FOI Request Housing, Evictions and Legal Costs

Request 101001537049

I am requesting information relating to the financial year from 01 April 2015 to 31 March 2016, or the equivalent financial year for the council (“the year”). I am aware that this will mean that the data collected for each question may not be directly comparable.

 

Evictions:

If you have council owned, residential property (i.e. housing subject to the housing revenue account, owned by

your council), please provide the following:

1. The number of properties - if any - managed by the council?

2. The number of properties - if any - managed by an ALMO?

3. If any property is managed by an ALMO, please provide the name of the ALMO(s).

 

For council owned, residential properties that are managed by the council (not by an ALMO), please provide:

4. The number of possession claims issued against tenants in these properties for the year.

5. The number of evictions of tenants from these properties for the year.

 

Please also provide:

6. The total rent account losses in the year due to the writing off of outstanding rent arrears accrued by tenants who have been evicted from these properties that has been deemed non-recoupable. (Tenants may have been evicted in any financial year, we would like to understand the total losses accrued by evicted households that have been written off as non-recoupable in the year).

 

If the council does not hold or is unable to provide the total rent account losses, I request that the council provides instead information it does hold from which this figure may be calculated.

If the council does hold and is able to publish the total rent account losses, then I do not require the information described at 6.1-6.3 and I respectfully ask that this is not considered when assessing the time needed to respond to this request in the first instance.

 

In particular, I request:

6.1. The total rent arrears of tenants evicted in the year at the point at which they were evicted.

6.2. The total rent arrears of all tenants who ceased to be tenants (for all reasons, eg eviction, abandonment,

tenant passing away) in the year at the point at which they ceased to be tenants.

6.3. The total amount of outstanding rent written off during the year because it is deemed non-recoupable.

 

Legal:

1. The number of evictions of tenants from council owned, residential properties that were managed by your

council (not by an ALMO) during the year.

2. The average amount spent by the local authority per eviction including:

2.1. The average amount spent on legal advice per eviction (including advice from in-house lawyers and

external legal providers) for the year.

2.2. The average amount spent on other (non-legal) costs per eviction (for example, non-legal staff time

spent preparing paperwork) for the year.

If the council does not hold or is unable to provide the amount spent on legal advice, I request that the council provides instead information it does hold from which this figure may be calculated.

If the council does hold and is able to publish the amount spent on legal advice, then I do not require the information at Questions 2.2.1-2.2.6 and I respectfully ask that this is not considered when assessing the time to respond to this request in the first instance.

 

In particular, I request:

2.2.1. Whether the council has sought advice from a. an in-house legal team and/ or whether the council

has sought advice from b. external legal providers on evicting tenants from council owned

residential property (not managed by an ALMO) during the year.

2.2.2. The amount spent on fees of external legal providers on legal advice relating to evicting tenants

from council owned residential property (not managed by an ALMO) during the year.

2.2.3. The total amount spent during the year on the salary of in-house housing solicitors and a

breakdown of how much of their time is spent advising on evicting tenants from council owned

residential property (not managed by an ALMO)

2.2.4. How the cost of this advice is recorded.

2.2.5. If the amount spent on legal costs relating to evicting tenants from council owned residential

property are recorded in their own budget, the name of this budget and the total amount spent

during the year.

2.2.6. If the costs are only recorded as part of a wider budget, then the name of this budget, the total

amount spent during the year, an indication or estimate, if it exists, of the proportion of this wider

budget or monies that is spent on legal advice relating to evictions and a list of the other major

costs which fall under the same wider budget.

 

Re-Lets:

1. If you have council owned, residential property (i.e. housing subject to the housing revenue account, owned

by your council), please provide the following:

1.1. The number of properties - if any - managed by the council?

1.2. The number of properties - if any - managed by an ALMO?

1.3. If any property is managed by an ALMO, please provide the name of the ALMO(s).

I would also like further information relating only to council owned residential properties that are managed by the

council and not by an ALMO (“council managed properties”). This information should relate only to re-lets taking

place during the year 01 April 2015 to 31 March 2016.

2. The total number of re-lets of council managed properties. These are lets of properties that previously had

tenants and were made vacant for any reason (e.g. eviction, abandonment, tenant passing away) during the

year.

3. The average number of weeks from the council managed properties becoming empty (for any reason) to them being re-let during the year.

4. The total amount of rent not collected in the void period between one tenant leaving and another moving in

during the year.

If the council does not hold this specific information at Questions 3 or 4 I request that the council provides the information it does hold from which these figures may be calculated. I request for each re-let:

4.1. The dates a residential property is vacated.

4.2. The dates when new tenants start to pay rent.

4.3. The amount of rent not collected due to voids between 01 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 (even where the

property is not re-let in the year).

4.4. If the data described at questions 4.1 to 4.3 is held in a database or spreadsheet then please provide this,

with any information classed as personal information under the Data Protection Act removed or redacted.

5. The total amount spent on clearance, repairs, maintenance and/or cleaning in the period between a property becoming empty and it being re-let, at all council managed properties and re-let during the year.

If the council does not hold this specific information described at Re-Lets, Question 5 I request that the council

provide the information it does hold from which this figure may be calculated. I request:

5.1. Any one database or spreadsheet holding data relating to the amount spent on clearance, repairs,

maintenance and/ or cleaning on each property during the year; and whether the property where the

maintenance takes place is vacant or occupied at the time. Please provide this after excluding any

information which would be considered personal information under the Data Protection Act.

Response 17-07-2017

Housing

1. 6061

2. N/A

3. N/A

4. 67

5. 8

6. £11746.02

Legal

1. 8

2.1 Unable to answer see 2.2.1 – 2.2.6

2.2 This information is not recorded specifically but the estimated average cost per eviction has been calculated as £296

2.2.1 -2.2.3 The litigation and licensing team provide advice to the Council and its officers across all council services; there are no dedicated solicitor posts which provide only advice and assistance to housing.

2.2.4 The Council does not record how much time is spent on advising on evicting tenants from Council owned residential property.  In 2015/16 the total time recorded for all advice and assistance provided to housing management from the litigation and licensing team, including paralegals was 783 hours.

2.2.5- 2.2.6 Legal Services – Litigation and licensing £329,959 (of which £323,968 was staffing). No records are kept which detail exactly how much of this cost relates to legal advice specifically on evictions.  However, the cost of the 783 hours recorded for all advice and assistance provided to housing management from litigation and licensing team would be estimated at approximately £18,000.

Re-Lets

1. 6061

2. 394

3. 4

4. £91050

5. 

Void expenditure

 

Total repairs revenue expenditure on voids

£1,004,953

Average expenditure per void (based on FOI information on numbers)

£2,550.64

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