LETTING & ESTATE AGENT

Bad eviction advice can prove costly

Bad eviction advice can prove costly

Unfortunately for private landlords looking to regain possession of their rental home, private tenants are often advised by local councils and agencies to ignore eviction notices served, wait until evicted by bailiffs in order to qualify as homeless and thus eligible for re-housing.

Almost half - 47% - of tenants who have been served a section 21 eviction notice by their landlord said that they were advised to ignore it by their local council or an advice agency such as Shelter or the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB).

The study by the National Landlords Association (NLA), which gave evidence to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee yesterday on the Homelessness Reduction Bill, shows that the mean total cost of a tenant being advised to remain in a property is £6,763.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill, as introduced by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, amends the Housing Act 1996 to expand councils' duties to prevent homelessness by:

+ Providing that Section 21 Eviction Notices are proof an applicant is threatened with homelessness.

+ Doubling the definition of threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days.

The NLA has long campaigned against councils advising tenants to ignore eviction notices, as Richard Lambert, chief executive Officer at the NLA, explained: "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."

He continued: "Possession cases can take a very long time to resolve, and aside from putting an unnecessary strain on everyone involved, not to mention the Courts, these findings demonstrate just how costly the advice can be.

"Bad, or incorrect, 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.

"We hope that this Bill will achieve its aims of reducing homelessness by giving tenants the support they need while incentivising the good work that landlords already do in communities across the country."


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