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Tenants advised to wait for bailiffs before leaving rented property

The Telegraph has raised the issue of how local authorities are increasingly encouraging evicted tenants to stay put in a property until the bailiffs arrive.

Professional landlords won’t be surprised at councils’ advice but amateur landlords could be surprised by the approach which encourages non-paying tenants to ignore their landlords’ requests to leave a rented property.

The Telegraph article highlights the case of one family who rented out their home while living abroad. They gave the tenants notice to leave when they returned but the council advised the renters to stay in the property until the last possible moment, leaving the owners homeless.

The problem is most common in London and Birmingham and other areas of high rental demand.

David Lawrenson, of LettingFocus.com, described the councils’ approach as “stupid” and said it doesn't encourage landlords to take on people who are financially vulnerable.

Alan Ward of the Residential Landlords Association said councils were unable to help people until they had nowhere else to go and pointed out that tenants cannot be rehoused until the bailiffs are at the door.

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    We used to house a lot of tenant claiming housing benefits. 20-30 lets a month.

    We don't anymore as tenants have been advised for last few years to remain in the property until bailiffs evict them.

    If a tenant moves out of a property before this time, the local authority says they made themselves voluntarily homeless and will not help to re-home them!!

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    Councils then wonder why landlords do not want council tenants. It's all down to the council and thier poorly trained staff.

    Harley Welch

    They are not poorly trained, they know what they are doing. Pushing debt towards private sector. Think how much it would cost the government if they actually rehoused all the people who were given notice to move. Or make you pay while you evict the tenant with the increased court costs. Just my opinion.

    Kristjan Byfield

    We used to accept Tenants on Housing Benefits until the start of 2015. The main reason for this shift was not the advice by councils to be 'evicted' (this was mitigated by having a suitable Guarantor in place) but the fact that Councils made it so difficult to process a tenancy application with so many forms and their 4 week (insted of monthly) rental payments is a nightmare for accounting.

  • Harley Welch

    Jusus this has been happening for past year in fact at the same time the government put up court costs for evictions and trained the staff in Housing to keep tenant in untill bailiff arrives and removed them. (amazing timing) Causing more debt, more stress and despair that is not needed. But you think how much the government saves by pushing rent arrears onto the private sector by NOT helping re-house untill the last minute and then say "oh you made yourself homeless and therefor we don't have to help" Our government has made so many people so much worse off and have made it so much harder & costly for the real BAD tenants to be removed. Society is such a mess and it starts with our government and the crazy laws and red tape. They need to get real and come back down to earth. Running the country like London and the rest of the country isn't London. Get out there and get a grip. No to mention the increase in charity being paid a fortune by grants to help house people. Bums in seats and milked system. Put the grants you all pay in charity companies back into the system and deal with the homeless problem direct. Stop passing the bucks around because by the time the real money gets to the actual homeless person theirs nothing left. Minor Rant over. Have a great day. :)


    Its about time the general public knew that the people who are on programmes ie "cant pay we will take it away " that these people have been given the money from the council to pay the rent! !! But use it to buy 54" tv's it makes my blood boil. It comes over the landlord is bad even tho lots of landlords are paying loans on the house they are living in rent free
    rant over !!!!!!

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    That is about the quality and standard of staff and policy competencies employed by the Councils, and the wretched govt. knows this but does nothing about it. To the Councils and the public servants they just do not give a damn about anyone except themselves!

  • Harley Welch

    One more thing, Who office is pilled with homeless on a Friday when the local government pushes everyone out and directs them to estate and letting agents so as to get them out of the building as it would take to long to que up again on that same day.... numbers game. Always on a Friday.

  • Andrew McCausland

    We have the same problem in my local area of Wirral and Liverpool. The advice of both the local Councils and CAB is to stay until after receipt of a court order or until the bailiffs physically put them out. The result of this is to increase costs and delay repossession claims for landlords.

    The courts system is creaking under the strain and dates for possession hearings are being delayed further than ever. It is pointless to complain as a landlord in the current climate - we are seen as the devil's spawn and can do nothing right.

    However, this approach also disadvantages both the tenant and the taxpayer. The tenant is unable to get another home in a timely manner and is often left in emergency accommodation. This leaves the taxpayer to pick up the bill for the emergency accommodation, which is many times more expensive than the local housing allowance rates that were probably being paid prior to repossession. There is also the time and cost to consider of the various Council officers and other agency staff involved in rehousing families under these circumstances. A conservative estimate of these costs would be £750 per move.

    If the aim of this policy is to avoid having to rehouse families then it will obviously not work - they are going to leave the current property at some time so delaying this decision achieves nothing. The same number of families are still in the housing system, just at an earlier point along the journey.

    If the aim is to save money, then it is failing miserably. It adds costs at all points of the process and landlords and taxpayers all lose out.

    The law of unintended consequences?

    Peter Lassman

    The problem is a lot of Tenante do not help themselves, instead of looking for work they want everything now including large TVS, Alcohol, Cigarettes and mobile phones, they need to get there priorities right and Protect the ROOF over their heads first

  • Jason McClean

    On every level this advice is wrong. Makes me sick to the core, this country's housing system is breaking down fast and with more austerity coming, China and Europe economies dropping and the private landlord sector contracting, it isn't going to get better.

    Not a hope of a Council tenant getting in any of my properties.

    Jason McClean

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    The Telegraph has raised an interesting issue. On one occasion, after I had obtained a Court Order for possession, the local authority instructed tenants of mine not to move until the bailiffs arrived. The tenants were in serious breach of their tenancy agreement, had badly damaged the house and had also prevented me from carrying out safety-related electrical work. I told the council that, in my opinion, they were guilty of conspiracy to commit a contempt of court, by instructing the tenants to defy the order, and were most probably also acting 'ultra vires' (ie outside their legal authority). Their reply was, "you may well be right, but by the time you get us to court you'll have obtained possession anyway and your losses will be even higher with the additional costs, so we'll continue to tell tenants to stay put". At the same time the council was threatening to prosecute me for failing to do the work the tenants had prevented me from doing. As usual, the private landlord is treated as 'the enemy'!

    Harley Welch

    So So with you pal.

    Kristjan Byfield

    As long as you have proof access was denied there is nothing any legal authority can do in this regard. Also, vacating the property does not release them of the financial commitment to reimburse you for damages caused. If you have suitable insurance you should be able to have had mist, if not all, of the work covered under the policy and then sought full reimbursement from the Tenants. Now, you would almost certanly have had to accepted a repayment plan but, as you should only be out the excess, over time you end up actually substantially 'in pocket'.

    Peter Lassman

    Pathetic action on the part of the councils as well as ILLEGAL making them complicit in an Illegal act, we need a Crowd funding Group to get this sorted, see my comment below I will give the first £100 even though I have never had this problem as it effects all LAndlords

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  • Kristjan Byfield

    I am sorry but this is not new information. This is the approach the council has taken for many, many years. This, importantly, ONLY applies to Tenants needed social housing. Whilst this is horrible for the Landlords (we have had 3 such incidents in 12 years) this aproach is logical as it ensures only those most in need get housed. Thse with other options (family/friends/cheaper areas/lower budgets) move sooner.
    If you ensure you have a quality Rent Warranty (usually about £100 for 12 months cover) then you get up to 6 months rent cover which would cover the time needed to evict the tenants. Another way to mitigate the issues is to have a Guarantor on all tenancies- but not always that practical.

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    Haven't accepted council tenants for years. Wonder why.

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    Thanks for painting all councils with the same brush. What a load of rubbish!

    Letting agents and landlords hate it when the media do the same but it's ok to attack others in the same way???

    The council I work for does not suggest people stay in the property until they are physically removed. Of course, I can't comment on other councils nor can I guarantee tenants will leave the property and go to the temp accommodation we have arranged for them (sometimes they don't want to go to B&B and we cannot force them) but ... really?

    Alan Ward of the Residential Landlords Association is wrong to state this as fact throughout the country. Sheeesh!

    Please check the facts with your local housing department first!


  • Harley Welch

    Mark, I bet you will be one of the few that does the right thing by people, Most are not bothered and just want their office empty. Is there 6 monthly job swaps were councils staff are changed roles so as not to get so sad and depressed and de-sensitized enough were they stop caring or being bothered as they are so used to it. Can you imagine having to deal with so much sadness, aggression with evictions, turmoil, abuse and being taken advantage of day in day out, its no wonder most cant wait to get the tenant out of the office and move on. Maybe .. just a thought, we stop handing money to charities overcharging to help find people homes and give all that money back to local government so they can take charge and run the issue properly with better support and training for their staff. Doctors in the council building who may see tenants and support in the correct way. Inspectors who can visit the homes the same day as the complaint with the tenant, No red tape when a council wants to shut down a bad home and do it all the same day. Landlords soon start fixing or selling when they are getting no money. Pay landlords correctly an directly for correct property standards and management. Evict fast and support landlord or tenant for the right reasons. USE common sense not red tape.....i could go on but run out of time.... give the local government back then money, staff, and start again as its all completely fubar. #rantover :0

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    I've been screwed over by both Bromley & Bexley Councils and lost a lot of money in the process. In fact more than one set of tenants has told me that the council advised them to stop paying rent and wait until the landlord evicts them.
    Unfortunately it seems to be government policy to make broken relationships, ill health and lost jobs the landlord's problem. The government will not accept responsibility for anything until they absolutely have to.
    The only things that landlords can do are:
    1) Only take solvent tenants.
    2) Take at least 2 months rent as deposit - you never get paid the last month when a tenancy goes wrong)
    3) Always, always ask for a solvent guarantor (credit check them)

    4) Do not take any one on benefits - payment of benefits always seems to get disrupted and can result in huge losses.

    5) At the first signs of trouble, start the process of getting back the property as a precaution.

    Whenever I have tried to help tenants going through hard times, it has always been thrown back in my face and left me with a huge bill.
    These measures can help to minimise your losses as a landlord.

  • Peter Lassman

    I think a Crowd funding Group with Cherie Blair at the Helm should take this matter to Parliament and make it Illegal for Councils to make this Sttement because as Brian Kidman Stated Councils are asking Tenants to break and go against Court Orders therefore surely they are Compliant as much as the Tenants are, IPersonally have never been in this situation but I will give the first £100 if anyone starts or knows how to start such a Crowd funding Group, peterlassman818@hotmail.com


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