An innovative new scheme in County Durham has been launched to help landlords find alternatives to eviction.

Stop B4 You Serve is the council’s new initiative aimed at landlords considering serving a possession order on their tenants, helping them avoid the costly and lengthy legal process once the courts reopen next month.

Council bosses reckon this early intervention work can prevent homelessness and avoid section 21 or section 8 notices being issued, or at least offer help once they’ve been served.

The free specialist service is for landlords dealing with non-payment of rent (both coronavirus and non-coronavirus related arrears) and can set up a personalised housing plan that’s agreed with the tenant.

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Rent arrears

It also offers rent arrears help by establishing repayment plans, and helping tenants access housing benefit services, Universal Credit and other local government homeless prevention funds and charities.

Landlords can ask for a financial assessment of tenants to maximise rental income, while the council can make referrals for more long-term support and can also provide a mediation service between landlords and tenants.

Durham County Council says it’s anticipating a surge in applications to the courts and wants to prevent unnecessary evictions and resulting homelessness.

Councillor Kevin Shaw, cabinet member for strategic housing and assets, adds that the effects of the coronavirus outbreak have significantly impacted the personal and financial situations of many residents in the county.

“We want to work with both landlords and tenants to find a more sustainable solution to any issues, keep eviction notices as a last resort, and prevent any risk of homelessness in the county,” he says.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Durham Council’s initiative should be a great lesson for the other councils including Croydon Council where most of my properties are situated. I have three empty flats which were vacated at end February and still not rented out. Also I have 3 tenants in arrears amounting to over £20k. We need urgent help to be able to survive and sustain continuing with the rental properties.

  2. How about paying rent direct to the landlord… Not so easy with UC… And because the government have stopped evictions, I’ve got working tenants not paying rent.. I don’t care if they end up in a box, as they have the means to pay the rent. Once evictions are reinstated I’m calling it a draw as I’ve had enough of tenants not paying, yet the council threatens you for the slightest thing with all their powers. I need the rent to carry out repairs as they cost money,and the bank needs the mortgage paying. Unless I get rent I can’t do either.

    • If they have the means to Pay file a county court claim every month against them MCOL, the idea of a rent deferment wasnt a holiday period, they either have the option to pay, you have it attached to earnings but it will screw thier credit up for 6 years So come eviction day they are screwed, council won’t rehouse as they failed to pay the rent even when able to do so. private landlord won’t take them on without a gaurentor. Even if they have children all the council will do is stick them in a grotty bed and breakfast

  3. The Durham plan looks good to me. It seems to me such approaches should be normal practice from local authority Housing Options services. Equally in areas that have landlord registration support for landlords would be nice rather than paying for registration that does absolutely zero for the landlord. You are effectively paying to be monitored as a potential criminal! Obviously such registered landlord support would benefit the tenant too.

    What must be remembered though is that communication is all, in this case between landlord and tenant. I have a tenant who simply refuses all engagement over his debts and that is despite my prefacing potential discussion in terms of rescheduling. It is one huge act of self-sabotage by the tenant – but I wouldn’t be able to physically drag him to Housing Options!

  4. We need our Government to treat both, tenants and landlords equally. Why the government is discreminating between the people of Britain. Why Government cares about tenants and at the same time ignor Landlords demands. This is unacceptable! If the Government like to help tenants at this difficult time, they should help landlords as well.

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