Question regarding Local Authority Homeless policy

Question regarding Local Authority Homeless policy

16:06 PM, 15th August 2012, About 9 years ago 81

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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



13:22 PM, 16th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Thank you for your honest assessment of our conversation Mark, We are happy to keep you and any of your members informed or deal with any questions they may have;. Please feel free to contact us at Deposit Approve


13:48 PM, 16th August 2012, About 9 years ago

I don't take housing benefit tenants, end of story....


13:54 PM, 16th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Hi Paul, You say a section 21 doesnt make anyone homeless BUT Government advice to Local Authorities 2006 section 8.32.b says it does. I am interested to know why councils choose not to follow the Governments advice here.


14:10 PM, 16th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Very interesting question, i have had a similar experience.

by Mark Alexander

14:29 PM, 16th August 2012, About 9 years ago

Hi Frances

I have read "Government advice to Local authorities 2006 section 8.32" in it's entirety. I suspect that's what Ben Reeve-Lewis was alluding to in his long post also quoting "Regina v. Croydon LBC ex parte Jarvis"

For those interested I have copied "Government advice to Local authorities 2006 section 8.32" in it's entirety below.

I suspect people will read into this what they want to hear, however, I do concur with Ben that "Regina v. Croydon LBC ex parte Jarvis" is what we should really understand as landlords.

There are answers to the problem of course - please see my follow up article here >>>

8.32. Each case must be decided on its facts, so housing authorities should not adopt a general policy of accepting – or refusing to accept – applicants as homeless or threatened with homelessness when they are threatened with eviction but a court has not yet made an order for possession or issued a warrant of execution. In any case where a housing authority decides that it would be reasonable for an applicant to continue to occupy their accommodation after a valid notice has expired – and therefore decides that he or she is not yet homeless or threatened with homelessness – that decision will need to be based on sound reasons which should be made clear to the applicant in writing (see Chapter 6 for guidance on housing authorities’ duties to inform applicants of their decisions). The Secretary of State considers that where a person applies for accommodation or assistance in obtaining accommodation, and:(a) the person is an assured shorthold tenant who has received proper notice inaccordance with s.21 of the Housing Act 1988;(b) the housing authority is satisfied that the landlord intends to seek possession;and(c) there would be no defence to an application for a possession order;then it is unlikely to be reasonable for the applicant to continue to occupy theaccommodation beyond the date given in the s.21 notice, unless the housingauthority is taking steps to persuade the landlord to withdraw the notice or allowthe tenant to continue to occupy the accommodation for a reasonable period toprovide an opportunity for alternative accommodation to be found.


15:19 PM, 16th August 2012, About 9 years ago

This is a very interesting question, i have had a similar experience.


17:19 PM, 16th August 2012, About 9 years ago

I haven't admitted anything.
I was only conjecturing what a situation might be.
Personally I think there would be too many issues for the LL and consequently I doubt very much whether I would EVER assist a teant to jump the housing queue.
There are too many risks and certainly not a lot in it for me.
It was just an interesting point I was raising, essentially how do people beat the housing queue.
I think you you need to be a Somali refugee with about 5 kids and you have to cross 2 contintents to get to Treasure Island UK when you will br given everything.
Seems to have worked OK for about a million immigrants.


17:37 PM, 16th August 2012, About 9 years ago

We know how long it takes for tenants to be evicted and not having any insurance backing in funds causes me to be very dubious about this product.
When you think a loss could be £12000 before a tenant is eviceted; I know!!,
I will be sticking to RGI.
I'm not that desperate to take on LHA tenants.
But for those LL that do it is an interesting proposition.
Mind you if the premium is reasonable which it seems is the case.
You can try it and if you ever claim and it fails what have you really lost.
Especially if you make the tenant pay as part of you taking them on.
And to do so on a yearly basis.
Yes it could be incorporated into the rental amount.
You would still go through the eviction procedure and still suffer the losses if they didn't pay out.
As soon as a few of these cases are brought to attention on forums the business will close.
But I suppose it is a question of nothing ventured nothing gained.
Mind you a cynic might say it is pitched at a price that lots of LHA LL sign up .
Lots of premiums coming in and then shut the business down and do a bunk.
It wouldn't be the first time that such a situation had occurred.
Knowing the losses that could be incurred I doubt very much whether there are sufficient funds to pay out on claims.
Indeed I would draw an analogy to the unviable mobile phone cashback scam.
This relied on customers not meeting the cashback conditions.
However gradually customers sussed out what to do and then cashback claims came in thick and fast causing the mobile phone shops to do a bunk.
Gawd, am a right old cynic or what!!?

by Lynne Davis

16:55 PM, 16th August 2012, About 9 years ago

@bren, so what happens if your tenant loses their job and can't find another so has to go on benefits? Even if you end the tenancy at the earliest opportunity, you still have to serve a Sec 21 (or Sec 8 if applicable) and potentially go to court to enforce it.
We may not CHOOSE to take housing benefit tenants but none of us are completely immune!


17:57 PM, 16th August 2012, About 9 years ago

I agree about the advice, but that is all it is.
The only way a tenant may be ended if a tenant refuses to leave is an eviction order enforced by a bailiff.
That is the law.
It is not advice.
Advice can be ignored, which is what councils are doing.
When a tenant presents them with an eviction notice, only then will the council housing dept bother being involved.
Thisw as once a person is evicted they would be homeless.
How they address the issue where a tenant is evicted due to non-payment of rent I'm not sure.
Councils tend to move in mysterious ways.
The points you make about the abhoorence of councils' behaviour I wholeheartedly agree with.
Councils will however do whatewver it akes to avoid their responsibilities despite any advice they might be given by the govt.
The law is the governing factor in the statutory obligation to house a homeless person.
The council WILLL delay for as long as possible having to consider housing for that person.
Of course as you have pointedly and justifiaby mentioned it is the LL that is being -hafted by all and sundry.
Councils are just one of the institutions that are well practiced in -hafting LL!!
I am afraid this situation is NOT going to change any time soon!!!
Indeed as the shortgage of rental housing increases and the benefit cuts really take hold councils' treatment of LL will get worse!!
Councils are NOT honourable organisations especially the housing dept.
They will do whatever they can to delay or pay for accommodation.
Every single ruse ir getout will be employed.
As LL we just have to be up on our game to stop the council at their little games!!!

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