My Tenant Says The Council Have TOLD Them Not To Leave Is This Right?
If you are reading this blog because your tenant has been told the above, after you have told them you wish to take back your property and have served notice, the first thing to say is, you are not alone.
Hundreds of councils up and down the country have this ludicrous policy that by asking a tenant to stay put until evicted, they reduce the amount of people on their requiring housing list.
Most Landlords are quite shocked when they realise that they must go through the courts to obtain possession and this, if done via a solicitor will cost north of £1000 on average and this assumes no dispute from the tenant which can push the legal bills much higher.
Worse still, the time it takes to get a hearing depending upon the borough will be months away in most cases.
So what can you do next?
Well, it depends entirely upon your circumstances but if you wish to sell, it will be possible to do so with a tenant in place but the price achieved will depend upon factors such as the current rent and the price achieved will be less than the vacant possession value. In these circumstances, we can assist with the sale through our auction partners if this is a route you choose.
“But I want to get the best price”
Ok then we need to start proceedings against the tenant, as vacant possession is usually the only way to obtain the best price. The notice that you serve will be dependent upon the circumstances but we would typically suggest that only a mandatory ground notice be served, if there are no arrears this will typically be a section 21 notice, these have recently changed so you need to ensure that you are serving the correct one. The section 21 notices will generally be giving your tenant (s) two months from the rent due date to vacate. It is often after you have served this notice that you may have received a letter from your local authority, telling you that your tenant does not wish to be difficult. However, this generally means that they have sought advice and the council have told them to sit tight until evicted.
It’s Not The Tenants’ Fault
Please bear in mind that it is not the tenants’ fault, it is the way local authorities define their council housing lists that is in my view a terrible waste of time and money. In the end, any Landlords forced to evict (usually) housing benefit tenants ( as these are the ones most likely to go to the council for advice) are very likely to be alienated from ever letting to benefit tenants again. So much for shortening the housing queue with this strategy then!
Primary legislation to change this is currently going through parliament but this will not help you right now.
Ducks in a row
Even if you have already served on the tenant, I would suggest that you double check, preferably with the help of a competent solicitor that you have served notice correctly. This will include deposit protection being in place, a gas safety certificate and EPC should also have been given to the tenant. Failure to get the notice right now will inevitably lead to failure to obtain possession in court which will require that you start all over again, from a new two-month notice, starting from the next rent due date!
So if you need further help do get in touch, good luck!