My tenants want to apply for social housing?

My tenants want to apply for social housing?

0:04 AM, 8th March 2023, About A year 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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11:52 AM, 8th March 2023, About A year ago

Good point. DSR - There is a criteria for this (e.g rent arrears of two months or a vulnerability, such as addiction, mental health issues). Please see following link for more info.

Luke P

12:13 PM, 8th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by angela demetriou at 08/03/2023 - 11:41
Not if the LL serves a s.21 as requested...hence my suggestion to call their bluff and if they don't pay, hit them with a s.8 notice.


12:26 PM, 8th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 08/03/2023 - 12:13
Hi Luke. I agree, I personally wouldn't serve the s21 either. Landlords shouldn't serve a s21 unless they mean it. Especially as this means the tenant can technically leave when it expires. Therefore, landlord could be out of pocket whilst having to find a new tenant. Having worked with homeless people I don't agree with fraud/queue jumping either. However, I have spoken to a worker at Shelter who recommended someone ask their family for letter asking them to leave (I can confirm this because they actually said it to me). Very unethical behaviour IMO.

David Houghton

12:37 PM, 8th March 2023, About A year ago

Easy one make sure everything is in place. serve s21, make it clear you will pursue the guarantor. Expect to require a court order and bailifs


13:29 PM, 8th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 08/03/2023 - 11:29
Thank you for your reply.

If I refuse Section 21 notice, then, they will stop paying the rent as they have nothing to lose. I can advise rent arrears to Local Authority and claim direct payment for housing benefit. Having done so, I make it difficult for them to apply for Social Housing. However, this will not help me to recover any loss rent.

I have to wait 2 months to serve Section 8 notice and another 6 months minimum for CCJ+ Bailiff+eviction. I will be out of pocket for at least for 8 months’ rent plus eviction costs.

Isn’t better that I serve Section 21 notice and see what happens? If they stop paying the rent, the above option (S8 and then legal eviction process) will still be available to me.

Basically, what do I have to lose by serving the Section 21 notice?

northern landlord

14:00 PM, 8th March 2023, About A year ago

If the tenants want to apply for social housing they can do at any time. They are hoping that by being homeless they will somehow jump the queue to get a nice house (waiting list around here is 3-4 years). All they will get is temporary accommodation in a seedy B&B or hotel or they could be split up and put in hostels. If they are given a home anywhere it will be in an area where nobody on the housing list is willing to live and they will have for want of a better term “social misfits” for neighbours.
In any event the Council won’t even look at them until the whole eviction process comes to an end with court appearances and bailiffs (all paid for by the landlord who should also pay for legal advice to ensure any eviction notice are valid) and the tenants are literally on the street. I would think that due to the length of the whole process if a section 21 notice is given they will stop paying the rent as well. If they do, the landlord can serve a section 8 notice to run with the section 21 notice. Once again it will cost. A section 8 might even be a bit quicker and be realised before the section 21 is realised. The landlord here mentions a guarantor, is their agreement still valid? Even if it is I don’t suppose in reality they will be willing to stump up without a fight that will involve yet more cost.
So whatever happens the landlord here will be in line for costs and probably months of stress with no rent coming in and worrying about what damage could be being done to the property. I suppose the best action might be to pay for advice, bite the bullet serve a section 21 notice and see it through to the bitter end ignoring the inevitable tenant pleas that will come to halt the process when they wake up to the reality of the situation. After all it’s what they wanted and who wants blackmailers as tenants?
As these tenants have been in for seven years I expect they are paying well below market rent anyway. So the landlord will get more if they evict and rent out again. This is what landlords do all the time apparently according to Shelter and their mates so they would only be acting true to type. Maybe they could just wait for the arrears and evict on that basis. At least then they will have evicted for a valid reason with a clear conscience and can’t be accused of cynically evicting good tenants on a whim just to get more rent.

Luke P

14:35 PM, 8th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by MFL at 08/03/2023 - 13:29
I highly doubt they will pay for the entire time they're under s.21 anyway. You only need to wait for 2 months *arrears* to become due (effectively one full month and a day) to serve the s.8 that expires two WEEKS later, when you can apply to the Court, whereas a s.21 takes two MONTHS before making application to the Courts. A s.21 is only valid for 4 months following the notice expiry date (getting a social house could and will, likely, take considerably longer meaning you'd have to go through the process of serving them notice again if you've not utilised it). That's also assuming you have all the Prescribed Information in place...if not, it will *automatically* be thrown out, whereas a s.8 (dependent on area and the Court's hatred of LLs) MAY be less scrutinised because primarily the Judge is mainly determining whether or not the tenants are at fault (for arrears...which should be black & white).

The Forever Tenant

15:07 PM, 8th March 2023, About A year ago

Trying to get social housing in my area is basically impossible.

For my family situation and looking online it basically states that there is no point in applying as I will never get to the top of the list.

If every asked to leave we would probably end up in a B&B for whoever knows how long. It's not a situation I would want to put my family in so would never consider that an option.


15:08 PM, 8th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 08/03/2023 - 14:35
Thank you again. This is very informative.

Can do the following?
- I serve Section 21.
- Wait until they are in arrears.
- Serve Section 8 after they are in arrears.
- Apply to the Court with Section 8.

I am not sure if I have to mention Section 21 to the Court. Will the Court know or take into account that I served Section 21 prior to Section 8?

Are there any disadvantages of serving both Section 21 and Section 8?

By serving Section 21 before Section 8, do I damage my claim in any way at court?


Neil Heffey

16:00 PM, 8th March 2023, About A year ago

I have similar issues with a lot of properties. Rents have been rising making it unaffordable for a lot of tenants on housing benefit/UC.

I am working closely with affected tenants and provide them with the section 21. Unfortunately, they will be unlikely to get a property just because they have been served with notice. They will also need to rely on a good reference. A lot of social housing providers will not take tenants with rent arrears so the tenants will want to maintain their payments so that they can have a clean reference.

As others have said, if they miss a payment apply directly to UC for direct payments, once they miss two payments you can apply and apply for an arrears management fee from their benefits.

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