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05/07/2022

U definitely can’t do this.

Hammad & Hammad v Paolini. County Court at Clerkenwell & Shoreditch. 27 June 2022 (We’ve seen a note of judgment)

Yes, even while large chunks of the government resign and (as of this point in the evening of 5 July, it looks likely that Carrie Johnson will end up as Chancellor), I have some housing law for you. (In fact, there are a lot of cases to do, but this one is quick and I can fit it in between resignations).

Regular readers may recall our friends Landlord Advice UK, an unqualified ‘evictions ‘r’ us’ outfit who not only managed to screw up a previous possession claim by conducting litigation while unauthorised, but, by way of further offence, had ripped off our material without consent.

I regret to say that Landlord Advice UK are still at it. This was a section 21 based possession claim.

The claim was dismissed on the basis that the section 21 notice (prepared and signed by S Charles of Landlord Advice UK) was not in the prescribed form 6A. It was an earlier version that did not match the version required by Schedule 29 of The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020. In particular the form said it was valid for 6 months, when it was actually 10 months.

Landlord to pay the tenant’s costs.

However, the District Judge went on to make other comments. There was “something gravely amiss in the way in which the way litigation has been conducted in this claim”.

The Claimants were represented by a ‘solicitor’s agent’ apparently instructed by Jeffreys Solicitors (an LPC style practice). However, the claimants in person told the Judge that essentially they were paying Landlord Advice UK to deal with the case for them. Landlord Advice UK had given their address as the address or service in the claim form.

Jeffreys solicitors had not filed a notice of acting. The claimant had no dealings with Jeffreys apart from receiving an email a day or two before the hearing. The solicitors agent said that she as instructed by Jeffreys solciitor, but Jeffreys did ot have conduct of the litigation. The agent had been granted a one off discretionary right of audience by the Judge to allow the mater to be disposed of rather than adjourned, but this seemed to be a blatant abuse or attempted abuse of the system to bypass restrictions on rights of audience, and also Landlord Advice UK’s role appeared to be more than ‘advisory’ given their involvement with the claim form. Landlord Advice UK should know what they can and can’t do, given the 2019 case at Bromley County Court (our previous post).

Comment

There is a recent judgment of HHJ Backhouse regarding ‘solicitors Agents’ and LPC which is not addressed in this decision. I’ll be commenting on that judgment when I have time, because it is very interesting. But here is another instance of Landlord Advice UK going beyond what they can legitimately do, and also getting things wrong, leaving their clients in a quite expensive lurch.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

3 Comments

  1. Chris

    Some hilarious (and questionable worded) excerpts from their website ‘About us’ page:

    “One of the common mistakes is to serve the wrong notice on a particular tenancy agreement.”

    “Our expertise in tenant eviction means we streamline everything and avoid the common mistakes other lawyers may make.”

    “It is not that we are better than other lawyers. It is a simple fact tenant eviction is what we specialise in so we have perfected our office processes.”

    then

    “We an independent paralegal law firm providing services throughout England & Wales. All our clients in court are represented by lawyers who the SRA regulates.”

    Reply
    • Luke

      Whilst they appear to be making a complete dogs dinner of things in trying to carve out a niche business, it has to be said there are an exceptional number of utterly clueless solicitors out there. As a letting agent, many of my new clients come to me because they have a problem, can no longer stand the expense with little/no action. When I assess the documents prepared by qualified legal professionals, they’re truly shocking. Not that this excuses this particular outfit.

      Reply
      • Giles Peaker

        I do not support solicitors doing this kind of work if they haven’t got a clue what they are doing. But at least they can be sued for professional negligence…

        Reply

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