Not submitting the correct paperwork to a court can be a costly and frustrating experience for any landlord or homeowner, as one man this week realised when he tried to evict a gang of squatters from his Islington house.
John Hamilton-Brown attended court to obtain an ‘interim possession order’ in hope of evicting the European squatters that had taken over his house in North London in January this year. After attending four previous hearings, the father of two had to represent himself due to the affordability of the costs, while the squatters received hundreds of pounds of free legal aid. Due to an oversight on his free solicitor who prepared the case, the title deeds to the house were not submitted to the court and the case was thrown out due to the technicality, giving legal permission to the squatters to remain in the family’s home.
The 12 squatters who hail from Poland, France and Spain had forced a window to the property on January 21st. After gaining entry, they displayed a notice on the property claiming squatter’s rights and issuing a warning that trespassers faced six-months imprisonment and a £5000 fine if they entered the property without their permission.
As a result, the family have been forced to rent a flat nearby as they continue their battle to obtain a bailiff warrant.
When it comes to evictions, legislation is tipped in the occupiers favour. Created to sustain and protect the right of tenants, it’s not all black and white, with little rights created for landlords and homeowners such as Mr. Hamilton-Brown. As seen in this example, it is John Hamilton-Brown and his family that are clearly the victims.
It’s an important and unfortunate lesson, but when it comes to evictions, paperwork has to be watertight. Housing Acts must be complied with to the letter or it could render any intended eviction process null and void.
Landlords will no doubt be furious at the treatment of the Hamilton-Browns, but it is worthwhile noting that oversights and technicalities cause expense and consequences.
Legal 4 Landlords representatives who specialise in evictions warn landlords of the importance of legal representation and paperwork. Advising landlords, they suggest that legal representation should firstly ascertain that the eviction is indeed within the bounds of the Housing Act; secondly, to ascertain the correct notice for the possession order, thirdly, that correct notification and procedures are adhered to.
Legal 4 Landlords representatives are nationwide and offer a fixed fee service. A legal infrastructure for landlords, the company is run by landlords for landlords, with an aim to remove the barriers restricting landlords to make procedures easier and less costly.