Landlords are currently left paying the price for tenants who choose ignore a valid section 21 notice, with councils stating they must wait to be evicted by bailiffs, says the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).
The AIIC says that when they analysed data from the National Landlords’ Association, 49% of tenants who had received an S21 notice said their council or local advice centre had told the tenant to ignore it.
One reason for this, says the AIIC, is that by waiting for bailiffs to evict them, the tenant may be able to qualify for social housing. This practice, according to media reports, is now commonplace in cities like Birmingham and London.
The AIIC's chair Pat Barber said: “We have discussed this unfairness amongst our membership for years and it is now common practice with members having to face this situation on a daily basis.”
'Deeply unfair' for those landlords who serve an eviction notice
She added that the situation is now 'deeply unfair' for those landlords who serve an eviction notice correctly but who have a tenant who refuses to then move out, potentially causing the loss of several months in rent.
In addition, there's also the time between the S21 being served and a visit from a bailiff which can take up to several weeks, which means the landlord loses even more money.
On top of this, the landlord will also face costs for the bailiff, an inventory clerk, and a locksmith.
Ms Barber said: “From our experience, properties vacated under these conditions are left in a poor condition with rubbish and large items of furniture which need clearing. The property usually requires cleaning and redecorating, with a landlord paying to bring the property up to a lettable standard.”
She went on to question the legality of the discrimination against private landlords, with the advice being given to tenants affecting a landlord's profitability and leaving them with losses they struggle to recoup.
Landlords told to prepare for Universal Credit
Meanwhile, the Residential Landlords’ Association is urging landlords to prepare for the rolling out of Universal Credit.
The new method for paying benefits is already in place in Manchester, Liverpool, and the Wirral, and is now being rolled out, according to the Department for Work and Pensions, in Newcastle, Bath, Bridgewater, Rugby, and Lowestoft. More centres will be added from July, with all Jobcentre Plus areas completed by the summer of 2018.
The RLA says the introduction is often done at short notice, and between 50% and 60% of landlords have negotiated direct payments of their tenant’s rent. Landlords need to understand how Universal Credit will impact them and their business, says the RLA, and to not rely on support or information from the DWP.