Why Use SLC Solicitors Over An Unregulated Debt Firm?
Why Use SLC Solicitors Over An Unregulated Debt Firm?
A good property will naturally attract good tenants, or at least that’s what you hope for.
But unfortunately, sometimes things will go wrong and it’s imperative you have a trustworthy debt recovery agent working on your behalf to pick up those cases. Some might assume that you get the same service regardless of who provides it, but with no legal framework in place to regulate or control their services, businesses that are not employing qualified Solicitors and Legal Executives cannot be relied upon for the accuracy, legality or efficiency of the work they produce.
The Government is focusing on the leasehold property market to address concerns that it is unjust and legislation is constantly being updated to reflect those changes. So, it’s vital you employ a firm that is aware of legislative amendments, is up to date and compliant. As a specialist firm of recovery Solicitors, we train and monitor staff regularly to ensure we are performing to the optimum standard and that we conduct our business in a correct and ethical manner. Many of our team are Solicitors and members of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and regularly access statute law and cases that unregulated firms may not have access to, giving SLC both a competitive and legal edge which means our clients always get the most up to date advice.
Our knowledge is second to none. We advise our clients on all aspects of property and leases, with explanations of legal jargon to steer them through the complex process of recovering what is owed to them and enforcing their rights or meeting their obligations.
The Property Management Industry currently is based on an unregulated framework, although the government are attempting to tackle this issue. At present, anyone and any company can take control of a property. The same can be said for the Debt Recovery Industry. In the UK there are hundreds of companies in the debt collection business. The number of these qualified and regulated however, is far lower. When we look at the numbers of those who are regulated AND specialising within the property market, the figure falls to an alarmingly low level.
As a firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) we are given a code of conduct that must be followed. We must submit to a financial audit annually, observe regulations for financial control and conduct, and act in the best interest of each client ensuring a fair transaction at all times. We are also required to have suitable Professional Indemnity Insurance, supplying us with cover and you with peace of mind.
In every debt recovery case where the lease allows us to recover costs, we endeavour to work on a no recovery no fee basis.
The distinct advantage of instructing SLC rather than debt recovery firm is that in most instances it is only legal costs that are recoverable under cost recovery clauses in a lease. Whilst we will always aim to recover pre-legal proceedings, where legal action is required no onward referral is required and costs can be recovered from the tenant.
In addition, lenders are increasingly reluctant to make payment without a court judgment so by instructing SLC you know you have the very best chance of recovering monies from a mortgagee.
A word of caution:
Outsourcing landlord and tenant debt recovery related instructions to debt collection agencies is a practice that could create some issues for a client as it is only solicitors’ costs that are recoverable pursuant to the relevant cost recovery clauses in the lease i.e. the contract between the landlord and tenant. Organisations which are not law firms do not fall under the definitions of regulated legal representatives.
A typical example of costs clause:
“To pay to the Landlord or the Management Company on an indemnity basis all costs charges and expenses including legal costs and disbursements which may be incurred by the Landlord in the enforcement of any of the Tenant’s covenants herein.”
The clause above refers to “legal costs”. Costs can only be claimed by a “legal representative” which is defined under Paragraph 2.3 of the Civil Procedure Rules as:
Barrister; Solicitor; Solicitor’s Employee; *Manager of a body recognised under Section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1895; or **A person who, for the purposes of the Legal Services Act 2007, is an authorised person in relation to an activity which constitutes the conduct of Litigation.
*= a body which has been recognised by the Law Society as being suitable to undertake the provision of any solicitor services or other relevant legal services.
Debt Collection Process
The debt collection process, although streamlined, can be tricky. A generic debt collection firm may be able to fulfil your recovery while it is undisputed. However, should the lessee contend the claim, you will face delays in collection while the un-qualified company instructs Solicitors to begin the next stage of the process. SLC Solicitors supply you with a single point of contact from the initial referral, right through every stage resulting in the payment of arrears to your account. Our efficient, in-house service avoids unnecessary delays you might face while using an unqualified company. At SLC we have your requirements covered, be they the debt recovery process or expert advice and we have a dedicated team on hand ready to give our clients the very best advice resulting in the best possible outcome.