Council Prohibition Order and Blackmail tactics against landlords
The latest tactic being employed it seems by my local council is to blackmail landlords into continuing to house "housing benefit" tenants and not evict them.
I issued a Sec21 to get rid of some really bad housing benefit tenants back in 2016 and immediately was hit by the council with an inspection of the property when I refused to cancel the Sec21.
The environmental health officer claimed I must make some reasonable improvements but also a lot of whacky improvements that have no legal requirement legislation or comply with regulations. For example-
- The gas hob extractor hood has to route outside through the external wall of the building and can not be a re-circulator with a filter.
- The EPC is well above an E rating but the notice says I must install more loft insulation
- Wooden frame windows must be updated to PVC
- Evidence of pests in the roof space (The council have been informed of fly tipping in the area and the entire street suffers from a pest problem. Pest control have stated 4 separate times that until the council control the fly tipping the pests will remain in the area)
Now to get to the "Black-mailing" part, I was verbally told that if I cancel the Sec21 that the improvements notice would "Go away" this was never done in writing I suspect for obvious reasons. At the time I was having difficulties with starting a new job and had a pregnant wife suffering from complications and was having a really stressful time so I canceled the Sec21 as the council agreed to pay their rent direct and that is where the hassle from the council ended.
Now almost a few years later I have had enough and again have issued a Sec21 and once again the council have been in contact to say that the original improvements notice still stands and because the works haven't been done, IF I don't cancel the Sec21 and go through with the eviction I will be given a Prohibition order which means there will be a charge on the property so regardless of if it's sold or kept, without the works being done; by law no humans can inhabit the property.
I have made myself clear that I will still be evicting and have received a letter stating that the Prohibition order will come into force a week after the Sec21 expires strangely.
My questions are-
- Has anyone had experience of this kind of Blackmailing by the council?
- Do the Prohibition orders really become charges against the house or is that a scare tactic?
- What happens if you do not pay the £300 fee they send you "For issuing the order" or if you do not comply with the order itself.
One of my worries now is that if I comply and pay the fee, plus carry out the unreasonable works; what guarantee would I have that the council will not remove the charge or prohibition order and use it too continue to blackmail me into excepting HB tenants.
I realise this may sound exaggerated or unbelievable to some of you with decent councils but I assure you I'm not.
For some background information on the council I'm up against there's been a recent Panorama documentary on this council because of the UC credit backlog meaning they have so many claimants living in B&Bs at the tax payers expense.
Thanks for any comments in advance.
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