurance company and legal team to recover all outstanding funds that had mounted up over the 12 weeks.
Jonathan Daines, founder of lettingaproperty.com, comments: “We offer our Landlords all the assurances that if tenants stop paying or refuse to leave their property, we are able to offer a winning solution.
“In the case of Mr Patel we worked quickly and efficiently to recover his lost rent, get his property back within 12 weeks from the possession date without costing him a penny in legal costs, the stress and administration involved.
“Claiming rent arrears and more importantly getting your property back from a tenant who will, for varies reasons, stall until the bailiff turns up is a time consuming and extremely stressful process. You only have to watch a few reality TV shows depicting these real-life situations to see the agony involved”
In this case, Mr Patel was one of the lucky landlords who recovered £3,158 of rent owed to him and at no expense – something that wouldn’t have been possible without this cover and support.
Not an isolated case
“Moreover, Mr Patel isn’t an isolated case. A more recent closed case took nine months and eight days to remove a tenant who amassed over £11,160 in non-payment of rent and legal costs of £2,000.” That landlord was paid all his rent in full without pay a penny in legal costs. In this case, the council recommend to the tenant to stay in the property until they were evicted by the bailiff putting the tenant in financial difficulty.
Following his eviction process, Mr Patel placed his rental property back on the market with lettingaproperty.com making sure this and his other properties were all covered with the same protection in place!
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) June 13, 2017