Landlord Blog: Solicitor myths and stereotypes dispelled

Published: 29/01/2014

In his latest blog, landlord legal expert Rob Denman looks to tackle people’s perception of solicitors in order to ensure they are not leaving themselves financially or legally exposed.

I’m under no illusion what people think when I tell them I’m a solicitor! Solicitors have been met with the same stereotypes for some time now and, in many cases, it couldn’t be further from the truth! I will therefore try and dispel the following usual myths and stereotypes:

1. Solicitors are boring

Believe it or not I don’t go to bed reading legal textbooks! I have plenty of other interests than ‘the law’ except, no offence intended here, but I find reality TV beyond tedious. Seeing former sporting heroes of mine ‘dancing on ice’ is not my idea of entertainment. My point is not everyone likes the same things – thank goodness – and therefore many people’s passions will send others to sleep!

2. Solicitors are stuffy

I relish Fridays. Not because it’s the last day of the working week but because it’s dress down day in the office and I don’t have to wear my suit and tie!

3. Solicitors are expensive

Now this one I take real exception to! Long gone are the days when the clock started ticking as soon as your solicitor answered the phone, certainly here at Goldsmith Williams anyway.

But in all seriousness it’s really important the ongoing presumption that consulting a solicitor is going to force you to pawn your silverware is addressed, particularly with landlords as they are increasingly likely to require legal help and advice more frequently than a residential homeowner.

Issues such as rent arrears and tenant eviction are a very real problem for landlords and must be dealt with in strict accordance with the law.

However many landlords continue to fight the battle solo and I strongly believe it is because they are under the misconception that a solicitor will leave them higher and drier. As a result I imagine there are many a restless, scrap that sleepless, night where landlords lie awake worrying about how they will get their arrear-ridden tenant out as quickly as possible in order to minimise the financial impact this lack of payment is already having.

For less than a tenant’s average monthly rent, we can take up the reins on a landlord’s behalf. Using tenant eviction as example, we adopt a three-tier stage:

  • Stage One – Draft and serve a Section 21/Section 8 Notice on the tenant
  • Stage Two – Possession proceedings
  • Stage Three – Obtain Warrant of Possession.

All our fees are fully inclusive and, where applicable, the court fee is also covered in the cost so no unexpected hidden costs appear halfway through the proceedings.

There’s also another plus point of using a solicitor. Chances are your tenants are going to have the same perception of solicitors as you did (well hopefully you no longer have them after reading this). So use this to your advantage! Throw a ‘legal boffin’ at them instead and give the situation a little bit more clout – I’ll be the Batman to your Robin! It shows them that you mean business, you’ve brought in the big guns and playtime is over! For you, I’ll keep up the pretence!

Rob DenmanRob Denman is a solicitor and Head of GW LET (Landlord Empowerment Team), specialising in such landlord legal issues as rent arrears, tenant eviction and tenancy deposit disputes. In his spare time Rob enjoys watching football and running. He is currently training for his second half marathon.

Content correct at time of publication

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