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notice of seeking possession assured tenancy - need help Pls


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Hi

 

Earlier today I received a letter off my housing assocaition, which included a "notice of seeking possession assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy"

 

A bit of background....

 

Back in January I received a letter saying if I did not contact them to sort out rent arrears they was going to apply for a notice of seeking possession, for which I contacted them as soon as receiving the letter and in the process arranged a payment plan with them for a set amount each month, which I have paid every month so far....

Due to that they then said I can dis-regard the letter about the notice of seeking possession

 

Earlier in april I received a phone call off a housing officer stating that the bedroom tax has came into/or is coming into effect this month, and stated that my rent was going to nearly double, but never asked me to rearrange my direct debit or anything else

 

Earlier today I phoned the housing up and they said it was possibly due to the bedroom tax that has come out

 

Can they do this ? is it legal ? seeing as I have been paying the agreed amount every month and also the bedroom tax was not in force back in january when the agreement was made

 

I am classed as disabled due to Asperger's Syndrome, I get Incapacity Benefit and DLA, if that helps at all

 

 

ANY information or help is appreciated !

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Sounds like the housing officer is raving bonkers to me

 

Is the notice seeking possession the same as Form 3 here https://www.gov.uk/assured-tenancy-forms and what have they wrote in section 3 ?

 

So how much is the rent arrears for then and what was the agreement to pay off the arrears and have you kept to this agreement ?

 

Are you getting housing benefit

 

Have they served you a notice of Rent increase yet ?

 

You can actual challenged the rent increase via RAC "rent assessment committee"

 

But it has to be done within 28 days of them serving notice of rent increase https://www.gov.uk/housing-tribunals/rent-assessment-committee-disputes-about-rent

Edited by 45002

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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What grounds are they evicting you?

 

Tell them you have a disability as under theEquality Act 2003 they have to provide you with reasonable adjustments

 

Also have they done the per action protocol with to assess your ability to pay.

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Sounds like the housing officer is raving bonkers to me

 

Is the notice seeking possession the same as Form 3 here https://www.gov.uk/assured-tenancy-forms and what have they wrote in section 3 ?

 

So how much is the rent arrears for then and what was the agreement to pay off the arrears and have you kept to this agreement ?

 

Are you getting housing benefit

 

Have they served you a notice of Rent increase yet ?

 

You can actual challenged the rent increase via RAC "rent assessment committee"

 

But it has to be done within 28 days of them serving notice of rent increase https://www.gov.uk/housing-tribunals/rent-assessment-committee-disputes-about-rent

 

Thank's for the reply...

 

It was the first time I have spoken to the housing officer that rang me, all she seemd interested in doing was hanging up the phone

 

The notice of seeking possession is the same as Form 3 from what I can make out

 

In section 3, they have put...

 

"The landlord/licensor* intends to seek possession on ground(s) 10 in schedule 2 to the housing act 1988, as amended by the housing act 1996 which read's...

Some rent lawfully due from the tenant a) is unpaid on the date on which the proceedings for possession are begun; and b) except where subsection (1)(b) of section 8 of this act applies, was in arrears at the date of the service of the notice under that section relating to those proceedings. "

 

I have put the quote above exactly as it is written in section 3

 

The amount of the rent arrears at the time the letter and notice was sent was £170.73

 

I cannot remember what the rent arrears was at the time of setting up the direct debit with the housing (short term memory is atrocious) but the agreement was to pay £60.00 per month,

I have kept to the agreement so far, which the housing should also know as they sent a statement of account with the notice and letter, which shows the 3 payments of £60.00 I have made so far

 

I am getting housing benefit and council tax benefit, but not at the full rate, due to being on incapacity benefit, which is where the arrears have sprung from

 

Yes they have sent me a rent increase notification letter last month if I remember right

 

I never knew You could challenge the rent increase, learn something new everyday

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What grounds are they evicting you?

 

Tell them you have a disability as under theEquality Act 2003 they have to provide you with reasonable adjustments

 

Also have they done the per action protocol with to assess your ability to pay.

 

Thank's for the reply

 

Rent arrears is the reason why

 

The housing association already know of my disablity, they knew about it before I signed for the flat, and in part was due to the disability and needing an extra bedroom for my son to stay weekends is why they gave me the flat in the first place

 

As for the "per action protocol" As far as I am aware I dont think they have, it is the first time I have heard of it anyway

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Thank's for the reply...

 

It was the first time I have spoken to the housing officer that rang me, all she seemed interested in doing was hanging up the phone

 

The notice of seeking possession is the same as Form 3 from what I can make out

 

In section 3, they have put...

 

"The landlord/licensor* intends to seek possession on ground(s) 10 in schedule 2 to the housing act 1988, as amended by the housing act 1996 which read's...

Some rent lawfully due from the tenant a) is unpaid on the date on which the proceedings for possession are begun; and b) except where subsection (1)(b) of section 8 of this act applies, was in arrears at the date of the service of the notice under that section relating to those proceedings. "

 

I have put the quote above exactly as it is written in section 3

 

The amount of the rent arrears at the time the letter and notice was sent was £170.73

 

I cannot remember what the rent arrears was at the time of setting up the direct debit with the housing (short term memory is atrocious) but the agreement was to pay £60.00 per month,

I have kept to the agreement so far, which the housing should also know as they sent a statement of account with the notice and letter, which shows the 3 payments of £60.00 I have made so far

 

I am getting housing benefit and council tax benefit, but not at the full rate, due to being on incapacity benefit, which is where the arrears have sprung from

 

Yes they have sent me a rent increase notification letter last month if I remember right

 

I never knew You could challenge the rent increase, learn something new everyday

 

Can you pay off the arrears ASAP and keep paying your rent on time

 

There using

Discretionary grounds for possession

 

Ground 10

 

Some rent lawfully due from the tenant—

(a)is unpaid on the date on which the proceedings for possession are begun; and

(b)except where subsection (1)(b) of section 8 of this Act applies, was in arrears at the date of the service of the notice under that section relating to those proceedings.

 

Sorry,forgot to ask what did they what have they write in section 4 ?

 

 

Edited by 45002

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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Can you pay off the arrears ASAP and keep paying your rent on time

 

There using

Discretionary grounds for possession

 

Ground 10

 

Some rent lawfully due from the tenant—

(a)is unpaid on the date on which the proceedings for possession are begun; and

(b)except where subsection (1)(b) of section 8 of this Act applies, was in arrears at the date of the service of the notice under that section relating to those proceedings.

 

Sorry,forgot to ask what did they what have they write in section 4 ?

 

 

 

 

Not too sure what "Discretionary grounds for possession" is, to be honest, I am not too good at legal things, unless I have come across them before

 

 

Section 4

 

At 15 April 2013 your rent account was in arrears to the sum of £170.73

Sections mentioned in section 4 are.... 1 to 8 (if court is satisfied), 9 to 17,

the court will not make an order under grounds 1, 3 to 7, 9, or 16 to take effect during the fixed term of the tenancy it will only make an order during the fixed term on grounds 2, 8, 10 to 15 or 17

 

If any of that makes any sense

 

If You need it written out word for word let me know I will type it out like I did with section 3

 

Sorry forgot to add about the rent arrears etc

There is no way that I can pay off the rent arrears, not all in one go

I have zero savings, plus paying for gas and electric while paying what I am to the housing and the council tax, and still got to find the extra money needed for the bedroom tax

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Have you tried getting a Discretionary Housing Payments from your local council, they should be able to help pay for some of the arrears, especially with a condition like yours.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/184207/discretionary-housing-payments-guide.pdf

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Have you tried getting a Discretionary Housing Payments from your local council, they should be able to help pay for some of the arrears, especially with a condition like yours.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/184207/discretionary-housing-payments-guide.pdf

 

Thank's for the reply and the info

 

No I have not, but will look into it and look at the pdf You have provided

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s8 g10 repo is at discretiion of Judge, not automatic repo. g10 indicates a history of rent arrears duimg T term.

HAs are allowed to increase rent for demised property over time, provided procedures are followed eg s13.

The bedroom tax will not increase your future rent due, but will reduce your HB payable by ~£15 for first spare room. I suggest your 'rent increase' is only to account for this future additional shortfall in your rent contributions.New rules mean that you are not emtitled to HB for additional bedroom for son to stay at weekends, hence spare room

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s8 g10 repo is at discretiion of Judge, not automatic repo. g10 indicates a history of rent arrears duimg T term.

 

HAs are allowed to increase rent for demised property over time, provided procedures are followed eg s13.

 

The bedroom tax will not increase your future rent due, but will reduce your HB payable by ~£15 for first spare room. I suggest your 'rent increase' is only to account for this future additional shortfall in your rent contributions.New rules mean that you are not emtitled to HB for additional bedroom for son to stay at weekends, hence spare room

 

 

 

Is your rent arrears only £170, then they are being bullies u have to be 2 months in arrears if paying rent monthly or 4 weeks if paying weekly. If your on benefits you pay only £3.55 towards arrears weekly- By Law, also as you are a vulnerable customer you do not pay the council liability for those on benefits. Talk about bedroom tax later got to to work.

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s8 g10 repo is at discretiion of Judge, not automatic repo. g10 indicates a history of rent arrears duimg T term.

HAs are allowed to increase rent for demised property over time, provided procedures are followed eg s13.

The bedroom tax will not increase your future rent due, but will reduce your HB payable by ~£15 for first spare room. I suggest your 'rent increase' is only to account for this future additional shortfall in your rent contributions.New rules mean that you are not emtitled to HB for additional bedroom for son to stay at weekends, hence spare room

 

The HA said that they dis regard the fact that I needed the bedroom for when my son stays, which they knew about before, due to the fact of him staying weekends and sometimes staying here for long term when he plays up for his mom, which is partly the reason why the HA gave me this property

I know the law states that they dont class me as needing a bedroom for my son, which I cannot do much about

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Is your rent arrears only £170, then they are being bullies u have to be 2 months in arrears if paying rent monthly or 4 weeks if paying weekly. If your on benefits you pay only £3.55 towards arrears weekly- By Law, also as you are a vulnerable customer you do not pay the council liability for those on benefits. Talk about bedroom tax later got to to work.

 

Yes that is my rent arrears at the moment

When I took on this tenancy, the property was let to me as a 2 bedroom (which it states in the paperwork etc) even though it is a 3 bedroom (apparently there was not much call for 3 beds at the time of them letting it to me) I was starting to wonder if that is the real reason why they are trying to evict me, and using the rent arrears as a means to do so

 

I know for a fact that it CANNOT be due to me not keeping up with the repayment that was agreed back in January, as I have kept to the payment plan, by using direct debit

 

What I found that was strange (in my opinion) was the fact that on Saturday the 20 th (one just gone) I received a letter stating they was coming to see me on Monday 22nd (one just gone) to talk to me about downsizing AND to carry out a FULL property inspection, and then on the Tuesday 23rd I get the letter and the notice of seeking possession (which I find rather strange)

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The spare bedroom rules only applied to HAs from 1 Apr this year. It is perhaps political expediency for HA to avoid poss adverse local press comment "Single disabled T forced out of 3 bed HA property by 'bedroom tax'" in favour of "HA T evicted for persistent rent arrears".

s8 g10 or 11, is poss eviction, at Judge's discretion, even if there is £1 of unpaid rent owing or a history of late payments. It will be interesting to see Judge's decision. Keep us informed.

I doubt payment of £172 arrears at this stage will affect the decision, but HA could enforce a CCJ against you if not paid within allowed time. Registered CCJ will adversely impact your credit rating for future.

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2012jackofalltrades

 

You need to concentrate on the legal action been taken by your LL 1st

You need to contact your local shelter office and ask them if they can help you with the court case or find a solicitor and help filling in Discretionary Housing Payments pdf

 

Put your full postcode into the below link

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/advice_services_directory

 

Besides finding your local shelter office,it will also show you a list of local law centre who can help you,please do this ASAP

 

My local shelter office found me a great solicitor when I had problems with my LL some years ago

 

keep us informed on CAG on how you get on ...

Edited by 45002

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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There is not a judge in the land who would evict you for having rent arrears of £170. I would put my career on that.

 

Firstly, you have a payment agreement with your housing association which you have stuck to, which means that they have not followed the pre-action protocol appropriately, and at best, in court (for them), there will be an adjournment on terms with liberty to restore, and at worst, a strike out, and you should write up a schedule of your own costs (time spent researching, getting advice, time to travel to court and costs of same), so that when the judge asks if there are any other matters you say to him you'd like your costs as the action was frivolous and unncessary and was a blatant disregard of the pre-action protocols that all social housing landlords are obliged to follow prior to taking court action. You may recoup £170 so that you can pay your arrears off in full.

 

If, on the other hand, the HA have claimed under alternative grounds (and your copying of the claim did not indicate that), then it might be a different matter. But on the facts as you have presented them here, there will be no possession order made against you.

 

One thing - make sure you adjust your direct debit to include any increase in the rent since April, including any adjustments in housing benefit received.

Edited by Lea_HTH
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Hi all, thank's for all the replies

 

My first and foremost concern was and is getting evicted, if I were to be, I would be homeless, and I have been there before and do not want to go back there, ever, to me it does seem really strange how they have gone about thing's as stated in my previous post/s

I have contacted the HA and tried speaking with the HO that was named on the letter, but have been given the runaround and was promised he would call me back (which was on Tuesday), which I am still waiting for

 

My payment plan with them is NOT a direct debit as I thought and stated it was but a standing order, dont know if that makes any difference, either way they (the HA) are still getting paid

 

@ Mariner51

Thank's for the info on the Bedroom tax etc, the idea of the HA not wanting bad press is something I had not thought of

I am not too fussed about my credit rating to be honest, as I dont have credit for anything, I prefer to pay cash rather than getting in debt with credit

 

@ 45002

I was browsing the web and found the shelter site and was thinking of contacting them to see what they say or what help they could offer, I will be contacting them tomorrow

 

@ Lea

I was unsure at first but now I do not think a Judge would let them evict me, due to the way the HA has acted

I would not know where to start with schedule of costs etc, I would find it difficult to work out what would be classed as reasonable, apart from travelling expenses, which is pretty much self explanatory

Within 5 minutes of reading Your reply I adjusted my payment to the HA from £60 to £114 a month which is approximately what the HA said it was

 

Thank's again all ! for Your replies and info

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Litigant in person costs are £18 an hour. So, if, for example, you spent 2 hours looking online for information, you would put 'research into areas of law' 2 hours and in a third column £36, time spent travelling to court e.g 1 hour £18, fares to get to court £X, and so forth - including time to write up, print, photocopy any defence. If the HA took you to court legitimately, and got a suspended or outright possession order, they'd get fixed costs of around £175 to £244 (depending on whether they just charged for filing the claim, or added extra in for the attendance at court), so it wouldn't be unreasonable if your costs came to around £175 - though the judge is free to summarily assess them at what he believes is a reasonable amount.

 

My feeling is that if you mentioned to the HA that you intend to seek an order for costs against them if they proceed with court action, that they will withdraw their case.

 

By the way, standing order is still a regular payment from the bank, it's just that you are in control of when it leaves your account, unlike a DD. Makes no material difference - you still made an agreement and stuck to it and as such, under the pre-action protocols, they should not have proceeded to court at all, and definitely not without forewarning you.

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Litigant in person costs are £18 an hour. So, if, for example, you spent 2 hours looking online for information, you would put 'research into areas of law' 2 hours and in a third column £36, time spent travelling to court e.g 1 hour £18, fares to get to court £X, and so forth - including time to write up, print, photocopy any defence. If the HA took you to court legitimately, and got a suspended or outright possession order, they'd get fixed costs of around £175 to £244 (depending on whether they just charged for filing the claim, or added extra in for the attendance at court), so it wouldn't be unreasonable if your costs came to around £175 - though the judge is free to summarily assess them at what he believes is a reasonable amount.

 

My feeling is that if you mentioned to the HA that you intend to seek an order for costs against them if they proceed with court action, that they will withdraw their case.

 

By the way, standing order is still a regular payment from the bank, it's just that you are in control of when it leaves your account, unlike a DD. Makes no material difference - you still made an agreement and stuck to it and as such, under the pre-action protocols, they should not have proceeded to court at all, and definitely not without forewarning you.

 

I was offered by a family member the £170 to pay the arrears off, but due to knowing it would leave them broke and the fact that I thought the HA was in the wrong (which I still think), I refused the help

 

The more I learn the more I want my day in court, I would prefer it if I never had to go, but it would be satisfying to see the face of the HO if the Judge throw's it out, which judging by everyone's comments here and the fact they have not followed protocol, is a possibility

 

Thank's for the info on cost's, if it was not for You I would not have thought about claiming any cost's

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Update

 

Phoned the HO again today and he said that They have followed the protocol by sending out the Notice of seeking possession

 

I told him that I would be applying for costs, which he said in return "we will be too"

 

Shortly after he stated that he would prefer it if it never went to court, but still states they are in the right to do what they have done, which did start to get me fuming, even though I kept my cool on the phone to him

 

He even admitted that I have stuck to the payment plan set up in January, but states that it is because of the rent increase and the shortfall, is the reason why they have sent the Notice

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If he thinks sending a notice of seeking possession is following the pre-action protocol then he's got a LOT of reading to do. He clearly needs some training.

 

Of course they'll seek costs, however they will never get them because a) they failed to follow the protocol - they are supposed to write to you, phone you, visit you, ensure you are claiming all the benefits to which you are entitled, and if you're not to try to assist you to do so (usually by referring you to CAB for help); they are supposed to ensure you can understand all the information sent to you, if they have been notified by you that you have any particular difficulties with understanding, and they are supposed to agree a repayment plan with you, write to you to confirm it, give you details of the time in which you should comply, and inform you that if you do not, they will proceed to court - however, before proceeding to court they should contact you again to see if there is anything further that is causing issues. If you agree a plan and you stick to it, then no further proceedings should be taken. Only then can they safely say they have adhered to the pre-action protocol.

 

Your HA have failed in virtually everything, notwithstanding the fact that £170 is not sufficient to gain possession. They cannot just willy-nilly issue proceedings because of a shortfall on the rent IF you are paying it - if you are not and cannot afford it, that is another matter. But if you ARE paying the shortfall and continuing to pay the amount towards the arrears, then there is no reason for court.

 

Good luck.

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Hi Lea

 

Thank's for the info, they have not did any of the things You mentioned, the only phone call I received is the one I mentioned in my OP

I am still waiting for benefit advice officer to visit me from two years ago from th HA

 

He said something about not wanting to talk on the phone, and offered to come out and visit me to talk about it in person, which I turned round and said "I would like everything in writing" they also know that I have no help now, he stated such while on the phone ( I used to recieve help from a care worker but due to cutbacks with the company/charity, lost it all)

 

He did try and say that this was a 3 bedroom, which it basically is, but it was officially let to me as a 2 bedroom and I stated that to him, I also said that this place is too big for me and I would like to downsize

Due to him stating that and everything else that has gone on, I think that is the real reason why they are doing what they are doing

 

I advised him that I have updated my payment plan

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