Councils told to stop telling tenants to stay till the eviction date

by Readers Question

10:16 AM, 6th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Councils told to stop telling tenants to stay till the eviction date

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Councils told to stop telling tenants to stay till the eviction date

Sheriffs OficeIn case you’re not on their mailing list and no doubt David Carter Of The Sheriffs Office fame will be along shortly to let you all know this, but I’m giving you all the heads-up anyway (we landlords need all the advantage we can get).

Housing minister, Brandon Lewis has told all local authorities to stop routinely advising tenants to stay put until the enforcement agent arrives before they can be accepted as homeless.

Mr Lewis has written to all the chief executives of local councils saying that households should not be put in this position, and clarifying the guidance about homelessness.

In his letter he says, “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.”

Mr Lewis writes that the statutory Homelessness Code of Guidance, which local authorities are required by law to have regard to, is clear on this matter and contains guidance on how they should treat homelessness applications where a tenant has received a valid S21 notice.

This is what Mr Lewis’s letter highlights about what the guidance states:

-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.

-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.

Luke

Contact The Sheriffs Office



Comments

Paul Franklin

12:18 PM, 6th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Such weak and 'wishy washy' wording, it's fairly easy for councils to get around if they need to.

In any case, when many tenants are faced with the choice of remaining in their home and awaiting a bailiff warrant, or being placed in emergency temporary accommodation miles away from their work, children's school, friends and family, often in another town altogether and often in hostel/motel/B&B type accommodation - they will understandably want to stay in their home until the latest possible moment.

Rob Crawford

8:28 AM, 8th May 2016
About 2 years ago

Unfortunately Mr Lewis refers to "guidelines", guidelines are not statutory! The guidelines do underpin the homelessness act and one would think that would give clear indication as to whether local authorities are in compliance with the act. Unfortunately the act is not clear. Local authorities will continue to abuse the "spirit" of the act if it suits them to do so. Mr Lewis needs to add some weight behind his letter! Until then I suggest landlords don't let to tenants on benefits and if you experience this problem to aim for a quick eviction via the high court and high court sheriff rather than county court bailiff. This letter has made no difference in Bristol!

Gary Dully

10:14 AM, 10th May 2016
About 2 years ago

What Landlord Associations does this Housing Minister listen to?

As a landlord, I am sick to death of seeing the same old crap being ignored.

He has the ability, by working with the justice minister to free up the market in rented accommodation by sorting out the pathetic, outdated, expensive red tape with getting a property back into the hands of a tenant that WILL pay their way and will honor an agreement.

If a tenant on LHA is more than 8 weeks in arrears, the chances of them being able to claw those arrears back is just about impossible.

It's the equivalent of asking a baby to bite an apple in half. No matter how hard they try - it just won't get done.

If a tenant trashes a property, who in Gods name wants them as a tenant anywhere? There is no excuse for it - it should be a criminal offence.

The problem that we have as Landlords is that we don't have a voice, perhaps the bigger companies coming into the market will change that situation, when they get their chrome and glass towers full of shit stains and cannabis plant pots.


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