11:51 AM, 2nd May 2017, About 5 years ago 5
I have served a section 21 notice to tenants giving 3 months notice. Reason for doing is B2L mortgage term ending soon.
The tenants have made an application to the LA (South Devon) showing them our letter of explanation which complies with s21 requirements. The Council have now advised them that their application has been placed in band E meaning ‘No housing need’.
The council have cited ‘The Localism Act 2011’ which they say provides them with the power to determine for themselves what class of persons qualify for social housing in the area.
Meanwhile I read that, apart from the fact that a ‘Homeless reduction Bill’ has just been passed, the previous Minister of State for Housing and Planning issued (last year) a directive to ‘All Local Authority CEOs’ which seems contrary to the Council’s decision.
The following quoted on a number of websites with headlines like this ;
Local authorities must stop routinely advising tenants to stay put until the bailiff arrives before they can be accepted as homeless.
Housing minister Brandon Lewis has written to all chief executives of local councils saying that households should not be put in this position, and clarifying the guidance about homelessness.
In his letter he says: “Authorities should not routinely be advising tenants to stay until the bailiffs arrive; there is no barrier to them assisting the tenant before this. By doing this, local authorities miss a valuable opportunity to prevent homelessness.”
The letter follows pressure from ARLA, whose managing director David Cox has repeatedly raised the issue of local authorities advising tenants to stay in their property beyond the notice period, compelling the landlord to go to court to gain possession, running up considerable costs.
In his letter, Lewis says: “Landlords and tenants continue to raise concerns about local authorities advising tenants to stay when issued with a Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy under Section 21 (1) or (4) of the Housing Act 1988.
“I receive a large amount of correspondence on this.”
He continues: “The statutory Homelessness Code of Guidance, which local authorities are required by law to have regard to, is clear on this matter.
“It contains guidance on how authorities should treat homelessness applications in circumstances where a tenant has received a valid S21 notice.
“It says that housing authorities should not, in every case, insist upon a court order for possession and that no local authority should adopt a blanket policy in this respect.
“The Guidance states that if the landlord intends to seek possession and there would be no defense to an application for a possession order, then it is unlikely that it would be reasonable for the applicant to continue to occupy the accommodation.
“Unless a local authority has very good reason to depart from the statutory guidance, then they should not be placing households in this position.”
Lewis says that he will specifically be looking at the way local authorities deal with S21 notices.
My s21 is a valid one and with no defense will lead to a possession order followed by an eviction notice which will see the family put on the street without a roof over their heads before the LA will lift a finger to help them. It is just not right that a family should have to go through this. The Minister of Housing realizes this hence his directive. Can the local authority be held to account or challenged by myself or by the tenants ?
I welcome your views and suggestion.
PS. I have not named the LA, but will be prepared to do so.
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