The National Landlords’ Association says an alarming number of private tenants are being told by their local authorities to ignore eviction notices served by agents or landlords and to wait for bailiffs to turn up before moving out.
The NLA says the advice suggests that by adopting this tactic, the tenants qualify for rehousing support.
Around 49 per cent of tenants who have been served with a section 21 notice by their private landlord, or an agent acting on behalf of the 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 according to a survey of 950 by the NLA.
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.
“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” says NLA chairman Carolyn Uphill.
“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” says Uphill.
“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” she says.