The government has faced criticism over its plans to increase court fees, in particular those relating to possession cases, which will rise by 60%.
There are fears that the increases, which take effect from 22nd April, will create a surge of claims by landlords keen to avoid the forthcoming higher fees.
Applications for possession, possible after a section 8 notice has been served, cost £175 at present but will rise to £280.
For the PCOL (possession claim online) service – used only after the serving of section 8 notice relating to unpaid rent – the fee is rising from £100 to £250. Critics say this reduces the incentive of initiating a possession claim online, being as it is only £30 cheaper than a standard claim.
Explaining the fee changes, the government has stated: “the benefits brought by a simplified approach with a fee which reflects the average cost of issuing such proceedings justifies the change.”
Opponents, however, say the rises will unfairly impact landlords who are already under financial pressure due to unpaid rent.
The Warrant of Possession fee, which requires the need for a bailiff, remains at £110, and is the only fee not to be increased.
Legal firms have warned that they will be forced to pass on some or all of the fee increases to their landlords.
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