Have you received a letter from JB Leitch Solicitors Debt Collection stating you owe unpaid services charges or ground rent? You’re not alone. Many people have received similar letters and have been totally unaware that they owe any money at all.
If you’ve received a letter and you’re unsure if you owe the money or not, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about JB Leitch Solicitors and the steps you should take to resolve the claims against you.
Who are JB Leitch Solicitors?
JB Leitch is a law firm specialising in property management law. Based in Liverpool, they are a member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
They deal with property management, lease extensions and transfers, service charge arrears recovery, and more.
Is JB Leitch Solicitors Debt Collection a Scam?
In short, no. This firm is regulated by the SRA and is not a scam. So if you’re receiving letters or phone calls from this firm, don’t ignore them! They may end up escalating your case further which can seriously harm your credit score in the long-run.
However, they do have a reputation online for pressuring people into paying bills and charging high fees. Here is a quote from Jaybeetoo:
“I’m a landlord whose tenant didn’t pass on the ground rent invoices to me. The outstanding ground rent is £175 and JB Leitch have presented me with a bill for £2966. That means that JBL’s charges are £2791. How can they justify that?”
Why are JB Leitch Solicitors Contacting Me?
Since this firm specialises in property management, they offer debt collection services for service charge arrears and ground rent arrears.
If you’ve fallen behind on either service charges or ground rent and owe your landlord money, they have likely employed JB Leitch solicitors Debt Collection to chase the debt on their behalf.
This usually happens if your landlord has made attempts to contact you but hasn’t been able to get in touch.
If you’re totally confused and pretty certain you don’t owe your landlord or property manager money, we’ll cover the steps you need to take later in this guide.
Should I Ignore Letters from JB Leitch Solicitors?
Definitely not. Many people believe that if they ignore debt collection letters long enough they will just go away. But remember, this firm was employed by a client, so they’re not going to give up.
Even if you dispute the debt, it’s always best to return the call or letter to JB Leitch solicitors and let them know you’ve received their correspondence. Let them know that you need some time to look into the claimed debt yourself and will get back to them within 2-3 weeks.
Never admit to owing the debt either over the phone or in writing until you’ve confirmed it is your debt.
Should I Just Pay JB Leitch Solicitors What They are Asking?
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to pay your debts. However, if you’re not totally certain the debt claimed is yours, you shouldn’t pay it upfront without question.
Instead, you should do your own due diligence to ensure the debt is in your name and you are legally responsible for it.
We’ll cover the steps you should take to do this later.
Also, even if you’re sure the debt is yours, if paying it back means going into more debt – don’t do it. There are options available to help you avoid further debt – we’ll talk about these later too.
What Legal Action Can JB LeitchTake?
1. Attempt to get in touch directly
JB Leitch Solicitors Debt Collection will begin by sending you a letter the debt owed, whom to, and how to pay the balance. If this goes unanswered, they will send follow-up letters and call you if they have a phone number on file.
2. Send agents for a home visit
It’s stressful having debt collection agents show up at your door, but these are not bailiffs. If you don’t reply to the letters or phone calls, an agent from JB Leitch will come to your address to attempt to reach you.
They have no right to enter your home without permission and must leave when asked. Do not agree to any form of payment with an agent on your doorstep. Simply let them know you’ll call or write to the firm directly within the next week.
3. Issue a County Court Judgement
The solicitors can take your case to court if you refuse to make payments. A County Court Judgement is issued by a judge and legally compels you to pay back the debt owed.
If you strongly believe you don’t owe the debt, or JB Leitch solicitors haven’t given you adequate time to make arrangements directly, you can apply to have the County Court Judgement cancelled.
4. Send bailiffs
Bailiffs will be sent to your home to recover goods if no payments are made after a County Court Judgement is filed.
5. Apply for an Attachment of Earnings Order
An Attachment of Earnings Order takes the debt owed directly from your wages every month until it is paid in full (usually with interest and fees).
This only applies if you have a salaried job. If you are self-employed, retired or not working, this cannot be issued against you.
Can JB Leitch Debt Collection Repossess My House?
If you own your home, JB Leitch might file a Charging Order. If payments aren’t made, your home can be repossessed to pay the debt.
This is a rare occurrence and there are many steps before this action is taken, so don’t stress about your house being taken if you’re at the beginning on the steps above.
What Do I Do if JB Leitch Solicitors Are Harassing Me?
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to stop JB Leitch solicitors contacting you completely. They have a legal obligation to their client to make reasonable attempts to contact you to recover the debt.
Having said that, solicitors are not allowed to harass you or pressure you into paying debt you can’t afford.
Make a Complaint Against JB Leitch
If they have done any of the points in the list above, you should first file a complaint with the firm directly. Here are the channels to do that:
Post: JB Leitch Solicitors, 10 Duke Street Liverpool, L1 5AS
Telephone: 0151 708 2250
If you’re not happy with the outcome of your complaint, you can then escalate the matter to the Legal Ombudsman:
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
Address: Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806 Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
What Steps Do I Take When I Receive a Debt Collection Letter from JB Leitch Solicitors?
Before you even think about making a payment to these solicitors, make sure you follow these steps to ensure the debt they claim you owe is legitimate:
1. Check if the debt is in your name
The first step is to head to a reputable credit check site such as Credit Karma and see if the debt is listed under your name. If it is, it will show up on your credit report.
If it’s not there, the debt isn’t in your name so there may have been a mistake on the part of JB Leitch or the creditor who hired them.
2. Ask the solicitors to prove the debt
A ‘prove the debt’ letter will include evidence of the original credit agreement with the lender.
For example, if they claim you owe missed service charge payments, they will need to show the original signed agreement of the service charges you owe.
They should always provide original copies of signed agreements as evidence.
3. Is the debt is Statute Barred?
Is the debt in question more than six years old? If so, it’s Statute Barred in England and the lender has no legal right to recover it any longer.
The statute of limitations begins from the date of the final payment made (or the date the agreement was made if you’ve never made a payment).
If you’ve done all of these checks and the debt is legitimate, it’s in your name and it’s within the statute of limitations, next you need to find the best option of paying the debt off.
What Do I Do if I Can’t Afford My Debt?
Perhaps your circumstances have changed and you’ve fallen behind on payments you once made. Or perhaps you weren’t even aware that you owed this money.
Either way, there are some options to pay back the debt without getting into more financial hardship. Here are just some of your options:
1. Agree on a payment plan
Your first step should be to contact JB Leitch and explain your situation. They should give you options for a monthly payment plan or even a reduced amount if the lender allows.
Before you call the solicitors, write down your monthly outgoings and budget to figure out how much you could comfortably afford to repay each month.
Never agree to a monthly amount that you can’t afford to repay.
If you can’t agree on a monthly repayment plan, ask if the lender would agree to a reduction in the amount owed.
This might mean you can afford to pay the debt off in one lump sum.
If you do come to an agreement, make sure there are no hidden fees or added interest – these are often added in and significantly inflate the amount owed.
2. Explore your debt management options
If you can’t come to an agreement on a repayment plan or a reduced figure, let JB Leitch know that you need some time to explore your options.
They should then give you at least two weeks without pestering you with more letters or phone calls.
The Snowball Method
If you have several debts and you’re struggling to pay them all each month, the snowball method is a great option.
This is a debt repayment method that focuses on the smallest debt first and eventually builds up to your largest debt. Many people find this system is the best way to manage large amounts of debt quickly.
Apply for an IVA
If you have multiple debts with different lenders and you are struggling to pay even the monthly minimums, an IVA may be a better option.
This consolidates all of your debt and allows you to pay one affordable monthly payment of around £90.
File for Bankruptcy
Most people freak out when they see the word bankruptcy, but it’s often the best way for people to hit the reset button on their finances in the right circumstances.
Looking for More Debt Management Options?
If none of these options quite suit your circumstances, there are more options available. Head to our debt management guide which gives more detail on the different routes you can take to get yourself out of debt as quickly as possible.