Recovering landlord’s costs – Social housing Law Association proposal

The Social Housing Law Association (of which this firm is a member) has made a proposal that the Legal Services Commission - the body which governs grants of legal aid - should be forced to pay housing associations’ legal costs if tenants lose claims against them.

Tenants who receive legal aid generally have an advantage over the landlord as it is only in very rare circumstances that the tenant actually has to pay the landlord’s costs, even if the tenant loses.

The proposal follows ongoing concern by many social landlords that too many tenants are receiving funding to bring claims against landlords that have little merit and which ultimately fail. The landlord is then left with the cost of funding the litigation in circumstances where the tenant’s claim had little or no merit. Even when confronted by a weak case the landlord often has to make a commercially based decision to fight the claim or settle, and economic factors other than the true merits of the claim become overriding factors.