A local council which is inviting some 300 landlords to a virtual summit in the near future says it’s helped a number of landlords resolve disputes with tenants - and so avoiding evictions.
Ashford council in Kent has issued a statement saying it "has been working tirelessly” to try to avoid “a flood of people made homeless” as a result of the end of the bailiff-enforced eviction ban, which finally finishes this weekend.
“Ashford’s housing team first reached out to all local landlords and agents at the beginning of the pandemic, with advice on negotiating rent arrears and what to do if customers are struggling to pay the landlord” says the statement.
Sharon Williams, head of housing at the authority, says: “Our officers have engaged with dozens of landlords and agents, explaining the range of support that is available from us when problems arise.
“But there are many more private sector landlords in the borough we have yet to reach and I would urge them to speak to us if they think they have a problem with a tenant that may lead to eviction.”
It’s holding the seminar online for local landlords on June 8 - the event is being organised along with the National Residential Landlords Association.
A case study cited by the council, to demonstrate the effectiveness of its interventions between landlords and tenants, states that: “We were contacted by a landlord regarding a tenant who was in serious rent arrears. The tenant had previously been working but had lost their job. He did not want assistance, hoping to find a new job and get back on track.
“Despite his best efforts, the arrears continued and our accommodation officer spoke with the tenant and offered support but again the tenant was convinced he would shortly clear the arrears and felt any assistance was not for him and would feel a failure in his responsibilities if he accepted help.
“After a several months of phone calls and emails [Ashford council] eventually was able to make tenant understand that this assistance is for everybody, and made him realise that help will take the pressure off for them to focus on finding a job without the pressure of potentially being evicted. Was given permission by tenant to send all his information through to the welfare intervention team who assisted with making a universal credit claim and discretionary housing payment to clear the arrears.
“In February 2021 we were told by the estate agent that the tenant was overjoyed, he had been at his wits end and thankful for the support he'd received from the landlord, estate agent and the council.”
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