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Local Council and rent arrears from 14+ years ago


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Hi,

 

I have recently applied to go onto my local authority housing list. They sent me some forms to fill out, which I did. They then sent me a letter saying we had been banded silver priority , but because of a debt at an old property some 14 years ago, they have moved us into bronze band, until we clear the outstanding amount.

Now, when we left the property, there was no debt that we were aware of, we moved out as we were buying a property and the council were aware of our new address. We also had to wait to hand the keys in, as they had to board the property up, again, no mention of a debt at that time, just a shake of hands, sign off the property and hand keys over.

At no point since that time, have we heard a thing from the authority concerned, until now.

 

I have asked them to provide me proof of this outstanding debt, which they claim is a weeks rent and charges.....£45.12 + £9.73. So far I have had no reply, but until I can resolve this, I am in limbo with moving our housing allocation banding needs. I would just pay, but to be fair, I have always paid my way, and never been in debt, so this is something im not sure i should pay, until they can prove I actually owe it, and also reading this forum, I see other people have had "similiar" claims made against them for a debt some 14 years later and the advice was after 6 years the claims are basically Null and Void as far as the law is concerned? if I am reading that correctly.

 

Anyone shed any light on this... I shall try emailing the council again to see if I can get a breakdown of these charges and an explanation as to why they have never claimed against me before...

 

Hope someone can offers legal advice here please.:|

 

I have just discovered this, http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/58 , section 19 appears to make it pretty clear, that

No action shall be brought, or distress made, to recover arrears of rent, or damages in respect of arrears of rent, after the expiration of six years from the date on which the arrears became due.

But does the council have the right to cause distress by asking for these monies, before they move us up a band, or are they blackmailing us, as that is now how it feels, they are holding us to ransom for a claim they cannot legally do, but are still doing it, as they are a law unto themselves?

Edited by RoversRus
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Hello RoversRus, welcome to the CAG.

 

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Thread moved.

 

Hi and welcome to CAG.

 

I had a similar issue many years ago and what I did was to make the payment but write first saying you will do so but by doing so, you are not accepting liability for the debt, just doing so to ensure your place on the housing register is secured. Either send recorded delivery or hand deliver and get a receipt

 

Once that is done, write and ask for a breakdown of how the arrears came about. This should go to the housing department. If you were on Housing Benefit, it would be worth contacting them too.

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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Thanks for the advice, but to be fair, im not in the habit of paying "first" and asking questions later. I will wait until they give me the information and explain why they are asking for this money they claim I owe some 14 years later despite the legal stance on this stating beyond 6 years no charges can be brought. I was hoping someone here could let me know whether the legislation applied to local councils ( I do not see why it would not ) and also what to do if they try blackmail me like this.

They have had 14 years to let me know of this debt they claim I owe.. and in all honesty, they had my account on the day I signed off the property, any debt would have and should have been served then , they did not? why? no such debt existed... somewhere they have made an error, but for me, the biggest error is in trying to make me pay beyond what a Law states is fair..and making it clear that if I do not pay they will hold my right to move up housing bands to ransom.

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