Legal obligation to seek help from Council?

Legal obligation to seek help from Council?

15:17 PM, 24th June 2021, About 3 months ago 6

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Hypothetical scenario prompted by another post earlier on Property118: After issuing a S21/S8 the tenant becomes ‘at risk of homelessness’. The Local Authority then has a duty to assess this person’s need once the person asks for help. Is the tenant obligated to tell the Local Authority though that they are now at risk of eviction?

This might seem a stupid question, but, the legal duty of the LA to assist the tenant is only AFTER the tenant approaches the LA. What if they don’t tell them?

In the scenario, the Landlord has to then pursue this eviction in court because the tenant won’t leave, and the tenant has NOT even bothered to engage with the LA in the first instance, would it not be seen as prejudicial to the Landlord, and moreover a blatant attempt by the tenant NOT to use all avenues to source alternative accommodation?

Anyone any experience of this?

DSR



Comments

by Smartermind

10:52 AM, 25th June 2021, About 3 months ago

I suppose you can't force the tenant to seek help from the council - they could be planning to make other arrangements, eg move in with partner, friends, parents, children etc. It can't be construed as the landlord prejudicing their case. To counter that the landlord could provide the tenant with information of alternative support available such as approaching the council. As they say you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink it.

by Robert Mellors

11:10 AM, 25th June 2021, About 3 months ago

As Smartermind says, you can't force the tenant to seek help, but it would be good practice to provide them with some advice on the help they may be able to get. See:

https://www.property118.com/best-practice-letter-template-go-eviction-notices/

by DSR

14:19 PM, 25th June 2021, About 3 months ago

I appreciate the above comments and I fully understand the replies, but where the tenant is not in the position of renting anywhere else or staying with others (various reasons), surely it wouldn't look good if there was a possibility that the LA could help but they never bothered to seek help (even though they know they can?)
I just can't help thinking that if they are so keen not to be evicted at all, then why can they not be held to some sort of account for not seeking help to secure other accommodation before an eviction.

I realise entirely that the LA may not have any suitable accommodation, BUT the legal duty is on the LA and case law has shown they can't keep telling the tenant to just stay put until then.

About time for LL's to squeeze the LA's on this? The LA will be openly accountable for explaining any inaction. A shift back from outright responsibility for rehousing a tenant rather than the same being dumped in the LL's lap to deal with at cost?

by Collin Williamson

18:48 PM, 25th June 2021, About 3 months ago

I told my tenants to speak to the LA, CA, MAS ect and they all said to stay put until bailiffs kick you out. CA offered legal advice to put up a defence in court to the eviction! The tenants are 7 months in the red now, and sooooooooo much antisocial behaviour.

by DSR

11:38 AM, 26th June 2021, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Collin Williamson at 25/06/2021 - 18:48
CA advice is also to go to a no win no fee solicitor (aka ambulance chasing law firms). They happily take on ANY tenant given a S21 or S8 and IMMEDIATELY throw back a LL 'disrepair' claim or similar (even if no evidence of such!), JUST so that they can apply straight off for Legal Aid.
These firms then tell the tenant they might be in for a pay out and get to stay in the property (so they keep them on the books), while at the same time bleeding the LA fund dry to 'fight their clients (non) case'. Lots of wasted time just to wrack up costs then ensues. This results in clogging up an already overburdened 'justice' system and further delays in the LL getting possession.
Its a friggin' travesty for decent hardworking LL's who are constantly getting screwed over by a system that rewards those who have no regard for it other than for their own benefit (and I include these dire law firms!)

by Shahie

12:52 PM, 26th June 2021, About 3 months ago

In my experience, the LA's duty is only ever put to the test when the tenant gets help from a Housing Charity who helps tenants. London Councils have no stock, they advise 'Stay put till Bailiff's arrive then and only then, come to us. Tenant should go the LA when they receive the Possession Order so LA is aware but LA will tell them, come back when Warrant of Possession is served by Bailiff.


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