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Tenants warned over using 'no-win, no-fee' legal firms against landlords

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Tenants have been urged to be wary of ‘no-win, no-fee’ solicitors who deal with private rental sector cases after an almost farcical case in London.

It has come to light after Barking & Dagenham council successfully persuaded a Manchester law firm to drop a compensation it had brought on behalf of a tenant, claiming the borough was the landlord of a property with a mice infestation.

Antony Hodari Solicitors had been seeking compensation for their private tenant client but, despite evidence to the contrary, chased the council for the money.

Barking & Dagenham officials rebuffed the legal firm’s actions, pointing out that there was no rental contract to prove it was the landlord, and that the tenant paid her rent via a letting agent, which collected it on behalf of a private landlord.

The council made several requests to the solicitors asking them to clarify why they were bringing the claim against the council and said there was no basis to bring the claim against the council.

“A prosecution should only be started if there is sufficient evidence to justify it.

Despite this, the solicitors filed a witness statement alleging that Barking & Dagenham was the landlord, received rent from her and had made various failed attempts to repair the property.

Charges dropped

The council reveals that, after an initial hearing in October 2023, Antony Hodari Solicitors had to drop their charges after finally accepting they had prosecuted the wrong defendant.

As a result, the council made a Wasted Costs Application against them because of their negligence of £7,576, which was granted Romford Magistrates Court (main picture).

The Court also dismissed Antony Hodari’s wasted costs application against the council.

Councillor Syed Ghani (pictured), Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety says: “This law firm was determined to take action the council, regardless of the evidence.

“A prosecution should only be started if there is sufficient evidence to justify it.

“This was a complete waste of not just council officer time but court officer time as well as huge sums of money. It is also a wakeup call to people to be wary of no win no fee solicitors.”

Picture credit: Google Streetview

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