8:25 AM, 3rd October 2018, About 4 years ago 17
The court hearing described below took place recently, but the subsequent conversation is imagined.
Hello darling, how was your day with Shelter?
Oh darling, it was wonderful, I am on cloud nine. I managed to stop eviction proceedings in court – on a technicality!
That’s marvelous, the people who put money in the collection tins at B&Q would be so proud of you! Was it a revenge eviction or a so-called no-fault eviction that Polly Neate was on about on television last week where the tenants have been paying their rent, they haven’t damaged the property in any way, they haven’t done anything else that should lead them to be evicted, and they’re being evicted, for no reason?
Not exactly darling, it was a couple who owe five months rent, and make life hell for their neighbours by routinely waking them with their screaming and shouting. I was really clever; we did not file a defence so they did not expect us to come to court, but we arrived at the last minute! You should have seen the other side’s faces! They were hoping an end-date for their nightmare would finally be fixed, and then suddenly we appeared! Their morale must have plummeted.
We didn’t seem to have a leg to stand on, but I had discovered that the Section 8 had been served before the appointment of the managing agent had been registered. ARLA said it doesn’t matter, but the judge wasn’t sure, so they have to start all over again. The judge made me admit that apart from this technicality the paperwork was all in order and the tenants should have been ordered to move out. The order in which these two things were done obviously doesn’t change the facts of the case, but loopholes are put there to be used. What a result! The tenants will be able to stay rent-free for a while yet, and if the landlord dares approach them they can call the police.
Clever old you darling, all those years studying law have been so worthwhile.
Thank you darling, it’s what I was put on this Earth for.
However, I thought the purpose of Shelter was to provide homes for decent people who had fallen on hard times through no fault of their own, like Cathy in Cathy Come Home.
Oh no, darling that was over 50 years ago. To begin with Shelter did raise money to provide housing, but housing associations took that over in 1976. Shelter has been living off its reputation ever since. Nowadays its function is to make life so hard for private landlords that they sell up.
Where will their tenants go? Won’t homelessness increase?
Of course silly, that’s where we come in!
When these tenants have been evicted at the second attempt, shall we let them stay with us until they find somewhere to live?
Are you mad? I wouldn’t dream of having people like that in my house, thank you very much! In any case, we would never be able to get rid of them. With a County Court judgment against them for thousands of pounds, no decent landlord would touch them with a bargepole. No, the best we can do for them is to tell them the usual – ignore the court order and wait for the bailiffs. That will take weeks if not months. Then they will have to remove themselves, with the fond farewells of the neighbours ringing in their ears, and become someone else’s problem, but we at Shelter will be there to support them, through thick and thin. People who consider they have a right to something for nothing, and are actually prepared to fight for it, are the salt of the earth. We at Shelter believe that one non-paying anti-social tenant is worth ten law-abiding, tax-paying landlords.
Let’s celebrate tonight!
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