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Impending homelessness (family)

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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?

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Even if the court was up north, if you had filed a defence the hearing would have been moved to a court near you. If youy feel that you don't owe the money maybe you can get it set aside and others on the forum will be able to help. That way the CCJ is removed.

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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.

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I don't know if this would help, but if you applied for a set aside, could you prove that you've been a tenant and paying rent elsewhere?


 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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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.

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Was your name on the electoral roll?


 

What's Best for You?

 

 

The Consumer Action Group is a free help site.

Should you be offered help that requires payment please report it to site team.

 

Alliance & Leicester Moneyclaim issued 20/1/07 £225.50 full settlement received 29 January 2007

Smile £1,075.50 + interest Email request for payment 24/5/06 received £1,000.50 14/7/06 + £20 30/7/06

Yorkshire Bank Moneyclaim issued 21/6/06 £4,489.39 full settlement received 26 January 2007

:p

 

Advice & opinions given by Caro are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

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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.

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