Housing benefit tenant served section 21, Council waiting for legal action to evict!

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    Housing benefit tenant served section 21, Council waiting for legal action to evict!

    Hello,

    I've correctly served a section 21 notice on my tenant (for mid-December), who says she works part time and is recipient to housing benefit.

    I visited the property yesterday, and she told me that although the section 21 notice had been served, and that she acknowledged receipt, that she was unlikely to move after the expiration date on the section 21, since her council told her that 'it was their policy to only relocate a tenant on housing benefit when legal action had commenced to enforce the section 21', and that they had nowhere to move her to.

    Is this true, and are councils taking such a deplorable stance on the relocation of tenants whom they are paying housing benefit towards?

    The tenant has also taken the liberty of buying 2 very large goldfish tanks and placing them in my living room. Might this present any difficulty in her eviction and relocation process? It will certainly add to the cost of moving her.

    Is there any advantage I can take from knowing this information now, to ensure that the tenant is relocated sooner?

    A few ideas I was mulling over:

    1. I want no further relationship with the tenant, if moving is not an option - perhaps I can renew the tenancy, at a significantly greater rent, making the council my agent for the tenant, on the condition that they make repairs at their own cost when requested by the tenant. I would intend to make the place unfurnished prior to this to limit my liability if this helped. I would want to avoid any chance of the tenant claiming ownership to the property however.

    2. I would like to commence legal action sooner if the council's stance is effectively an illegal practice - I otherwise require the property as soon as possible, and have had plenty of issues with this tenant that would make me happy to see her leave as quickly as possible.

    3. The fixed term tenancy ends on the section 21 notice expiry, what options do I have to increase the rent, and is there such a thing as a reasonable or unreasonable increase, if the tenant does not move?

    4. Although I protected the deposit, I served the prescribed information on the tenant too late - exposing me to a claim. If the tenancy switches to an ongoing periodic, what is my exposure after the fixed term expiry, and is there a potential for 'renewing' the deposit submission to limit this, if a new fixed term (has to be / is) agreed?

    Many thanks for any advice and replies.
    Kind Regards,
    ________________
    AG Landlord

    #2
    Originally posted by AGlandlord View Post
    she told me that although the section 21 notice had been served, and that she acknowledged receipt, that she was unlikely to move after the expiration date on the section 21,
    Surely you are aware that a s.21 notice does not oblige the T to vacate. It merely entitles you to apply for possession after notice expiry.

    The tenant has also taken the liberty of buying 2 very large goldfish tanks and placing them in my living room. Might this present any difficulty in her eviction and relocation process? It will certainly add to the cost of moving her.
    T's moving costs are not your problem.

    1. I want no further relationship with the tenant, if moving is not an option - perhaps I can renew the tenancy, at a significantly greater rent, making the council my agent for the tenant, on the condition that they make repairs at their own cost when requested by the tenant. I would intend to make the place unfurnished prior to this to limit my liability if this helped. I would want to avoid any chance of the tenant claiming ownership to the property however.
    You cannot force the tenant to agree a renewal contract. What you can do, if/when the tenancy is periodic, is serve notice to increase the rent under s.13 Housing Act 1988.

    You cannot compel the council to act as your agent, nor pass on your repairing obligations/expenses to the council.

    You cannot remove furnishings from the property during the tenancy.

    The tenant cannot 'claim ownership' of the rental property.

    2. I would like to commence legal action sooner if the council's stance is effectively an illegal practice - I otherwise require the property as soon as possible, and have had plenty of issues with this tenant that would make me happy to see her leave as quickly as possible.
    You may apply for possession after the s.21 notice expires.

    3. The fixed term tenancy ends on the section 21 notice expiry, what options do I have to increase the rent, and is there such a thing as a reasonable or unreasonable increase, if the tenant does not move?
    When the fixed term tenancy expires, then, if no renewal is agreed, and the T is in occupation at fixed term expiry, a statutory periodic tenancy will arise, replacing the fixed term tenancy. As I said above, you can then serve notice under s.13. The T is entitled to challenge the increase, in which case the level of rent will be determined by a rent assessment committee. Obviously, the committee would be unlikely to agree to an unreasonable increase.

    4. Although I protected the deposit, I served the prescribed information on the tenant too late - exposing me to a claim. If the tenancy switches to an ongoing periodic, what is my exposure after the fixed term expiry, and is there a potential for 'renewing' the deposit submission to limit this, if a new fixed term (has to be / is) agreed?
    There is nothing you can do to rectify your failure to comply, and whatever happens - whether the tenancy becomes periodic, or you agree a renewal, etc - you remain exposed to a claim.

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