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Note: there are scheduled changes whereby the guidance referred to in this article is to be put into legislation under the Homeless Reduction Bill. Please see this article for full details and we will update this article when it becomes law.

An extremely common question that arises on our helpline is when a landlord has properly served a valid section 21 notice, the tenant often goes to the housing department of the local authority. They are then told by the authority that the landlord must get a possession order before they will consider them homeless.

This has several issues

  • There is undue burdens on the county court making possession orders that are not defendable
  • The £355.00 court fee will be awarded against the tenant which the landlord is entitled to recover from the tenant
  • There is undue delay on the landlord getting back his property when he has done all he must

In fact, this policy of not determining a tenant as homelessness when a valid section 21 notice has expired would appear to be contrary to the Housing Act 1996 and statutory guidance made under the Act.

The Law

Definition of homelessness and threatened with homelessness

Section 175 Housing Act 1996 defines homelessness and threatened with homelessness: