Britain is currently facing an accelerating housing crisis that is leading to problems such as overcrowding and poor quality homes. Such is the severity of the crisis that many, such as Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, believe it constitutes the “biggest risk” to the UK economy.

In an attempt to deal with the crisis, councils have adopted a policy of advising tenants to ignore legitimate requests from landlords to leave their properties and, instead, await formal eviction. Tenants are increasingly being told that their local council will be unable to assist in providing social housing unless and until they, quite literally, have nowhere else to go.

From a landlord’s perspective, the process of formal eviction is both lengthy and expensive. It typically involves serving the tenant with a notice under the Housing Act 1988 and, following expiry of the notice, issuing court proceedings at a cost of 280.00. If an order for possession is granted and the tenant remains in occupation, it may be necessary to instruct bailiffs, typically at a cost of approximately 110.00.

From a tenant’s point of view, the uncertainty created by this policy, coupled with the requirement to attend court as a defendant and thereafter being forced to leave a property by a bailiff is an extremely stressful prospect.

As a result of the above, it seems that the advice being given by councils is detrimental to both landlords and tenants. As well as the costs borne by landlords in recovering possession of their properties and the daunting lengths tenants are required to go to in order to secure social housing, such advice is also likely to discourage landlords from renting properties to those who are financially vulnerable. Unfortunately, until a solution to the ongoing housing crisis is found, there is no alternative to the above action.

In the event of non-payment of rent or other breaches of a tenancy agreement, it is crucial that landlords seek specialist legal advice from a solicitor at the earliest possible stage, in order to minimise the delays associated with the above procedure for recovering possession.

Ellisons’ specialist property litigation team has significant experience in dealing with possession claims. If you are a landlord and require assistance with recovering possession of your property, please contact:

Lee Pearce on or 01206 719669

Joe Brightman on or 01206 719609