Council advice to tenants nearing S21 date – Help!

Council advice to tenants nearing S21 date – Help!

9:28 AM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago 85

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Hello, our situation we have had a tenant in place at one of our properties for around 5 years – never increased the rent (single mum – two kids – you try not to make people’s lives harder than they need to be) – always done repairs – always acted as a model landlord.

The time has come to sell up (you all know why!) – so we served the necessary docs with a leave date of 15 Sep 23.

Today the tenant has informed me that the council have told her that the tenancy doesn’t end if she refuses to leave – but only ends if a bailiff evicts her. They have told her to stay in the property, and that if she leaves (per the S21 notice) she will be making herself voluntarily homeless and then they won’t help her.

Is this normal? This feels like incorrect and very bad advice for the tenant. The council is effectively forcing us to go through the courts to evict the tenant, adding costs and bunging up the court system, and ensuring that the tenant will get a poor reference. We will be asking for a possession order with costs – so they are also potentially making the tenant worse off!

Is the council’s behaviour in this regard even legal – Thoughts (and rants!) welcome and appreciated!

For info we have been landlords for 16 years – and never had to evict anyone yet – just one S21 10 years ago! BTW my blood is boiling on this one – the council I give £400 per month to in council tax are actively working against me – when I have housed someone for less than market rate for many years!!!



Editors Note: You can find Property118s investigation on whether councils are acting illegally when telling tenants to stay put here

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Russell Cartner

9:59 AM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago

No good moaning about it you need to srart eviction proceedings
Email your local MP and M Gove MP tell them you will not be voting for them at the next election due to there anti Landlord policies
Won't be so smug when he loses his £150,000 a year job
In fact get everyone you know to email them


10:01 AM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago

It is perverse that you have to fund lawmakers who are actively working against you.

This is nothing new, smokers pay extra taxes and have the government actively try and stop them smoke.

Don't make the mistake that contribution to taxes has any relation to what you get from their loot.

Taxes are not for the people paying taxes, or they wouldn't have to tax you in the first place.

In fact people who pay taxes need to be made out to be villains in order to justify taking the taxes.

As a villian, they have no moral obligation to support you in any way. Government of all levels no longer govern for everyone, but to play god with peoples lives.

If you want change, please support a party that believes in smaller government.
Reform (it won't be a wasted vote in this election - as conservatives can't win).


10:14 AM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago

Unfortunately this is now becoming the norm.

Have you been upfront and spoke to the tenant before issuing the section 21 as to why? Even though you know she can’t afford it did you offer her the chance to buy it? Have you said to her that you will try to market it as “tenant in situ” so there is a chance she could remain (although don’t tell her this is unlikely)? All these little minor things help before a S21 just arrives out the blue. Tenant panics and calls Shelter/Council who tell her wait for bailiffs.

I hope she continues to pay rent once she exceeds you S21 deadline. If your S21 is valid you can got down the accelerated process. £355 and usually no court hearing, but you might need to enforce it if she take the councils advice.

Best thing to do is speak to her as it sounds like you have/had a good relationship. I’m sure you can work something out.

There are other posts on here about the councils doing this underhanded tactic so review those.

Not raising rent over 5 years is causing you and her an issue. This has done no favours other than trapping her and now she faces a major cost rise and if you try to sell with tenant in situ the rent will be so low either an investor will ask for vacant possession and put in a new tenant at market rate or put a major increase her way if she wants to stay. In my experience you should always rise rent annually keeping just a tad below current market rates to protect you and the tenant from this situation.

John Clark

10:42 AM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago

I think that the council are correct in that until someone has nowhere to sleep, eat and keep themselves safe they are not technically homeless.

Jonathan Willis

12:13 PM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago

It's been this way for a few years. Councils won't help if they are deemed intentionally homeless. It also depends on who the tenant speaks to, often in the first few calls they'll be told everything is fine then they call up closer to the s21 date and speak to the "right" person, that's when they get told not to leave.
There are plenty of stories on the news of those that left on the s21 date and are now living in tents because the council waiting list is so long since they sold off all their housing stocks decades ago.
The council won't advise the tenant about the court costs or referencing issues it will cause. They'll just tell them they won't be put on the list or get emergency accommodation.

They'll learn about these issues when it affects them in the future. Of course, future problem Vs homeless today, the tenant is unlikely to pick been homeless


12:14 PM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago

This disgusting Council behaviour is nothing new. Don't expect to be able to talk to them sensibly either- they are TOTALLY on the side of the Tenant. If it were me I would be thinking of offering your tenant a small financial incentive and full deposit back to give them a fresh start with another Landlord- it will be cheaper for you than Court costs which you are unlikely to ever recover from your tenant. Finally, I learned a long time ago to NEVER accept references from a previous Landlord - if they have been a nightmare tenant and landlord wants them out he's unlikely to tell you the truth - would you?

Colin Richard Noakes

12:38 PM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago

It's unfortunately common practice for the council to advise in this way as legally (perhaps not morally or ethically) they cannot rehouse until physically homeless to whom I argue It's too late by that point as the tenant has potentially lost their belongings, dignity, etc, and financially liable to court costs the landlord had to pursue to get bailiffs to evict.
It's bad advice and in my opinion bad practice, council should be legally obliged to rehouse as soon as an eviction notice is issued and proven valid.
There's lots more I could say on this but I will leave it at that.

Mark Smith

13:10 PM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago

Advise your tenant to ask the council if the will to guarantee to rehouse if they refuse to leave.

Most councils only provide really grotty emergency accommodation in a hostel or b&b often without acces to kitchen to evicted tenants and leave them there for ages ... you are still in massive waiting list for a council house or flat and will usually have no choice when eventually the get round to you. By forcing the landlord to go to court it means other private landlord will put those tenants to the bottom of their list. It is horrible inhumane advice and breaches government advice. It is really bad for the tenants future housing prospects .. for the SD sh ort term gain of keeping the tenants off their backs for another couple of weeks they are ruining their prospects in the private sector. Ask them to put their "advice" in writing and they usually won't.

Jason Harris

13:16 PM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago

Landlords need to read the legislation.

To qualify for homeless assistance a person either needs to be physically homeless or threatened with homelessness in 56 days.

Serving S21 papers does not meet this criteria as the tennant can refuse to leave, the court need to end the tenancy which triggers the homeless assistance.

The council could look to take preventative measures and negotiate with the landlord but depends on the council and how forward thinking they are

Collins John-chieme

13:22 PM, 4th September 2023, About 3 months ago

I have two friends who are landlords in London in different councils. One is a solicitor. They served section 21 to their tenants last September and the council advised the tenants to stay put until bailiff give them eviction date.
They have both applied to the court. On average they waited 6 months before they could get a court date. The court has granted possession to both landlords but the council is still telling the tenants to stay put till bailiff gives eviction date. They have both applied to the court for bailiff and the average wait time for bailiff is 4 to 6 months and bailiffs are even on strike due to issue of body protection armour. One of my friend was advised by his solicitor to escalate to the high court to speed up the bailiff process, the high court graciously accepted his case but still the high court private bailiffs are overwhelmed with work load. My friend is still waiting for high court bailiff. All in all, the process of notice to the tenant via section 21 till this point is 12 months and still no end in sight .

I will advice you to approach the court as soon as possible to start the process of eviction and fasten your seat belt for the bumpy road ahead.

My honest advice will be for you to offer the tenant financial incentives for example helping them find alternative accommodation and paying 1 months rent for them to leave. It is unfair on you but this may be your easiest and quickest route to get them out otherwise you are in for 1 year battle ahead.

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