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purple_rain

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  1. Hi everyone, Please help me with this: I live in a shared house with other flatmates and our current water bill with Thames Water is in my name. We have a meter outside and pay every 6 months. Some time this year, out water bill suddenly tripled and Thames Water eventually did an investigation. There are findings were that the readings are accurate and correct from what they can see, even though every person I've spoken with on the phone seems to think it's pretty much impossible for a water bill to suddenly get that high. I don't know what's happening, but obviously we are expected to pay and we don't have that kind of money because it was totally unexpected. I honestly don't for one second think we've used this much water but don't know what the next move is. I'm hoping to move out by the end of this year and I'm pretty sure I can't change the name on the bill with the amount of money owing on the account. Please can someone give me some advice as to what I can do, because as far as Thames Water is concerned, they've done as much as they can. Thanks
  2. The repayment is owed to Newham but I currently live in the borough Haringey. This was from a couple of years ago- I think what happened, although I don't know for sure, was that I was on JSA and HB and then I moved house and was told everything would be moved across accordingly. Obviously something has gone wrong. I'm not working at the moment but not on benefits either. I had a friend who told me this, but they just won't leave me alone and I was worried it would get escalated. Are they able to transfer the claim to the bailiffs department and what happens if I don't deal with them? I've emailed the council regarding this so that it is done in writing and there is a trail of written evidence, but like I said I've not heard back. Is it ok to wait for them or do I need to follow up again? It just seems a tad weird that they want money from me and I'm chasing them up.
  3. Hi everyone, I would appreciate your advice on this matter. I received a letter from Newlyn about a month ago regarding an overpayment of housing benefit from Newham Council, amounting to around £2200. I contacted them straight away asking for details, as the council has never written to me at my new address. Newlyn said they didn't have any details, as they had only held the account for several days. I then started getting phone calls every couple of days. When I couldn't come to the phone, they would leave me a voicemail and I always returned their calls. I explained the situation again the second time I spoke to them and the lady told me which period the overpayment was for to which I replied that it was still insufficient information, but she said she didn't know any more. I've contacted the council, requesting to know why they think I owe them money and asked for a statement of payment from them. I've spoken to Newlyn at least twice after this and explained on every occasion that I've contacted the council to enquire about the situation but have yet to receive a reply. The people on the phone said they were unable to 'hold' the account, even though I've done everything I can and they're not providing me with a reason to pay. I have received an automated response email from the council stating they have received my enquiry and they will respond to me in due time, but Newlyn won't leave me alone. In the past few days, they have sent me a letter that was addressed to 'the occupier' requesting for a forwarding address for me even though, I've contacted and spoken to them many times. I don't know how to proceed. I can't pay them - I don't have the money, but also I don't see why I should pay when I haven't been given reason to. They've said "you owe this much, now pay up" and that's pretty much it. I'm really stressed out about how quickly this is escalating and I'm really frustrated as to why I'm expected to pay when they haven't even explained to me why I owe them money. I'm struggling to cope with this and I feel really trapped. Thanks in advance to anyone who responds. Zoe
  4. The landlord lives in his own house, not with us and we don't have a written tenancy agreement anymore. He did have one with a girl who was living here previously, but the contract has expired and the girl no longer lives here.
  5. I think it's an HMO but if I remember correctly there was a dispute in regards to this from the council. There are 5 of us over 2 floors and we share the kitchen and the bathroom. We all pay a share of council tax but the bill is in the landlord's name. No one in the house has a contract with the landlord let alone an AST. I don't have a rent book- everyone transfers their rent to me at the end of the month and I transfer the money over to the landlord. I've never been offered a tenancy or anything written. It's just one particular girl who has been particularly difficult and the landlord said I'm within my rights to offer notice but I don't think she will go quietly, so things have to be done properly and I'd like to know where I stand if I chose to take this step.
  6. Hi everyone, I'm hoping someone can give me some advice. I've been renting a room in a property for 3 years now and the system that the landlord has put in place is: one person collects the rent and pays him directly. Currently, I am in charge of this. He says I can decide whether I want to rent out one or all of the rooms but the amount of rent for the whole property stays the same regardless. He has also said that I can decide how much rent to charge per room, again rent for the whole property would stay the same whatever I decide. I don't have any written agreement with the landlord, so my first question is, what kind of contract do I have if I have one at all and secondly, am I subletting to the other tenants in the house? I would also like to know where I stand in terms of trying to evict one of my flatmates. The landlord has said I can give notice to people as I see fit. However, he is very laid back and I can't see him wanting to get involved in anything too official unless he isn't getting the full amount of rent each month. He has said to me that as long as he gets the rent, I can decide how to run the property but it also makes me feel as though, if I need his support to evict someone, he will leave me to it and I just don't know what rights I have in this instance. How much involvement would I need from the landlord, if I wanted one of my flatmates to leave? I hope someone can help me with this because I don't really know where else to go for accurate advice. Many thanks in advance
  7. Yes I do, but sometimes we never got the bill, only letters to say our bill is overdue and the reason they were overdue is because we never got the bill in the first place. Those letters only had the amount on there. I'm just concerned because I never did receive additional letters from them like the workmen who came to look at the meter said. I don't know where all the extra spending has come from.
  8. Hi guys, I received my last water bill a while ago and it's double what the previous bill was. I'm having problems understanding what's going because there have been no major changes to the house. They had been sending people round to access the meter in our front garden which they have never done before. It was a rather bizarre incident. These guys showed up and asked who they should write to at this address and I explained that we were already with Thameswater and I didn't understand what's going on. I don't know if we're getting billed for another house or what's going on. Is there any way our bill can be recalculated? I don't understand how reading a meter at the front of the house has affected our bill to this extent. Can someone help me with this situation because I have a feeling Thameswater will make a dogs dinner out of this.
  9. Hi everyone, I'm after some advice on my student account. I've been in higher education for a while and have a student account with an overdraft facility. I just graduated this September just gone, from Open University. I had transferred from another university and my graduation date is later than first anticipated. When I first started at the new uni, I had gone into a branch to let them know I had changed unis and asked them what needed to be done. The staff at the branch asked me if I were still and student and I said yes. They said it's fine, so that's how I took it. 2 years later, they've contacted me saying that because I've graduated for a while, my overdraft facility was no longer interest fee. I owe approximately £450 for interest overdraft charges but they're willing to shave a couple of hundred off that if I paid straight away. I spoke to someone from the complaint's department and she insists she believes what I've said as she has no reason not to but she still believes that the charges and interest was applied correctly, which baffled me. They also said they sent me letters, none of which I have received, quite honestly. I am able to pay at the moment, but would rather not for obvious reasons. I just wanted to get a second opinion from people on here to see if I should just pay up and whether it's worth arguing it with the bank. Thanks in advance for your help
  10. Well, to pay you either have to go buy the stamps and post the card they give to you or pay online and wait for them to process it, so I might as well go to collect it. The tax depends on the value of what's in your parcel I think but RM goes ahead, regardless of what the tax is and charge you £8 handling fee. I just wanted to know if there's a way around it because I don't know what merits a charge like that.
  11. Hi guys, I ordered some things a while ago from America. I was taxed by the customs as the parcel was valued at over £15. Previously, I had ordered similar items (at an even higher value) from the same company but did not get taxed. On this occasion, I received a card saying I had been taxed and that there was a handling fee of £8. I wasn't expecting to be taxed in the first place let alone the handling fee. It seems ludicrous that there should be such a big charge. I don't mind paying the tax if that is what is owed by law but for Royal Mail to profit because something was ordered from abroad seems absolutely absurd. How can they be losing out, if I'm expected to pick up the item from the depot?!?! Is there any way I could persuade Royal Mail to drop the handling fee? Thanks in advance for any advice.
  12. Thank you for your replies. So I should lodge appeals to both sides whilst requesting SAR? Do I have to write separately asking for the SAR? Is asking the HB people to recalculate the overpayment of HB I owe considered a proper appeal? Sorry for all the questions. I have no idea what I'm doing. Thank you for all the help you've given me so far.
  13. Thank you for your replies. Unfortunately, I don't have the form that I filled in with the hours on it, as I only filled in one copy, which was given to the Jobcentre. I only have the receipt showing that they received my pay cheque as evidence. I remember missing an appointment due to work, so I wasn't able to hand in a form with hours on it for one of the weeks. I asked my advisor via email if I need to go in and see her. She said no, just email her my pay cheques. I still have those emails. Honestly, I had no intention on deceiving them. I went to every appointment and had a great relationship with my advisor and I'm quite surprised she hasn't replied to me to be honest. In regards to the HB, I did sign a form as far as I can remember when I joined my new jobcentre. I'm also pretty sure that I was told by my previous jobcentre that everything would be transferred as a whole. The problem is, it's over a year ago for me and I honestly cannot remember. I just know that I do as they say, as I always have done. I never had a problem when I was signing on. The HB office have asked me to contact them via the post, so I will print all my pay cheques and see what they say.
  14. Hi guys, I'm hoping you can help me. Last week I received a letter saying I had been overpaid job seekers allowance from December to January when I was working full time. However, I went to every appointment at the jobcentre and brought along with me my paycheck. My advisor always took a copy of it and sent it to the relevant people. I missed the last appointment because I had to work but I emailed the paycheck to her instead. When I noticed my JSA hadn't changed, I told my advisor and she said there wasn't anything to do since she had sent off my paychecks and I had disclosed fully that I was working part time. Now they want me to repay what I owe as well as a penalty of £50 because they think I was trying to deceive them. I think it's unfair because I did everything I could. I tried to call my advisor straight away but couldn't get through and I sent an email as well but I haven't heard anything and that was a week ago. The second part of the problem is that this week, I received a letter saying I had been overpaid for housing benefit from mid January onwards until now, because I'm not on JSA anymore. I'm just so confused about the whole thing! Firstly, the letter said the overpayment was for my former address, which is strange because when I moved house in April 2012, they said my claims would be transferred automatically. In fact, I carried on claiming JSA from April 2012 until January 2013 and they clearly had my address. When my I closed my JSA claim, I was told that I wouldn't be earning enough to stop my housing benefit. I have been working sporadically because I haven't been given a contract by my agency. In fact, some months in between I haven't been working at all. They now say I owe them over £2,000 and I can't understand why they didn't just get it straight in the first place. When I moved here and I spoke to the housing benefits office, they insisted they didn't have my claim but yet my JSA advisor said my HB was being paid, so it's nothing to worry about. I'd really value any advice because I just don't have that money to repay and quite frankly I'm not sure I owe all of the amount they have calculated. I haven't once tried to deceive them or trick anyone. Let's be honest, if I wanted to be on JSA, I could be on it right now, but since working, I don't think I want to go back there anymore. (Not that there's anything wrong with it.) When they sent over the housing benefits letter, they told me how much I was paid but let the bit where they tell me how much I'm entitled to empty. They were still able to calculate that I owe them over £2,000 though! Thanks in advance!
  15. Hi guys, I'm posting on behalf of my houseshare. Basically, we've just had a massive bill for the gas and electricity that was almost the same as our winter bill (only about £20/£30 difference). Obviously we're confused as to how that happened because we haven't been using our electric heaters or central heating for the whole duration of the latest bill. I've called npower, they insist that it's correct because we sent in the past week. However, we're still confused how we have managed to use that much when there are fewer of us than there were in the winter. Please advise. It could be nothing, but there's no harm in asking. There are a few things that has changed in between getting the 2 bills. We had our meter for electricity changed in March. The pressure in our boiler keeps falling, so there may be a problem. Lastly they've changed the charges. I've attached our bills. We'd appreciate it if you could take a look. Thanks in advance. Zoe[ATTACH=CONFIG]45352[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]45353[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]45354[/ATTACH]
  16. Thanks for the replies. That's what I thought initially but I don't want to get myself into financial trouble with court fees or be seen as lying which of course the agency is accusing me of. Is there anywhere I can find out for sure under what circumstances the court will award the defendant the costs of legal proceedings?
  17. I'm just worried because like I said the agency wants me to pay their court fees and I don't know how much that is and I don't think I can afford it. I'm just hoping someone on here will have an insight as to which way this will go or where I can go for some reliable advice.
  18. I've moved in somewhere else now this was a couple of months ago. They never told me until after I handed over they money that it was non- refundable. The details being on a receipt and the receipt not given until after the money was handed over. Not sure if that would help.
  19. Hi everyone, I was on here a couple months ago asking for advice about a holding deposit that hasn't been refunded back to me. To recap, I viewed a property and was very hesitant about it because it wasn't ready, it was a tad pricey and I just needed time to think. Anyway, the agent mentioned a holding deposit and as with every other agency that I've dealt with I've had a holding deposit back if I change my mind. The agent took down and few of my details and I told him I needed time to think and mentioned about the deposit and I handed over the money thinking the agent had understood that I needed time to discuss things with my family. He then hands me the receipt after the money had changed hands and on there stipulates that the deposit is non refundable. I changed my mind after some things happened with my family and realised I wasn't entirely happy with the property. I told the agent and he said ok that's fine but sorry the deposit is not refundable. I was shocked at the time so I tried to ring back and still said no. I emailed them asking if they had any documentation I signed and they never got back to me. I just wanted to check I hadn't pre-signed anything without reading the fine print before handing over the money. They didn't even answer me so I had to call them and they told me they had nothing on file. Property Ombudsman Service were of course useless. So I felt I had no choice but to file a small claims. They've sent back a defence saying that the case is vexatious and they will be asking for any cost of proceedings to be paid for by me. They also said that I was happy with the property and knew about the holding deposit being non- refundable and that I could have asked for the money back before leaving the office but of course handing over the money and taking the receipt was the last thing I did in that office and despite the agency saying I had ample time to take back my money I didn't. I'm not sure what to do or where to go because I don't want to be paying for their defence costs but at the same time I feel I've been unfairly treated. Any advice? Thanks in advance
  20. My flatmate who holds the contract for the property has just responded. Apparently, she's given the only copy of the contract back to the landlord (for some very odd bizarre reason). None of us know why she's done this. Is this going to cause us any problems other than us not knowing exactly the terms of the agreement?
  21. Hi, Thanks for your response. From what you've said I think this house has always been an HMO and the council made an error in not labeling us in the first instance. I think they decided we were an HMO because the inspector saw locks on each door of the property, but then my parents' house has a lock on each bedroom door. So it was a bit weird for us that it all hinged on that. We all pay a part of the rent to one girl who holds the contract for the property and then she forwards the rent to the landlord. I've asked her for a copy of the contract to have a look at the terms because even though the written contract is out of date, as far as I understand it, it is still active on a month to month basis. I hate to say it and it was before my time living here, but this property was never fully occupied by students, it was always a mixture. Most of the people who were responsible have moved on and the landlord is keen to make back some of the money some way through us and it makes me very nervous because I'm happy here. For current lodgers who are living here now, are they exempt from council tax if they are full time students? The landlord seems to think they are not if they are living with non- students. Is he correct in thinking so? Thanks again
  22. I've just noticed there's a little council tax section here so thought I'd try my luck... I've recently moved into a house that was deemed by the council to be exempt from council tax. There is 5 of us in the house and we share the property as friends. One of the girls holds a contract for the whole property with the landlord. She is responsible for the rent of the property. The written contract has since expired but the landlord is happy for us to continue living there. A few months before I moved in, the council sent an inspector round and he decided that we were a house of multiple occupancy and were liable for council tax. (They had previously decided we were not). They have sent the bill for the council tax to our landlord who has since received a court summons. My flatmates and my landlord don't seem to be very proactive so I'm trying to find relevant information to figure out what's going on because there's a lot of confusion and mixed responses. My landlord is trying to claim backdated council tax from us because the council is doing the same to him. He has also claim that because we are an HMO that even the students are liable for council tax because there are non students living here. There are also people who have since moved out who unknowingly owe the landlord back payment for council tax and he's insinuating that he wants that split between the people who are living there now as he has to somehow cover the payment he's made to the council. Last thing that I fail to understand is why the council initially thought we were exempt from paying council tax and then changed their minds when the situation itself hadn't changed. I feel like I'm drowning in misinformation and I've not heard from my landlord since he told us he's received a court summons. I've tried to go to the CAB a few times but they only have walk in appointments and I've had no luck because they're so short staffed that they can't even see me. Does anyone have suggestions?
  23. Thanks for talking to me like a normal person. It's always so easy to judge. I'm not one to expose my problems online or make excuses but people forget that behind the computer is a real person and they have no idea what's going on in their life. As OU students we're not recognised as students by the government or anything. I am willing to work and plan my way around things. I was panicking about my deadlines because I was expected to show up in France for a week for uni and I've had to cancel and not go. This will affect my marks but at the same time I know there has to be sacrifices to be made. I don't think people realise how much the courses range at the OU. I have 2 assignments to hand in every month!
  24. If I were working I would have called in sick. I'm doing a 2 module BA course atm and I'm trying my hardest, if people want to judge that's fine but it's hard work. I've had to move house recently because my former flatmate threatened me twice and I had to call the police. All I asked was if anyone was familiar with the procedure.
  25. I've had extensions in the past for my personal problems and my tutor said I can't have more in the future. Every tutor is different. One of tutors hasn't returned a single piece of work to me and is barely reachable. The other is really helpful.
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