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Hi

 

My landlords(council) are taking me and my wife to court for the rent arrears on the property on a notice seeking possesion.

 

The arrears mounted when it was just my income and we had no money to cover our living expenses and other bills. My wife has now returned to work and we have been able to make an offer of paying the normal rent plus £140 a month to the rent arrears.

 

Even after making this offer they still insist on taking us to court. They said they judge would be likely to accept this offer and would be forwarding our proposal. Well if he is likely to accept whats the point on insisting taking us to court?

 

We are both worried as we have never been in this situation before and cant afford to lose our house as we have a small child and no where else to live. I think it is a substantial offer to clear the arrears and we have already started paying to show we intend to honour it.

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Thanks


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Ok, what the council are going for is either the old Suspended Possession Order, of the more commonly used Postponed Possession Order. You can also ask for an Adjournment on Terms rather than either of these orders - this will not affect your tenancy at all.

 

IF they go ahead take note of which order you get. SPO - will be live until the debt is cleared AND you have applied to the Court to have it quashed and if you don't do that and get into arrears again say 4 years down the line, they can use that SPO again. PPO - this is in place for the life of the debt and dies with it when paid. AJT = tell the judge, and show him, what you have paid etc, and ask for this. Itis simply an agreement to repay what you owe.

 

They are doing this because they want an agreement set in stone, so to speak. The judge is not going to order you to be evicted - the courts understand just how valuable a secure tenancy is. They also understand that people fall on hard times.

 

However, if this is the first time you have been in arrears, and you are sticking to a repayment plan AND covering the rent so the situation doesn't worsen, then I think they may be being a tad unreasonable and heavy handed here.

 

Yes, serve NOSP, quite right. This lasts for a year and anytime within the next 11 months they can take you to court. So really, and what the courts like to see in these cases, is an agreement in place that you have signed up to, and that it is being adhered to. If this is the case then I think it is unfair to burden you with legal fees (yes you will have to pay their court costs) which will not help your situation. If however, you didn't stick to the agreement then I would suggest then that is the time to take you into Court.

 

Put this in writing to the Council, pointing out the problems you had which caused this, what you have done to put this right, and assuring them that you will enter into a formal repayment agreement with them, and please could they not worsen your situation by a court appearance and extra expense to yourself. Tell them that the fees you will end up paying would surely be better put towards paying off your rent arrears. You could say something like surely their time and resources would be better spent on dealing with the won't pays rather than those who are trying to. I would send this to the Rent Department, the Housing department, (Heads of in both cases), your local ward councillor, (find out who sits on the Housing Committee and write to them as well), if you have to, your local MP. And try and see if you have a tenant rep in your area and get them on board as well.

 

Please don;t be worrying about losing your home - even if this does go into Court, you will not be evicted - and the reason? LA's are not allowed to use the mandatory Ground 8, have to use Grounds 10 and 11 which gives the ball entirely to the judge! He in turn must see that you are treated fairly and given a chance.

 

Stop worrying - everything will be fine.

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Thanks for the advice much appreciated


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