A Private Matter? - Private tenants: the forgotten victims of the repossessions crisis

By: Shelter, Citizens Advice, Crisis, CIH  Published: March 2009


Shelter, Citizens Advice, Crisis and the Chartered Institute of Housing are calling for changes to give tenants basic protection from eviction when their landlord has defaulted on the mortgage and the lender is seeking possession.

Summary

The Government must take urgent action to avert this potential crisis. Tenants need legal protection to ensure that they at least have a reasonable time to find somewhere else to live.

  • We are calling for amendments to the Administration of Justice Acts 1970 and 1973 and the Consumer Credit Act 1974 to give courts the discretion, where an outright possession order is granted and there is a tenant in occupation, to defer possession for a limited period of time, taking into account the circumstances of the tenants. The court would then have flexibility in making this decision so that it could take into account the interests of any children or vulnerable people in the household and the household’s economic circumstances. The lender could appoint a receiver of rent during this time.
  • More needs to be done to make tenants aware of possession proceedings and their rights by ensuring a notice is sent to the property by the courts as well as the notice from the lender. Both should include information for tenants about their rights and where they can go to get further advice. To increase the chances of a tenant opening the notice, envelopes should be marked with a message such as ‘your home is at risk’.

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