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Has your tenant been told to wait for the bailiff to arrive?

The National Residential Landlords Association wants to show the government that some local councils still advise tenants served with a valid Section 21 to sit tight until the bailiffs arrive.

This long-criticised practice was supposed to be in the past following measures including the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and the latest Homelessness Code of Practice; both of which aim to get earlier support for tenants facing homelessness and to prevent waiting for bailiffs.

But the association says it still has reports of some councils refusing to help evicted tenants until a possession order has been granted, costing tenants and landlords and increasing uncertainty.


The NRLA website says: “We are keen to hear from landlords who have been affected by this, so we can share examples of poor practice with the Department for Levelling up Housing and Communities. In particular, we are keen to hear from landlords who know their tenants have not been given a personalised housing plan, or have been told that nothing will be done until a warrant is issued.”

The association advises that if the Section 21 is valid and the tenant cannot stay on, the landlord should inform the housing officer of this when they make contact. 

It says: “If you have a particular reason as to why you are ending the tenancy this should also be explained to the local authority, as they may be able to help fix it. You should also explain any financial costs that are likely to be incurred by you and the tenant as they will need to be considered. For example, if the tenant is continuing to accrue rent arrears, or you are entitled to claim court costs from your tenant then this needs to be taken into account by the local authority.”

 Ultimately, the association advises landlords of heir right to complain about the council to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. In some cases the Ombudsman can award the landlord compensation if the local authority failed to properly meet their duties by neglecting to consider the landlord's circumstances, properly communicating with the tenants, or providing a personalised housing plan in an appropriate time. 

You can see more details and the form which landlords can complete to give their experience to the NRLA, on the association website here.

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  • icon

    I honestly thought they all said this 🤔 like every single one. I have not needed to evict, yet 😲 We will see 😰

  • Patrick Sullivan

    This is common practice all over the uk

  • icon

    But the NRLA supports the abolition of S 21. Have they changed their position?


    It is Ben Beadle, I think, not the NRLA who supports the abolition of Section 21.


    Ellie, please explain the difference. 🤔 That is like saying Shelter are not anti-landlord, just Polly Bleat. 🤣


    You are a member of the NRLA? And you don't support the abolition of Section 21.

    Those who work for and support Shelter are more likely to be of one mind regarding housing and tenancies.


    I will not be renewing in 2024 and NO, I DO NOT SUPPORT THE ABOLITION OF SECTION 21. 🤬


    I wouldn't have thought that any landlord would support giving tenants security of tenure so that the only way of getting their house/flat back is if they want to sell it. And even the selling option may be eroded by the next Labour government.


    Ellie, there are far too many charitable landlords on here (i.e. more than one) who have said they don't mind S21 going. They only evict for fault and are happy with S8. I think that is a very foolish position and there's no need to give away important property rights.


    I think it is a crucial property right, Nick.

    We have heard the stories on here from landlords in Scotland who can't get their properties back even if they wish to sell them.


    Ellie - chris Norris has been on BBC on more than one occasion saying nrla not opposing abolition - it appears to be the approach of all the nrla spokes people.


    It would be interesting to analyse the survey results of the membership, Catherine.

  • icon

    Everyone knows that isn’t that what caused the problem with Section 21, otherwise in the vast majority of cases there would have been no need to issue a S.21 everyone just abide by their Contracts. The Council’s chose to frustrate the system clogging up the Courts unnecessarily causing huge delays and landlords thousands of pounds in Legal costs and lost rents, usually when you
    are forced to serve that by Council’s actions they stop paying and drag it out as long as possible

  • Greenside Close

    The history is that when the LibCon coalition government decided to empower the tenants with the rent payment (council paid rent to the tenant and the tenant then decide whether to pay the landlord or not), many tenants found that if they didn't pay the rent, it took the landlords at least 3-6 months to evict them. So the tenants kept the money, making them £1000s richer at the cost of the landlords. If the tenants leave before the bailiff then the council see it as they deliberately made themselves homeless, so they are not responsible however if the bailiff evict them then 'poor' tenant need to be rehoused by the council, making each tenant £1000s richer. Thank you Nick Clegg! Thankfully, LibDem got obliterated. Now hopefully, it's the turn of the Laboir Party and Green Party.


    Yes The infamous Rugg Report

  • icon

    In my experience all councils feel it is their responsibility to "inform tenants of their rights". This includes advising them to stay until the bailifs arrive. What they tend not to explain is that this action is not compliant with the AST Agreement contracted terms so the landlord won't give a satisfactory reference and it will yherefore be more difficult to rent in the future etc etc. The problem is that councils don't have any property to house evicted tenants.

    • A JR
    • 08 January 2024 10:55 AM

    Current Landlord references are generally a waste of time. Its the reference from the landlord before last that really counts.
    It’s a regrettable fact that few LL’s are going to give a troublesome tenant a bad reference because they will simply want to get shot of them!
    Forget the current LL go for the one before.
    Councils don’t have sufficient housing and the fact is they won’t be getting anymore anytime soon


    AJR I have to hold my hands up to that one, I had a tenant that was always late paying and I had to chase her every time, I was asked for a reference and simply said that she always paid, which she did but only after much chasing, I was so pleased to see the back of her

    Franklin I

    "Another problem Rob, is that the council won’t have any tenant’s to house, after the poor landlord has gone through that ordeal, and shared it on these kind of forums/platforms.

    No landlord will want to touch a council tenant, as they’ll be considered as high risk, with minimum return on investment (MROI).

    In addition to that, we will need to take into account of the MV when applying for a remortgage. Most lenders criteria will not accommodate the current rent set out by the LHA councils across the UK.

    My suggestion to the council, is to invest in their own homes for their own tenants and leave us landlords to work with the professional tenants!"

  • icon

    I've been trying to evict tenants in one of my properties for a year now and the council have told them to stay put as they have nowhere for them. (Highland Council). I want to sell the property but the first tier tribunal crowd in Glasgow have rejected 2 claims so far.... I'm now on my 3rd application to evict. I'm looking forward to getting out of the game or at least reducing my portfolio to just a couple. Who needs the hassle?

    • A JR
    • 08 January 2024 11:00 AM

    Shane: Utterly appalling situation, State Communism nothing less. I guess everyone on here wishes you well. Keep us all posted.

    Franklin I

    "I'm sorry to hear about your situation, Shane.
    It sounds like you've been dealing with a lot of stress and frustration trying to evict your tenants.

    Unfortunately, the process of eviction can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if the tenants refuse to leave or the council intervenes.
    As you mentioned, the Highland Council has advised your tenants to stay put as they have nowhere else to go, which can make it difficult for you to sell the property or find new tenants.

    The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) in Glasgow has also rejected your claims twice, which can be discouraging and costly.

    It is important to note that the property laws for sales, HMOs, and tenants in Scotland are different from the rest of the UK.
    For example, the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) is the standard tenancy agreement in Scotland, which replaced the previous assured and short assured tenancies.

    The PRT has different rules and regulations compared to the tenancy agreements in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

    Similarly, the rules and regulations for HMOs in Scotland are different from those in other parts of the UK.
    For instance, an HMO in Scotland is defined as a home shared by three or more people who are members of three or more families, and it must meet certain standards.

    The regulations also provide that where a dwelling is an HMO, the non-resident owner will be liable for council tax.

    If you're considering reducing your portfolio or getting out of the game altogether, I won't blame you, as you're not alone. You may also want to consider joining a landlord association or a support group to connect with other landlords who have faced similar challenges and share their experiences and advice.

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    Councils have no legal obligation to house anyone until they are evicted by bailiffs. Only then are they duty bound by law to do something.

    I did not know this until I literally had the thickest person in the village quoting passages from law better then Rumpole of The Bailey! The Crackpot struggled for a thought never mind housing law.

    When I challenged the council they accused me of being a comedian. Yes I may be a comedian for being involved in this game....

    Franklin I

    The cost of evicting a tenant in the UK can cost anywhere between £1,300 and £2,200, depending on whether you opt for the County Court or the High Court.

    The High Court option is approximately £900 to £1,000 more than the County Court option, but can take seven days, in comparison to the County Court, which can take several weeks or months.


    High court is worth the extra


    Always go for the High Court and their bailiff. The county court bailiffs have little power.

  • icon

    One of my tenants played this game with a house I wanted to sell. Paid the rent, presumably to keep a clean record and failed to move out, saying they could not find snywhere to move to. Fair comment in N Wales, so I withdrew the 2 month notice and advised the rent would be going up. 18 months later they started paying late, but always within the limit for action. Charged them interest and now payment comes in advance. However I have now had enough and issued the new 6 month S21 applicable in Wales, which should give them plenty of time to find another home. Rent continues on time for the clean record I suppose, but I will probably have the same outcome, sitting tight until the bailiffs arrive. I suspect they are following council advice and hope to get a council house, but cannot prove it.

  • icon

    I have experienced this as an agent, but not as a landlord. When I sold my property in Cornwall I gave the tenant advance warning before issuing a Section 21 when the property went on the market a couple of years ago. She went to the council having allowed three agents access for valuations and then a number of viewings. Cornwall council surprisingly arranged temporary accommodation for her. 😱A couple of months later she emailed me to say that they had found her permanent accommodation and she was pleased with it. 😀. It can happen, but I know it is extremely rare and I was very lucky.😊

  • icon

    Why is this subject only about S21. On S8 too tenants post judgement issued in Court and later in writing are instructed to stay put until bailiffs arrive. This can take months. In the meantime Rent is unpaid and in some cases the flat gets trashed beyond the initial trashing.


    Throw them out, the fine for doing so is cheaper

  • icon

    About twelve years ago, it took me over a year to evict a tenant in Wandsworth. He would not leave until the bailiff arrived and gave no forwarding address. The tenant was in arrears with rent and caused 14k damage to the maisonette. The Council had no responsibility to me. His wife had a tiny baby, so I assume the Council housed him and his family. After six months and after I had repaired my property, my ex-tenant had the audacity to take me to the small claims court for his deposit. Luckily, I had taken photos of the damage and counter sued for £14.5k and won. The magistrates court assessed my ex-tenant's income and he had to pay £100 a month until it was paid off - which he did. However, what aggrieved me most was it took over a year to evict him. He racked up arrears, trashed the property and abused the power given to him by the central and local government. I had planned for my daughter to live in the maisonette, which she was unable to do as my ex-tenant was taking full advantage of the law and leaving me and my family in dire financial straits.


    This is my biggest fear - tenants abusing the power given to them by the government over OUR property. And then never being able to get them out.

  • icon

    Residential Letting is very close to unsecured lending. The Security is perversely your own property (with retrieval of Security removed) and the various Governments can't think in a straight line. There should be a Central Register of S21 and S8 judgements issued by Property and Tenant name accessible to all.

    • A JR
    • 08 January 2024 11:28 AM

    Adrian, I agree, and I think many others are beginning to question the concept of ‘owned property’ Its not yours if you don’t have control of it, and others, ie: the state and protected tenants do.
    A central register of court outcomes is long overdue but will be shouted down by the data protection and vulnerable person/victims lobby. And of course, the U.K. has a weak and rudderless Gov obsessed with appeasing those that shout loudest.

  • icon

    I don't often comment on posts but feel I need to
    My tenant was told to stay put by the council (central belt Scotland)
    I needed to sell my property due to personal financial changes
    Tenant said not a problem but it took 10 months and thousands of pounds in solicitor fees that I didn't have to have the tenant evicted.
    I considered myself a good landlord carrying out multiple repairs over the years. Not increasing the rent as suggested by the letting agent.
    I had to submit all information pertaining to my financial hardship to the tribunal which the tenant had access to.
    Never again will I own rental property. Landlords have no rights or so it appears and the few questionable ones give us all a bad name

  • David Saunders

    Today's happenings in the Rentals is like a step back in time to the 1970/80s when tenants/sitting tenants ruled and the few landlords that were unlucky enough to be left (including me) just had to suck it up until the penny eventually dropped and Maggie T instructed her then government to introduce Section 21 in 1988.By then properties to let especially in London had become virtually non existent for fear of being straddled with a lifetime sitting tenant on controlled rent as I was and even with Section 21 it still took a while before property owners like me dared dip their toe in the water but the realization by those then in power that property owners were not going to let a property without a cast iron guarantee of regaining vacant possession when wanted or needed had taken over 20 years and for many of a certain age, the mere mention of outlawing Section 21 back in 2019 was enough to head for the exit door and quick.

  • icon

    Yes, Caerphilly County Borough Council & Shelter Cymru both advised the non paying tenant to not move out until the bailiffs were on the doorstep. Cost us over £5k in unpaid rent and court fees.

  • Franklin I

    The issue of councils advising tenants to stay put after receiving a valid Section 21 notice is a contentious one. Applying for county court summons and bailiff fees isn't cheap, taking into account section 24 and our January tax returns each year!

    While some landlords may agree with my stance that such advice should be illegal, others may argue that it is the council’s duty to protect the interests of tenants and prevent homelessness.

    Hopefully, the proposed 'Renters Reform Bill,' aims to address some of these issues by abolishing Section 21 and introducing more comprehensive possession grounds for landlords.

    However, as many have pointed out, there are still overall concerns about the impact of these changes on landlords’ finances and the rental market in general.

  • icon

    What chance have we got ITV the Anti-landlord TV Station on about black mould in the News again tonight, showed the mould but didn’t show whatever they removed from the wall that caused it. Also they all sat around with cushions and other clothing or fabric stacked against the wall what do they expect to happen do they not know how stupid they are.
    Telly have to be switched off again now looking at a blank screen at least it won’t tell me rubbish.

    Franklin I

    What I've found with a particular type of tenant, is that you can have a tenant that likes to ventilate the property and another tenant who thinks by permanently closing the windows, they are saving on energy bills, because it's their right!

    I had one tenant, who didn't see the importance of switching on the MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery) System.

    The end results, was unnecessary mould and condensation.

    The AST agreement clearly states in the tenants must ventilate the property, and clearly stipulates the MVHR.

    It's important that tenants get basic training on how to live in a property, in the same way that landlords are assessed for running the services of a property via periodic regulations, legislations and licensing.

    We get penalised for not being compliant, the tenants penalise landlords, for being non-compliant and and adopting a nonchalant attitude!

  • icon

    I have been waiting four and half months to hear back from the bailiffs
    It taken a year now since I started the process of evicting the tenants and I still can’t get them out.
    It’s been financially and mentally exhausting it’s madness


    County court bailiffs are hopeless, up grade to the high court and get the proper boys out


    Andrew is correct. It costs more but the High Court bailiffs have more powers.


    I went through an eviction last year. My solicitor kept chasing for a bailif appointment. I asked whether I can just pay the extra for high court. They said it's a option but you have to apply for permission. A good reason is required apparently.

  • icon

    Thank you for your replies
    I will apply to the high court bailiff first thing Monday the cost is escalating anyway.


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