For a number of years Dutton Gregory, thanks to its highly computerised Landlord & Tenant Department, has been able to negotiate with clients both large and small a ‘capped price’ for undefended possession actions.
The fixed price is £650 plus VAT and disbursements for properties lying inside the M25 and £600 plus VAT and disbursements for properties lying outside the M25. It is intended to accommodate what might be described as straightforward cases. However the basic price is subject to adjustment depending upon the number of cases that a client is able to refer either at the same time or over a set period.
What the price includes
When any statutory notice has expired we will issue proceedings in the appropriate county court. Subject to the action not being contested, counsel, or at our discretion a local solicitor, will be briefed before the hearing and will meet with the client immediately prior to the court hearing to obtain last minute changes to instructions. The fixed fee includes reporting to the landlord and his managing agents on the terms of the order and writing again to the client once the order falls due for enforcement. The price does not include VAT or court fees of £355 which will be invoiced to the client in addition to the basic price. It does not cover any fees which we may incur for the barrister or local solicitor, typically £120 to £150 plus VAT per case, or other disbursements that may be necessary. If the matter does not go to court for whatever reason, fees are charged only for the work actually done subject to the maximum charge being not more than the basic price quoted above.
What you must provide
With the initial instructions must come a detailed arrears schedule for the length of the tenancy or two years, whichever is the shorter; copies of the original plus subsequent Tenancy Agreements (or Renewals); copies of all statutory notices plus an indication as to how these notices were served, by whom and when. If there is a claim against a third party – for example a guarantor – a copy of the guarantee document is required plus details of the guarantor’s current address.
What work is not included
The fixed price scheme relates purely to undefended possession actions after any relevant notice has expired. It is designed for those cases that can be dealt with at a single court hearing. It does not therefore cover any cases where a dispute arises during the course of the proceedings should, for example, the tenants file a defence and counterclaim. Likewise, it does not cover anything after the first hearing and does not extend to enforcement action should the tenants fail to obey that first court order. In all such circumstances fees will be charged at an hourly rate to be determined by the complexity of the matter and the seniority of the fee earner concerned.
I want to re-negotiate the basic price
Where we take instructions on more than one property we may be able to reduce the basic price because, for example, both cases are being dealt with in the same court at the same time and there are clear economies of scale. In all other cases the fixed fee is non-negotiable and is payable whether the action proceeds to the first hearing, is adjourned or indeed takes up far more of our time than might otherwise have been anticipated. Normally we would ask for a payment of £800 on account with initial instructions. An invoice will then be sent out immediately following the hearing with the balance being payable twenty eight days thereafter.
If you have further queries please telephone Dutton Gregory’s Landlord & Tenant Department on 01962 844333