Can I sue the council for Tortious interference for telling my tenant to wait for the bailiffs | Discuss

Welcome to the Property Forum where we can share our knowledge & experiences together to become better at what we do.

 Forum Terms & Conditions


Page not looking right? Please CLICK HERE to RELOAD

Enlarge/Change font size here

A A A

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —





 

— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_Related Related Topics sp_TopicIcon
Can I sue the council for Tortious interference for telling my tenant to wait for the bailiffs
30/03/2016
1:57 pm
Sharon Carmichael
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 242
Member Since:
12/10/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I have a tenant who is a young single mother of several children who is of course on Housing Benefit.  I want to sell my property.  She has been served a section 21 – her vacation date is the 17th April.  I have just spoken to her and she confirmed that she will not be moving on the 17th April because she went to the Council to ask them to re-house her and the first lady on the desk told her that she needed to wait until there was a Court Order and the Bailiffs had attended the property and evicted her before they could help.

Then she went to see her Housing officer who told her the same thing and added that if she went to the Citizens Advice or Shelter then they would get her a 42 day extension before the possession order was granted and then again, to wait until the Bailiffs had called and evicted them and then they could help.

I understood that the Government had told the Council’s that this was not the way they should behave and if they are interfering and telling the tenant to stay put and not move can I sue the council for 

Tortious interference

30/03/2016
2:09 pm
Paul Routledge
Admin
Forum Posts: 3415
Member Since:
20/05/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Sharon,

Here is a post that covered it http://www.landlordreferencing.....oving-out/

I think you would have a great case if you took them to court because the council is clearly interfering in a contract between you and your tenant and clearly denying you the contracted rent. 

30/03/2016
4:12 pm
OchTheNoo
Guest
Guests

The Council has a perfect right to dispense advice as it sees fitCool

30/03/2016
6:39 pm
Paul Routledge
Admin
Forum Posts: 3415
Member Since:
20/05/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I do not think they do if that advise is detrimental to a contract between two parties. 

Tortious interference is against the law and even council workers are not beyond the law even though some think they are and can do and say what they want.

The problem is most have never had to really earn money or balance the books because they are gifted money from tax payers so do not even understand the value of a real pound note.

Sharon you take them on and 

30/03/2016
7:08 pm
rigsby
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 314
Member Since:
02/05/2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

The councils only insist or advise a court order is required before they will re-house a tenant because it gives them more time (council & tenant) which is wrong and contrary to the Housing Act 1996. They argue that they can only re-house when the tenant is homelessness or threatened with homelessness.

So with that in mind you need to look at Section 175 of the above act which defines it 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/.....2/part/VII

Also if you take a look at 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/270376/130108_Supplementary_Guidance_on_the_Homelessness_changes_in_the_Localism_Act_2011_and_on_the_Homelessness_Order_2012.pdf

You will find the below sections

38.Section 195(4) provides that, for the purpose of section 195A(3), where an applicant has been given a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, the applicant must be treated as threatened with homelessness from the date the notice is issued. This means that the authority must take reasonable steps to secure that accommodation does not cease to be available for their occupancy.

39.Section 195A(2) provides that, for the purpose of section 195A(1), where an applicant has been given a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, the applicant must be treated as homeless from the date the notice expires. It is not necessary for a possession order to have been sought by the landlord for the application to be considered homeless.

So I am guessing if you can prove the council are giving out information contrary to the above it is arguably grounds to take action against the council.  

Hope that helps 

30/03/2016
9:35 pm
PaulBarrett
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 2892
Member Since:
12/10/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Rigs you seem to have it nailed, the only problem is the scum councils don't give a f###

What LL is going to seek to litigate!

They will just learn from their mistake and ensure they take on RGI quality tenants

Councils know they can get away with ignoring the law

They ignore Govt guidance

Councils are a law unto themselves

Very few LL have the financial resources to fight the council

Councils will do nothing to assist LL

They hate us as much as we hate them

If they could they would like to eradicate the PRS

That is their socialist dogma and they will do their damndest to ensure LL suffer financial loss

This is why many LL are refusing to have anything to so with councils and their dodgy homeless.

Of course councils are dependent on the PRS to house their homeless which of course is increasingly not happening as LL wise up to the way these scum councils behave

Most LL detest these councils

I fail to see the logic of these councils

They don't seem to appreciate that their actions are causing themselves more hassle and cost when LL refuse to assist them anymore

Yes we know as LL that there is a rental shortage for HB tenants

That is mostly down to council behaviour

Quite frankly more LL would be prepared to take on council homeless subject to councils agreeing to accept tenants as homeless on S21 and S8 expiration

But it would have to be on the basis of 2 months rent arrears which is 1 month and 1 day NOT the 8 weeks that councils incorrectly assume is the start date for S8 and S21 or the relevant dates

31/03/2016
8:12 am
rigsby
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 314
Member Since:
02/05/2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

PaulBarrett said
Rigs you seem to have it nailed, the only problem is the scum councils don't give a f###

But it would have to be on the basis of 2 months rent arrears which is 1 month and 1 day NOT the 8 weeks that councils incorrectly assume is the start date for S8 and S21 or the relevant dates

I totally agree, and if the councils can get away with it to suit themselves they will. I take great pleasure in quoting their own rules and regs at them. 

But there can be a big difference in attitudes between councils and I deal with 3 different ones. I have a excellent working arrangement with one who are very helpful and will get involved if there are issues that cant be resolved. They understand that if they dont work like that they will reduce the available housing stock to HB tenants.

The other two councils will do what they can with no concern to the landlord or the risk of losing a potential HB property. 

Paul regarding the 2 months in arrears I think all the councils now accept it = 1 month and 1 day now. They used to want 2 full months before paying HB direct to the landlord but there was a court case about 7/8 years ago which clarified it.

 

Back on the point of (most) councils advising tenants to stay until the bailiff or court order are obtained I guess what is needed is someone to take a council to a higher court or put the wheels in motion for a judicial review.   

31/03/2016
10:38 am
Landlord001
Guest
Guests

Hi Rigsby

Good post!  Do you have a link to the 1 month and 1 day ruling you refer to now used by councils?  My local council insisted on the tenant being 2 months in arrears before they paid me direct and that was as recent as last month.  I'd love to put that right!

Thanks.

 

001

31/03/2016
11:38 am
Sharon Carmichael
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 242
Member Since:
12/10/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi all,

Many, many thanks for the replies - especially Rigsby - I have used all information in a very succinct letter to the Council.  Interestingly the Housing Officer from Taff Housing rang today as the tenant had told him that I wanted to speak to him and when I asked him why he was giving the advice that she had to wait until the Bailiffs called thus incurring a debt  - his response was - well that is the procedure!!!

I informed him I would be emailing him to put him straight.

I await his reply with baited breath to see if he will make me take the Council to Court or not!!!

31/03/2016
12:14 pm
rigsby
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 314
Member Since:
02/05/2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Landlord001 said
Hi Rigsby

Good post!  Do you have a link to the 1 month and 1 day ruling you refer to now used by councils?  My local council insisted on the tenant being 2 months in arrears before they paid me direct and that was as recent as last month.  I'd love to put that right!

Thanks.

 

001

Doncaster v Coventry City Council, First Tier Tribunal  5 October 2009 is the case

 

 The Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Circular HB/CTB A26/2009 states:

http://www.rla.org.uk/docs/hou.....ruling.pdf

The eight week rule

12 The LA must pay HB to the landlord where the tenant is in arrears by an amount
equivalent to eight weeks’ rent unless it is in the overriding interest of the tenant not
to make direct payment to the landlord.
(HB regulation (95(1)(b))
13 There is no definition in regulations as to how the eight weeks’ arrears should be
calculated but we included a note in the original LHA guidance to the effect that the
‘DWP takes the view that a person cannot be in arrears in respect of a period that
has not yet been served.’
14 In a recent appeal tribunal (Doncaster v Coventry City Council, First Tier Tribunal
032/09/00932, 5 October 2009) the Chairman expressed the view that ‘Rent is in
arrears once the contractual date for payment has passed irrespective of whether
rent is due in advance or in arrear’. A number of you have asked us to clarify the
Department’s position.
15 The intention behind HB regulation 95(1)(b) is to provide landlords with the security
of direct payment as an alternative to seeking possession on a mandatory ground
and so avoid a situation arising where a tenant is evicted under Housing legislation.
In view of this, we have consulted with lawyers at Communities and Local
Government to establish at what point they consider a tenant to be in arrears of
eight weeks. As they are also of the view that rent is in arrears once the date for
payment has passed without any payment being made, we have revised the LHA
guidance so that it is consistent with this position.

Further more the "Local Housing allowance Manual" states:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/324708/lha-guidance-manual.pdf

Eight week rule
4.060 If the tenant builds up rent arrears of eight weeks or more, the landlord may start action to evict them. Once arrears have reached eight weeks, you will be required to make direct payments to the landlord under the general provisions in HB Reg 95 (1)(b) and HB(SPC) Reg 76(1)(b) unless it is in the overriding interests of the customer not to do so (see Overriding interest’ and ‘Fit and proper person’ test earlier in this chapter).
4.061 Rent is in arrears once the date it is due to be paid has passed, regardless of whether it is due to be paid in advance or in arrears.

Hope that helps

31/03/2016
2:29 pm
Paul Routledge
Admin
Forum Posts: 3415
Member Since:
20/05/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Sharon,

Maybe you can post a copy for us and any replies so we can follow the thread and help all the others that are getting this from their councils. Together we can certainly challenge them better.

     -------------------------------------------------------------------- 

output_tEzld3

31/03/2016
3:33 pm
Landlord001
Guest
Guests

Oh thanks, Rigsby!  You're my favourite person of the day!

Well done, you've given me the 'full bananas' so I'll be getting that off to the Council in tonight's post.

Their latest letter tells me that they will be reviewing the tenant's position in May.  Basically, if YO-YO has cleared her rent arrears of 2 months they'll start paying her direct again.  That's even though she has already made off with over £2k of the council's money!! 

Any wonder the country's housing is in a mess??1

Cheers, mate.

 

001

31/03/2016
3:41 pm
Sharon Carmichael
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 242
Member Since:
12/10/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Rigsby

I thought I would share a copy of my letter to the Council - apologies for any plagiarism - I love this forum as questions are always answered - again, many thanks.

==========================

Dear Sirs

Further to my brief conversation with Justin earlier, as you know, I am the landlady of the above property.  I have legally issued a section 21 to the above tenant which expires on the 17th April. 

I spoke to her yesterday and was told that the lady on your desk and her housing officer (yourself) have both advised her that she has to get her landlord to take her to Court and get a possession order and furthermore then wait until the bailiff turns up before you can consider her homeless and put her and her two children into temporary accommodation.  You did not tell her that if this were the route that the Landlord had to go down that she would be liable for all costs incurred to take this action and when I informed her of this, she burst into tears asking how that could be fair.

During my brief conversation with you I did ask you why you had said this and you quite curtly told me that this was the procedure!!  This email is to point out to you that what you have told her is incorrect and furthermore is illegal because you have caused tortious interference of my contract with my tenant.  If you do not house her because she has not got a possession order from the Courts then I shall be suing you and claiming all costs incurred and rental unpaid from yourselves plus any compensation which will be deemed to be due.

Please follow the links below and read the quotes and you will then fully appreciate that the directive you have been pursuing and the advice you are giving your tenants is in direct conflict with what you are being told by the Government and what is written in the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities

Firstly

The government’s “Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities” (Department for Communities and Local Government 2006) clearly tells councils not to do this. Section 8.32 “housing authorities should not adopt a general policy of accepting – or refusing to accept – applicants as homeless or threatened with homelessness when they are threatened with eviction but a court has not yet made an order for possession or issued a warrant of execution.”

and

“The Secretary of State considers that where a person applies for accommodation or assistance in obtaining accommodation, and:

(a) the person is an assured shorthold tenant who has received proper notice in accordance with s.21 of the Housing Act 1988;

(b) the housing authority is satisfied that the landlord intends to seek possession; and

(c) there would be no defence to an application for a possession order; then it is unlikely to be reasonable for the applicant to continue to occupy the accommodation beyond the date given in the s.21 notice, unless the housing authority is taking steps to persuade the landlord to withdraw the notice or allow the tenant to continue to occupy the accommodation for a reasonable period to provide an opportunity for alternative accommodation to be found.”

Forcing the tenant to go through an eviction process under s21 will usually cost the tenant hundreds of pounds in court costs.

Furthermore, councils only insist or advise a court order is required before they will re-house a tenant because it gives them more time which is wrong and contrary to the Housing Act 1996. They argue that they can only re-house when the tenant is homelessness or threatened with homelessness. So with that in mind you need to look at Section 175 of the above act which defines it 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/.....2/part/VII

Also if you take a look at 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/270376/130108_Supplementary_Guidance_on_the_Homelessness_changes_in_the_Localism_Act_2011_and_on_the_Homelessness_Order_2012.pdf

You will find the below sections 38.Section 195(4) provides that, for the purpose of section 195A(3), where an applicant has been given a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, the applicant must be treated as threatened with homelessness from the date the notice is issued. This means that the authority must take reasonable steps to secure that accommodation does not cease to be available for their occupancy.

39.Section 195A(2) provides that, for the purpose of section 195A(1), where an applicant has been given a notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, the applicant must be treated as homeless from the date the notice expires. It is not necessary for a possession order to have been sought by the landlord for the application to be considered homeless –

I do not believe that the message can be any clearer, Chloe has to be treated as homeless from the 17th April.  If you make me take her to Court, she will be the one who incurs the costs of this a debt which you are insisting she incurs and one she cannot afford.  If you do not help Chloe on or before the 17th April, I shall sue the Council as well as take her to Court for a possession order.

I await hearing from you as a matter of urgency considering how little time there is before the 17th April.

Regards

31/03/2016
4:05 pm
Paul Routledge
Admin
Forum Posts: 3415
Member Since:
20/05/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

We have sent this out to all our media contacts Sharon because it really is a very important issue. The trouble is with councils is that they will not fall on one side of the fence and they use these tactics and then phone us later begging us to take more of their tenants.

I say dont take them and lets send a clear message that we do not intend to be kissed on both cheeks by one department and stabbed in the back by another.

 

 --------------------------------------------------------------------

 

output_tEzld3

31/03/2016
4:15 pm
rigsby
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 314
Member Since:
02/05/2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

LaughSmileLaughSmileLaughSmile Love it. I can just imagine the housing officers scuttling around muttering to each other on how is the best way to reply to your letter.

Bet you get a woolly reply avoiding  the points raised.

31/03/2016
5:03 pm
matt66uk
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 122
Member Since:
03/08/2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

There was a post on here a while back, my friend pursued the council over something similar however he did it through the small claims court which was the wrong route.

The Council are not allowed to advise the tenant to stay in a property if they have breached the tenancy agreement. They should also not advise the tenant until they have taken all sides in connection and that includes discussing the situation with the landlord.

If I am correct the barrister spoke to my friend and told him that he is surprised that no one has forced this issue in the courts. 

The Councils are clearly breaking the law in relation to advice given to tenants. I will try and find the legislation again on it.

31/03/2016
8:01 pm
PaulBarrett
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 2892
Member Since:
12/10/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Perhaps Sharon you should cc all your correspondence etc directly to Brandon Lewis

Perhaps he may take exception to his guidance being ignored and bang a few heads together

Perhaps your case can be used by him as an example of the way councils can no longer behave and therefore to conform to his guidance.

Doing so will mean that the council will have to house 6 months earlier than they might as it takes this period on average to evict

However so arrogant are the councils especially the socialist ones they could well even ignore anything further BL has to say

31/03/2016
8:15 pm
PaulBarrett
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 2892
Member Since:
12/10/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

rigsby said

PaulBarrett said
Rigs you seem to have it nailed, the only problem is the scum councils don't give a f###

But it would have to be on the basis of 2 months rent arrears which is 1 month and 1 day NOT the 8 weeks that councils incorrectly assume is the start date for S8 and S21 or the relevant dates

I totally agree, and if the councils can get away with it to suit themselves they will. I take great pleasure in quoting their own rules and regs at them. 

But there can be a big difference in attitudes between councils and I deal with 3 different ones. I have a excellent working arrangement with one who are very helpful and will get involved if there are issues that cant be resolved. They understand that if they dont work like that they will reduce the available housing stock to HB tenants.

The other two councils will do what they can with no concern to the landlord or the risk of losing a potential HB property. 

Paul regarding the 2 months in arrears I think all the councils now accept it = 1 month and 1 day now. They used to want 2 full months before paying HB direct to the landlord but there was a court case about 7/8 years ago which clarified it.

 

Back on the point of (most) councils advising tenants to stay until the bailiff or court order are obtained I guess what is needed is someone to take a council to a higher court or put the wheels in motion for a judicial review.   

Rigs you have very clearly taken a very astute view on how to engage with councils 

However even such a LL as you has issues with certain councils

Of course there are a few enlightened councils, but they are as rare as hen's teeth

Now when the DWP takes over with UC all your hard won knowledge will count for nought

Have you started to work out how you will manage UC tenants!!!??.

The stories I've heard on fora from LL dealing with UC tenants is enough to chill the bones of many a UC LL

You will be on a very, very steep learning curve!!!

By the sounds of it councils are easier than the DWP and councils aren't easy!!!!!

HB LL will need sufficient cash reserves to cover cashflow shortfalls through UC failures if they have mortgages to pay.

I'm just glad I don't have anything to do with HB tenants currently

Cos I have to say I wouldn't have a clue about how to deal with UC!!!

13/04/2016
1:01 pm
Quent
Guest
Guests

Any update yet Sharon?

16/05/2016
12:51 pm
rigsby
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 314
Member Since:
02/05/2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Any further news on this?

Forum Timezone: Europe/London

Most Users Ever Online: 755

Currently Online:
34 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
2 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

PaulBarrett: 2892

Mary Latham: 2190

LyndonBaker: 1805

David Price: 1644

Patricia A: 986

DATA CONTROL: 967

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 2539

Members: 6322

Moderators: 6

Admins: 1

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 3

Topics: 4466

Posts: 30959

Newest Members:

hereiam, EZI Global, lindy, mrkane, aztec, kkarimi

Moderators: SamiiB: 441, News @ Tenant Referencing: 1576, laura: 15, Chloe: 107, lucybarr: 0, jaswhite: 20

Administrators: Paul Routledge: 3415

/* ]]> */