Here is a question to the blog clinic from Helen who is an evicted tenant
My family and I were recently evicted from our home of 21 years by our landlord who wanted to refurbish and increase the rent by 60 %. We were not behind with our rent.
Our household income was £13 a month over the limit for legal aid and since our teenage children are in crucial years of their education and we did not want to move, I defended us in court. It was a very intimidating experience and we lost.
We had to leave our home quickly because the landlord applied for high court bailiffs. We still have £7400 costs to pay. I am out of time to appeal the costs. The situation has been traumatic and we have had to move very quickly and subsequently I have found it overwhelming to think about appealing the costs.
However, I do not want a bad credit rating. Has anyone any advice ? I am very reluctant to face the same solicitor and barrister in court again on my own and risk increasing the costs.
This is an awful story and I am sure most readers will feel for you. The whole court procedure can be very intimidating and barristers can often seem arrogant and unnecessarily unpleasant. (Not always, but often). Its not a nice experience.
You don’t give any details about your landlord’s claim for possession and so we can’t comment on the strength or otherwise of your case.
Legal aid is more or less a dead duck now unless you are actually on benefits. However there are ways you can get help. For example via a Law Centre (if there is one near you) or Law Works. I did a long post on places tenants can find help here.
Having lost the case and been ordered to pay costs, it’s a bit late to do much about that now (particularly as, with all the free blog clinic answers, this answer is being done quite a long time after you asked your question).
However I see that your landlord used the Sheriff’s service.
It turns out that many of the Sheriff’s Officers were actually using an illegal procedure to get their Writs issued quickly.
This came to light in a case called Nicholas v Secretary of State for Defence, where Mrs Nicholas (who was in the process of appealing a court order for possession) woke up one morning to find the Sheriffs officers actually in her house. As a result of her challenge to this, the whole thing was discovered.
It has now been confirmed that the Sheriffs were acting wrongly, as set out in this post on the Nearly Legal Blog.
If this illegal procedure was used for your case, you may well have a claim for compensation which would go some way towards offsetting your landlord’s claim for costs.
Worth investigating anyway.