Why are the council telling my tenant to stay after notice?

Why are the council telling my tenant to stay after notice? 

Annoyingly, this is something that can crop up occasionally. If you have issued a possession notice and your tenant has been unable to find appropriate accommodation to move on to, they may have sought help with their housing from the local council. In this instance it is possible that they will be advised to sit tight in your property until the very last moment (usually when enforcement is involved). 

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Ultimately, this because until a tenant is made involuntarily homeless, a council do not have a duty to house them. Frankly, as a decision-making process, it sucks. If the tenant is not physically removed from the property, the locks changed, and they are left stood on the streets with their belongings – they are not considered to be ‘involuntarily’ homeless. If they can still access the property, but choose to leave it, they are making themselves voluntarily homeless and the council do not have to help.

It’s frustrating for EVERYONE involved. You as the landlord, as you’re not able to get your property back, and you have to fork out for bailiffs. Your tenant, who has sought help, and is not having to rest uneasy, nervous at every knock on the door. And even the council themselves, as they will have to deal with understandably upset, angry tenants, with very little time to help them – it can’t be easy finding emergency accommodation at all times of the day and night, when bailiffs have finished doing what they’re doing. 

There’s no denying the system is a weird one, but unfortunately, there is very little you can do if that is what your tenant has been advised.  It could be helpful to try to reason with your tenants, maybe consider the cost of instructing bailiffs – how much would it cost you and would this money be better spent helping your tenants move on? Sounds counterproductive, but if they are stuck in a situation when approaching the council as homeless is their only option, they may be open to leaving if they have a little funding behind them to help secure their next step. 

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