Lack of Justice in Housing – Legal Blackmail

by Readers Question

11:21 AM, 19th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Lack of Justice in Housing – Legal Blackmail

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Lack of Justice in Housing – Legal Blackmail

Letter to Gareth Johnson Member of Parliament for Dartford:

Lastly, there is the position of ‘Legal Blackmail’ – again, usually perpetrated by Conditional Fee Arrangement (No-win, no-fee) Solicitors.

The ‘trap’ will be a landlord who hasn’t protected a tenant’s deposit within 30 days, which of course can’t be condoned. However, CFA solicitors are advertising on hoarding boards for tenants who haven’t had their deposits dealt with in accordance with the law to contact them for up to several times their deposit back at no cost to the tenant. The legal costs being awarded against the landlord.

The solicitor then contacts the landlord and points out the potential worse case scenario financially at court, including an inflated estimate of their costs, and offers to settle the case for half that amount. Is the UK following the American litigation culture? It would seem so.

Defaulting tenants and their legal-aid solicitors should follow Mr Tusk on an expedition to a place he knows so well.

I eagerly await your response to my concerns about the lack of housing justice for landlords, as enough is repetitively heard about injustice for tenants, which in short seems related to insufficient housing provision by successive governments.

Possession Friend


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Comments

Seething Landlord

14:37 PM, 19th February 2019
About 2 years ago

The compensation culture has been prevalent in the UK for many years e.g. whiplash claims following minor accidents, PPI, time share etc. Why should landlords be protected from claims to which they have laid themselves open by ignoring legal requirements?

Old Mrs Landlord

16:38 PM, 19th February 2019
About 2 years ago

The requirement for deposit protection was introduced in 2007. Any landlords who are still not getting it right are either deliberately flouting the law or haven't bothered to acquaint themselves with the most basic requirements of letting out residential property so must expect the consequences, in my opinion.

Annie Landlord

10:25 AM, 20th February 2019
About 2 years ago

I agree with both those comments. I think the grey area is what proof is acceptable with regard to serving the prescribed information. Its the same with gas and electric safety certificates. Popping them in the post or handing them over to the tenant is no longer enough. I now insist my tenants sign to confirm they have received documentation. However, my properties were originally let by Lettings Agents (several years ago) and the agents (and therefore, I,) have no written proof that documentation was given to the tenants at the start of the tenancy.

Mike

11:38 AM, 20th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 19/02/2019 - 16:38Of course we all learn from our mistakes, one of the things we learned at a very high cost was Grenfell Tower fire, yet experts from authorities to builders were involved in this, they got it wrong too, space shuttle Atlanta blew up at a very high cost, we can never stop learning and none of us is ever born with knowledge, we all acquire that over a life time experience.
this same rule applies to any Landlord, my ex tenant who is now a proud owner of two properties, one he recently started to rent, do you really think he would know all the housing legislation, I asked him if he gave his tenants a copy of gas safety certificate before they stepped in, his answer was No, so he is pretty much now a victim of unfair and unjust law, even though he just spent £3500 ona new boiler at that property, just that he did not hand over the gas safety certificate to his tenant, talk about unfair terms and consumer protection act, the Government itself is biggest culprit when it comes to unfairness seen in the housing law. I could not care less about the unfairness, but someone might take the Government to court for this unfair legislation.

Paul T. Guest

19:32 PM, 20th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 20/02/2019 - 11:38
The counter-argument to that last point is that by not reassuring the incoming tenant that the property is officially certified as being pretty safe from sudden explosion, your friend has lost the right to turf the tenant out onto the street on a whim through no fault of the tenant. He still retains all the other rights a landlord has always had for getting rid of bad tenants, eg, ones that haven't paid rent, so it's pushing it a bit to say it's "unfair". S21 is a "reward" for strict adherence to various regulations and massively skews "fairness" away from the tenant - so isn't it only right that such a weapon be granted only to the people assumed to be least likely to abuse the power, demonstrated by their willingness to be knowledgeable about the rules and to stick to them? One could argue that S21 is compensation for the "compliant" landlord whose cost of doing business would otherwise be higher than that of the corner-cutter.

Mike

22:49 PM, 20th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Paul, I acknowledge your comments, your opinion may or may not be as such as you thought, but, not a problem, we can all look at something from many different angels, I was also expressing my opinion, yet I could argue with yours, but then this will deviate us from the subject, so respectfully I am not starting a debate, though I don't mind, I could counter argue your opinion then this could be looked upon as picking on someone. I could give endless examples why this law is unfair where a gas safe certificate not being handed over to a tenant as opposed to being just left near the boiler, will it or will it not make it explode? that is the question. The main point I was trying to make was what difference does it make whether you give the tenant the GSC in his or her hand before she or he steps in and are given the house keys, or if the GSC was valid and was placed in a safe place near the boiler.

Do we not have to have a driving licence before we can drive cars on our roads, bearing in mind cars are also killers and can kill, but not many of us carry our driving licences on us, as long as we are allowed to hold a licence and not disqualified from driving , we can drive a car and again having a licence does not guarantee that one would not end up killing someone in the event of an accident.

Talking from my experience even the most gas safe experts can get it wrong, a lady living in my street was sent a letter by Transco, that they were going to change her gas meter, the fitter came and took her old meter away and installed the new one, after which he failed to screw back tight the pressure test nipple, the lady owner was told that because he had changed the meter some residue gas escaped that was in the pipes, but it will soon disperse if she leaves her windows and doors open for a few minutes.
2 hours later the gas smell was still at large, not so sure what to do, the elderly lady was confused whether to call Transco or not, or before she does that she came to me to seek my opinion, I went over to her place and as soona s she opened her front door, I knew straight away it was a gas leak, but even before I could call Transco I made sure she had not left her cooker knob on, so checked the cooker all knobs were shut, went towards her new gas meter, and I could smell gas getting stronger right near it, so phoned Transco to come and sort out the leak, I turned her gas off. But it goes to show you no matter how expert you are when things are meant to go wrong they will, when accidents are going to happen they will, yes we can take measures to prevent them happening, but certainly giving a tenant GSC in his hand is just as good as having one in the property, this was my point, I did not say that you should not have one, my mate had a new boiler fitted and he had been given a GSC, except he did not know that he should have given a copy to the tenant as well, he was not aware of this new Deregulation rule, hence why I said this particular rule seems unfair.

Seething Landlord

23:43 PM, 20th February 2019
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 20/02/2019 - 22:49
Your mention of driving licences is interesting because I had been thinking that letting property without checking the legal requirements is similar to driving a car without bothering to read the Highway Code - you do so at risk of being penalised for failure to comply, whether or not you were aware of the particular rule.
In her latest email dealing with the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, Tessa Shepperson, who runs the Landlord Law Service concludes "Renting residential property is now heavily regulated. The days of the amateur landlord are over."

Mike

0:21 AM, 21st February 2019
About 2 years ago

So may be we are heading towards a breed of landlords who must take ona course and pass the final exam and get a licence before they could rent out properties, that might seem fair, so a degree in housing law! landlords becoming half a lawyer.

Paul T. Guest

5:13 AM, 21st February 2019
About 2 years ago

Ah OK, I see where you're coming from. I think the idea is that all the relevant info should be shown to the tenant before they sign a contract, so the reason for not showing the gas certificate whilst showing everything else would normally be due to not possessing one. I still say being able to evict someone from their home on a whim rather than through some fault of theirs is not something that an absence of should be grounds for crying "victim" just yet. In your friend's case he's just installed a new boiler so the chances are he intends to rent the property out for some time to come and will have plenty of opportunities to rectify the error as new tenants come and go, which I'm sure he's referencing carefully anyway, no? But the technicality of the situation is surely an argument, isn't it, in favour of registering all landlords on a national database so that they can be kept updated by email and text on new developments in the law? As a parallel, imagine a finance or insurance salesman that wasn't regularly guided to follow the exact latest protocols laid down by the FSA and got his commisssion clawed back months or even years down the line when the customer complained of being 'mis-sold'. He might complain about it, but he'd still risk losing the money if he didn't keep up with the rules.

Chris @ Possession Friend

12:57 PM, 21st February 2019
About 2 years ago

What Landlord evicted a Tenant paying rent and abiding by the Tenancy agreement ???
It's expensive and time consuming evicting tenants
This is the kind of nonsense Shelter and Generation Rent pedal. - it needs divesting of those biased and incorrect fallacies and not promulgated by Landlords.

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