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Romford landlord questions council allegedly giving 'ridiculous advice' for tenant facing eviction to change property's locks

PUBLISHED: 17:15 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:27 07 November 2017

Keys. Picture: Hayley Anderson

Keys. Picture: Hayley Anderson

Hayley Anderson

A landlord has been forced to go to court after Havering Council allegedly told a tenant facing eviction, to change the locks and "break-in".

Lewis Selt, a landlord from Hertfordshire, owns a two bedroom first-floor flat in the heart of Romford, which he let out to a single mum last year.

But after months of payments becoming irregular and stopping altogether, with £2000 rent arrears accrued, Mr Selt had no choice but to serve the tenant notice.

The tenant left with her belongings and the agent retrieved the keys from the property on the same day.

However, the following day, the tenant along with her guarantor, paid another visit to the letting agent to ask if she could have the keys back and return to the property.

She said that Havering Council told her they would not rehouse her, because she had voluntarily made herself homeless and that she should have remained at the property until she was evicted.

When the agent refused, she explained that Havering Council allegedly advised her that if the agent would not give the keys back, she should “get a locksmith and break back into the property”.

Mr Selt is now taking the case to court where it will take around six to eight weeks for a judge to grant a possession order.

If the tenant still refuses to leave, bailiffs will be called.

He said: “Not only am I not receiving rent on my property, I’m now faced with eviction costs and yet I’m powerless to do anything about it.

“The agent has done everything possible to protect my interests but landlords and agents are facing a losing battle if local authorities are going to issue such ridiculous advice.”

A Havering Council spokeswoman has said that the tenant still had a number of months in the property, as the landlord would need to follow the legal eviction process.

Council staff later advised her to return to the property as she still had the right of occupation.

She said: “Havering Council will always do its best to support vulnerable residents from becoming homeless, and we urge both private landlords and letting agents to act responsibly and follow the correct legal procedures.”

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