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I will try to cut a long story short. A tenant has just been advised by local council to stay at current property ( due to breakdown a relationship they can no longer afford it) and wait until the landlord gets a court order for eviction. Can the council legally advise this route of action? They have always maintained a good relationship with current landlord (that will certainly be soured) as well as destroying any credit rating they will have. Anyone else experienced this?
Unfortunately Councils and Charities all seem to be advising tenants to stay in properties until the Landlord gets a court order for eviction these days, it delays when they themselves need to take action to house these people but all at the cost of Landlords.....have a read of this thread "If you are a landlord you are a rogue." It is official.
In my considerable experience this is the 'default' position for all of councils with housing responsibilities, in the areas in which I let properties anyway. Of course it is not 'permitted' and Housing Minister after Housing Minister makes speeches and tells them that they should not do it - but they persist in doing so regardless. The situation is that because there is not enough housing, readily available to most Local Housing Authorities (Councils) they opt to tell those who would otherwise qualify, to be re-housed and present themselves earlier, that they should 'stay put and await the bailiffs'. As you say this has the effect of souring relations with their landlord, if they are otherwise on good terms. Many tenants put in this position by local housing authorities, actually do those that they advise to take this action a significant disservice. In my experience an increasing number of private sector landlords are opting to 'convert' their county court judgements, for the return of their premises, into High Court judgements which sometime brings the sheriffs officers to their tenants door much more quickly and requires the vacation of the property forthwith. The effect of this is that those that qualify, more often than not young families with children, show up unplanned and at very short notice, at the councils offices, and are placed in very poor quality emergency accommodation frequently located many miles away from schools, nurseries and any natural family support services. The whole process makes my blood boil.
What grounds are you evicting under, s21 or s8 (if s8 which grounds?)?
The Homeless Reduction Act 2017 certainly change the law and councils should be taking action earlier for s21 (unless council aware of arrears), definitely in producing a "Personalised Housing Plan" for the affected persons. Ask tenants (calm, polite..) if they have applied to the council as homeless and have they received a PHP. Then let us know tenant's response.
The position of waiting until court order, often until bailiffs due next day, stemmed from Thatcher's 1988 Housing Act 1988 s5(1) - see
Same happened to me in Southwark, London. In the Housing Office brochures are clearly stating ,that is illegal for tenants to make themselves homeless intentionally . The same office is advising them verbally to do it ,just like in your case. Tenants only left 1hr before Bailiff.
It's not illegal to make yourself homeless: But it does mean if council are aware then they get less/no help and not rehoused. Quite right to.
Sadly because so many landlords only issue s21s & not s8s & don;t copy s8s for rent arrears to council too many non-paying tenants get rehoused at council (ie taxpayers) expense and effort. ALWAYS serve s8, even for as little as 1p underpaid 1 day, and make sure council are aware.
Help & re-housing should be for those deserving it, not the crooks and cheats!.
The councils are using the court hearing to determine if the s21 notice is valid or not - as so many of them aren't.
A) They're not meant to do this, their own policy guidance says that they shouldn't and B) they don't tell the tenant that if they follow their advice they'll end up owing the landlord hundreds of pounds in court and bailiff fees.