9:49 AM, 4th September 2019, About 2 years ago 19
I have a tenant in rent arrears. He didn’t apply properly for Housing benefit at the point of moving in, so the Council have decided to only pay from when he did actually apply and have granted his rent benefit. £1300 owing here. Once the benefit was assessed he was then told top ups were due not only going forward, but would have been from the moment he moved in. Top up arrears now circa £450.
All the way though this nightmare, I have kept the Council informed that I have been having problems with tenant not bothering to get this sorted out. They refuse to pay the two months of rent between when me moved in and his application was eventually granted. Council now decided all the rent arrears are his in totality.
I get a letter from the Council that his housing benefit will be stopped in entirety on 1st Sept – the day the S 21 denoted as D Day.
The tenant is now in situ as told by the Council that if he leaves he is making himself voluntarily homeless and therefore they have no duty of care to provide him with anything.
He is unable to pay any of the arrears himself – he has no means of support whatsoever and he is himself of ‘vulnerable’ status.
Is he actually ‘legally homeless’? The Council are in the position of directly putting this tenant into the position of further financial distress and difficulty by the nature of its (in) action, knowing he has no way of paying for where he is. I thought It is the duty of the Council to prevent homelessness so it is legally ‘unreasonable’ for a tenant to continue to occupy my property in this way, even though it is legally viable for occupation surely?
This ‘unreasonableness’ to occupy a property in this instance, is on the basis of affordability. The tenants have no visible means in which to pay rent. The Department for Communities & Local Government’s Homelessness Code of Guidance when making decisions on homeless applications. Section 8.29 of this guidance states that when assessing reasonableness “One factor that must be considered in all cases is affordability.”
The Housing Act 1985 clearly states in Section 60(1) provides: ‘A person becomes homeless intentionally if he deliberately does or fails to do anything in consequence of which he ceases to occupy accommodation which is available for his occupation and which it would have been reasonable for him to continue to occupy.
In this case, surely the Council are making it ‘unreasonable’ for him to stay?
Do I need to apply for a N5A to complete the Possession Order if he is already legally homeless, as he is breaking his TA by staying when he knows he can’t afford to do so?? If I have to apply for a Judge to back up the Eviction, who will be liable for the rent paying in between this time and the date decreed when he has to leave? Who will be liable to pick up the £355 it costs me to progress?
ANY answers or thoughts welcome! *sighs*
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