Saturday, December 21, 2019

The reality about illegal evictions & criminal landlords

You wouldn't believe a landlord would tell a family that they need to be evicted so s/he could hold a Christmas party?

Hat tip Nearly Legal

"The new government’s Queens Speech confirmed that there will be a Bill that will involve the ending of section 21 ‘no ground’ possession procedure. This is something we’ve talked about before. It will be complicated, will involve new grounds of possession for Housing Act 1988 tenancies, and will have to address all those regulatory breaches for which invalidating a section 21 notice is currently a penalty. But still, blimey. This will be a new landscape in many ways. Not all of them good, I strongly suspect.
Of course, the ‘there is no such thing as a no fault eviction’ brigade are out in force, asserting that tenancies are always ended because of tenant fault.  For them, may I present this heart-warming Christmas time story from the forum r/LegalAdviceUK on (The original 16 December 2019 post has been deleted by the moderators, but was archived with the moderator’s express hope that “the tenants can use this as evidence in their civil claim“). The archived post is here. It reads:
Please listen to the whole truth before you lambaste me.
I asked the family (one woman, four kids, one adult teenager) that live in my property to find another place to live because I wanted the house back. I gave the section 21 notice ages two months ago. They did not leave. I said, ok, if you don’t leave by 1st of December, I will go to court to evict you.
I asked nicely; I told the woman my family are coming to join me for Christmas, we have not seen each other for over a year and my current property is not big enough to host dinner; so I needed my old property back urgently but she didn’t care.
I have changed the locks before and no one has taken legal action against me and I ONLY DO IT for emergency/drastic measures when the tenant doesn’t listen or has broken our agreement and I can’t be bothered to spend my business (time/money) going through the court system which takes ages.
Every landlord I know changes the locks and it gets the tenants to comply with eviction.
Unfortunately, on 2nd December evening, she called the Met saying i was harassing her (false) and that she was stranded outside and could not access her house- they told her it was a civil matter but the police recorded the incident and she has used the police statement as evidence in the letter before action.
I have already taken repossession of the property, I believe they are residing in a BnB at the moment provided by Greenwich council?
What are my options and my defence to this alleged unlawful eviction claim by the tenant and her solicitor?
Oh where to start? Without lambasteing. The wanting the property back because they needed it to host Christmas dinner for their family? The ‘look I’ve illegally evicted people before but only for emergencies/when I can’t be bothered going to court’? The ‘everybody does it’? The sheer screaming sense of entitlement and self pity?
But I think the crowning glory is posting this on a public forum at a point where the tenant is represented and the details given in the post are such that identification that this is their client’s case should not be too difficult. So, a confession in a public forum, while asking for advice on a defence, may be the very stupidest thing that this landlord has done.
If the tenant’s solicitors are reading this – happy Christmas, here is an early present.
To every decent private landlord out there – and there are plenty – sorry but you’ve lost the argument. It isn’t necessarily you, but so long as you can’t stop this, you’ll lose the argument.
And with that, I’m off to plan how to lambaste the turkey".


Anonymous said...

'wanting the property back because they needed it to host Christmas dinner for their family? '

It dismisses serious issue, which is the change in the law.

Over the years, I have experienced a lot of anti-social behaviour and problems.

Some of the worst tenants have been through Council Leasing schemes. This is where private housing is rented directly by a council and used as temporary accommodation (but it is never temporary as they are there a long time).

This is a list of some of the agents used by Barking & Dagenham Council:

These companies also service Newham.

The council provided a home to a single mother with a child. Despite being on benefits, they ended having three more children. Her boyfriend moved in later, but he was aggressive and threatening. He would take drugs and smoke cannabis and this only made him paranoid. The entire area smelt of cannabis. I got frustrated as the smell would enter my home and it would linger on. None of the neighbougrs did anything, because he was a tough guy. He could not be bothered to get a job and provide for his family, I never saw him dressed for a job interview. Why would anyone employ someone who smelt of cannabis?. Is this a good role model for his children?. She regularly left shopping trolleys on the street, never mind it damages neighbour cars. Once from a shopping trip, she accidently dropped a sauce jar, but she did not bother to pick up the glass. There are young children in the area would who have got hurt. People with poor eye sight or those walking at night. Why is the people who are time rich, can't be bothered to look after the area?. Yet those who have who have gone to work, tired have to clean up other people's mess?

I complained to the Council's managing agents, about the cannabis smoking as the smell was so potent as it would enter my home. The managing agents told me they would write a letter to the tenants. I told them not to so that, as I did n't want any retalition or violence. I told them, I preferred if they did n't renew their tenancy. They said they could n't do that over an allegations. They said if he is aggressive , I should call the Police!

The managing agents told me they don't do any referencing, as they house whoever the council gives them. THANK YOU NEWHAM COUNCIL!!!! Is this fair?

With these changes in Section 21, it means, that in order to evict these tenants, neighbhoours would have to provide evidence or a reason to the Courts, this could take months and the neighbhoour would know who made the complaint agains them.

They were re-housed by the council. It would n't surprised me, if they were provided brand news homes Olympic Park. I can't afford to live there…..

Newham Council does n't have a database on bad behaviour. Why not allocate housing on the basis of good behaviour?

When Corbyn says lets built more social housing, I feel angry about it. Why build homes for people who have been nasty to neighbhoours?

John Gray said...

So Landlords should be able to throw families out of homes at will and break the law in doing so?

I have been a housing officer in East London and evicted violent and aggressive gangsters and drug dealers. I have worked with Police to jail them. Often it is difficult to get evidence but I am happy to live in a democracy which no matter how flawed still believes in the rule of law.

I don’t want to live in a fascist state were some unknown informant could “denounce” someone and get them thrown out of their home or job.

The overwhelming vast majority of social tenants are decent people. I wish I could say the same for you.

Anonymous said...

That's a bit hard John. I have some sympathy for the situation described. It's alright being puritanical but try living next door to these losers. Having a database that makes a note of people who abuse the taxpayer funded relief that they are given seems like an entirely sensible suggestion to me. It might encourage them to behave like normal decent people.

John Gray said...

How about a database of people who live in owner occupied homes and get to throw them out on a whim as well?

Anonymous said...

'So Landlords should be able to throw families out of homes at will and break the law in doing so?'

Did I say families should be thrown out? It has always been illegal to evict people from their homes, without due process.

The story about the guy who wants his house back to host a Christmas party is absurd. It is fake news. I am surprised you did not question it. The landlord is getting rent from this house, and he is going to kick out his tenants to host a dinner party?. Common sense dictates, it would be cheaper to take his entire enterouage to the Hilton for Christmas lunch and hire out a private dining facility.

If the landlord had indeed illegally evicted his tenants, as described then he would face prosecution and no doubt ten of thousands in compensation.

So what is reason for the change in the law?

John Gray said...

I think you ought to read the post properly and that you must be incredibly naive to believe that everyone get prosecuted who breaks the law. Most illegally evicted tenants are too frightened to give statements and give evidence in court

Anonymous said...

The proposed change in the law is nothing do with illegal eviction, as those laws already exist. On Shelter's web site, it says Councils are meant to prosecute.

Do tell us:-

How many illegal evictions have there been in Newham?
How many landlords has Newham council prosecuted specifically for illegal eviction?

John Gray said...

Still not read the post?

The report that the Police refused to act since they thought (wrongly) that it is a “civil matter” rings true but hopefully stopped that now in Newham.

The new law (God knows what Boris will actually put in place) should help with illegal evictions and harassment. Another reason why tenants don’t report illegal evictions is why bother? Since landlord can “no fault” evict them anyone under section 21.

We don’t know how many since most are not reported due to above and previous thread.

Will find out how many prosecuted

Anonymous said...

'The new law (God knows what Boris will actually put in place) should help with illegal evictions and harassment. '

The change in law is nothing do with illegal eviction. It is illegal for a landlord to turn up, throw people out and change the locks. I have never seen it happen on my street.

There is a proposed change to Section 21 - 'Under the proposals, landlords will have to provide a concrete, EVIDENCED REASON already specified in law for bringing tenancies to an end a marked step-change from the current rules which allows landlords to evict tenants at any time after the fixed-term contract has come to an end, and without specifying a reason.' (copied from blog).

In other words, if a landlord, wants their property back, they will have to go to Court, and provide evidence. There is another side, to this issue. As a long suffering residents of ASB, this is unacceptable.

If a neighbour (tenant) is dealing in drug. The neighbours can't go to the landlord and say please don't renew their tenancy. The landlord will have to provide evidence from residents in Court. Residents will have to put themselves in peril and face retaliation. Others residents may not want to come forward. It is hard enough to get landlords to deal with ASB, but it is impossible, as they will be reluctant to drag the matter to court and pay for thousands for solicitors and legal costs.....

The Police are under resourced, and they would be called on to support and provide evidence in an eviction. Relying on Newham's anti-social behaviour team is hopeless. Is Newham Council going to put resource in????

Your ASB team are ineffective. Why are they on holiday during this time, even on a working day??. They don't attend. Their job, just seems to be to fob off people and record ASB.

There have been 9000+ incidents of ASB in Newham (excluding crime).

Newham Council has a conflict of interest, it does not want people to be made homeless, yet at the same time is the enforcing authority for ASB. What will they do in Court?

I am suffering from ASB and the council's managing agent acting as bouncers. The tenant has sub-let the property. So the state is paying for her house, but she is making money by sub-letting. Nice! We have a huge amount of disturbance at night. Drug dealers and gangsters coming at night, with engines running, door slamming, talking loudly on the street. Using the place as a motel for prostitution. They don't have jobs, so they be awake all night. People ringing our door bells.

People are going to work, need a good night sleep. Is that too much to ask???

These are YOUR TENANTS. You are their landlord!!!

I gave you a list of companies, and there should be robust procedures for dealing with ASB.

Anonymous said...

As a long suffering residents with anti-social behaviour. This is totally unacceptable to me.

'I have been a housing officer in East London and evicted violent and aggressive gangsters and drug dealers.'

How long did it take to evict them?

How many drug dealers have you lived next to? Would you feel comfortable about providing written evidence in Court, where they can see who made the complaint?. In your job, do you provide your home address to gangsters? Or may be you just put your residents in jeopardy and hope nothing happens to them?

You don't have empathy, because as a Newham councillor, you don't face any problems, and if you did, I am sure all your problems will be dealt with promptly. You have the entire resource of Newham Council on your side.

I had to put up with 4 or 5 years living next do a drug dealer, I never felt comfortable about calling the police. I had my home burgled by one of his 'clients'. As a consequence of the burglary, I had two years of sleepless nights, where any sound would wake me up in the night. I got months of abuse from him because I complained his visitor urinated outside my door. There were many others problems. There were n't nice people. I was glad when they left.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon (or BIg Bad Mikey?)

Illegal evictions do take place and I am afraid that just because you have not seen one in your street does not change this. The new law (if passed. I shall wait and see) should make it more difficult since it will give tenants hope and more willing to take action.

The tenants who get evicted under section 21 are overwhelmingly evicted despite paying their rent and acting in accordance with their tenancy. Remember you still have to go to court, get an order and wait for months for a warrant and a bailiff. So if someone is causing a nuisance then the landlord would have to work with the Police and Council. The section 21 will not stop this.

If you are suffering from ASB then please report it. You can copy me into your complaint via council email if you wish. We do take effective action.

Since you ask, I have lived in the same property for 31 years. Until recently the street around me were all PRS. Behind me is a small council estate. Before I came a cllr I have knocked on doors and asked people to turn music down etc. I have called the Council and the Police on occasions and given statements. I witnessed an assault nearby and appeared in court to give evidence for prosecution.

As a housing officer I have been punched, spat on, verbally abused, bitten by a dog and even threatened with an axe. Because I worked quite near to were I live I have often come across people I have had “run in’s” with professionally while shopping or socialising.

I love living where I live and use to work because the vast majority of people locally are fantastic. Full stop.

Anonymous said...

You have n't got back to me on the exact figures of illegal evictions in Newham.

[Newham Recorder] 'The council has issued 30,000 licenses after it was forced to relaunch the license scheme this year. It took action against landlords in 120 cases of serious disrepair or law-breaking.' (1)

Of those 120 cases, how many are for illegal eviction?

You have to bear in mind Newham Council are charging landlords £750, £1250 or £1650 per rental property. There is more then enough resources for enforcement. That is still a small number compared to the 9,000 complaints of anti-social behaviour. (many ASB does n't get reported, because nothing gets done).


John Gray said...

Nope I haven't. Been just a little bit busy this week. Will ask next week if I get the chance. But bona fide residents concerns come first.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your offer for help for my problem neighbour. Let me see if I can sort it out.

The landlord is a **** who chose to rent it out via one of those 'Guaranteed Rent Schemes'. The managing agents offer the property to various councils as nightly temporary accommodation (but tenants can be there for a long time).

The tenant is a single mother with a teenage son, have caused a lot of problems, since they moved it.

Despite the state paying for her home, she is sub-letting the property to others from her country. She is profiting by sub-letting. Is n't this benefit fraud? She has turned into a hostel for people from her country.

When I phoned up to complain, the managing agents, refused to tell me which council has leased the property as temporary accommodation. They use terms like 'placing council'. Why is n' there a right to know, so I can complain to that council directly? Everyone is hiding and protecting the guilty. Why is n'there a database to record ASB?

I found out it was a rich London Labour Borough who had dumped their problem tenants on Newham. They are using up our resources e.g. social services, ASB, police etc...

Despite me sending video evidence, including of one of the Police turning up. The council's managing agent told me, it was n't enough for that council to cancel the placement. Although they will review her placement. There are more serious things going on, possibly using as a place for sex work and other criminality. They won't do anything without "evidence"

We are victims of disturbance and ASB. We have been woken up in the night. Our door bells being rung at night.

There have been serious people coming at night. If a brand new sports car turns up at 2am, that in itself dos not mean criminality, but if all visitors and lodgers are coming at 1am 2am, 3am, 4am etc... then one has to ask what is going on?. Causing night time disturbances. People going in and out of the property at night.

The council's agents told me residents to collect evidence. Is it right residents should put themselves in harms way?. Everyone is profiting, the landlord, the managing agent, even the tenant all are making money. Yet, I get no compensation for the problems we have faced. Whilst their gold coins keep rolling in, we have to do all the work in collecting evidence, which can take months. I don't get compensation from the landlord. I am not paid to be a police officer. Should I be recording an a drug deal? Or a gangster turning at night with my smartphone? How will they react if they see me doing this?

Of the 9000 cases of ASB, what was the outcome?. Did Newham ASB team turn up to court to support eviction? How many people were evicted due to ASB?

On the one hand you want to protect tenants from being moved out (fair point), however, you offer nothing to resident who have a greater investment and bought a home in Newham. It is far more expensive to sell up and buy a new home elsewhere. The stamp duty and agents commission legals are eye watering....

John Gray said...

Hi Anon

Once again please report this to the council and copy me into the complaint. It will be kept confidential. I will also raise what we call a members enquiry into this issue and on the basis of what you have done I am fairly confident we can do something about this.

The government does not allow Councils to licence properties rented out by other Councils (which is a complete and utter nonsense but it is the current law) so we cannot use our licencing powers in this case but we can still act against tenants (and owner occupiers) who commit ASB and Councils that do not manage their agents.