Tenant with rent arrears seeking 'help from the council'
Possession - Section 8 and Section 21

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8 Posts
1 month ago
Tenant owes over £10k, rent is a 4 figure sum, last rent received was last year. I've been receiving the housing element of their UC for the last few months (They never told me they were on UC and luckily in desperation I took a stab in the dark to ask the DWP in case they were) which is about 55% of the rent. Section 8 served end of Jan, awaiting hearing since frozen in this no mans land.

Tenant recently began to engage after 6+ month radio silence. Said they were going to try leave by end of tenancy (over a few weeks ago) and seeking assistance from the council. They are waiting to hear back from an application for 'backdated payments for the arrears' (presumably discretionary housing payment) and that they've been told to not leave before getting a letter from the court as that would be making oneself intentionaly homeless.

They seem to be under the impression that the council will settle the arrears, wait for them to become evicted and then rehouse them.

My understanding is the council will only pay off arrears if it means avoiding not only short term but longer term eviction? Even if they did pay it off now, given that the tenant is making no top up to the UC direct payment (55% of rent), 2+ months of arrears would reaccumulate after 5 months. In any case since the tenancy has already ended and become a periodic AST I would also have the option for a Section 21 (albeit with a 6 month notice), so it makes no sense for the council to pay off the arrears and not ask for a new 12 month tenancy which I understand is the norm? I'm not prepared to do that in any case as I just want the house back ASAP.

So how do I relay this to the tenant?

'The council will only pay off arrears if it means I sign a new TA, which I'm not prepared to do since I want the house back ASAP. If you wait for eviction for the council to intervene:

1. Your debt will continue to rise significantly,
2. Have a CCJ for this even bigger debt for 6 years
3. Receive the least desireable housing given the high arrears.

So why not leave now and stay with family or find a smaller house which is the same or less as your UC housing element (there is adequate housing available in the market within that budget), we can work out a payment plan for the arrears?'

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