Question regarding Local Authority Homeless policy

by Readers Question

16:06 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

Question regarding Local Authority Homeless policy

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Question regarding Local Authority Homeless policy

I have a property related question regarding Local Authority Homeless policy.

My local authority advises tenants to ignore section 21 notices and to stay in the property until a court order / bailiffs arrive. If the tenant does not do this my council deems the tenants to have made themselves voluntarily homeless and they will get no help with re-housing.

I think this must be illegal as well as morally wrong as the tenant is only legally entitled to stay until the date on the section 21. Surely their actions are inducing my tenants to break a valid legal contract, they are interfering in a contract between me and my tenant, and their advice is causing me loss.

I know that Government does not like them doing this and advises them that Homelessness occurs once a section 21 is due to expire as long as it is valid and the landlord has a clear intention of enforcing it. It is such a problem that it has now been given it’s own term – gatekeeping. The council gets no benefit from this policy other than a short term gain, they still end up helping the tenants but just delay it by a couple of weeks. In the long term they shoot themselves in the foot because they now have a tenant on their books for life who will never be able to use the private rental sector because of his poor references due to the legal action.

I have complained about this before with my council but never had the time to take it any further. This time I have made a formal complaint and have a meeting on Monday with them.

What do you think? Do you know of any acts, quotes, references that you know may help my case?

Kind regards

Steve G


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Comments

Ben Reeve-Lewis

20:32 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

I have to say I am quite astonished at many of the views being expressed here. Most of you just dont seem to understand even the basics of how the law works.
I retire

Mark Alexander

20:33 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

Is there a viable alternative for landlords to protect against these risks when letting to LHA claimants apart from insisting on home owner guarantors and underwriting their guarantee with Rent Guarantee Insurance? If there is, please speak up because I can't think of one!

20:58 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

Lots of tenants want you to evict them.They want a Section 21 served on them.
They advise the LL they will continue to pay rent providing he enforces the Section 21.
This is because if the rent is not paid to the LL they will be deemed to have made themselves intentionally homeless.
If this occurs the council would be under NO obligation to house the tenant.
However such a tenant would be able to source another tenancy and the council would pay the benefit.
If in receipt of LHA tenants who are not concerned about being housed by the council will make some profit by not passing LHA on and then the LL applies for direct paymnent until tenant is evicted.
A Section 21 where the tenant complies with all aspects of the tenancy will generate an enquiry from the council housing dept querying why you wish to get rid of the tenant,.
You are under NO obligation to advise.
NO COMMENT would suffice.
Section 21 does not require ANY reason to require possession.
If you advise that it is because LHA has not been passed on that gives the council the right to refuse to house the tenant as they would deem he is making himself homeless by not paying rent which is the reason you have issued a Section 21.
Not many tenants are as clued up on this one, but it is a good way of jumping the council housing queue.
Providing the tenant paid for the costs of evicting them and they were decent people, you might aswell go through the process of evicting them
They might start off being nice to jump the housing queue but if as a LL you did not conmclude the eviction process then things could get nasty.
Yes the tenant is working the system.
As a LL I am not interested in policing the council housing dept tenants.
So I would evict subject to the tenant paying all my costs in cash.

21:13 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

Have you heard of this depositapprove company, they seem to be offering to guarantee exactly the circumstances you quote.
I have to say I think their offering just looks too good to be true.

21:21 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

I am afraid councils don't give a -hit about your tenancy issues.
As far as they are concerned they have discharged their responsibilities as far as the tenant is concerned.
The ONLY time they will be interested is when your tenant gives them the eviction order.
This could take 10 months or more.
Now if your tenant pays you rent whilst all this is going on you will be OK, if not then would you have enough funds to pay tjhe mortgage.
You will stand no chance of recovery of unpaid rent from a LHA claimlant.
However most tenants would pass on the LHA or full rent as not doing so would disqualify them from elegibility for council accommodation, as they will be deemed to have made themselves intentionally homeless as a consequence of not paying rent.
What a big old game it is!!

21:41 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

You are absolutely correct you do not have to pay council tax until dragged up in court.
However it is a criminal offence not civil.
If you are a 'normal' person you would not wish that state of affairs to occur.
A ----bag however wouldn't care.
What wil start happening though is tenants who receive max C Tax benefit will next year have to find 10% of the council tax themselves out of whatever income they have.
I can easily see magistrates courts inundated with cases of C Tax not paid as govt has reduced the amount of funding to pay full C tax benefit.
Some councils may introduce even more draconian cuts in C Tax benefit.
Councils would end up criminalising millions of LHA claimants who are unable to pay the difference .
Would councils bother with all the court costs.
No it will come out of council tax.
Or they will come up with creative ways of having more money coming into council coffers which wouldn't cause the local electorate to be up in arms.
I can think Landlord licencing fees
Any rent property registration fee
Compulsory LL accreditation fees
Increased use of Article 4 regs and associated fees.
Its called bashing the LL; I don't think the council would lose many votes doing these things, do you!????
The councils will in the very near future have to provide ALL the council tax benefit from their own resources.
Govt will not be funding any of it.
Councils will then be judged by the local electorate as to C Tax bills.
A council that shuts services down to pay for the C Tax benfeit bill won't be very popular so councils will look at income generation by creating fee structures from readily identifiable sources; like LL.
Nobody will stand up to protect a LL from unecessary fees.

22:58 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

I'm no legal expert but I think it is the council choosing to misinterpret the laws to suit themselves and avoid doing too much work. It's pretty clear that Government, and judges see that there is no generic legal right to stay in the property after section 21 date. The councils then really take the mickey when they then get some poor vulnerable person to ruin themselves and their future by writing off any chance of ever using private sector ever again by picking up some ccjs. As mentioned the court action is unwinable. And why do they think they have the right to interfere in a legal contract between 2 people with the intention of screwing one of them just because he is a Landlord.
Probablly off topic but why is non payment of Council tax a criminal offence?

Alan bus

23:00 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

My partner let her son rent her house he has 3 children. the council pays his rent. She served a s21 as she now wants her property back, Council told him to stay in house until court orders him to leave, also they said that the papers she has used are "old" papers so the s21 is invalid.
Q. I thought that the council was not allowed to pay rent if its your own family in your own house?
If that is correct has the council broken the law?

Joe Bloggs

22:18 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

Councils may not be law makers, but they can certainly bend the rules to suit their ideology as is most certainly the case in LBN; LBN's statistics supposedly justifying PRS licensing are kept secret despite FOI request. this is i think the nub of what gerald was saying and the rest was tongue in cheek. shame you took it so literally. its seems that the amount of discretion and thus abuse of power by councils is likely to get worse with the localism act. thanks for detailed Regina v. Croydon LBC ex parte Jarvis explanation.

Joe Bloggs

23:08 PM, 15th August 2012
About 8 years ago

I CANT BELIEVE WHAT YOUVE ADMITTED...FOR £500 (CASH) YOU WILL CONSPIRE TO DEFRAUD THE LOCAL AUTHORITY. UNBELIEVABLE.

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