Why Councils advise tenants to remain in property until eviction

by David Asker

10:53 AM, 24th November 2014
About 6 years ago

Why Councils advise tenants to remain in property until eviction

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Why Councils advise tenants to remain in property until eviction

In the last few years I have had several meetings with various Councils across the UK regarding their stance on tenants that are due to be evicted.

In almost all circumstances, the Council’s advice is that despite the granting of an order for possession and a possession date coming and going the tenant should remain in the property until they a physically evicted by a bailiff.

This advice seems to be based on directions given by Jan Luba QC in his guide to Housing Allocation and homelessness.

He states:

“Some Acts of Parliament expressly provide that individuals who are otherwise without rights may remain in possession. The classic example is the Rent Act 1977. Statutory tenants, whose contractual tenancies have ended, enjoy a personal right under the Rent Act 1977 not to be evicted without a court order and thus fall within this category. The code specifically refer to Rent Act statutory tenants because their personal right to remain is created by statute. A statutory tenant remains under the protection of the Rent Act 1977 and the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 not just until a possession order has been obtained against him or her, but until the point of actual eviction by court bailiffs.

Other Acts of Parliament provide that tenancies cannot be ended without landlords obtaining possession orders. This is the case for introductory, demoted, secure and assured tenants. Even when former tenants remain in occupation as trespassers, they are not “homeless” because a different form of enactment, the procedural rules of court, restricts them from being ousted other than by a bailiffs warrant. They do not lose the benefit of that enactment until the bailiffs actually turn them out”.

Happy to hear any thoughts on whether the above remains or if any other case law has emerged since.

The Sheriffs Officeevicted

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Robert Mellors

23:07 PM, 26th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "ci ru" at "26/01/2015 - 22:35":

Yes, I am a landlord. I have been a landlord since 1997.

Robert Mellors

23:08 PM, 1st March 2016
About 5 years ago

I've just got a case where the Council have given the tenant advice/instruction to ignore the court order and to remain in the accommodation until the bailiffs arrive. - I've written my letter of complaint to the Council and will also be sending a copy to the County Court Judge, and also to the local MP.

Chris Byways

14:40 PM, 2nd March 2016
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve Gracey" at "04/12/2014 - 17:51":

If the court Order effective date has passed, where it is for over 2 months arrears, and the council admit telling the tenant to stay put pending bailiffs, if any further losses occur, would a claim in the small claims court, against the council, be an inexpensive (albeit non binding on any other court) first step? They have, by their actions, caused the LL applicant a further loss.

Robert Mellors

9:33 AM, 3rd March 2016
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Byways" at "02/03/2016 - 14:40":

In theory, I agree that this could be one option for dealing with such a situation, however, I think the issue would be proving that this was the advice given and tracking that as a direct causation. Also, there is no contract between the landlord and the council, so it is the tenant that is liable for your increased costs (court fees, lost rent, etc), albeit due to them following the instructions of the council. I guess in such a situation it would then be up to the tenant to sue the council for the bad advice which has lead to them incurring the additional costs.

Robert Mellors

16:39 PM, 18th March 2016
About 5 years ago

This has just been posted on the Property Hawk website:

Councils told to stop advising tenants to 'stay put'

The Housing minister, Brandon Lewis, has written to all chief executives of local councils to ask them to stop advising tenants to 'stay put' when faced with eviction by their landlord.

Many councils' have routinely advised tenants to wait until the bailiffs turn up at the door before leaving their rental property so that they can be accepted as officially 'homeless'.

Mr Lewis has tried to clarify on a letter to council chiefs, stating

“Authorities should not routinely be advising tenants to stay until the bailiffs arrive; there is no barrier to them assisting the tenant before this. By doing this, local authorities miss a valuable opportunity to prevent homelessness.”

Landlords and tenants continue to raise concerns about local authorities advising tenants to stay when issued with a Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy under Section 21 (1) or (4) of the Housing Act 1988.

The statutory Homelessness Code of Guidance, which local authorities are required by law to have regard to, is clear on this matter.

It contains guidance on how authorities should treat homelessness applications in circumstances where a tenant has received a valid Section 21 notice.

It says that housing authorities should not, in every case, insist upon a court order for possession and that no local authority should adopt a blanket policy in this respect.

The Guidance states that if the landlord intends to seek possession and there would be no defence to an application for a possession order, then it is unlikely that it would be reasonable for the applicant to continue to occupy the accommodation.

Unless a local authority has very good reason to depart from the statutory guidance, then they should not be placing households in this position.”

Jon Pipllman

9:18 AM, 24th March 2016
About 5 years ago

Sort of related

Reading is the next council to set up its own property company and buy housing stock in the open market to then rent out


There are quite a few councils now that have already gone down this route and, apparently, more planning to

Partly this structure is an attempt to get round the RTB rules

I am not sure how it can be good value for taxpayers

In fact, I will go so far as to predict that it will be financially very onerous for taxpayers

marco foa

16:21 PM, 5th December 2017
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 18/03/2016 - 16:39
Goverment has not direct power on council. these are purely guidelines

marco foa

16:26 PM, 5th December 2017
About 3 years ago

I have a tenant that works , earns good money, single no children, but she has been told stories from Lambeth council to stay put wait for the bailiff , wait to be declared homeless and then the council will provide with accommodation ( according to her needs ( in very small letters) ... This is nearly criminal behavior from the council when they could just say the truth, that there is no hope she/he will receive a council flat in her immediate future..

Roanch 21

12:30 PM, 6th December 2017
About 3 years ago

"This is very nearly criminal behaviour". I think it could well be criminal behaviour. We need someone to take a test case to make a precedent. Come on Property 118.

It is clearly against Government guidelines
It is morally wrong
It is vexatious - the outcome is clear. The judges decision to evict is already mandated by law. They are asking for a court date but they don't even have a valid line of defence that they can state.
It is an interference in a legal contract between 2 parties that has nothing to do with the council.
The advice is poor as it damages the tenants future housing needs - she will be blacklisted by PRS in the future and restricted to sub standard scarcely available council properties.
The council are conspiring to commit fraud / encourage someone to break the law ie occupy a property when they no longer have the legal right.
Its a waste of public resources including court time.
The councils advice is biased towards tenant and discriminatory / harmful towards Landlord. Surely if both are council tax payers thy each are equally entitled to support.

Annie Landlord

12:44 PM, 6th December 2017
About 3 years ago

Councils are merely trying to postpone their responsibilities to provide housing. They also don't seem to advise the tenants of the consequences of court action and the long term effects of a ccj.

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