Thank you for your email dated 28 May 2019; we have treated this as a Freedom of Information request.
Please see our responses below in red:
- When you receive a tenant who says they have been illegally evicted do you verify this information if so how?
Where a tenant presents to the Housing Options Service saying they have been illegally evicted they are referred to our Tenancy Sustainment Team who are comprised of officers that are specialists in landlord and tenant law and the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. They are mindful that they are only being presented with one side of the story and will seek the comments of the landlord or agent where possible prior to any further action being taken.
- When you write to the landlord to say they have illegally evicted the tenant what process you go to check if there is actually been a illegal eviction.
Any written letters will be based upon the information that has been obtained by speaking to the tenant, landlord/agent and any other relevant witnesses.
- How long do you give the landlord to resolve the issue before giving threats for legal action?
This will depend on the urgency of the situation. If a tenant has actually been illegally evicted then the tenant will be advised to seek immediate injunctive relief to reinstate them back into the property and will be referred to local solicitors. Landlords will also be advised that the local authority has powers to prosecute under the Protection From Eviction Act 1977 for harassment and illegal eviction.
- Has there been any cases in the last 10 years where Barnet Homes was wrong in stating the landlord illegally evicted tenant? If so was any compensation paid if so let me know dates and amounts.
Illegal evictions are a matter of fact and subject to criminal proceedings with strict rules around evidence. Barnet Homes has not taken any such prosecutions under the Protection From Eviction Act 1977 in the last 10 years and the issue of compensation has not arisen.
If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been handled, you can request a review by emailing Talk2Us@barnethomes.org and marking it as an appeal for the attention of the Data Controller.
If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF (telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45; website: www.ico.gov.uk).
There is no charge for making an appeal.
Complaints and Information Manager
020 8359 6379
The Barnet Group
(Incorporating Barnet Homes, Your Choice (Barnet), Opendoor Homes, TBG Flex, and Bumblebee)
Barnet House | 1255 High Road | Whetstone | London | N20 0EJ