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NLA speaks out about councils’ bailiffs advice

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has criticised local councils for telling private tenants to ignore eviction notices served by their landlords and to wait for bailiffs to turn up before moving out.

The NLA says half (49%) of tenants who’ve been served with a section 21 notice by their private landlord say they have been told to ignore it by their local council or an advice agency such as Shelter or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB).

The figures shine a light on the scale of the issue, which was recently highlighted by the Telegraph, and has been exacerbated by the increasing use of private landlords by local authorities to discharge their housing duties.

The NLA says that the advice is increasingly being offered because councils are refusing to accept tenants’ housing applications before an order for possession has been granted by a court, despite guidance from central Government that confirms all housing applications should be accepted from the time notice is served on the tenant.

NLA chairman Carolyn Uphill said: “We’ve always known that tenants receive this kind of advice and it’s a huge problem because it damages the confidence of landlords who work in the community to home those who aren’t able to access social housing.

“There is no justification for prolonging the stress and uncertainty brought by a possession case. Advice like this creates unnecessary strain on tenants, landlords, and the courts service, which must first hear the case and order possession before councils are prepared to carry out their statutory duties.

“Nobody should ever be told to wait until the bailiffs turn up; it makes an already unpleasant situation much worse for everyone and creates a vicious cycle of misery and spiralling costs for all involved.”
 

  • Bland Lord

    This is the reason I will never take dss ever again! I have only ever evicted non paying tenants who love too tell me "council have told me to ignore you and you can't get me out" so this has back fired as I and a lot of landlords refuse to take dss now

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    As I've said in an earlier post, local authorities that instruct tenants to ignore court orders for possession may be guilty of conspiracy to commit contempt of court and may also be acting 'ultra vires'. It would be very interesting to see what happens if any landlord(s) or landlord representative body decided to test this advice in court. The subject of a class action, perhaps?

  • Don Holmes

    I have had exactly this experience from Cheshire West Council regarding a tenant in Ellesmere Port
    Long story short, section 21 APP application issued, council housing assistant calls me asking for an extension of occupancy beyond the expiry date, I was minded to cooperate subject to a guaranteed move out date which they would not offer, so effectively wanting deferred action with no end date.
    I pointed out such action would invalidate the sec 21 application and I would need to start again.
    I issued the APP. The council lady calls again saying we will seek the extension from the courts so have told the tenant to "stay put" I explained that in my opinion this was bad advice and indeed seems to be riding roughshod over statutory law and ignoring the legal purpose of the sec 21 process and given the dates involved this will probably fall right on top of Xmas, she seemed to think it was a foregone conclusion that this time extension would be granted. I received the court appearance date 22nd Dec 2015. Bear with me, here is the good bit.
    I wrote to the court highlighting this Sec 21 ignorance, and my offer of cooperation and the difficulties I would be in, given no positive end game?
    It seems the tenant had also been advised to stop paying the rent, so when we appeared before the court in Chester, I acknowledged that this was a Sec 21 application, but granting any such extension based on hardship would in fact put the tenant in further hardship as they haven't paid any rent for 3 months! Now the good bit.
    The judge asked the tenant if this was true and they admitted it was so, and that the Council and solicitor had advised them not to pay any more rent?? The judge said and I quote " You have come here looking for the courts discretion and have not been sticking by the rules yourself"
    I was granted possession for the 23rd December, yes the next day, but agreed the 5th Jan, the judge also said, but did not order that the rent must be paid, or I am sure we will all be back here in due course. I have been paid and have possession. Moral of this story is this. Keep the dates and records of conversations and argue ‘respectfully’ your case with the courts.

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    Hi all
    This has been the case going back several years in Ashford, Kent. Even where we had a tenant with medical issues, which were not apparent when he applied and where we were lied to through the application process. He was apparently so unwell at times that he couldn't live with his family, but he was told to stay in our shared accommodation. He was a nice lad with problems, who could see for himself that he needed help and support but due to a waiting list and overloaded and or underfunded services we were left to try to cope with him as best as we could. He did make lives very difficult for our other tenants and for us. The end result was possibly the most difficult year of my life, large financial losses and our own rules now to never take a chance on someone leaving home for the first time as you can't reference. A guarantor would have only helped with the unpaid rent, not with the resulting problems together with voids as other tenants moved away. We pay taxes so we pay for this service are we getting any value at all?

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