Councils tell tenants they should wait for bailiffs before moving out

New findings reveal that an increasing number of private tenants are being instructed by local councils to ignore eviction notices served by landlords, and wait for the bailiffs to turn up before vacating their rented properties.

The reasoning behind the surprising advice all boils down to rehousing support; which councils fear tenants might not qualify for if they unknowingly move out too soon.

Recent studies show that a staggering 49% of tenants who have been served with section 21 notices by private landlords have been told to ignore them by their local council. Advice agencies, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), or Shelter, have been dishing out similar advice to confused tenants.

The figures shine a fresh light on the scale of this recent Landlord-Tenant issue, highlighted of late by the Telegraph, which has been exacerbated by the increasing use of private landlords by local authorities to discharge their housing duties.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) says that the advice is increasingly being offered primarily because councils are refusing to accept tenants’ housing applications before an order for possession has been granted by a Court, despite Government guidance confirming that all housing applications should be accepted from the exact time notice is served upon the tenant.

NLA Chairman, Carolyn Uphill, has 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 those involved”.

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Nigel is the Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett.