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Inventory clerks say landlords pay the price of councils' S21 guidance

Councils and other bodies advising tenants to ignore valid Section 21 notices and waiting to be evicted by bailiffs are costing landlords dearly, according to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks.

The AIIC says data recently released by the National Landlords Association shows that 49 per cent of tenants who received a S21 say their local advice centre or local council had told them to ignore it.

The report suggests that councils and organisations like Citizen's Advice Bureau and Shelter actively encourage tenants to wait for bailiffs to evict them in order to qualify for social housing. Media reports suggest this is particularly commonplace in London and Birmingham.

“We have been discussing the unfairness of this for years amongst our membership – it's very common practice and our members have to face this situation on an almost daily basis,” says Patricia Barber, chair of the AIIC.

She says that it is deeply unfair that a landlord who serves a correct eviction notice – having potentially already lost several months' rent – is then faced with a tenant who refuses to move out.

The time between a Section 21 Notice being served and a subsequent visit from the bailiff can be several weeks, according to the AIIC, meaning that the landlord is still losing money.

There will then be additional costs for bailiffs, a locksmith and an inventory clerk – money which will be impossible to recoup, says Barber.

“From experience, a property vacated under these conditions will be left in a poor condition, often full of rubbish, including large items of furniture all of which need clearing. The property will usually require completely redecorating and cleaning and who will be paying for bringing the property back up to a lettable standard? The landlord” she says.

Barber questions the legality of this blatant discrimination against private landlords and says the advice given to their defaulting tenants will directly affect the landlord's bottom line and leave them with losses that they will struggle to recoup.

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    we have been waiting nearly 5 months for a tenant to be evicted under section 21 the courts in Newham just cannot cope.

    The councils etc should be sued for miss advising and costing landlords thousand of pounds in lost revenue and time.

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    So who will be the first to take a council to court?

    All volunteers take one step forward please.

  • Jon Wilson

    There should be more done to help people who need it to find affordable housing before notice periods expire. Simple in theory but not it seems in practice because rents are very high and there are not enough other options. Homelessness law could be more progressive such as in Wales and could go even further.

    Unfortunately at present there are not enough incentives and initiatives to help landlords and agents accommodate the growing number of lower income tenants coming into the market.

    As a housing adviser I must say that I don't think it's helpful to advise a tenant to remain inactive when given notice and there usually is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if they do so.

    I don't wish to be controversial and I value all the info I get receiving this bulletin (which is considerable in its scope and interest) but there is a growing housing crisis and it seems UK government policy is just ignoring it effectively and is contradictory in many ways.

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