I was delighted to read a report that a campaign is being launched to help tenants who get evicted through no fault of their own, because their buy-to-let landlords have not kept up their mortgage payments. You can read more about it on the Citizens Advice Bureau site here.
Long term LandlordLaw Blog readers may remember several cases reported here in the past, in particular the distressing case of two tenants whose landlord rented their property to them after the possession order had been made, which you can read here.
Although in many cases the reason the landlord is unable to pay his mortgage is becuase the tenant has failed to pay his rent, there are many situations where this is not the case, and where the tenants are entirely innocent.
At present the court have limited powers to protect innocent tenants. The organisations are calling for a change in the law which would mean courts would have the power to defer the possession to allow the tenant to find other suitable accommodation. This is only fair.
If you agree with this, I would suggest you contact your MP and ask him/her to support the campaign. You can do this via the Write to Your MP web-site.
In the meantime here is some advice for tenants:
– Always open mail addressed ‘To the Occupier’. This may include notice of any possession hearings.
– If you’re thinking of moving into a new property, make sure the landlord has permission from the lender to rent it out. Otherwise, the lender does not have to recognise the tenancy at all.
– If you were already living in the premises at the time when the mortgage was taken out, the lender may take you on as a tenant and allow you to pay rent to them directly. If you think you may be in this position, contact a Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter.
– Try to find out as much you can about your prospective landlord and his/her mortgage status before taking up a tenancy – although in practice this isn’t always very easy.