My tenants want to apply for social housing?

My tenants want to apply for social housing?

0:04 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago 39

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Hello, I am a private landlord. I had my tenants before 2016. They have been on a rolling tenancy since the AST fixed term expired.

I also had a ‘Deed of Guarantee’ signed by their guarantor when they moved in. We have been on good terms with each other.

My tenants have small children. They are claiming benefits for rent but I don’t know what they are claiming (Universal Credit, Housing Benefit …?). The current cost of living hit them hard. They would like to apply for social housing.

They have asked me to give them a notice of possession (they call it a ‘leave notice’), so that they can get into the queue for social housing. They think this the most straightforward way to do it. They also promised to pay me the rent while they are on the waiting list for social housing.

If I don’t/can’t give them the notice, then they will not pay the rent. So, I would be forced to give them the leave notice.

I am not clear if I should give them a notice and how it will affect me. I need the rent payments as this is my main income.

I do not want rent arrears. On the other hand, are there any disadvantages me (as a Landlord) giving them an eviction notice before my tenants stop paying their rent (going into arrears)?

What happens if they stop paying the rent after I give them a (Section 21) notice?

Thank you,


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Graham Bowcock

10:23 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago

I can't see a downside to you serving a s21 notice. It seems that the tenants have been pretty straight with you; if they can't afford the house there's no point in waiting until the bitter end before taking action. Atleast by serving s21 they can get in the system for social housing - although that may be a long wait depending on their circumstances.

You have little control over the tenants' payment of rent to you - if they can't afford it, they won't pay, simple as that. You may have to be prepared for a slightly rough financial ride whilst it's sorted out.

Reluctant Landlord

10:38 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago

Sounds like you actually have no option that to issue a S21 now anyway as they have basically said they wont pay you the rent.

What you could do is do what they ask, BUT after doing so explain that should they stop paying the rent at any point onwards, then even though you are not obligated to tell the housing department the reason for the S21 WHEN the council ask for a refernce you are OBLIGATED to be honest and you will be expected
to highlight rent arrears as this is what the council ask about.

Ergo if they want to avoid this (and being deemed as making themselves voluntarily homeless) then they should either continue to either 1. pay the rent (until such time as evicted or when they think the council is going to rehouse them) or 2. ask that you are paid the HB/UC directly and that any top ups are also continued to be paid.

in other words you play their game but they need to keep you on side too.


10:44 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago

I do feel for you as you are in a difficult situation. Can they simply not afford the rent, or are they looking for a way to cut costs due to the cost of living crisis? Blackmailing you is unfair and could place them in a difficult situation (as council could conclude they have made themselves 'intentionally homeless' if they think they are manipulating the system). In my area the council used to offer 'temporary accommodation" after the eviction had taken place via the court/bailiffs. They now have to offer some advice and assistance with homeless prevention but I don't think it will be like they think it is. There is a massive housing shortage and they may also be unhappy with what is currently on offer via the council's bidding system too. In my area it is very difficult to find accommodation and people have been living in temporary accommodation /hostels for over 1 year. There are very few houses and few people want to live in a high rise. If they are struggling with the cost of living have they looked into other options to help with the affordability? Such as discretionary housing benefit to top up the rent? It sounds like you've had a good relationship up til now. Shelter offer tenants advice. It's also worth them getting proper advice from somewhere such as the CAB to get a benefit check and other advice. I hope it works out OK.

Reluctant Landlord

10:58 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago

even with small kids while the council may feel a duty to house them after eviction (or even before) they will only be offered temp of some kind, B&B or hotel.
I doubt there is any council that can put a small family in the same situation as this straight into a council/social rent property - there simply isnt anything available.
If you get on with the tenants maybe a kind approach to show you understand why they might feel that they need to go down this route but perhaps make it clear it might not be what they expect (or have been told by the council or others). if they dont believe you suggest they ask the CA for further advice.
And yes...if council get wind of them 'demanding' a S21 then yes they would be deemed as 'flouting the rules'. Given the current demand and zero supply the council may well take a 'tough luck' approach if they think people are trying to queue jump or scam the system.
Play this carefully. If you want them out but need to protect your income too in the interim, then make it look like you are helping them as best you can - that way while there are still in situ they are likely to play ball...going back to the council is their last resort after all.
good luck!

Judith Wordsworth

11:14 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago

Serve a s21 Notice of Possession AND get them to sign 3 letters addressed to the LA Benefits Dept from them, if they are on Housing Benefit, stating that they wish their housing benefit to be paid direct to you their landlord. Include your bank details. (1 copy for you, 1 for the tenants and 1 for YOU to post/hand in to the LA housing benefit dept). This is just on case they decide to stop paying you their rent.

Not sure how to go about this if the tenants are on UC. But believe that if you state that this would be helpful for them with their financial budgeting them that might work.

They may or may not qualify for LA housing. If they don't and the LA requires the usual procedure ie s21, Possession Order, Bailiffs Order they will likely be housing in bed and breakfast.

Paul Power

11:21 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago

This is close to the perfect storm I mentioned regarding councils advice to stay until evicted. Council will advise not to go until physically removed, accrue costs due to process etc. If the tenant is onside and understands LL, T and Guarantor may be in a position to make some arguments that council have caused losses. If I was the guarantor and got hit because of the council advising to stay I would consider if I had a case especially if I had T backing it up. How far it would get I dont know as it would open quite a lot of litigation but as a tactic to avoid loss?

Luke P

11:29 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago

If they can/will pay whilst they're on the list (which could be a veeeeeeeery long wait), they can pay you anwyay, notice or not.

Let them run up arrears and serve a s.8 notice at two month's owing. They won't get a social house because of it (and nor should they for effectively blackmailing you), they'll end up having to pay you anyway and/or get a CCJ and you will get your property back.

Freda Blogs

11:39 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago

Check the terms (ideally get legal advice) regarding your guarantor agreement. If it still holds good, any denial to you of rent should impact their guarantor, who is unlikely to look favourably on their games, especially if it impacts him/her in the pocket. Perhaps involve that person in any discussion to help point out to the tenants the error of their ways.

Likely the tenants have no idea of the true consequences to you (and them) of their suggestions, many of which are noted by others above.

Perhaps you can ask the tenants to pay all your costs in pursuing the S21 action to give them an idea of what is involved - recouping them is another thing entirely - but which could bring a realisation of what is involved and they may change tack.


11:41 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago

P.S. deliberately getting into rent arrears to force an eviction won't help them with their homeless application. The council will look at their income and expenditure in detail. If they can afford the basics (e.g. food, heating and rent) they will be classed as making themselves intentionally homeless. You'd be surprised how many income and expenditure forms I've completed with people paying for non essentials Netflix and expensive phone contracts. They have to prioritise their income. Anyway, I certainly wouldn't want to go into temporary accommodation either. They need to work with you not force you into an unfair situation.

Reluctant Landlord

11:42 AM, 8th March 2023, About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 08/03/2023 - 11:14
if on UC - direct request via UC47 form online

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