World wide web to cut repossession costs | 11 December 07

BUY-TO-LET landlords looking to reclaim their properties from non-paying tenants can now use an online system being piloted in the North-East.

The Possession Claims Online (PCOL) system operated by Newcastle County Court sees repossession claims issued against tenants in arrears in the North-East processed centrally in Newcastle.

Dates for individual hearings at the court nearest the properties are then allocated.

The specialist residential landlord and tenant team at North law firm Ward Hadaway has been using the system for its clients for the past month and has seen them benefit from it.

Julie Hind, landlord and tenant services manager at Ward Hadaway, said: “For certain types of clients, this system is quicker and cheaper.

“It used to take about two weeks to fix a date for a repossession hearing, but with this system, it only takes days.

“While PCOL does not speed up the time between issuing a repossession claim and getting a court hearing, it fixes a date in the landlord’s calendar much quicker, cutting down on uncertainty and allowing them to plan their business affairs easier.

“In addition, the court fees for using this service have been cut from £150 per claim to £100 per claim so it costs less.

“Used in conjunction with the kind of specialist advice and support we offer, PCOL should help landlords avoid the pitfalls which can arise when trying to repossess their properties.”

This is the latest hi-tech innovation which Ward Hadaway’s debt recovery department has offered to its clients.

In October, it began using a hi-tech online system designed to speed up the issuing of court proceedings on debtors owing money to businesses.

The system allows claims to be sent and processed electronically, meaning that claims are issued to debtors on the same day that they are lodged.

As well as saving time, claims issued via the online system attract lower court fees with savings of up to 30%.