A day in court with Shelter and the council’s impartiality?

A day in court with Shelter and the council’s impartiality?

9:54 AM, 28th October 2019, About 2 years ago 21

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After a section 8 possession hearing, we got the possession granted and before court shelter approached us, but we declined to speak to them. Shelter also confirmed that the tenant was receiving housing through Universal Credit, but not paying us the landlord.

I then received this email from BCP council:

Good morning,

I have been asked to make contact with you regarding the above. I am aware that possession has been granted for the above tenancy, however, a specific time scale has been set by the court, namely 6 weeks from the date of the order.

Shelter are concerned regarding the demeanour displayed by xxxxxxx at the court case and the risk of illegal eviction. I would like to remind you that illegal eviction is a criminal offence, and to ensure that your organisation abide by the timescale set by the court.

I would appreciate reassurance that the above tenant will not be evicted prior to the date set by the court and that the tenant will remain in the premises free of harassment. Please note the Council are authorised under Protection Against Eviction Act 1977 to take legal action in this regard.

Kind regards

Our reply:

Dear xxxxxx

We thank you for the information you have given us about our own court case and also thank you for reiterating that an illegal eviction is in fact illegal. We can most certainly give you reassurance that we will comply with the law.

We would also like reassurance from Yourself, Shelter and Mr Xxxxx that they will comply with the order and give up possession, “namely 6 weeks from the date of the order.” We would also like to be assured that the organisation Shelter and BCP council will “abide by the timescale set by the court.”

We would’ve appreciated if you would have enquired with us in regard to the matter instead of making assumptions on our behaviour and “demeanour” at court.

As it clearly states in your Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy: “in developing this policy, we must remain impartial to both landlord and tenant to be fair to both sides and give help and advice to achieve our aim, but we must also be firm in taking enforcement action if appropriate.”

Harry



Comments

by Ian Narbeth

9:44 AM, 29th October 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by H Priory Homes at 28/10/2019 - 18:35
Until a Council is prosecuted (and it will probably require a landlord to bring a private prosecution) they will carry on as before. Councils cannot house all the people coming to them so putting off the evil day seems like a solution to them.

It will be difficult to obtain admissible evidence of exactly what was said and of course the criminal standard of proof - beyond a reasonable doubt - will be required.

Councils may cover their backs by telling tenants that they are NOT telling them to break the law. However, it will be made obvious to tenants that they will not be re-housed if they leave voluntarily.

by Larry Sweeney

18:19 PM, 29th October 2019, About 2 years ago

Disgraceful behaviour by the council. As Ian Narbeth advised ask the council to confirm that they will not suggest the tenant disobeys the court order .

by LaLo

19:15 PM, 29th October 2019, About 2 years ago

I've disliked councils for years, they're a law unto themselves what's worse, they seem to get away with it!

by terry sullivan

10:20 AM, 30th October 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by LaLo at 29/10/2019 - 19:15
effectively councils have adopted powers that they were never given

by David Dorset

9:41 AM, 31st October 2019, About 2 years ago

Hi,
I live in the BCP catchment area and most of my buy to lets are located there. I avoid housing benefit because it brings a third party into the arrangement, a third party with whom i have no written contract. I have had previous issues with Shelter here years ago and saw them for what they were when they sent an internal email and mistakenly pressed reply to all so i was copied in. I received a reluctant apology for the contents of the email but the damage was done and I steer well clear of them.
Shelter are, in my opinion, an aggressive and provoking organisation. Their name is very deceptive and it is that which they should be fought on. Ask your none landlord friends and family what the charity Shelter do. They will assume they house people. If the country knew the truth about Shelter then they would not support them.
Landlords will vote with their feet but by then it will be too late. In Bournemouth we have a huge block of flats (about 150 units) and these are entirely constructed and owned by a residential (not student) landlord company. This is what the government wants - either to push people to buy their own home or live in a rented property owned and management by a large investment. company. They don't want the smaller landlords anymore.

by Ian Narbeth

12:42 PM, 31st October 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by David Dorset at 31/10/2019 - 09:41
David
Can you share the contents of Shelter's email?

by David Dorset

14:25 PM, 31st October 2019, About 2 years ago

Ian,
I can't share the contents as it was a few years back and I wouldn't know where to find it.
Basically they were trying to bully us over a tenant and i complained at their tone and said they were trying to push the tenant into confrontation with us. My email was forwarded internally but they mistakenly copied me in and in the comments they made the lady dealing with the case mocked me and was sarcastic and said 'welcome to Shelter' haha.
I complained and her manager wrote an apology to me.
Since then i kept away from them and would not agree to enter into correspondence with them.
Unfortunate that i don't have the emails now.
I am surprised that a charity like that is not independently audited on their culture and mission to ensure that they have and hold the correct vision of what they pertain to offer.

by Mick Roberts

15:57 PM, 3rd November 2019, About 2 years ago

I've just wrote the below to my solicitor who is doing a court eviction for me & the judge got it totally wrong on saying I can't even be at court without a Gas safety certificate before tenancy. The tenant moved in June 2015, before the 1 Oct 2015 rules.

They unbelievable.

They, the judges, courts, Shelter, MP's are doing NOTHING to help the tenant long term. They temporarily solving this problem for the tenant, yet the next thousand tenants can no longer get a house as the Landlords are selling cause of this Landlord bashing, any less than squeaky clean, earning loads, perfect tenant cannot get any houses in the future.

The judges are effectively letting tenants living there forever rent free & damage causing.

None of mine are leaving any more cause they can't get anywhere, no Landlords are taking em.

by DSR

8:36 AM, 4th November 2019, About 2 years ago

Well done! Much easier to ignore this than challenge. The more that do challenge the more they realise that the good landlords will stand up to such unfair behaviour. 🙂

by H Priory Homes

20:31 PM, 8th November 2019, About 2 years ago

I finally got a reply!
We got an email about another property of ours:
Hi Xxxx
I am emailing with regards to the above letter that was sent to Xxxxxx on 14th October 2019. I have just contacted the complainant who has requested that an on-site inspection take place by this department.
I have therefore booked an HHSRS inspection appointment with the complainant for 13:00pm on Tuesday the 12th November 2019 and this email is formally notifying Xxxxx off the inspection which a Xxxxxx representative may attend if they wish to do so.
I will also be accompanied by my Targeted Enforcement Manager colleague, Sophie Ricketts.
Please acknowledge receipt of this email.
Many thanks
—————-
Sophie Ricketts is the person that sent the first email, so we did not want her doing an inspection as she has shown partiality.
We sent this email back:
Hi xxxxxx,
We are more than happy for you to come out and do your inspection, but we would request another enforcement officer due to the partial stance that Sophie Ricketts has displayed towards us in past situations.
As it clearly states in your Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy:
“in developing this policy, we must remain impartial to both landlord and tenant to be fair to both sides and give help and advice to achieve our aim, but we must also be firm in taking enforcement action if appropriate.”
I apologize for the inconvenience, and we value your professionalism, but we think that Ms. Ricketts has a personal vendetta against myself, Xxxx and our workers. I will send you an email we received from Sophie, which we still have not had a reply for.
We hope you understand our situation.
Kindest Regards,
The other enforcement officer then took the place of Sophie for the inspection next week, we then got a reply from the first email (about illegal eviction) :
Good afternoon Xxxxx,
I hope my email finds you well. I have asked Gerry to send me your email so that I may discuss some of your points.
The investigation I am currently facilitating is completely impartial and in due course you will be invited to discuss the reports further. I apologise for the delay, which is out of my hands. Please note, I wrote the cited policy and its content on impartiality. As I am sure you can appreciate, the local authority have a duty to undertake investigations where serious concerns are raised to us, either by residents, landlords, partner agencies or other. We also have a duty to undertake relevant safeguarding where required, again for all parties.
With regard to your previous email, I apologise for the delay in response, I have been making further enquiries. The court ordered possession of the premises is a matter between your resident and their legal advice/advocate, however, I am aware that our housing options team are working to facilitate this as quickly as possible. I’m happy to provide you with the case officer details if you require an update on progress. My previous email was due to serious raised concerns from an *impartial body* and therefore as above, we have both a duty to investigate and safeguard where required. I apologise if you were unhappy with the tone or its content. Your comments regarding mental health have been noted and actioned accordingly.
With regard to the advice sought: I have been advised that there was not a counterclaim re possession based on housing conditions, can you advise if this is correct please? I believe from speaking to the advocate that it was acknowledged that if any defects were present, these have not been reported or investigated by the local authority and therefore do not offer mitigation. The advice from our homeless team would be to ensure rent is paid at all times and I believe this has been reinforced by other professionals. I am happy to pass your query to a colleague in housing benefit with regard to advice on the action you can take regarding unpaid rent, please let me know if this is an option you wish to pursue.
With regard to the housing conference, I undertook two presentations that you were welcome to join on. If you were refused advice, please let me know the situation and I can look to address it. I am also happy to answer any queries you may have?
I have no personal vendetta towards you or your organisation, I am merely undertaking my described job role. I have advised Xxxx that on this occasion, I am more than happy for another officer to undertake the visit with him and we appreciate you facilitating access to assess the accommodation.
Best wishes
——————
She called shelter an impartial body.
That says enough about this whole situation.
BCP council shame on you.


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