Monday 15 August 2011

Riots # 4 - The NCH Tenancy Agreement and Eviction

There has been a lot of political bluster by local politicians threatening fire and brimstone, in particular the threat of eviction for any council tenants found to be involved in the riots. Oh, and their parents, even though they may have had no idea what their kids were doing at the time and no reason to suspect they would be up to no good.

Some people have wondered whether this could actually happen so I've dug out what seems to be the latest NCH tenancy agreement. In addition I'm looking at this basic advice page* from Shelter.

The first stop is that if you are an introductory tenant, which the vast majority of council tenants will be for the first 12 months of their tenancy, you have pretty much diddley squat in terms of rights because you can be evicted without NCH having to demonstrate any grounds to do so.

Once you are a full secure tenant then the landlord does have to show grounds, although in many cases eviction isn't a foregone conclusion, a judge has to decide whether it is reasonable to evict you.

A key and often wide ranging ground is a breach of any term of the tenancy agreement. With the antisocial behaviour political juggarnaut having been steaming along for over a decade, tenancy agreements tend to have lots of things in them that could be applied to alleged rioters and their families. Scroll to para 3.12 (page 10) of the tenancy agreement for a read.

Para 1 makes it clear that NCH holds you responsible for anyone living at your home, any friends, visitors etc. So if the gas meter guy pops up and starts screaming racial abuse at the neighbours then theoretically...

In all seriousness, para 2 gets to the nitty gritty and forbids the tenant, others at the property etc causing a nuisance (ok, we expect that) or annoyance (what?) to anyone in Nottingham (whaaat!!!???).

There is more but as you can see there is enough there to catch anybody who is proven to have had any part in the riots.

As I say, proving a ground does not automatically mean you are evicted, the judge has to agree that it is reasonable. The key thing here then is to get advice and assistance asap if you find yourself in the middle of this shitstorm.

My own opinion is that dealing with crimes should normally be left for the criminal justice system and people should only lose their homes if they receive a prison sentence long enough to mean that their tenancy is no longer sustainable. Unfortunately, politicians are always looking for ways to look tough and they have an opportunity on a plate here. I suspect however that too much tough action against otherwise innocent family members will lead to a backlash, especially in Nottingham where the fairness of council house allocations has little credibility anyway.

*Note, don't take this article as legal advice, I've glossed over details and allsorts, my point is to demonstrate how the legal framework is well and truly in place for evictions of rioters and their families, although it isn't inevitable. If this happens to you, just make sure you get advice as soon as you can. You might want to try Notts Housing Advice as a first port of call or you can search for a solicitor here.


Unknown said...

The landlord should not wait more than one month to request formally and in writing payment of the arrears. In the event such request is not attended within one month, the following step is submitting the writ at court, seeking payment and eviction of the tenant.

Tenant Agreement

Andy said...

What the fuck are you talking about?