Risk for landlords instructing unregulated eviction specialists
Landlords and letting agents are taking a risk of having their cases thrown out of court if they use an eviction specialist who is not a solicitor.
A recent application for a possession order by a landlord has revealed a loophole in the law that only allows lawyers and claimants representing themselves to issue proceedings.
The case at Birmingham County Court was brought by a landlord couple who instructed eviction specialists Remove A Tenant to act for them.
Although the couple signed off the possession order application, the firm managed the court case.
But the tenant appealed the order claiming a section in the Legal Services Act 2007 bars specialists like Remove A Tenant from acting on behalf of landlords and letting agents.
The law designates issuing and conducting court proceedings as a reserved activity directly for claimants or their solicitors.
Remove a Tenant is not a regulated legal firm and does not employ an in-house solicitor, so cannot act for landlords or letting agents.
The judge upheld the appeal, but allowed the possession order for the landlords, explaining they were innocent parties in the case. However, he told them the paperwork supporting the claim may be defective and could mean the order might not be enforceable.
The decision means that eviction specialists who are not solicitors can give guidance about evictions, but cannot act for clients.
Only law firms and lawyers regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority can take a case to the courts.
Section 12 of the Legal Services Act 2007 explains reserved activities cover conducting litigation, which includes issuing court proceedings and ancillary work.
Hamilton Fraser sister company Landlord Action, founded by landlords in 1999, is the UK’s first eviction specialist and is fully authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Check out if your eviction specialist is regulated.
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