Council tenants causing uproar in neighbourhood!

by Readers Question

9:05 AM, 4th June 2018
About 5 months ago

Council tenants causing uproar in neighbourhood!

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Council tenants causing uproar in neighbourhood!

Our property has been let directly to the local authority with consent for them to sublet to house temporary residents.

The contract states that the local authority is responsible for the sourcing of the tenants and the management of the property during the term of the contract.

Upon letting the property we were informed a family would be moving in, however we have just found out that the council have housed drug addicts, which is resulting in anti-social behaviour and maybe linked to criminal activity in the area.

We are extremely unsettled and worried by this new information and we would be grateful for any advice in dealing with this issue (both with the council and local residents).

Many thanks

Bob



Comments

AA

9:19 AM, 4th June 2018
About 5 months ago

Not to add to your woes - I hope the council are not using the premises as a half way house re temporary residents. You need to check your building insurance covers you for this arrangement.

Eden Lan

11:12 AM, 4th June 2018
About 5 months ago

Hi Bob.

Sorry to hear about your troubles. We had similar experience,not drug addicts but anti social behavior. We contacted the council and requested them to move the tenants elsewhere as they were upsetting others in the building/neighborhood and if that was not possible than to hand the property back to us. The council was not aware of the problem till we informed them. They did manage to find alternate accommodation for the tenants and kept our property for more suitable tenants. It did take a couple of months. I would suggest you contact the council and let them know what is happening.

Richard Peeters

11:36 AM, 4th June 2018
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by AA at 04/06/2018 - 09:19
Yes, check your insurance! We have recently discovered that our portfolio insurance policy doesn't cover corporate lets (like this case where a company or the council signs the agreement, but sublets to tenants that they find and manage) nor does it cover rent-to-rents (where a private landlord rents from you and sublets, often as an HMO. Our portfolio policy covers our self-managed HMOs, but not those managed by anyone other than the policy holder. This was the case for two major insurers, who provide services via the insurance partners of both RLA and NLA. We found another insurer who would allow rent-to-rents (one property of ours, managed by someone nearer to the location that our base), but the fee for that property was 250% of what it was before (and we have made no claims in 15 years including HMOs).

Simon Williams

11:58 AM, 4th June 2018
About 5 months ago

I had a bad experience when, some years ago, I leased a flat over to a Housing Association to house people from the council waiting list (as agreed). I was attracted by the 5 year lease, guaranteed rent and promise to return the property in the same condition as found. Everything started well until they let the flat to a very disturbed young man with schizophrenia. Eventually the police came round and kicked the door in. Apparently he'd missed a hospital appointment for vital medication.

At the time I was a lawyer and I wrote to the housing association arguing that, at common law, they owed me a duty of care that they would only place into the property a person who was reasonably suitable to be housed in that property, having regard to its setting and the type of neighbourhood. Alternatively, that there was an implied contractual term between us that persons placed would be reasonably suitable and that they were in breach of contract. I also argued that it is incumbent upon the authority to undertake reasonable checks about people BEFORE they place them in private accommodation rather than just cross fingers and hope for the best.

These pressures finally awoke the housing association from their slumber and they commenced eviction. Fortunately, the tenant abandoned the property rather than staying around for months.

I would therefore keep a log of events and complaints, while writing to the council and demanding that action be taken and also asking what pre-checks they made. Also, if the council represented to you that a family would be moving in but reneged on that, it would be good to statement the evidence on that. Writing (or copying in) your local ward councillors can be helpful too.

Councils and Housing Associations do seem keen on attracting more private landlords to these schemes, but they will face an uphill battle for so long as the various horror stories exist. I think it would be worth highlighting the problem to NLA or RLA if you are a member.

I would never again use one of these leasing schemes. No doubt some people have done well from them. But the risks are high and not within the ability of the property owner to control.

Of course, the council/housing association doesn't have any special powers. If they need to evict, then the process can be as lengthy for them as it is for us.

Grumpy Doug

13:35 PM, 4th June 2018
About 5 months ago

Logically they will house the "good" tenants in their own properties (less hassle) and farm out the "badduns" (more hassle) to private landlords. I've heard of this happening elsewhere, hence why I have not responded to any requests from my local council. The more stories like this just reinforces the resistance within the PRS to working with local authorities.

Sorry Bob - not an answer as such, but an observation on this sorry state of affairs.

Chris Mccauley

16:05 PM, 4th June 2018
About 5 months ago

sorry to say, but letting via the council is not very wise.once their tenants are in you have little control,but as far as the council goes it’s job done and worry about the consequences later. In some areas of course there is little alternative, but personally I would never risk letting via council or housing assn.

Rod

21:21 PM, 4th June 2018
About 5 months ago

I dislike councils and always will, they are a law unto themselves!

Robert Mellors

23:33 PM, 4th June 2018
About 5 months ago

You should ensure that you enter into such arrangements with your eyes wide open, read the terms of the lease agreement and ensure you fully understand it. If unsure, seek legal advice. Always ensure that your insurance is appropriate for the type of letting that you enter in to. Understand that the council (in this case) or the housing association or company you lease the property to, will have the same sort of problems when trying to deal with anti-social tenants as any other landlord would have, i.e. they have to go through a formal procedure, and eventually have to take court action and await the very slow legal process of regaining possession.

Speak to the council about your concerns and find out what they can do about it and the timescales involved. Be realistic, they cannot wave a magic wand and make the problem go away, but they can be taking steps to deal with it and keep you informed of progress.


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