An alarming number of private tenants are being told by their local council to ignore eviction notices served by their landlords – and to wait for bailiffs to turn up before moving out – in order to qualify for rehousing support, according to new findings.
Half (49 per cent) of tenants who’ve been served with a section 21 notice by their private 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 (CAB).
The figures shine a light on the scale of the issue, which was recently highlighted by the Telegraph, and has been exacerbated by the increasing use of private landlords by local authorities to discharge their housing duties.
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.
NLA Chairman Carolyn Uphill said: “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.
“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.
“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.”