Sutton council to ensure people facing eviction do not think they have to squat
The council has pledged to clarify the advice it gives to tenants facing eviction after allegations it encourages them to wait for bailiffs to kick them out.
Sutton Council is to make sure its advice does not leave people thinking they are expected to sit tight and wait to be kicked out.
Private rental tenants have a right to remain in their properties after their eviction date. To remove a tenant from a property the landlord must get a bailiff's warrant through the courts.
Sutton Council says it makes tenants who are facing eviction and have applied for council accommodation aware of this.
But landlords criticised the council, saying the advice encourages tenants to effectively squat in their properties. Tenants have also said they felt like the council told them to squat.
Councillor Jane McCoy, chairwoman of Sutton Council's housing, economy and business committee, said: "In response to concerns raised on behalf of landlords, we are undertaking a piece of scrutiny work and have reissued our existing guidance.
"The guidance says that while staff should continue to advise tenants of their legal rights to remain in a property until the execution of a bailiff’s warrant, they should not expect households to do so where such an action would not result in preventing homelessness and the use of bed and breakfast accommodation."
Conservative Councillor Tony Shields raised the issue at a council meeting earlier this year and called for the advice to be revised. He said: "I think the council needs to go further. Saying that [people faced with eviction] can stay in their homes until the bailiffs come is not prudent and doesn't work in anyone's favour. It gives them CCJs which ruins their employability and their chances of renting again."