Industry figure calls for clean-up of unregulated tenant evictions industry

Paul Shamplina of tenant eviction service Landlord Action has called for unregulated eviction firms to join a redress scheme.

Landlord Action itself is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, meaning that any unhappy clients can complain about it to the Legal Ombudsman.

Shamplina said that the eviction industry needs cleaning up, saying that there are unregulated firms cutting corners and not using legally qualified personnel.

He cited the case of one landlord, Romeena Hadwal, who found a company on the internet which seemed to be cheap.

She paid the firm which served notice on the tenant, but put the wrong address on the court forms. Four weeks after the hearing, the address was still wrong, meaning she could not apply for warrant of possession.

Six months later, she had paid £855 to the firm. She had nowhere to take her complaint, and rent arrears were mounting. She has now instructed Landlord Action.

Shamplina said: “When we set up as the UK’s original three-step fixed-fee eviction company, the aim was to provide simplicity to a previously costly and complicated burden for landlords and letting agents.

“As other operators have entered the marketplace, we’ve found ourselves working with more and more landlords who have not only been let down by their tenant or letting agent, but subsequently their unregulated eviction firm.

“To improve standards and provide a better service, we acquired status as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) in landlord and tenant law, authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This means if a landlord has a complaint, they can report it.

“But not all companies are regulated, so landlords have nowhere to turn if they have a complaint, and this needs to change.

“Belonging to a redress scheme would be the first step to making improvements and ensuring consumer confidence.”

David Smith, partner at Anthony Gold Solicitors, said unregulated providers of advice to landlords can seem to offer a good deal at first sight.

“However, they can provide advice which is misleading or plain wrong, and the lack of insurance or a complaints process leaves landlords with nowhere to turn when things go wrong.

“A robust complaints mechanism is a key component of giving landlords confidence in the reliability of such services.”

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