Soon to be Homeless Landlord

by Readers Question

11:56 AM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Soon to be Homeless Landlord

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Soon to be Homeless Landlord

I am a private landlord working abroad but will return to live in my flat in mid-March. I have issued an S21 and the AST expires on 02 February. My tenant, who is on benefits, has approached the local authority (Hounslow) to be rehoused only to be told they will act only after a court order and a bailiff’s warrant has been issued. I intend to start the accelerated eviction proceedings on 03 February, but my tenant has fallen behind on the rent, now into the second month. I have not yet served an S8. I understand that I cannot claim rent arrears as a reason for eviction under this process, but that the PCOL process would allow me to do so. I see also that going to the High Court is an option.home

My question is two fold:

Is it feasible to challenge the local authority to accelerate their rehousing obligation, as I will be homeless as a consequence of their policy?

What is the best process(es) for eviction and rent recovery that do not contradict or invalidate each other. Is there just one or should I follow some in parallel? That said, my imperative is eviction as I need somewhere to live, so if one is far quicker, that might be my preference.

All advice is gratefully received.

Colin



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:57 AM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Colin,

It sounds like you are going to need the professionals.

Please see tenant eviction under our legal tab >> http://evicting-tenants.net/

Anon

13:04 PM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Councils have a duty to prevent homelessness, this is why Councils instruct tenants not to leave the property, when they receive a Section 21 notice. They force Landlords to waste money on Court fees and also on bailiffs.

You should get a solicitor to write the council a letter, to explain your will be made homeless and since they have instructed the tenant not to comply with the S21. You will seek compensation from them. I don't know if you have legal grounds.

You could also try the Local Ombudsman, they can give compensation, but something it is a bit of a white wash, but something they can even change council procedures.

You can challenge the council, as they encourage people not to leave empty homes, yet when owners want them back, they make it very difficult. So what incentive is there for owners of empty homes to rent them out?

Depending on how busy the courts and bailiffs are you could be looking at 6 months to get your property back. (seek local advice about timescales).

JohnCaversham

13:32 PM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi-if you haven't already, apply to the council for direct payments of HB into your account-you are fully entitled to direct payments if your HB tenant is 2 or more months in arrears..may help take some of the sting out...
Sounds like you are at the mercy of court dates and backlogs-so good luck...

Rgds J

Rob Draper

14:20 PM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

This is common practice. Certainly with Dartford and Gravesend B C's. They (we) have to pay for temporary accommodation for the homeless so as they are squeezed they resort to any method to dodge their legal obligation. In Dartford not long ago when we had a Court order for possession their instruction (not advice) to a tenant was to "wait for the bailiffs".
When challenged by me at a private sector landlord meeting, the person in charge just shrugged and beat a quick exit after the meeting!
The Court process and up to possession will take about 4 months and total losses amount to at least £3500 + present arrears assuming 4 months to possession. If you can, get High Court bailiff - much more effective but not always possible. Hope you had a good guarantor!
Waste of time dealing with Local Authority.

Rob Crawford

14:47 PM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

This is one of the risks associated with renting to those on benefits. I doubt you will get any joy from the council, you will need a Court order. It would certainly be worth contacting the Council for payment of rent direct to your self and to inform them that it is your only and main place of residence when in the UK. Good luck.

Steve Wood

15:09 PM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

This is the news that needs publishing in the papers! The true situation LLs often have to deal with. Sorry to hear the system is doing this to you and I hope that you get this resolved without too much personal difficulties.

Ross McColl

15:23 PM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Make sure any HB is paid directly to you. Use a Section 21 to evict using the Accelerated Possession Procedure (£280 Court Fees). Ensure the paperwork is done correctly. Once the possession order has been granted. Issue a bailiffs warrant for eviction (£110 Court Fees). This would take me approximately 5 months to regain possession of the property. 2 months for S 21, 6-8 weeks for possession, then around 4 weeks for bailiffs warrant to be executed. However, I issue all my tenants with Section 21's when they move into my properties (historically). I now wait 4 months to issue, then re-issue on a 6 monthly basis thereafter. If any tenant, prospective or otherwise asks me why I serve without the intention to evict, I simply tell them that if they don't pay the rent I don't want to wait an extra 2 months. Unless you don't pay the rent, you'll be fine. Had no problems with it so far. Once the tenant has been evicted, wait 3-6 months, then trace and start a money claim against them. In my opinion approaching the council will bear no fruit as they really don't care about us greedy landlords. Homeless or not, unfortunately you will fall into that category to them. All the best.

Ross McColl

15:25 PM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ross McColl" at "11/01/2016 - 15:23":

Make sure you point out to the council (housing benefit) that the tenant is more than 8 weeks, or 2 months in arrears as this is the tipping point at which you can get payments redirected to the landlord. Make sure you put it in writing and get it recorded, either by email or recorded delivery.

Jack Craven

15:51 PM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

Why can't the tenant go to another private landlord? Also have you considered helping the tenant along with a financial incentive? I know it's horrible but it may be the quickest and cheapest way.

Anon

16:10 PM, 11th January 2016
About 3 years ago

"Why can’t the tenant go to another private landlord? "

Housing Benefit will not cover current rents. Given the difficulty in getting the property back, many Landlords dont' want the drama of going to Court etc..

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