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View Full Version : Evicting a Housing Benefit Tenant.. with a twist



rizkyy
12-12-2011, 17:35 PM
Hi everyone,

Hope you can help.

I have had a housing benefit tenant for a while now. She has been very good and paying on time. However, I have informed her that as I plan to get married soon, I will need the property back otherwise I will be out on the street (a bit dramatic i know). Anyway, She was fine with it and we are on great terms.

She went to her local council and they informed me they needed formal eviction procedures. So I handed a Section 21 Notice with more than 3 months notice to expire in May this year. She passed this to the council and they acknowledged the document.

The council then stated that they would only find alternative accomodation for my tenant once they receive a court order.

I am unsure what I need to do next. Up until this point, I believe I have done everything by the book. However my concerns are:

1. Can I evict a Housing Benefit tenant on the grounds that I simply want the property back.

2. As she has paid rent on time every month, does that give no chance in the courts?

3. If the above 2 points are ok, what do I need to do next? I heard that the accelerated possession order procedure has changed! I have all the necessary documents and evidence to start this.

4. How long will take till i can get the court order!!

Hope the above makes sense.

Look forward to hearing from anyone that can shine a light!

Thanks

thesaint
12-12-2011, 17:55 PM
A "Housing benefit tenant" is no different to any other.
A Section 21 notice is a "no fault" notice. It just means that you require your property back.

The council may well re-house your tenant before the courts order it.

Are you 100% certain that it has been served correctly? If so.

Make an application to court now.
Once you have done so, inform the housing benefit department, and take a copy of the court papers into their office for them to have.

This should then put a rocket up them. Also, tell the tenant to contact them regularly saying that the threat of eviction has so far cost them the costs of your court application(£175.00) and the costs will grow if they are forced to wait until the bailiffs remove them.

Hopefully, you will get your property back before then, but be prepared to have to wait until they are "forcibly" removed.

rizkyy
12-12-2011, 18:01 PM
thesaint. thank you....

I have gone over the necessary documents and i have done it all by the book but the looks of it.

Couple of more questions for you...

1. Does it matter than the S21 notice expired at the end of may?

2. Do I give the HB department the papers once they are processed by the court or before (like a copy).

2. Do you know how long the process takes from application to completion?

3. When you mean forcibly removed.. essentially, do you mean the council rehousing them or when a court order comes through?

Thank you for your advice so far... its put my mind at ease.. what would my wife to be think if it is a problem we couldnt have our own place!!!!

boletus
12-12-2011, 18:37 PM
This is taken from Hansard

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/vo051025/halltext/51025h04.htm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Jim Fitzpatrick);

In the case of Birmingham, my hon. Friend has cited examples from his constituents who advise him that they have been told by the city council to stay put in their homes until the bailiffs arrive—examples which add up to bad practice. I share his objectives of wanting to tackle bad practice; that is why officials are working closely with local authorities to improve their understanding of the causes of homelessness and the successful solutions they can put in place to address them.

My hon. Friend will appreciate that I am unable to comment on the individual cases he mentioned, but our policies and guidance for local authorities on how they should be tackling and preventing homelessness are clear. Local authorities should provide people with support to prevent homelessness at the earliest possible opportunity. This may involve helping tenants to continue to live in their current accommodation where possible or helping them to find alternative accommodation. It is not good practice simply to advise homeless applicants to remain in a property until eviction and we advise against that. For example, authorities could consult landlords to come to a mutual agreement which could allow a tenant to continue to occupy the accommodation for a reasonable period—and continue to pay rent—until the authority is able to help to find alternative accommodation. Hopefully, in this way the need for a possession order can be avoided and there will be a solution that meets the needs of all parties.

Which council is it?- feel free not to answer if it jeopordises your situation.

LesleyAnne
12-12-2011, 19:32 PM
Just one additional point, if you do intend to use the court route to gain possession. Did you take a deposit from the tenant at the start of the tenancy? If so, have you protected it in a govenment scheme AND given the tenant the prescribed information from that scheme? If not, then your S21 is invalid and will need to be issued again.

Armin
12-12-2011, 19:37 PM
Please correct me if I get something wrong. Until now she's been renting privately, but now that you want the property back the preferred option is for her to rent from the council, not seek a private landlord. In order to gain sufficient priority from the council, you and her will work together to have her evicted by the courts.

Have I got that straight? Because if I did, then I think she is abusing the system and you are facilitating this! Who is she that she deserves priority over people who have in many cases waited many years to get a council home the honest way?

She should rent privately while have her name on a waiting list, like everybody else and not abuse a mechanism which is meant to keep people in dire straits from ending up on the streets!

rizkyy
12-12-2011, 19:48 PM
Lesleyanne.. Seems like i have to go through the court route to regain possession as that is how the council will allow things to proceed.

There was no deposit as the tenant found the property and not the council... unstead they have signwd a rent guarantee form which will ensure rents are paid. i made sure this was a legitimate alternative.

Hope that clears that up

R

rizkyy
12-12-2011, 19:50 PM
Boletus.... No problem... the council is the london borough of ealing.

Do you think i should draft a letter to them.. if so.. what do you think it should consist if?

rizkyy
12-12-2011, 19:56 PM
Armin... Not at all. She has always been a council tenant.. Or rather, housing benefit.

No one has been cheating the system.

LesleyAnne
12-12-2011, 19:57 PM
Have I got that straight? Because if I did, then I think she is abusing the system and you are facilitating this! Who is she that she deserves priority over people who have in many cases waited many years to get a council home the honest way?

You are correct and unfortunately that is the way it works. Councils/Housing Associations will only re-home tenants who have been formally evicted. It happens all the time and is probably working the system, but the way the council criteria is set, that is the way it is done. Ultimately, LL wants their property back, and only way to get tenant to leave is by court order (councils actually advise tenants to sit tight and wait for this to happen so it is not altogether the LL's fault), so that is they way the LL has to go to secure possession of their property!

It may not altogether work in tenant's favour though, as they will likely be offered properties in areas other than those they choose, and could even be given emergency hostel/B&B type accommodation if council has nothing else.

thesaint
13-12-2011, 11:26 AM
thesaint. thank you....

I have gone over the necessary documents and i have done it all by the book but the looks of it.

Couple of more questions for you...

1. Does it matter than the S21 notice expired at the end of may?


No, if it has been served correctly, it is valid "forever".




2. Do I give the HB department the papers once they are processed by the court or before (like a copy).


Give them a copy after, as this shows that you have started the process to have them removed. Tell the tenant to also put pressure on them to try and rehouse them.




2. Do you know how long the process takes from application to completion?


Months. How many? Good question.




3. When you mean forcibly removed.. essentially, do you mean the council rehousing them or when a court order comes through?


Whichever comes first.

Darth Wookie
13-12-2011, 11:32 AM
This is taken from Hansard

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/vo051025/halltext/51025h04.htm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Jim Fitzpatrick);

In the case of Birmingham, my hon. Friend has cited examples from his constituents who advise him that they have been told by the city council to stay put in their homes until the bailiffs arrive—examples which add up to bad practice. I share his objectives of wanting to tackle bad practice; that is why officials are working closely with local authorities to improve their understanding of the causes of homelessness and the successful solutions they can put in place to address them.

My hon. Friend will appreciate that I am unable to comment on the individual cases he mentioned, but our policies and guidance for local authorities on how they should be tackling and preventing homelessness are clear. Local authorities should provide people with support to prevent homelessness at the earliest possible opportunity. This may involve helping tenants to continue to live in their current accommodation where possible or helping them to find alternative accommodation. It is not good practice simply to advise homeless applicants to remain in a property until eviction and we advise against that. For example, authorities could consult landlords to come to a mutual agreement which could allow a tenant to continue to occupy the accommodation for a reasonable period—and continue to pay rent—until the authority is able to help to find alternative accommodation. Hopefully, in this way the need for a possession order can be avoided and there will be a solution that meets the needs of all parties.

Which council is it?- feel free not to answer if it jeopordises your situation.


One of the most useful responses in some time.
Glad to see councils being reminded that their encouragement and condoning of eviction is a farce. To many tenants who are ousted through a legitimate section21 notice, rather than through their own fault (arrears, asb, etc), having a court order against them is an abomination.

rizkyy
13-12-2011, 11:51 AM
No, if it has been served correctly, it is valid "forever".



Give them a copy after, as this shows that you have started the process to have them removed. Tell the tenant to also put pressure on them to try and rehouse them.



Months. How many? Good question.



Whichever comes first.

Thank you for this... just to re-iterate, the process I have carried out with regards to my S21 has been spot on.

However, when I signed via the council, I signed a rent guarantee form instead of a deposit (naturally, as the tenant is via Housing Benefit and thus wouldnt be able to pay). It shouldnt be a problem should it?

I have all forms, witness statements and documents needed. Its just the deposit thats the issue?

Sorry if i am repeating myself.. just want to be sure.

Thanks

Armin
13-12-2011, 12:22 PM
It may not altogether work in tenant's favour though, as they will likely be offered properties in areas other than those they choose, and could even be given emergency hostel/B&B type accommodation if council has nothing else.

Not just that, the tenant also faces difficulties to ever rent privately again. What will they say when a tenant referencing service (or potential landlord) asks "Have you ever been evicted" ? Lie?

The court case will also be matter of public record. The other day I used a tenant reference service and got back a neat report which included court case numbers. Based on the information provided I stopped considering that tenants application.

I can only reiterate that I consider people on benefits forcing an eviction in order to get priority housing to be abusing the system and so are landlords who are in cahoots with such tenants.

But I believe that people get what's coming to them. She might save herself some money by abusing the system to get priority housing, but she might get well get stuck in the same hole for the rest of her life.

thesaint
13-12-2011, 12:25 PM
However, when I signed via the council, I signed a rent guarantee form instead of a deposit (naturally, as the tenant is via Housing Benefit and thus wouldnt be able to pay). It shouldnt be a problem should it?



The courts are interested in any monies paid as a deposit are protected.
There is nothing to protect, as no monies were paid.

Emma1973
13-12-2011, 13:15 PM
I can only reiterate that I consider people on benefits forcing an eviction in order to get priority housing to be abusing the system and so are landlords who are in cahoots with such tenants.

But I believe that people get what's coming to them. She might save herself some money by abusing the system to get priority housing, but she might get well get stuck in the same hole for the rest of her life.

I think you are being massively unfair and quite rude. The LL is not in cahoots with her, he simply wants his property back. She has gone to the council as many people would do for advice and is simply following it. I'm not sure she is actually happy about moving from her home with the possibility after ending up in a dodgy area with no choice over where she lives.

And theres not exactly a wealth of LL's out there who are willing to take on a HB tenant particularly if she doesnt have a deposit, first months rent or guarantor, the OP is the exception. Social housing is for people in need and she is rightly in need having been evicted through no fault of her own.

Armin
13-12-2011, 13:49 PM
I think you are being massively unfair and quite rude. The LL is not in cahoots with her, he simply wants his property back. She has gone to the council as many people would do for advice and is simply following it. I'm not sure she is actually happy about moving from her home with the possibility after ending up in a dodgy area with no choice over where she lives.

And theres not exactly a wealth of LL's out there who are willing to take on a HB tenant particularly if she doesnt have a deposit, first months rent or guarantor, the OP is the exception. Social housing is for people in need and she is rightly in need having been evicted through no fault of her own.

I think it's massively unfair that people who have been waiting many years are being queue-jumped by people who haven't.

What OP's tenant should have done is to join the waiting list for council housing like everyone else already some years ago and right now she should search for a new private landlord and not coordinate with the landlord how to play the system to unfairly gain priority over others.

If however she has been looking for private landlords for weeks and weeks and has been turned down dozens of times, then I will offer my sincere apologies. But it didn't read this way.

rizkyy
04-01-2012, 10:53 AM
Thank you everyone for the advice you have given.

I have one more question. If I file the court papers for accelerated possession and the court gives the eviction order. Does she have to leave within the standard 14 days of the notice or can I allow her to stay a tad longer.

The reason I ask this is that, I need to move in around the end of may but I dont want to file the papers too late and at the same time, I dont want to file them too early that she may have to leave before then.

Is it possible to agree a date once the notice has been served or is it out of my hands? Hope this does not sound too silly?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Snorkerz
04-01-2012, 12:09 PM
If the tenant does not leave upon the judges order, it is up to you whether or when you instruct court bailiffs. This is an imprecise science, the bailiff process cold take 2-6 weeks depending on how busy your local bailffs are.

If tenant is entitled to council housing, the council will have something organised on or before the date the judge orders.