Tenants who are advised by local councils and advice agencies to ignore eviction notices could cost the average landlord almost £7,000.
The National Landlords Association (NLA) claims that many private tenants are advised by local authorities and organisations such as Shelter and the Citizen's Advice Bureau to ignore eviction notices, wait to be evicted by bailiffs and subsequently qualify for rehousing.
A study by the organisation found this practice costs the average landlord £6763 in lost rent and additional costs.
The NLA says that 47% of tenants who have been served a Section 21 notice have been told to ignore it.
Yesterday, the NLA gave evidence on the Homelessness Reduction Bill to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.
The bill, which was launched by Bob Blackman MP, aims to reduce homelessness by amending the Housing Act 1996.
It intends to expand councils' duties to prevent homelessness by accepting that Section 21 eviction notices are proof an applicant is threatened with homelessness and doubling the definition of homelessness from 28 to 56 days.
“We have consistently campaigned on this issue, but despite many warnings to councils and agencies, this damaging advice is still being given out to tenants,” says Richard Lambert, the NLA's chief executive.
“Possession cases can take a very long time to resolve, and aside from putting an unnecessary strain on everyone involved, these findings demonstrate just how costly the advice can be.”
He adds: “Bad advice hinders rather than helps landlords and tenants who are often already in a desperate situation.”
“It will inevitably damage landlords’ confidence in the local authority and tenants may be put at much greater risk of having nowhere to live.”
The NLA pledged its support for the Homelessness Reduction Bill when it was tabled and Lambert says the organisation hopes it achieves its aims by supporting tenants and incentivising landlords.
The bill is due for a second reading in the House of Commons on October 28 and still has to pass through the House of Lords before receiving Royal Assent, which is when it would become law.
Earlier this year, Patricia Barber of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks spoke out about the issue of councils and organisations advising tenants to ignore eviction notices.
She said that rental properties vacated under these circumstances are often left in poor condition and so landlords have to foot the bill for maintenance and repairs alongside additional costs and lost rent.