Reviewed by Ben Reeve Lewis
(A new ebook for tenants by Tessa Shepperson)
I’m the first port of call for tenants in difficulty.
A large part of my day is made up of people coming into reception brandishing a range of letters, documents and court forms. All at various stages of repossession.
Its an emotional time for them, the very word ‘Possession’, is intimidating enough without scary looking stamps saying “County Court”.
The word ‘Court’ on its own for most people conjures up images of wigs, gowns, accusation, police, guilt, a world away from just occupying the family home, but the fact is that much of day to day comings and goings surrounding renting property is a legal enterprise as much as anything else.
Landlords are often completely ignorant of the legalities of the lettings industry, this is what causes me so many headaches in my normal job but if landlord ignorance is a big problem, tenant ignorance is even worse.
The road to possession is long, tortuous and fraught with pitfalls. Its more like a game of snakes and ladders than a legal procedure and so many times the paperwork is leading the landlord towards a snake rather than a ladder.
Tenants can find information easily enough on the internet but the problem is its all in different places usually but Tessa, with her eye on the ball as usual has come up with a bit of a gem, an emergency help kit for any tenants facing repossession action, where everything they would need to know is in one handy document.
It’s a much needed product that could be of immense use to tenants rights groups or tenants themselves.
To be honest 90% of the time a person presents with a repossession problem in a blind panic but a quick look at the paperwork tells you they are far from dead in the water, they just don’t know it.
The emergency first aid kit covers the procedure as a whole, what needs to be on the court forms and paperwork to make proceedings valid.
It also covers what to do at each stage in proceedings, how to tackle things themselves and also where to go to get advice from other who may be able to intervene on their behalf.
This is going to become more pressing as time goes on. There are restrictions to be levied on who will be eligible for legal aid that have serious impact on defending possession proceedings, meaning that more and more tenants are going to have to do it themselves in the future.
There is also a very handy and timely section on what happens when the soon to be evicted tenant applies to the local council homelessness unit for rehousing which has become all the more relevant since the new suitability order abolished the qualifying offer, which means that the old homelessness route to a council house is dead.
Also, and as is the case with all Tessa’s products, they are written in non-lawyer language, for people with no legal background at all, which is a tremendously hard thing to do.
It is also in a landlord’s interests to have a clued up tenant as so much time can be wasted in pointless defence claims delaying matters for no sound reason. I would suggest, rather heretically perhaps that landlords might be well served in giving their tenants a copy, it could make you job that bit easy……not to mention mine!
You can get the Emergency First Aid Kit for Tenants faceed with Repossession >> here.