As a landlord, there are often times when you will unfortunately need to seek possession of your property. For example, if your tenants are in arrears or your property has been damaged through anti-social behaviour (the top two reasons for a landlord being forced to go down this route.)
It is often a last resort for landlords; however, doing so will involve using the courts so you should be aware that the costs of making an application for possession have recently risen by 60%.
How the fees have risen
From the 22nd April 2014, the fees for issuing an application for possession after either a Section 8 or Section 21 have risen to £280.00 from a mild £170.00.
There have also been increases on a range of other fees including applications for possession via Possession Claim Online (PCOL) – the online service used after a section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds. Fees for using PCOL have jumped a whopping 150%, to £250.00.
A warrant of possession, which is where a bailiff has been instructed, is the only fee which will remain the same – at £110.
What are the implications?
Apart from the obvious hike in cost to the landlord, tenants could ultimately lose out, too.
If a tenancy agreement stipulates that the tenant would be liable for any legal costs incurred as a result of a breach of the tenancy (for example, by remaining in the property after a Section 8 or Section 21 has been issued), then the landlord may be able to deduct the costs incurred from the tenant’s deposit.
This of course is far from ideal for the tenant. While it’s too early to see exactly how the changes will affect tenants, it conflicts with advice given out by local councils, many of which actively encourage tenants to remain in the property when facing eviction. This is because voluntarily leaving a property means a tenant is less likely to be rehoused by a local council or in social housing.
The potential cost to the landlord – and subsequently the tenant – of using the courts could potentially reach over £400.00.
For landlords, it may be worth revisiting the contract terms within your tenancy agreement because if your tenant disputes any deductions for losses you incur through using the courts to regain possession, but your tenancy agreement doesn’t contain the relevant stipulations, then ultimately you could find yourself out of pocket.