Housing Minister Brandon Lewis has written to all local councils in England in order to clarify homelessness guidance following pressure from the National Landlords Association (NLA).
The NLA conducted research earlier this year that showed an alarming number of private tenants are being told by their local council to ignore eviction notices served by their landlords – and to wait for bailiffs to turn up before moving out – in order to qualify for rehousing support.
The NLA has consistently warned that the advice was increasingly being offered because councils refuse to accept tenants’ housing applications before an order for possession has been granted by a court, despite guidance from central government that confirms all housing applications should be accepted from the time notice is served on the tenant.
Lewis' letter says that: “The statutory Homelessness Code of Guidance, which local authorities are required by law to have regard to, is clear on this matter.
“It contains guidance on how authorities should treat homelessness applications in circumstances where a tenant has received a valid S21 notice.
“It says that housing authorities should not, in every case, insist upon a court order for possession and that no local authority should adopt a blanket policy in this respect.
“Unless a local authority has very good reason to depart from the statutory guidance, then they should not be placing households in this position.”