Landlords face possibility that they may not be able to evict tenants under Human Rights Law!

Landlords face possibility that they may not be able to evict tenants under Human Rights Law!

15:31 PM, 11th April 2012, About 11 years ago 56

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I have just read a thread on Property Tribes that says Hounslow Council have been prevented so far from evicting a tenant because she is claiming that they are contravening her human rights under Article 8 of Human Rights Act 1998.

This is what Article 8 says –

Article 8 Right to respect for private and family life

  • Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence..
  • There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

I can easily see why local authorities are vulnerable to The Act but not how it might relate to a private landlord. The Human Rights Act 1998 does not apply to private individuals, or am I missing something? Particularly since a large landlords organisation are expressing concern?

Something does occur to me though, if this tenant wins using the Act against the local authority where does this leave all local authorities? I’ll bet Ben Reeve-Lewis has something to say about that? Will they need to transfer the ownership of all their stock to private individuals or companies? Is there a business opportunity here for the PRS?

Or will the Secretary of State exercise this power under Section 14.

…does not prevent the Secretary of State from exercising his power under subsection (1) F5…to make a fresh designation order in respect of the Article concerned.


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Comments

Ben Reeve-Lewis

11:27 AM, 13th April 2012, About 11 years ago

Oh I agree Ian. That was Mary's concern with her question but the thing is, these are the risks of landlording, they go with the territory.

There isnt a field of human endeavour that doesnt bring with it risks and annoyances.

I can totally understand peple getting fed up and jaded when they are on the end of those risks and annoyances but I always say to my landlords, if it gets to you that much, do something else.

But try and find something that doesnt have risks and annoyances, you wont find one.

I've just spent an hour with a landlord who works closely with us, we have all 6 of his properties. Most of his tenants seem to be either on remand, in jail or being watched by Police for dealing. I just said to him "What is it with your tenants?" and he replied "I get them all from you" and we both laughed. He has tenants with a high level of problems, he gets ripped off occasionally, he loses money and he makes money but he smiles and shrugs his shoulders, accepting its all part of the game. Personally I would give him a medal

14:21 PM, 13th April 2012, About 11 years ago

Ben,

The sad thing is that the legal aid system and human right laws that are meant to help people at the bottom of society contributes towards the unwillingness of most landlords to house these people …

It the same issue with employment, every time you give workers more “rights”, less companies are willing to take the risk of employing someone that may turn out to be a problem.

Mary Latham

15:05 PM, 13th April 2012, About 11 years ago

Spot on Ian and this is my BIG conern.  Many landlords tell me that they are sick and tired of having to comply with legislation when our tenants are enouraged not to.  I often here that CAB or a local authority has given a tenant advice on how to stay in a property when the landlord has served notice to quit.  I realise that it is not the function of these people to help landlords to run our business and that if we get it wrong they have the right to protect tenants.  BUT why do they protect bad tenants?  I never try to defend bad landlords. Where will we be if tenants are advised to use Article 8 to delay their eviction?

Everyone knows that the PRS must thrive in order to ensure that there are enough homes for everyone in this country and it is time that EVERYONE worked to ensure that landlords continue to invest in rented property.  I respect the law and I do not like it when I see people showing contempt for the law.

Ben Reeve-Lewis

18:25 PM, 13th April 2012, About 11 years ago

Mary I dont think it is our (enforcement officers) duty or right to determine between bad tenants and good ones, just whetehr or not the law is being breached.

Lawyers will often defend godawful people. the law is what is being upheld.

Do you remember a few weeks back, that muslim extremist whose testimony had been tortured out of him? There was uproar in the press about using public money to defend a guy who obviously hated the UK and incited violent protest aginst us? The legal issue wasnt whether or not he was a contemptable person, I am sure the lawyers defending him didnt like the guy but what was at stake was the legal principle and this is a very important differentiation.

I have to defend tenants rights when I actually sympathise with the landlord. To be honest I always say if someone owed me 5 grand I'd chuck them out as well haha. But I dont mean it in reality.

Law is important. its unfortunate when it defends awful people against decent people but we cant pick and choose who it applies to. To do so is to completely unravel the whole concept of blind justice.

If I had a pound for every groundless allegation made by a tenant against a landlord I would be so rich I could lend Mark money, but similalry if I had the same pound for every claim made by a landlord against a tenant, I could retire.

The law is seperate from the vested interests of landlords and tenants. I long ago realised that I cant get caught up in who said what to who. I couldnt fucntion. I can only look at the evidence before me and see where it fits into the legal picture. This is why I have no moral problem with taking on board a tenants allegation whilst at the same time advising a landlord how to evict the tenant. I just focus on the legal situation.

For what its worth I think we are blessed to live in a country where the legal system is based on blind justice. It obviously has its problems but that is part of life. I spend many hours a week standing in front of judges. Sometimes they shout at me, sometimes they shout at the lawyer for the other side, sometimes they laugh but I have massive respect for them because they are really trying to do the right thing without taking sides.

If people in my position start deciding who is worthy of being defended we might as well give up

Ben Reeve-Lewis

18:54 PM, 13th April 2012, About 11 years ago

Oh and a concrete example. I am currently dealijng with a tenant whose landlord was harassing her out of the tenancy becuase he claimed she owed him £1,100 pounds. I backed him off and told him how to follow the legal evcition procedure, whihc he is now following.

Question:If a tenant owes a landlord £1,100 isnt that cause to eveict? Isnt it theft as Clark states?

I sat down with her and went meticulously through her housing benefit file and her bank statements and it revealed she has actually over paid him by £2,400.

A tenant doenst become a bad tenant just because the landlords claims they are one.

Similarly a landlord doesnt become a rogue because of a complaint. the law cuts in

Mary Latham

19:40 PM, 13th April 2012, About 11 years ago

Ben I hear you.  You are quite right I would not want to live in a country where a person was judged by other than a court of law. I consider my hand smacked.

I accept that most of the time local authorities etc give tenants advice on their legal rights - no problem - but I do know of cases where tenants have been given "suggestions" on how to delay their move out date by "working the system".  This is not illegal but it shows no respect for the law from people who are being paid by my tax pounds.

I just hope the the Human Rights issue does not become part of the box of tricks

Ben Reeve-Lewis

20:44 PM, 13th April 2012, About 11 years ago

100% Mary. It does happen. I personally think, as a trainer of these peple, that the new, immature advisers do put a delayed evcition over common sense.

But conversely I can tell you an even more common tale. yesterday we got a call in from a landlord asking our advice. Her tenant told her she was leaving on a specific date. On that date she turned up with a new tenant only to find the other tenant still there.

She didnt kick off, she took it on the chin and phoned us the next day to ask what was the coup. We were able to tel her that the tenant had notified housing benefit that her new tenancy was to start on the approriate day. So we said we would help her sort it out and offered to visit the tenant to aks her why she hadnt left and to call the new ladlord to ask when she thought the tenancy began.

we advised the landlord of the legal position, namely that, as annoying as it was, if the tenant didnt leave on the stated date the law requried that she would still have to get a possession order and claim back the exenpenses.

We felt that the landlord had been duped but could only advise of the legal position. the result was that the lanldord became abusive, called my colleague a bitch and said she had never met such unhelpful people in her life. we were bending over backwards to help her out.

The tenant was certainly working the system and we knew it. But we could only advise on the law. We arent responsible if people dont like what we tell them even though they then put in complaints that we arent doing our jobs

Mary Latham

21:28 PM, 13th April 2012, About 11 years ago

I know Ben you are almost as unloveable as landlords!

3:59 AM, 14th April 2012, About 11 years ago

Reading your post I can definitely identify knowledge shortcomings in myself.
Now I try to learn
What about all the others and I include LAin this that can't be bothered or haven't bothered.
You can almost see that with LA being pilloried for no qualifications, the same clarion call could soon be made about any LL/
To the point that befroe you can be a LA or L

Ben Reeve-Lewis

7:01 AM, 14th April 2012, About 11 years ago

Sorry Paul, whats an LA?

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