Landlords up and down the country are finding themselves in incredibly challenging situations, with tenants refusing to leave properties after being served with a Section 21 notice, on the advice of their Local Authority.
The practice, known as ‘gatekeeping’, encourages tenants to remain in a property until they are served with an eviction notice, in an attempt to keep the number of homeless people on council books to a minimum. However, many landlords are being left in an impossible situation if they want to sell the property or move, as the process between issuing a Section 21 notice and having tenants evicted can take as long as six months.
Purchasing Director at Quick Move Now, Rhys Luke, explains:
Landlords who want to regain possession of their property must issue the property’s tenants with a Section 21 notice, which gives them at least two months to find alternative accommodation.
Unfortunately, due to concerns about the number of homeless people on council books, many Local Authorities are advising tenants to remain in the property until they are taken to court and served with an eviction notice. Some councils are saying that if a tenant does move our before they are taken to court, the council will be under no obligation to provide council housing.
In effect, Local Authorities are forcing people into becoming bad tenants. If they leave the property when requested, they are likely to forfeit their right to council housing, but if they stay and wait for court proceedings they may well be issued with a County Court Judgement (CCJ), that will then make it impossible for them to re-enter the private rental market.
Market conditions are already difficult for landlords, with changes to tax relief and increasing stamp duty; having to go through the stress of taking tenants to court is unreasonable and completely against recommendations from central government.
Central government clearly states that it is unreasonable for a tenant to continue to occupy a property beyond the date given in the Section 21 notice and authorities should not treat tenants as intentionally homeless, and therefore forfeiting their right to council housing, unless it would have been reasonable for them to remain in the property.