Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,00015:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago 36
Do you remember law firms offering to claim PPI as no win, no fee? Well, I’m sorry to have to say that landlords are the latest group that the ambulance chasers have set their sights on. I speak from personal experience. Let me tell you what happened, in the hope that others don’t get intimidated into needlessly parting with hard-earned cash.
A letter arrived from a law firm, located in the well-heeled town of Knutsford, Cheshire. Badly constructed, it gave little detail of the tenancy to which it referred. Having noted the allegation of my failure to legally protect a tenants deposit, it went on to explain how court action would follow and that I could expect some very serious repercussions. Reading on, the letter offered an olive branch. Through mediation, court action could be avoided by providing financial restitution to the as-yet unnamed tenant.
It was clearly a scam, all my deposits are legally protected in a prescribed scheme, so fear wasn’t my motivation for sending a reply. Simply put, I hate scammers, especially those in a position we are encouraged to trust.
After some communication, I discovered the tenants address, so could deduce whom I was being threatened by. Contact with the tenant revealed that this action was the result of a cold call. They had issues with the site management company, so asked the law firm to intervene. A series of questions, unrelated to their issues ensued, which they diligently answered, inaccurately as it happens.
Needless to say, the management company were never contacted and at my request, the tenants asked the law firm to cease any action. But this behaviour, without due diligence on the part of a law firm is diabolical, and surely not compliant with the code of practice, as set out by the regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority?
Having had email conversations with the said authority, it stated that the law firm broke no code of practice and therefore no action will be taken against them. That surprised me too! Apparently, the accused has no rights of protection from such threats. Even if untrue, and without any checks being made prior to an accusation being made.
I write this article in the hope that decent landlords, that may not have my experience, will not be afraid to challenge such practices. It’s highly possible that a less confident and smaller portfolio landlord than myself, could be hoodwinked into thinking they have not followed the rules. This could easily lead to payments that are completely unnecessary., or worse still, wasted court time that our judicial system is does not have the luxury of entertaining. Our courts are clogged up enough without this.
I’d encourage everyone to spread the word. Do not accept the allegations of these unscrupulous law firms. If challenged on a regular basis, these firms will eventually get the message, the PRS is not the pushover they think we are.
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