The murder of three people in Peterborough over a property dispute makes it imperative that tenancy laws should be overhauled.
I’m referring to the unprofessional but customary and sadly legal practice of local authorities telling tenants they should sit out a notice served on them by their landlord until they receive a possession order.
This is borderline legal, as a tenant and a landlord both have a right to give up or surrender a tenancy within the agreed time scale, normally four weeks.
However, in the case of landlords, when the tenant arrives at their local authority and explains their landlord has served notice, they are immediately told to stay put until a possession order is put in place. This causes anxiety. The order is costly. It can cost a landlord nearly £2,000 and is expensive to the tenant as any order or court dealings is forwarded to them for payment.
Possession orders are usually straightforward and any costs incurred are footed by the tenant.
If the tenant has not left at the end of the possession order, they are faced with bailiffs and a further bill to both tenant and landlord.
All this anxiety and stress is caused by local authorities who “borderline” break the law and prolong the inevitable – that they will have a statutory duty of care to find alternative or emergency accommodation for the evicted tenant.
It is in no-one’s interest to tell tenants to sit it out. Local authorities need to stop this bad practice and the moment a tenant receives a notice from a landlord they should search for alternative accommodation. By not doing so, they cause bad feeling, stress and hardship to tenant and landlord.
Local authorities need to eliminate systems that allow such bad practice.
The Peterborough deaths are a wake-up call. Let us hope that someone in local government is listening.
This article originally appeared on derbytelegraph