Experts Criticise Councils’ Advice on Section 21 Notices

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) has spoken out against advice that tenants are being given by councils and other bodies regarding section 21 notices.

Tenants are allegedly being told to ignore valid section 21 notices and await eviction from bailiffs. The AIIC claims that this is blatant discrimination against private landlords, which costs them dearly.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) recently reported that a huge 49% of tenants who received a section 21 notice say their local advice centre or council had told them to ignore it.

Experts Criticise Councils' Advice on Section 21 Notices

Experts Criticise Councils’ Advice on Section 21 Notices

The report indicates that councils and other organisations, such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Shelter, actively encourage private tenants to wait for bailiffs to evict them in order to qualify for social housing. This is apparently particularly common in London and Birmingham.

The Chair of the AIIC, Patricia Barber, comments: “We have been discussing the unfairness of this for years amongst our membership – it’s very common practice and our members have to face this situation on an almost daily basis.”

She insists that it is incredibly unfair on private landlords who serve correct section 21 notices, as they may have already lost several months’ rent, while they then face tenants that refuse to move out.

The AIIC says that it can be several weeks between a section 21 notice being served and a subsequent visit from the bailiff, meaning that the landlord is still losing money.

Landlords then face additional costs for bailiffs, a locksmith and an inventory clerk – funds that will be impossible to recoup, according to Barber.

“From experience, a property vacated under these conditions will be left in a poor condition, often full of rubbish, including large items of furniture, all of which need clearing,” she explains. “The property will usually require completely redecorating and cleaning, and who will be paying for bringing the property back up to a lettable standard? The landlord.”1 

Barber questions the legality of this practice against private landlords, saying that the advice given to tenants will directly affect a landlord’s finances and leave them with losses.

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