Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How to fiddle the figures

I mentioned in my last post that the Housing Department of Birmingham City Council are being encouraged to fiddle their figures to reduce the number of people reported as homeless.

One reason that people can be made homeless is if your landlord serves a Section 21 notice to quit - entirely legitimate for a whole range of reasons - and gives you, say, two months notice. At this point, a sensible person might pop into the local council neighbourhood office and ask for help, thinking that eight weeks' notice might improve their chances of accommodation. Sadly, they would be wrong, because this means that you appear on the list as homeless and drive the figures up. The council will not consider that you are homeless until you have the bailiff's 28-day notice in your hand. Their advice is that you stay put and force the landlord to go to court - probably landing you with a bill for costs and winding up reasonable landlords for no conceivable gain. You will certainly find yourself stressed beyond belief by the fear of eviction, but at least the figures look good and that's the most important thing in the World of Whitless.

All this was reported in the House of Commons last year and John Lines claimed that the council was acting in line with government policy.

They aren't and they are still doing it.

Cllr Hemming declared that John Lines was unfit to be Lord Mayor. Is Cllr Lines fit to run the Housing Department?

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