11:54 AM, 1st October 2013, About 10 years ago 9
Landlord Action is the original UK eviction service for landlord and letting agents. Set up as the alternative to solicitors, it has just acquired status as an ABS. So it’s now approved and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – so it can conduct all the legal work on behalf of landlords and agents itself.
After more than a decade in an anti-establishment position, Landlord Action has now become part of the establishment. The founder Paul Shamplina says: The internet is now full of Landlord Action copycats that appear to offer the same service – but are not the same dedicated eviction specialists. We realise that our original idea has spawned an entire internet industry that now endangers the very landlords and agents we set out to protect.
Back in 1999, a group of landlords decided to set up an eviction service as alternative to using a solicitor. Under written advice from a QC, they set up the UK’s first specialist service.
Landlord Action was revolutionary. It redefined the legal eviction process by naming it as The Three Steps. And it charged fixed fees. Its position was as clear as its leaflet: We’re not like lawyers. Our fees are fixed. And we talk plain English. Landlords and agents across the country were clearly pleased with the offering. Landlord Action has acted in over 25,000 eviction cases.
As the buy-to-let industry grew, an eviction industry sprang up – all following the Landlord Action model. The internet created fertile ground for a whole raft of copycat services. These have tried to use the same language and offer the same fixed-fee structure. The difference is not all these services actually use legally qualified personnel to do the work. Some are just a lone operator with a mobile phone. By getting the landlord to issue at court, they don’t carry any responsibility and can leave the agent and landlord exposed when things goes wrong.
From the start, Landlord Action always used external solicitors to review every case, issue at court and brief advocates. And they have always used advocates at court. Over the years, they used a panel of solicitors firms that, for the most part, have served their landlords and letting agents well but ultimately Landlord Action did not have overall control over what was going on.
In 2012, in order to improve standards and provide a better service, Landlord Action decided to bring solicitors in-house and a new Legal Director was appointed. Justin Selig, a solicitor of 20 years, is also a very experienced landlord with a mixed residential and commercial portfolio. He recruited a whole new legal team of experts in this specific area of law and Landlord Action became even sharper. A team of legal minds with landlord thinking.
Now Landlord Action has acquired the status of a law firm. It still only specialises in Housing Law. And it still only represents landlords and agents – never tenants. Its new position is a recognition of its expertise and will clearly differentiate it from those internet services that have tried to copy it.
Landlord Action founder, Paul Shamplina, summed up the latest position very clearly: “We set out to protect landlords and agents. But we ended up creating a whole sector that doesn’t care enough. We’re part of the letting community and we’re dedicated to providing landlord and agents a high quality specialist service dedicated to their specific needs. Whatever we can do to improve that, we will.”
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