Incomplete advice provided to Tenants facing Court action for reposession

Incomplete advice provided to Tenants facing Court action for reposession

11:06 AM, 21st September 2014, About 9 years ago 4

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I have been a Landlord for many years and have accordingly seen many changes in legislation and impositions placed on Landlords, many for the better and some questionable. Along with such changes is the guidance and advice being given to Tenants by the various bodies such as Citizens Advice, Shelter, Homelessness Departments of Councils etc, all of which is aimed at making the Tenants aware of the legal position relative to their given situation/s. I, along with many other Landlords have no problem with such guidance in basis providing all the facts are being provided to the Tenant. Incomplete advice provided to Tenants facing Court action for reposession

One such situation that I have considered in the past and one that was highlighted recently in a phone conversation with a person enquiring whether I had any properties available as he had been served notice by his Landlady because she wanted to sell the property. During our conversation he said that, whilst “he hoped to find something quickly however, he might have to let her take him through the court process to gain possession”.

Whilst this may be the legal position – that he had been advised of – he was unaware of the potential down side of allowing the situation to proceed through the court system and the possible downsides of being served with a CCJ (County Court Judgement).

I am of the understanding that having a CCJ can create potential problems with ones credit rating – should one wish to borrow money, could possibly harm potential employment prospects and/or could place an “attachment of earnings” against the Tenant such that the debt could be reclaimed from future incomes.

One final aspect associated with a case to proceed to County Court in order to gain possession relates to the cost, which can be either £250-00 or £280-00 depending whether the application is undertaken on line or not, this fee will be deducted from whatever bond remains, although the bond may already be assigned to other “losses” therefore the Landlord will, in general have to pay this or, it could be added to the “Attachment of earnings”.

Obviously, I may be incorrect in my thinking on this, if so, I welcome any input provided by Members which corrects my understanding, however, if I am correct, surely those who – with the best of intentions – provide such guidance need to make Clients aware of the possible negatives of allowing the case to go through the court process.


Don Higgs

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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:27 AM, 21st September 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Don

You have raised some interesting points.

Are tenants really given incomplete advice or do they only choose to hear what they want to hear?

Another consideration here is whether tenants have real choices and whether, in some circumstances, they can actually benefit by making bad moral decisions.

In cases where a landlord has served a section 21 notice there may be no damages or rent arrears. Accordingly there would be no CCJ. In the case of a revenge eviction, tenants may well feel justified in giving a landlord the run-around and not be at all bothered about the extra costs incurred.

I will give you another example where one of my former employees refused to move out of her landlords property on expiry of a section 21. She had been with her previous landlord for 5 years and eventually moved out of that property because the landlord refused to do any ongoing maintenance.When she moved into the new property she was assured by the agent that it was to be a long term let. She doesn't have a lot of money and needed to be in the same area so that she could keep her disabled daughter in the same school. The cost of moving was a real problem for her too but she managed it and never fell into arrears. She also looked after the property and was a model tenant.

After just 9 months the landlord decided to sell the property and served notice. She couldn't really afford to move again and there were no suitable properties available to let in the school catchment area. To buy herself time she had no choice other than to refuse to leave. Thankfully, after just three weeks beyond the section 21 end date she did find somewhere and managed to move before the matter went to Court.

I think what all landlords really detest are the rogue tenants who play the system. Generally, their tenants have no money, nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting evicted by private landlords. All too often the landlords take a commercial decision that it's not worth pursuing the arrears and when they do, they tend to end up with around £5 a week being paid off. On the flip side, the rogue tenant stands a chance of being re-housed in a nice new housing association property. The solution to this problem is not to rent properties to people with no money, nothing to lose by defaulting and everything to gain.

Romain Garcin

12:12 PM, 21st September 2014, About 9 years ago

Regarding the court fees and legal costs: The landlord is not entitled to deduct them from the tenancy deposit.
He may be able to if the tenancy agreement includes relevant clauses, otherwise he most likely couldn't.


19:20 PM, 22nd September 2014, About 9 years ago

........on top of all that what hope have they got of renting again?! I wouldn't want them!!

Steve Gracey

12:04 PM, 26th September 2014, About 9 years ago

This incomplete and disgraceful advice seems to now be the standard response from councils and lefty organisations such as Shelter and CAB. It fits in with their all property is theft, Landlords are evil, politics of envy and more importantly it means they can pass the buck and don't have to do any work. Don't worry about that little Section 21 notice, you have rights you know, let him take you to court and run along now and let me get back to reading the Guardian. Come back and see me when the Bailiffs have kicked you out which will take ages while you play the system, and don't worry about any contractual agreements you made with your money grabbing evil Landlord.

So they listen to these people because to them they really sound like they know their stuff. And they end up with a bad landlord reference, a CCJ and find that they are number 5 million on the Social Housing List so get told to go back to the private rented sector. But they won't touch them because of their references so end up in some sub standard over crowed hovel, which then helps perpetuates this All Landlords are evil myth.

I was interested to see instances on Channel 5s Can't Pay, we'll take it away where the eviction was carried out by High Court Bailiffs. They were happily waiting out the 28 days or whatever as advised by their ever so helpful local council and got a knock at the door and made to leave in 2 hours by the High Court. These councils obviously aren't aware yet that Landlords can legally bypass the incredibly inefficient County Court Bailiffs and get result led HCEOs in.

My humble opinion is .... Don't take Housing Benefit. They will screw you up. It's not the tenants so much as the fact that HB tenants are much more likely to be in contact with their council and will swallow this lefty entitlement advice crap.

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