Landlords: When a tenant is in breach of contract the key is to use legal assistance, and swiftly

Landlord Expert
By Landlord Expert March 21, 2012 10:46

The ever changing face of the legal marketplace is a minefield, not least for the SME owner. The traditional interface between a solicitor and client is a charge by the hour – yet that is not the only option.

Under the Solicitors Code of Conduct any solicitor must advise on all forms of funding.

Many will have LEI cover (the number of Legal Expenses Insurance schemes and other such available options are myriad) and there are circumstances where your chosen solicitor can utilise the same – and you are not restricted to panel members.

However, a solicitor must advise that there are numerous ways to fund a case, fixed fees, 3rd Party Funding, Legal Aid (while it is still here), an hourly rate charge, Conditional Fee Agreements CFA’s, where applicable) and from April 2013 we shall possibly see the introduction of DBA’s and other such fancifully named products.  It raises the following question - why should you take all the risk and your solicitor none?

So how does this affect you the professional landlord or sole property owner – In short it has a profound impact. You are obliged to show any potential litigation risk on your balance sheet, not an easy conversation with the bank manager but a needed one.  You may need to undertake litigation but are concerned as to the impact on your own cash flow – including recovery of monies owed – but your advisers should be offering you a clear way through these problems.

In addition you will need to be aware of the forms of funding available to a tenant – legal aid is still available for Housing Disrepair claims and CFA’s are widely used.

Recently we acted for a small business owner where an electrician had slipped down some stairs while reading the meter. He sued and won and while the damages were only £2,500.00 the costs for the winning party were £29,000.00. The paying party had no insurance and while we were able to reduce the bill to £17,000.00 on a detailed assessment there was still their own legal fees to pay. A hefty premium to pay still but a reduction none the less.

In part the costs rose because the client chose to act for themselves and not seek advice soon enough. Our advice would be act swiftly and decisively in such circumstances.

The need to act quickly in litigious matters is clear but so is the need to control your own spend and ensure that your solicitor is acting for you, the client, and not merely billing for billing’s sake.

For further legal updates or information on how to reduce your legal spend or indeed maximise your recovery  please visit our website.

Author: William Whawell. E-mail william@auxiliumlegal.co.uk www.auxiliumlegal.co.uk

 

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Landlord Expert
By Landlord Expert March 21, 2012 10:46

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