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lou5357

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About lou5357

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  1. Last year yes, but for the year (2011-12) before prob' not as we moved to our current address in late Nov/early December and electoral forms come out in October. Unless I am reminded about this sort of stuff, it goes to the back of my mind and I forget about it.
  2. An interesting point, Caro. One would think so. However, at the same time as being billed £5,000 for unpaid rent (for the 2011 - 12 period), I was also billed £1200 by the local council for unpaid council tax. I was, at least, able to write to them direct - unlike the court (no option given for writing to them), so I got my local council to send me copy statements of council tax I'd paid stemming back 3 years. I sent this to the other council - several, increasingly acrimonious letters went back and forth between me and said council, who argued that my name was on the tenancy and I therefore benefited from the services available. I questioned how this was possible given that I had not even stepped foot in the borough for 12 years. Their last letter said that I 'had an interest in the property' even though I was not resident there. The so and so's didn't even give me a reduction for the house being empty! I awaited a court letter as I knew that hearing would be close enough for me to travel to (I did not know then that all CCJs come from Northampton court), but I am guessing they did not want to take that route and have opted, I think, for a default. My job requires me to have a CRB (enhanced), surely that would go in my favour? I have had to have them for the last 11 years. The council (where I lived 12 years ago) must surely know the names of the people living at the address? Or, was the person who was living there using my name? I feel so angry that someone was living there rent/council tax free for that year and I'm facing homelessness as a result.
  3. Many thanks for the advice. I clicked on the set aside link you provided, but having read it, I don't think I have a leg to stand on, and it would certainly incur further costs (having read it) because if I challenge it, and by 'point of law', I'm in the wrong, I have to compensate the other side. I am thinking of spending what little savings I have set aside for a deposit on somewhere new for a solicitor to advise and represent me, but it is a big gamble: my name was still on the tenancy up until last year, (un be known to me) and I can't prove that the HA knew I was not living there, but they can prove I was simply because they did not change the tenancy paperwork. In court, (as unpalatable as it seems) it tends to be a game of who has the better lawyer, and one individual fighting against a big corporation is a bit of a 'no-staerter' in terms of who will have the best legal representation. The only thing I have in my favour is benefit of doubt: can a landlord seriously not know who is occupying the property for 12 years?! It'll be impossible for me to track down who was living in there because the borough council will not provide me with those details. \does anyone have an idea where I can get free legal advice? I've tried Shelter et al, but the advisers I have spoken to are just not not expert enough and so keep guiding me back to essentially squatting here until we are evicted. Very unhelpful.
  4. Impending homelessness (family) We have been renting for the last 6 years (having moved 3 times during that time from one rental to another as a result of rent increases). On each occasion we have moved via an estate/letting agency. We have been in our current home for the last 2 years and have been asked to move by the owner as he wants to sell. Fair play. 2 months notice was given by him and we have spent the last 5 weeks looking for somewhere suitable. My first shock was how much rentals have gone up in the last 2 years (approximately 150-200.00 more a month). The second shock was ‘set –up fees’ – some agents asking for 10 days rent on top of fees and a deposit, making the average money required straight away £2,650.00 The average rent here is £1250.00 – 1300.00 for a 3 bed place. I’ve looked further afield but travel to work would take nearly 3 hours on public transport The biggest shock, however, was to discover (yesterday) that we have absolutely no hope of renting anything. I have recently acquired a CCJ in respect of a former housing association property I rented. I left it, over 11 years ago, but my lodger remained. The HA was informed by me (they telephoned me) that I wouldn’t be returning but they seemingly allowed the lodger to stay as the rent was being paid, and did not remove my name from the tenancy. A few months ago the housing association tracked me down and told me I owed them over 5 grand in unpaid rent. I disputed it all but it went to court (I couldn’t afford to attend as the hearing was up north) so I have a CCJ. Yesterday I telephoned an estate agency that I have found to be very reasonable in the past just to ask if I could still rent, given that I have 6 years worth of impeccable rent accounts (supplied by former estate/lettings agencies). The answer was categorically ‘no’. The reason, she continued, was that a lot of insurers won’t accept a poor credit history. I have been advised by a couple of well-known organisations to stay put and await a section 21, otherwise the council will say I have made myself homeless. However, given that a lot of sites have sprung up for LL, (naming and shaming bad tenants), I do not want to run the risk of being put on a ‘said’ blacklist. In any event, my local council has a waiting list of over 2000 (average of 2 yrs) to get any assistance. I am not prepared to live in a b and b with 2 teenage children either. I imagine the cost would be pretty scary as well, given that my partner and I earn £50,000 gross between us. I have been advised to ‘shop’ around, be honest, etc, but given what was explained to me yesterday, it’d be pointless, surely? I am exploring all options from living on a narrow boat/static caravan (for now), to even buying, but as properties here begin at 300,000, that too is out of reach. Coming up with 6 months rent is not an option: that would work out at 7,500, and I have no extended family to act as a guarantor. Has anyone else been in this situation, or can anyone advise me as to what I could do?
  5. I'm confused., Emma. I'm the payer? I filled out a bank details for bacs payment for my employer to pay me, but this was not honoured.
  6. Thanks for the reply, but I doubt my old bank will say, 'yeah, no problem. You have an unpaid o/d and fees stemming back nearly 3 years, but don't worry, we'll move it all into your 'umbrella account'.
  7. Many thanks for the response CM; I have been working along these lines as well. I didn't think of the' gif't angle though. However, I appreciate Emmzi's thinking here. I'm not trying to manipulate a situation here where I effectively get paid twice (and in doing so have my overdraft paid for free and get paid into my umbrella account as well), rather, I want to know if this company (and it is a very big/significant one), has the power to phone my old bank, and without giving out too many details, say: 'We've screwed up - this money has gone into the wrong account and we need it back. Our error, we updated our computer package, and for some people, it has meant that unauthorized accounts have been used.' I could have claimed unemployment and housing benefit for the summer holidays, but being the person I am, I work for this organisation each year instead of sponging off the state. This muddle has effectively placed me in a situation where I probably now can't claim benefits either. I'm hopping mad, and very worried about how I am going to get through the next few weeks. There is no way I can work for this organisation again if this isn't sorted as it could, potentially, happen again.
  8. Many thanks for the replies so far. I understand the moral/ethical rationale of having 'technically' been paid, but I signed a contract with them (I sign one every year), and explained why they must not use the old account. Legally, they are surely in breach of contract? I would have thought that a recall would have been possible, but was told I would need to wait 4 weeks to give it chance to come back on its own accord. I found this strange as if it was going to bounce back, surely it would have done so immediately/within a couple of days. Can a wages recall happen after 4 weeks? I won't have anything to do with my old bank. They wouldn't stop my bank charges/account fees when I lost my job, had no money and had to find cheaper accommodation quick smart before I was evicted. I offered them a nominal amount and the account was simply passed over to a debt collection agency.
  9. Every year, ( for the last 7 years), I undertake work for a company for 3 weeks of the year. I use the money I receive to live on during the summer holidays. (Groceries, new school uniforms, utilities etc). This year, as every year, I filled out a form for my bank details/address/phone number etc. I received a wage slip for approximately 1,000 at the beginning of July, but when I checked my account, there was no money in there. I phoned the company payroll and after checking various bank details, it transpired that I had been paid into an old bank account that I had not used for nearly 3 years. I asked her how this had happened because I'd used my 'new' umbrella account successfully with this company the previous year, and she informed me that they'd had a pc upgrade recently and for a few people, the same/similar had happened - newer bank details lost/reverted to old ones. I explained to her that I had walked away from the old bank because of debt/bank charges and did not even know whether or not the old bank account was still open. (If it was, they'd have swallowed my 1,000.) I asked her to do a BACS trace on the money but she refused, saying I would have to wait a month. Ironically, I can't claim benefits over the summer because my 1000 pay will no doubt be taken into account. I have no other income, very little in savings and really need to try and get my money returned. Am I entitled to get it back? It isn't as though I supplied them with incorrect details. I have written to their head of finance, but as yet, have had no reply. (The letter was sent a few days ago, but I have phoned numerous times since the beginning of July.) How long should I be expected to wait for a reply? Is there any other course of action I could take? Equally annoying is the fact that I paid emergency tax on the pay that I don't have. Hope someone can help. Thanks for reading.
  10. Many thanks for the reply, and reminding me of the C word coming up soon. I think I will be making an executive decision to cancel it this year. As for the JSA etc, I haven't been inside a job centre for 20 years so don't know even know how to claim. Ex - colleagues advise me to avoid going in at all costs as both employees and clients alike can be 'tricky' - another reason for not claiming anything and keeping fingers crossed. Other half could get a short term loan I guess, but it's risky. I have some freelance work coming up next Jan/Feb but it'll only cover a month's living expenses or the quarterly bills. As for explaining my dilemma to the LL, certain things revealed, in my profession at least, results in one having to 'act on the information given'. I think this could well be one of those situations as the property is, I suspect, a buy to let. Some posts on CAG lead me to believe that certain mortgages and/or insurance won't entertain my situation and if this is correct the outcome is already devestatingly clear.
  11. Thanks a lot for suggestion, but no, not a combi boiler. The plumber, employed by the estate agent, has examined the whole central heating system and said this: an essential part in the hot water cylinder has been fitted upside down resulting in low pressure. This means that there is not enough pressure to heat the radiators and consequently they need bleeding every 3 weeks. The thermostat is also broken. The same incorrection of installation causes the radiators to come on when the hot water button on the downstairs boiler is pushed to the 'on' position. The owner was not happy with the quote for repairs (a big job as all access to the pipes/parts have been blocked off by the addition of a shower and bathrooom tiling) so he asked for another quote by a different builder. That quote was even higher (kitchen ceiling will need pulling down and part of the bathroom), so nothing has been done because the owner can't afford it. In the meantime, I now have no heating at the moment at all - probably because the rad's need bleeding (partner refuses to touch them as the bleed screws are,in his words, 'made of chocolate'.)
  12. Hi all, (thanks in advance for reading). Both my partner and I are 'professional' people (estate agent wording); my partner is a Scientist and I work in education. We have been renting a property via an estate agent, which is managed, for the last 9 months. 6 months ago I lost my job and I have used my work compensation to pay the rent ever since. It has now run out and having made enquiries to the housing benefit section, it seems that my partner can claim. However, the initial agreement with the estate agent was no dss etc. It was not an issue at the time, but we are now down by the tune of £32,000 a year and my partner could pay the rent but we'd have nothing more than £200.00 a month left to pay bills/eat/pay petrol etc. I do not currently claim JSA. Could the estate agent/owner have legal grounds to evict us because of my job loss? I am likely (because of the nature of my work) to find employment in the next few months via an agency, but don't want to accumulate arrears in the meantime. Housing benefit would, at least, enable us to eat. I am afraid to claim unemployment benefit that I have been entitled to for months, along with housing benefit, incase there are grounds to evict us. I have read a lot of posts along similar lines on CAG today, but that is more to do with folk trying to avoid telling their landlord BEFORE moving into a property. I asked Housing benefit about this scenareo and they advised that I claim, and if threatened with eviction to stay put at all costs because they would not be able to help me if I 'made myself voluntarily homeless'. I could be stuck between a rock and a hard place here. Can anyone advise?
  13. Hi all, I am really hoping someone can help with this. I've lived in a rented property for 9 months, and since moving in I have had a few problems. 1.The central heating has not been working properly; when you put the hot water on the radiators come on as well - it was a nightmare in the summer. It was first reported 6 months ago, and it still has not been fixed - apparently the LL can't afford it. 2. No carbon monoxide detector. Is this illegal? 3. None of the doors upstairs shut. 4. Front door catch is broken, meaning no access via the front. These are surely fire safety issues? 5. The owner has occupied the loft with all her stuff. This was not in the contract. 6. Use of her aviary - we requested use of it, it was in the contract and we can't use it as her garden furniture is in it. All of these issues were reported when we first moved in. Most of it ignored. I am to report all that is applicable to the environmental health officer, but wondered if there are clear breaches of contract here, and is there anything else I can do?
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