The cost of initiating possession proceedings online has increased 150% from £100 to £250, while the cost of the paper claim has gone up from £175 to £280. These increases apply to possession following the issue of a Section 8 Notice. With the Ministry of Justice looking to save £200 million, the 26% increase in evictions towards the end of last year has clearly been targeted as a potential money-maker. These changes took effect on April 22 and have left many people angry and confused. Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action pointed out that the whole reason many people need to apply for such evictions is that they are in financial difficulty because of non-payment of rent (which in many cases will never be recovered). Why make it even more unfair on landlords?
The only real steps landlords can take to avoid these heavy hikes are to make sure you have conducted thorough credit and reference checks of tenants. Of course you can never be 100% protected from a tenant falling on hard times or letting you down, but anything you can do to reduce the risk is worth it. This is true now more than ever, not only because of the huge costs involved but also because of the worry over how changes to the welfare system will affect tenants’ ability to keep up with rent.
For a full list of the changes take a look at the proposals here (see Annex A for the new fees).