Who are you?
What does it say on your business card?
Founder and Director of Landlord Action and Brand Ambassador of Hamilton Fraser
What is Landlord Action?
Landlord Action is one the UK’s best-known eviction and housing law specialists – authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Since 1999, we have helped thousands of landlords with problem tenancies.
When we started Landlord Action, I was frustrated with solicitors overcharging for fees, so introduced the original three-step fixed-fee eviction service, as well as a free advice line to help landlords. Prior to setting up Landlord Action, my background was working in litigation, as well as being a certified bailiff and a private investigator.
How do you help landlords and property investors?
Only a very small percentage of tenancies go wrong, but reasons can be anything from tenants failing to pay the rent or refusing to vacate the property, to breaching tenancy conditions. We are like emergency plumbers for landlords, ideally you don’t really want to call us, but you know we are there if you need us. Evicting a tenant is a last resort, but as specialist’s in the Private Rental Sector you can be reassured that we will gain possession of your property, and the price will be fixed.
What services do you provide?
We offer fixed fees for possession proceedings, purchase of legal documents, drafting bespoke legal documents, removing trespassers, HMO disputes, forfeiture proceedings, debt recovery, general litigation and educational workshops for corporate landlords and letting agents.
Does Landlord Action benefit tenants, too?
No, our services are for landlords and letting agents, but we have been campaigning for years in the Private Rental Sector to raise standards, and some of our campaigns do benefit tenants.
Why is it important for tenants to have rental payments contribute towards their credit score?
This is a great idea, I’ve been talking about this for years. The government have introduced rogue landlords and letting agents lists, but what about a bad tenant list? There are far more bad tenants then rogue landlords. Unfortunately, when a landlord obtains a possession order under section 8 on a hearing, it does not become registered as a CCJ, unless the landlord enforces it at court. More often than not, landlords do not want to throw good money after bad or cannot track the tenant down to a new address, so a lot of tenants’ credit rating is not affected. This means any new landlord has no idea, unless they are very methodical with their referencing. The sooner rental payments are linked to credit agencies the better. Landlords need greater protection too.
What is your greatest achievement in your current role and what made it so special?
I have many. I think the most stand out achievement is helping take Landlord Action from an unregulated eviction company to becoming regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, employing solicitors and paralegals.
Others include working with the government and appearing before MPs on the subject of ‘Retaliation Eviction’ where our proposals helped influence the Deregulation Act. We also worked closely with the RLA on a campaign which, in 2012, made squatting in a residential property a Criminal Act. Squatters can now be arrested and if convicted, they may be put in prison for up to six months and fined up to £5,000.
Finally, helpings thousands of landlords regain possession of their properties.
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
I still have the same passion for helping landlords as when we started Landlord Action. Standing up for landlords’ rights, trying to raise standards in our industry and speaking up for landlords, especially in the press and on the TV show ‘Bad Tenants, Rogue Landlords’ (new series coming out this summer) gives me a real sense of achievement. I still enjoy carrying out the educational seminars for landlords and agents all over the country.
I am also enjoying the role of Brand Ambassador for Hamilton Fraser and working on other brands such as My Deposits, Total Landlord Insurance, The Property Redress Scheme and Client Money Protect which gives me comprehensive knowledge of the whole sector.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing landlords at the moment?
The biggest threat now is Section 24 tax, which from next year a lot of landlords will start to feel the pinch as they realise their increased tax liability. We have already seen a steady increase of landlords exiting the market because of this. In addition, landlords are struggling to keep up with the constant change in regulation. However, there is an argument that current Brexit uncertainty in the housing market could throw up opportunities for landlords to invest further and add to their portfolios.
What is your property prediction for the remainder of 2019?
This is the year that landlords will realise that they must be professional landlords, they have to up their game. Tenants will demand more from their lets and landlords have to see them as customers. With an estimated 9 million rented, demand will remain strong – so it’s not all bad for landlords!
Lastly a shameless plug out for my book I have written with Kate Faulkner called ‘The Landlords Friend 2019’, which is an essential guide for landlords.