We provide a full range of services in Property Law for landlords and some tenants which includes but is not limited to the following:
Possession and Forfeiture Claims:
Landlords usually seek possession of their property for the following reasons:
- rent arrears;
- the term of the tenancy has ended; or
- some other breach of the tenancy.
Whether you are a Landlord with one property or have a portfolio of properties we can assist you in this complex area of law to ensure that the properties are recovered promptly and efficiently. We can assist with serving notice, reviewing notices that have already been served and issuing possession proceedings. We will give clear advice regarding the best procedure that is suited to your needs to obtain an order for possession.
Pursuing Rent arrears:
This will often form part of a possession claim where we ensure that interest is also claimed, and all possible costs are obtained. In addition, we can assist with a stand alone claim for arrears in the County Court. Landlords should be aware that for claims under £10,000 in the Small Claims Track of the County Court their legal fees are unrecoverable.
We can assist and advise landlords or tenants in circumstances where the deposit protection requirements have not been met. We can negotiate a settlement with regard to any compensation that may be due. At the end of the tenancy is the landlord wants to make a deduction from the deposit, the landlord will need to make use of the relevant scheme’s adjudication processes. For any other dispute or issue regarding the deposit our team can offer specialist advice to both landlords and tenants.
Assisting in ending a tenancy:
We can assist Landlords with serving a Notice to end the tenancy either according to a break clause or ending outside of the fixed term. We can also aid when a Deed of Surrender is required, where a tenancy must be ended with specific reasons to try to avoid any costs for a landlord; incurring court proceedings.
Other Services include:
- Other breaches of the tenancy (e.g. Subletting)
- Squatter Action
- Commercial Property Disputes
- Rent Reviews
- Agent Disputes
- Dilapidation Claims
- Deposit Disputes
Types of tenancies we can assist with:
- Rent Act Tenancies
- Agricultural Tenancies
- Assured Shorthold Tenancies
- Common Law Tenancies
- Company Let Tenancies
- Lodger agreements
Services for Tenants:
- Defending claims for possession
- Claims for disrepair
- Deposit Disputes
We most often represent landlords and their lettings agents. This does not prevent from taking on cases from tenants subject to the necessary conflict of interest check. Typically we represent corporate tenants or their assignees in such matters.
The helpline is an annual telephone subscription service for Lettings Agents and Landlords. Using the dedicated phoneline members can ask legal queries and seek advice for the resolution of issues which arise during tenancies.
The service is available from Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) from 9:00am to 5.30pm.
Subscribers also have access to the Document Vault which contains a wealth of useful agreements, and deeds.
Document Vault list: Download the PainSmith Document Vault List
N.B. The helpline subscription year starts on 01st August and ends on 31st July. New subscribers welcome at any time, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A long lease is usually for a flat although they can also be for houses. They provide for a very long term tenancy, usually for more than 99 years. A long lease can be bought and sold on the open market. Long leases will characteristically provide for a low ground rent and the payment of a service charge by the leaseholder to the freeholder who owns the property (or a management company acting on their behalf) for the upkeep of the building.
There is no one standard long lease type and they can vary dramatically. So if you are considering for advice or are in the midst of a dispute, then we can provide practical and comprehensive advice.
Long leases include provisions by the freeholder to repair, maintain and insure the building and by the leaseholder to pay their share of the cost in the form of a service charge. Freeholders must follow certain mandatory requirements if they wish to recover the cost and before leaseholders pay the cost they will want to ensure that the service charge is reasonable and of a reasonable standard. Other services include the following:
- Extension of long lease, including issues regarding marriage value;
- Statutory right to extend the lease pursuant to the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993;
- Setting and recovery of service charges
- Challenging the service charges;
- Consultation process for qualifying works;
- Forfeiture and Possession; and
- Dispute resolution.
By combining their specialist knowledge with the practical experience built up in dealing with residential possession matters and answering questions on the legal helpline service, PainSmith trainers can deliver a course that is both technical and relevant and that is tailored to the needs of their audience.
We can provide training for:
- Residential landlord and tenant law
- New and proposed legislation affecting the sector
- Residential possession proceedings and Court procedure
- Lettings agency procedure and practice
Contact one of our team to discuss your needs and make a booking. All training bookings are subject to our standard training terms and conditions of business.
Documents and Drafting
We provide a comprehensive range of documents for Landlords, Tenants, and Agents including:
- Tenancy Agreements.
- Terms of Business.
- Blank Notices for obtaining possession of a property for breach or to comply with statute, or for increasing the rent.
- Specialist clauses.
The advantage of these specialised documents is that they have been drafted with current legislation in mind, unlike many documents available on the open market which do not contain conditions to sufficiently safeguard the parties. All our documents are reviewed and revised regularly to take account of changes in legislation and our wide Court experience. Many documents are available as standard precedents at a fixed rate with a licence for unlimited use.
We can also draft customised documents to suit your needs including any special conditions associated with a property such as use of a swimming pool, a tennis court or the conditions a tenant must fulfil if the landlord allows a pet to occupy the property.
An estimate of cost is always provided and we will discuss your needs before work begins.
PainSmith recognise that solicitors have a poor (but often well deserved) reputation for charging substantial fees while not being very clear how they have been incurred. Being based outside London we incur lower office costs. We pass these on to our clients and we are proud of our ability to stand our ground with high-cost City firms while still retaining a more economic fee structure. Many of our clients are based in London and we believe that this is testament to our ability to attract clients who have the pick of the country’s leading firms.
Wherever possible we seek to offer fixed fees for work. Where this is impractical we will quote at the fee earner’s hourly rate. Time is charged based on units of 6 minutes with ten units to the hour. We always use our experience to give the most accurate quote possible in advance and then update it as necessary. If we quote a fixed fee and the matter terminates unexpectedly (for example because the other side capitulates) we will charge you for the work done to date on a timed basis rather than taking the entire fee.
So that we can offer fixed fee services we must ensure that emails and calls to us are kept to a reasonable quantity. Whilst some advice is provided as part of our fixed fee, if clients require more detailed advice this is chargeable at the fee earner’s hourly rate. Clients will be informed in advance once further advice becomes chargeable.
Legal Costs - Frequently Asked Questions:
Recovery of my legal costs?
In general the Court will order the losing party to pay the legal costs and expenses of the winning party but that outcome may vary depending on the decision of the judge or the actions of both parties including any settlement achieved.
Will the Court award costs?
In certain circumstances the Court will only allow the award of fixed legal costs, particularly where the other side does not defend the claim. Sometimes fixed costs are recoverable without an order being made (e.g. when a bailiff is requested to enforce a possession order).
What if the other side is publicly funded?
Otherwise known as “Legal Aid”, eligibility depends upon the party’s financial situation and the merits of his case. Applications are made to the Legal Services Commission. If successful, the LSC will pay the assisted person’s legal costs on behalf of the assisted party. The Certificate is effectively a loan. If your opponent receives public funding it will not permit you to claim any legal costs against that party except in the most exceptional of circumstances. It is important to realise that the Court assesses legal costs based on a relatively low fixed hourly rate and that you are therefore unlikely to be awarded more than 70-80% of your legal costs.
PainSmith are unable to take instructions from clients in receipt of public funding.
Will I have to pay the other side’s legal costs?
Clients are always concerned about the costs they could be ordered to pay, especially if the Court makes an order for costs against the you. Once the Court has decided who should pay, the Court will decide how much they should pay. Costs which are unreasonably incurred are not recoverable from the other side at all. Further information will be provided to each Client depending upon the facts of their case.
Small Claims Track (claim of no more than £10,000 or no more than £1,000 for repairs)
Recoverable costs are usually limited to little or nothing or a fixed contribution toward court fees. However, if a party has behaved unreasonably (e.g., making unnecessary applications or refusing to cooperate) the Court can make an award of costs.
Before embarking upon litigation, consider whether the other party might have a Defence (to all or part of your claim) or a counter-claim. Your potential liability for costs is twofold. Firstly, your own legal costs and secondly the other party’s, if they are successful, whether in whole or in part.