Councils tell tenants to stay put until legally evicted
By |Published On: 11th January 2016|

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Councils tell tenants to stay put until legally evicted

By |Published On: 11th January 2016|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

An extraordinary move from councils across Britain is seeing many calling on tenants to stay put in buy-to-let property when asked to leave by their landlord.

This in turn has left many law-abiding landlords hundreds of pounds out of pocket after paying legal costs.


Councils are said to be using this tactic as the latest attempt to deal with Britain’s housing shortage.

Remarkably, some owners returning to their properties after living abroad are being faced with tenants refusing to move until they are legally evicted.

The eviction process takes around four months on average and is extremely costly for landlords. Experts believe the ‘sit-in’ problem is more acutely found in London and Birmingham, where demand for rental homes far outweighs supply.

David Lawrenson of, described the councils’ plan as, ‘stupid,’ before adding that, ‘it doesn’t encourage landlords to take on people who are financially vulnerable.’[1]


Landlords having to deal with tenants staying put in their homes has gradually got worse as Britain’s house shortage continues to escalate. According to Rightmove, almost five people compete for every property available to let across the country. This figure rises to one in nine for rental property in the capital, as Rightmove says demand is at an, ‘all time high.’[1]

A rise in population and immigration has not been matched by the country’s housing stock. As a result, rents have spiralled.

For many, particularly in the South, suitable properties are unaffordable and would-be buyers are turning to local authorities for assistance. Those that have approached councils are being told that they cannot get help unless they are homeless and are being advised to stay put in rental accommodation until they are legally forced out.

Waiting game

Alan Ward, Chairman of the Residential Landlords Association, said it is a standard procedure for tenants to be told to stay put, providing there was no other homes in the area that they could afford. Ward said that tenants needed to wait until they were evicted before looking for a council property.

Councils tell tenants to stay put until legally evicted

Councils tell tenants to stay put until legally evicted

Mr Ward said that the problem is, ‘becoming acute in some areas, not necessarily because there are fewer homes due to landlords exiting the market, but because there are more people seeking them. It partly comes back to immigration, as there are lots of people coming to this country and they typically want to rent properties.’[1]

‘The council only gets involved when a tenant is looking for social housing. Tenants are told they cannot be rehoused until the bailiffs are at the door,’ he added.[1]

Section 21

Landlords faced with tenants who will not vacate their property need to serve a Section 21 notice. Should the fixed term in the contract have already ended, this gives the tenant two months to find a new property.

If the tenant is unable to find a new home after two months, the landlord can apply for an eviction in court. Following this, it can take between six and eight weeks for the judge to grant a possession order.



About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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