London council issues notices to five tenants but ‘unlikely’ to evict them all
Rioters given ‘final warning’ possession notices
A local authority has begun eviction proceedings against five households where a tenant has been convicted of a riot-related offence.
Southwark Council, in south London, issued the notices seeking possession on the basis that a conviction for offences related to the August riots constituted a breach of their tenancy agreements. The council refused to specify if the tenants against whom it issued the NSPs are the same individuals who have been convicted.
Despite threats from councils following the summer’s unrest in England, no tenant has yet been evicted after being convicted of an offence during the riots.
A Southwark spokesperson said it issued the NSPs as a ‘final warning’ and that ‘further considerations will take place, and further breaches could result in eviction’. It added it was unlikely all five would be evicted.
Landlords have one year from serving a NSP to apply to county court for a possession order. If after that time the tenant breaches their tenancy a new NSP must be issued.
Jonathan Hulley, partner at law firm Clarke Willmott, said he was surprised at this. ‘A notice seeking possession is not just a final warning but is, in fact, a formal notice of the landlord’s intention to secure a possession order and evict a tenant,’ he said. ‘I have seen notices served as a shot across the bows, but only in very rare circumstances.’
Southwark Council has already evicted one tenant convicted of a riot-related offence but on the basis of their rent arrears. The authority, which has 39,000 tenanted properites, is understood to be ready to issue two futher NSPs, subject to the outcomes of ongoing riot-related court cases.
Ian Wingfield, cabinet member for housing at Southwark, said: ‘Council tenants who have breached their tenancy agreement and been convicted in relation to the riots are currently in the process of facing sanctions for what they have done.’
Wandsworth Council issued a NSP against Maite de la Calva before her 18-year-old son Daniel Sartain-Clarke was convicted of any offence. He admitted burglary during the riots and is due to be sentenced on 10 January. The council is pursuing eviction.
Greenwich Council said it had issued a NSP against one tenant convicted of riot offences while Hackney, Lewisham, Ealing, Lambeth, Croydon, Waltham Forest and Manchester said they had not. Other riot-hit councils did not respond.
Inside Housing’s Riot Report will be published on 10 February.