New Pre-action protocol for debt claims from 1st Oct

by Property 118

9:03 AM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

New Pre-action protocol for debt claims from 1st Oct

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New Pre-action protocol for debt claims from 1st Oct

The new protocol is designed to encourage debtor and creditor to communicate and resolve a payment plan before the need to go to court.

Click Here to download the full Pre-Action Protocol for Debt Claims

The following summary is from our partners at the Sheriffs Office:

New process for Creditors:

Creditors will be expected to have sent a clearly dated Letter of Claim by post, and should clearly state the following information:

  • The total debt summary
  • Whether interest or other charges are being added such as administration fees
  • If the debt arises from an oral agreement, who made the agreement, what was agreed, and when and where it was agreed
  • If the debt arises from a written agreement, the date of that agreement, the parties to the agreement and enclosing a copy or stating that a copy can be requested from the creditor
  • A statement of account for the debt, including the amount of interest and any other charges imposed since the debt was incurred
  • Details of how the debt can be paid and what the debtor can do if it wishes to discuss payment options
  • If regular instalments are being offered, an explanation of why this isn’t an acceptable arrangement and why court action is being considered.

If the individual debtor has not responded to the Letter of Claim within 30 days of the date of the letter, the creditor may then start court proceedings.

The court will look at the documentation and adherence to this protocol and will consider the non-compliance when giving their directions for the management of proceedings going forward, so this legislation is important for anyone with a business or who is a sole trader doing business with individuals.

If an arrangement is made, but the debtor subsequently defaults, the creditor must start the entire pre-action protocol process again.

Whilst the government is clearly bringing in new legislation to bring about positive changes, there is certainly scope for debtors to use the new pre-action protocol to push their claim right to the time limits, at the various stages, or to use any procedural error by the creditor, however minor, to create further delay.

We are already seeing “advice” in several debt forums on how to delay the process. This will be an inconvenience for large companies, but might have an extremely negative impact on small businesses and sole traders.

Contact The Sheriffs Office



Comments

David Price

10:45 AM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Now landlords have to give tenants, who often have no intention of paying for a service which you are legally compelled to provide, an extra month rent free while they ignore all correspondence. All this palaver because the government has closed many of the courts and those remaining cannot cope.

Romain Garcin

11:12 AM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

The official protocol document states that the new protocol only applies to businesses.

So... again the question of private landlords being businesses, yes, no, it depends...

I think this new protocol goes over the top. Essentially a creditor must wait up to 60 days before starting proceedings, if not more.

David Price

11:16 AM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Romain Garcin at 29/09/2017 - 11:12
Sorry I did not make it clear in my initial post that most of my property is incorporated - more luck than judgement.

The Property Man

11:40 AM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

I usually use a debt collection agency before I start court proceedings giving the debtor time to pay and the option to set up an affordable payment plan. I pay the debt collection agency a percentage of what they collect so no more is added to the initial debt. I wonder at what stage I can instruct a debt collection agency ? Would I have to use the new protocol procedure first and then instruct them ? Or I wonder if this is part of the protocol procedure as I am initially giving them the option to pay and offering them an affordable payment plan solution.

Mark Alexander

12:25 PM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by The Property Man at 29/09/2017 - 11:40
Have you ever had any luck with a debt collection agency? If so, please share their details here.

David Price

13:09 PM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 29/09/2017 - 12:25
Long ago I stopped using debt collection agencies. Collectively they had a consistent record, none had managed to collect anything.

The Property Man

13:59 PM, 29th September 2017
About A year ago

Hi Mark I have had an excellent track record with using a debt collection agency. I use FCC Paragon and I have found these to be one of the best in my opion. I am sure that they have also been recommended on this site in the past. They can be contacted on 0844 375 9608

Gary Dully

18:32 PM, 2nd October 2017
About A year ago

Does this apply to just MCOL, PCOL or BOTH?

I am absolutely livid with this Government, its just more effing red tape.
What the *uck is wrong with them?
Its bloody ridiculous, is there any point to the hearing, after all this nonsense?
So that will be another agreement that they default on.

Gary Dully

14:27 PM, 21st October 2017
About A year ago

I have today contacted the SFS, who require you to register with them BEFORE you can issue a financial questionnaire to a tenant that has damaged your property or done a runner.
It goes as follows...

At the beginning of October an firm of HCEA called The Sheriffs Office issued a bulletin in regards to a New Pre-Action Protocol for the issuing of MCOL claims to all the Private landlords in the UK. (https://www.property118.com/new-pre-action-protocol-debt-claims-1st-oct/)
Within the bulletin issued, it showed that it is now required that a Financial Statement Questionnaire is required to be sent to all tenants, or ex-tenants that may have done a "runner", damaged property or left without paying overdue rents.

The problem is that you have to apply to your organisation to obtain the facility to obtain a standardised financial statement template.
Are you seriously expecting over 1.75 million private landlords to register, before they can obtain a form such as this?

Once obtained, how exactly is this information to be analysed by amateur landlords?

Is it expected that the only route through MCOL is by utilising expensive legal firms who can navigate this form.

The people that use MCOL such as Private landlords, do NOT have the qualifications to analyse what you are asking defendants to put in writing.

What are the data protection implications?

Private landlords up and down the country are scratching their heads in bewilderment as to how they can meet the demands of the County Court system CPR changes and having to register on your website.

You don't even have landlords listed in your supplier form.

My question is, is this form required to be issued by Private Landlords or not?
If so is it necessary to register, it takes apparently up to 10 working days to find out. (That's half a month).
Kind Regards
Gary Dully
Angry Landlord.


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