Landlord Action has spoken out against the Government’s plan to increase court fees for landlords, describing the changes as “extortionate” and “ludicrous”. The changes are due to take effect from 22 April 2014. As the date looms ever nearer, it is thought that a sudden flurry of possession cases could be put forward by landlords trying to beat the rises.
It wouldn’t be surprising, considering the scale of the increases. Possession claims are going to rise by 60%. As it stands today, the application for possession, which is used after service of a Section 8 notice, would cost a landlord £175. This is the same cost as an accelerated possession claim used after service of a Section 21 notice. In under a fortnight, this will go up to £280.
The possession claim online (PCOL) service, which is only available after a Section 8 notice on rent arrears grounds, currently has a heavily discounted fee of £100, saving landlords about 43%. However, this is going to skyrocket to £250, an increase of 150%. A PCOL will then only save a landlord about 11% compared to a regular application. Obviously, this makes the option far less appealing than it previously had been.
Paul Shamplina of Landlord Direct said, “The rises are ludicrous and will have a huge impact on those landlords and letting agents that find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to start eviction proceedings. Landlords who are seeking possession of their property are usually already in financial difficulty due to rent arrears or damage to their property, so increasing the cost of fighting this battle, and by such a significant jump, seems wholly unfair.”
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