Landlords face rising eviction court costs
For the second time in two years, UK landlords are facing rising eviction court costs. The first rises in April 2014 saw the Ministry of Justice increase fees for possession claims from £175-£280 (paper claims) and £100-£250 (online). Now, following a Government-led consultation period earlier this year, these costs are going up even further.
Here, we’ll look into what these new rises are, as well as the concerns that this might lead to some landlords looking for quicker, cheaper – but ultimately rushed and improper – means of evicting tenants.
What are the new rises?
The Ministry will raise the fee for evictions by £75 for each claim made. The new fees will now stand at:-
£355 for paper claims
£325 for online claims
According to the Government consultation document, the reasons for these added increases are to help the Ministry of Justice save money, amidst the current austerity measures, and ensure a quality service is delivered. Article 6 in the case for reform stated:
‘The Ministry of Justice, in common with most other public bodies, must continue to reduce its spending to meet its spending review settlements. Enhanced fees form part of our plans to meet the settlement. The measures we intend to implement, set out in this Government Response, will contribute an estimated £120 million per annum in additional income.’
The new fees will apply to all private landlords, as well as housing associations, mortgage lenders and councils that make a claim when they want to evict for rent arrears. If the claim is successful, the tenant can still be made to pay these fees – plus the outstanding rent. However, until this happens, the financial burden is still very much with the landlord.
Following the correct procedure
According to information from Shelter, over ‘200,000 claims for possession’ were made last year, meaning evictions are still something many landlords have to face. There’s a worry, however that, with this increased cost, landlords may try to rush through correct protocols or try to physically force tenants to leave their property themselves; both of which are illegal.
Regardless of the price increases, the reality is that landlords must stick to the correct legal procedures when making a claim. While this might be more expensive, it’s certainly less than the possible expense incurred for failure to correctly file a claim, or the possible criminal charges for taking an eviction into your own hands.
If you’re a landlord and wish to make a claim, but you aren’t fully familiar with the process, you can find helpful details of how to correctly evict a tenant via the Government’s website. We also offer our own eviction service, which will help you through the process and ensure everything’s done properly and within the law.
The figure earlier quoted from Shelter, on the number of possession claims throughout 2014, provides a clear case for the need to be as thorough as possible when carrying out vetting and reference checking – in relation to prospective tenants. This article is a guide for tenants but gives a useful overview of what information landlords or letting agents will typically request as part of the vetting process.
Our ‘Guaranteed Rent’ Scheme offers complete protection to landlords from ever increasing eviction court costs and considerable exposure to possible loss of rent whilst carrying out legal evictions through the courts.
We pay our landlords throughout the term of our contract with them, regardless of whether legal eviction proceedings are required and our landlords are not liable for any legal court costs at all incurred in carrying out evictions.
When you let your property on our ‘Guaranteed Rent’ Scheme either our local authority clients will assume full legal and financial responsibility for the eviction of your tenants, or we will, depending on the nature of the letting of your property – consequently you can be assured that you will not incur any legal eviction costs at all when letting your property to us and, furthermore, you can also be assured that you will continue to receive full monthly rental payments from us until vacant possession of your property has been lawfully obtained!
The consequences of delays through the courts can be extremely damaging to landlords’ investments and in some cases lead to loss of their investment.