Revealed: the cost of bad eviction advice
Article Posted - 14th September 2016
The average cost to a landlord of their tenant being advised to ignore an eviction notice stands at nearly £7,000, according to a recent survey of landlords.*
Private tenants are often advised by local councils and agencies to ignore eviction notices served by their landlords – and to wait until evicted by bailiffs – in order to qualify as homeless and thus eligible for rehousing.
The latest findings from the National Landlords Association (NLA) reveal that the mean total cost of a tenant being advised to remain in a property is £6763.
In addition, half (47 per cent) of tenants who have been served a section 21 eviction notice by their 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 news comes as the National Landlords Association (NLA) is due to give evidence to the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee today (Wednesday 14 September) on the Homelessness Reduction Bill.
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 and in March, 2016, the then Housing Minister Brandon Lewis wrote to all local councils in England to clarify homelessness guidance.
Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the NLA, said:
“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.
“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.”
*NLA Quarterly Landlord Panel – Q2 2016 (777 respondents)
**NLA Quarterly Tenant Panel – Q2 2016 (946 respondents)
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