Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
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    Default Notice to Quit served by Local Authority

    Hello members of this forum.

    I'm new to this forum on CAGicon as I've spent most of my time in the Bank charges and Debt forums. I'm seeking assistance as on 14 July 2008 I will no longer be a secure tenant as I was served a Notice to Quit (NTQ) on 12 June 2008.

    The reason given by by Residents Management Office (RMO) is that they believe that my property is not my principle home. They stated that they believe another address and put this address on their notice (it's my boyfriend's).

    I spend a lot of time with my boyfriend and with with members of my extended family. I also have an open door policy which means a good friend has access to my property and is always around to make sure that everything is in order.

    The background to my story is that I was a student for years, had young children and juggling work all at the same time. It's great the things that you think you can take on in your twenties! The bad thing about this is that I developed a condition called Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (CIU) in 2000 and since then it had blighted my life. My immune system is compromised so it produces antibodies as though I am having an allergic reaction to something. However, I have had blood and allergy tests and nothing has been pin-pointed as the underlying cause. Over the last 8 years I have noticed that it tends to come on more when I am extremely stressed and exhausted. My CIU affected my studies, work and pretty much my life.

    I had to repeat my first year of University in 2000 and in that same year I was denied Housing Benefit. It had taken my local authority (Lambeth Council) over 8 months to assess me and tell me NO! I started a first stage appeal but never got anywhere. This caused me to fall into arrears as my employment was casual and it's pretty hard going trying to buy books, pay for childcare and buy the essentials on a student income.

    To cut a really long story short, after 5 years of going back and forth to court, facing eviction 3 times, I finally cleared my rent arrears in 2005. I had previously been ordered to pay my rent + 2.90 a week. If I had done this, I would have been paying off my arrears (over 2500) until I was in my 80s! I effectively put my studies on hold to get a full time job so that I could have a guaranteed income to pay the arrears off.

    Since this time I was back in court in 2006 because I fell into arrears for a month and my RMO couldn't wait to take me to court. By the time we got to court I had already cleared the arrears and was in credit. Before the case they had told me that they would not oppose me staying in the property but then sent the most partisan housing officer they could find. The judge was impressed that I had paid off my arrears in 1 year. He only awarded them their cost because I had been 500 in arrears at the time of their application. He was not impressed with the Housing Officer who told him that he had tried to contact me at various times. I told the judge that if they were coming at various times in the day, I would not be at home as I am full time working mother.

    Back to my NTQ. In May 2008 my RMO all but accused me of sub-letting my property (I haven't) and told me that they would be conducting random tenancy checks without prior notice to me, as I could make something appear to be as it is not ??? They have been as good as their word and have persisted in coming to my property at all manner of times during the day. However the worst instances were this week when on two different days they have come at 9 and 10pm? Do these constitute reasonable hours? I didn't open the door for them, neither did my friend who was in the flat on the other occasion.

    I think that my RMO is unhappy that I have requested the information that they used to come to the decision to serve me with the NTQ, under Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Freedom of Information Act). Despite all their delaying tactics my question (plus two others I posed) has been allowed under Freedom of Information Act and they have until 28 July to furnish me with the information. I have also written them letters stating that the whole thing is affecting my health and I feel that I am being targeted. They now want to meet with me to discuss the NTQ but I can't really get the time off. Besides, my previous experience with them is that they say one thing, do another and twist any conversation, especially when it gets to court. I have asked them to communicate by correspondence but they are yet to take up this offer
    Surely the time for discussion was BEFORE serving the NTQ?

    I am worried as although I know I have no legal obligation to leave the property on 14 July, they threatened to get a Notice Seeking Possession, if I don't give them vacant possession on this date.

    After having not suffered an attack in over a year my CIU has returned with a vengeance. I have been off work as I cannot work when I am covered from head to toe in hives, and suffering from angioedema which causes swelling in my limbs (esp. my fingers). I am an Office Manager and a busy PA, so the fingers thing is a problem....

    Anyway, sorry for rambling I've missed a lot out but hope I have included all the salient points. I hope that someone amongst you can give some advice. I have spoken to a solicitor but they have advised that there is nothing that can be done until the NTQ expires. I am so angry, as it was only a year ago I had my secure tenancy re-instated. I have my suspicions on how they obtained my boyfirend's address and also as to why they started targeting me in the first place but I need to substantiate this.

    Anyway I look forward to hearing from any of you.

    deedee

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Notice to Quit served by Local Authority

    Have you tried shelter and the Citizens advice deedee. Im not trying to shun you off. The reason I say this is that if you say to them what you have said to us I am sure they will help you.

    I was served a notice and they were able to delay the eviction by talking to the landlord.


    The best thing about the cab and shelter is they were able to take this pressure off me.

    Deedee can I ask how old you are?

    The reason I ask is I am trying to asses if you would be classed as vulnrable.



  3. #3
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    Default Re: Notice to Quit served by Local Authority

    Hi Josh.

    I'm 31 and have two children under 12. The problem I face at the moment is that the stress has made me so unwell that I have "fled" to my boyfriend's house, so I can be cared for. He lives in Kent, I live in South London. I would need to speak to CAB and Shelter in London, as if I speak to anyone where I am at the moment, this may add "fuel to the fire" so to speak.

    I will find the nearest CAB and Shelter offices to me in South London and see if I can make an appointment to see them.

    I'm actually at the end of my tether as I know that my RMO has been sending people round late at night to check if I am there, I am in the process of writing a formal letter of complaint as I am unhappy with the way the whole thing has been handled.

    Josh, thank you for replying as I can see my thread has been viewed at least 70 odd times but you are the first person to reply.

    Warm regards,

    deedee


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Notice to Quit served by Local Authority

    Hi Deedee.

    You need to go to shelter and cab as soon as possible really.

    Mention you have kids.
    Because your chelidren are under 12 you are classed as a vulnrable person.

    They have a duty to watch out for you. under the housing act.

    Apply to the council as a homeless person as you have recived your notice.

    Since it is not your fault you have fallen into arrears they must help you. As you have obviously been trying to sort the sittuation out.

    It might work out that the council will extend your stay there. If thats what you want. To be honest thats how it sounds to me. You just want them to stop casing you for the money they could of been paying on HB.

    But speak to shelter and cab before you do any of this. This si the advice they will give you. The idea is you will have 2 offical boddies chaseing them might push them into giving you the hb's.

    look into tax credits extra (cab will give you advice on these)

    good look and keep us updated.


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    Default Re: Notice to Quit served by Local Authority


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Notice to Quit served by Local Authority

    Hi Josh.

    I'm not in arrears anymore. Apart from a blip two years ago (and that was for a month), I have been out of arrears for over three years. In fact my rent account is about 300 IN CREDIT. I don't qualify for HB now because I actually earn a decent salary now.

    They are trying to boot me out because they think my home is not my PRINCIPLE home. They will have a tough time proving that as I have up to date credit card, bank statements, utility bills, car insuranceicon, GP letters etc, etc. I want them to take it to court because I am fed up and my health is suffering as a DIRECT result.

    I have taken your advice and contacted CAB by email initially. I will be visiting them on Wednesday as they have a drop in between 5.30-7.30pm
    for full time working people.

    I am also writing a letter of complaint to the organisation my RMO is a part of as I am disgusted with the way I am being treated as though I am some sort of criminal. It's not a crime to spend time away from your home. I have been a GOOD tenant for over 11 years.

    Anyway thank you again for the CAB advice. I will read the cases you have linked to as well. How did your case turn out in the end? Did your landlord set asideicon the Notice to Quit?

    deedee


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Notice to Quit served by Local Authority

    I have not yet been to court.

    My notice ends on August the 16th.

    However I have just been accepted as a Homeless person (not threatend with homeless by my local housing authority.

    I see the Tennancy Service Officer on Wednesday at 11:30 at my place.

    The landlord is private so it will work slightly different to mine.

    Hes not to bad of a person and is verry understanding since I am disabled myself. (i am classed as vulrebale also.)

    This seems to be a good thing to push nowardays.

    To be honest I dont really want the landlord to set the notice asside.

    I am out of work and if I get this possesion order I might stand a better chance of keeping my HB's while I am in the residency of the housing association.

    To be honest I thinkthe Landlord sees this and he is only more than happy to help me out.

    As he knows he might be able to get another tenant in after me on HB's.

    This is all thanks to mediation from cab and shelter.

    You have to play ball with them though and do what they ask. And remember at CAB they dont get payed.

    Though if you have a decent income you may be in a better posstion than me to negotiate with private landlords if you wish. But be warned if you go down that route you get some real weirdo's. I was just thinking of alternative housing as they will. (just incase)

    Ive a feeling Shelter is going to be extremely helpful to you when CAGicon refer you.



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