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    • Yes, my initial view is that @unclebulgaria67 is probably right and that because it was a magistrate's warrant, it would be the energy company that would have been in control of the situation directly. Unfortunately this will be much more difficult to deal with then dealing directly with Marston but anyway if you give us your details as requested, we can at least get Outlook from that direction as well. I'm also wondering about the position of your landlord in this. As you have taken up a tenancy in a particular property then I would have thought that one of the terms of the tenancy would be that you should be entitled to quiet enjoyment. Although the landlord may say that it is not their fault and it is down to the previous tenant, at the end of the day you have a contract with the landlord who has certain responsibilities. I think we may consider involving the landlord in this as well. You say that there have been letters addressed to the previous tenant. What have you done with those?
    • Yes please. We have certain direct access to Marston and we may be able to get someone to look at this at a senior level. Please email us as requested with your own contact details and name of previous tenant.   We can't guarantee any particular result but we can promise you that it will be looked at.
    • they say in letter dated 20/01/20 that the agreement was terminated on 30 July 2017 and cannot be terminated twice, so your VT request is invalid. startline issued termination or Default notices on the following dates: letter: 30/03/2017 termination notice  liable for payment: arreaers to date : £365.38 the balance of: £10,586.50 total: £10,951.88 7 days notice else ROG+sums outstanding. ....................... Letter: 11/12/2017 Default Notice nature of breach: instalments of £211.73 due 30th each month. action to remedy: payment of arrears £449.23 by 30-12-17 other info: payments to date: £5226.91 outstanding: £9351.89 less rebate: £2251.41 Amount Due: £7100.48 if you act before 30-12-17 and have paid £7056.90 you can VT. ............ Letter: 27-07-2018 Default Notice refs a dn dated:31/05/2016 - there is no such DN in an SAR return. nature of breach: instalments of £211.73 on 30th each month. action to remedy: payment of arrears £226.73 by 15-08-2018 other info: on or after date 27-07-2018 we shall terminate,withdraw possesion and recoversums due upon termination. total paid: £6250.91 outstanding: £7647.28 less rebate: £1590.47 Amount Due: £6065.81 if you act before 15-08-18 and have paid £7056.90 you can VT. ........................  letter: 01-10-2018 termination notice  liable for payment: arreaers to date : £325.06 the balance of: £6079.75 total: £6404.81 7 days notice else ROG+sums outstanding. ……………………...     NEW ORDER STATEMENTS.pdf Doc1.pdf
    • thank you.   have you had issues paying credit before you took any of these out?   i'e were you keeping a good handle upon your credit file and it wasn't shot with any defaults or payment markers during the period when you applied and were successful in getting any of this additional credit?   my thoughts are ...should the above not be the case and your credit worthiness was good... so couldn't p'haps introduce some irresponsible lending complaints in association to them … it might be an idea to give all your creditors the heads up that times are hard and you wish them to help you, as they are duty bound to do, by freezing interest and any penalty fees to allow you to ride out this present financial hardship till things improve ...   how does that sound...   dx  
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Hi, I hope someone can offer me some advice regarding the following:

 

I am due to attend a tribunal hearing tomorrow to appeal against a decision to recover overpaid CTB. Although the council in question have admitted it was an "official error" on their part, they maintain that it was "reasonable" for me to have realised the error at the time.

 

The error in question is that I was awarded 100% CTB when I should have been awarded 50% due to me sharing the property I live in with another tenant. I did not question the decision at the time as I had provided them with all the relevant information (on more than one occasion), and trusted that their calculations were correct based on what I had provided. I am also self-employed and consequently the benefit and WTC I receive fluctuates throughout the year, so when I received a letter telling me it had changed again I did not believe anything was amiss.

 

Their argument seems to assume a detailed knowledge of how CTB is calculated that I could not possibly have unless I actually worked for the department! (although it seems this would still be no guarantee... ;-)

 

Having taken some legal advice I have decided to continue with my appeal and am due in court tomorrow. The solicitor has advised me that the Tribunal will take an "inquisitorial" approach, requiring me to give my version of events which I have outlined above.

 

I would like to ask if anyone has experience of these kind of Tribunals and what I can do to give myself the best possible chance of winning the case.

 

Many Thanks in advance!

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Is it a joint tenancy or is the tenancy in your name?

 

 

Whose name is the council tax bill in?

 

 

Did you give details of your housemate?


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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It's a joint tenancy - the council tax bill was in both names and I provided details of the other housemate. After providing all the correct information a number of times they still calculated the my CTB at 100% (although it never actually stated this as a percentage in any of their correspondence, just the weekly amount I would receive).

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Was your housemate still paying council tax?


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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No, I was paying it on behalf of both of us. They were responsible for other bills.

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I think it's a difficult case to make and you would need a very understanding judge to be successful.

 

 

The only argument you could make is that (if you told the council that you were paying council tax and your housemate was paying other bills) you have no knowledge of benefit law at all and had assumed that this was allowed as you gave all of the information to the council.

 

 

It is difficult because an assumption might be made that logically a person would realise that as benefit is paid for council tax and not for other bills, that the housemate would be responsible for 50% of the council tax regardless of what private arrangements you have made. Though I have seen judges 'accept' an appellant's assertions of ignorance of the system, because they are scornful of the idiotic actions of the LA.

 

 

I've found it often helps if the appellant is able to show that they have a history of misunderstanding these types of things. For instance, as a former benefit adviser, I could never make the case that I misunderstood the rules, but an elderly lady whose deceased husband used to manage all financial matters could legitimately make a case for not being able to make a logical jump about how these things work, as could someone with mild learning difficulties or mental health problems - basically anything that at the time could 'get in the way' of thinking logically about what was being awarded. Do you have anything like that which you could put forward in mitigation?

 

 

Does that help at all?


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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Thanks - yes that is helpful (although not quite as encouraging as I was hoping!)

 

TBH the LA in question makes mistakes with my benefit on such a regular basis that I never know whether it is correct or not. Every time there is a change in my circumstances (which happens quite often due to my self-employed status) they send pages and pages of "calculations" which are supposed to show how my benefit was worked out. I have never been able to make head nor tail of these - would this qualify as "ignorance of the system"?

Also, at no point did they explicitly state that I was receiving 100% CTB, just the weekly amount. I assumed that the amount I was receiving was correct at the time as I had provided them with details of my income, my tenancy agreement, and spent hours on the phone and in person confirming everything with them, as they seemed unable to update their own systems.

Not that I'm ungrateful for the help I receive, but I am consistently amazed at the level of incompetency from this department (is this common amongst LA's?)

 

Thanks again.

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All you can do is explain what you just wrote to the judge and hope that they see it your way. With cases like these it's difficult to know how the judge is going to interpret the 'could have reasonably known they were being overpaid' part.

 

 

Maybe take with you the pages and pages of calculations to show the judge how difficult for the layman it is to understand whether the calculation is correct or not.

 

 

The three things you have to show is:

 

 

That the LA made an error.

That you gave all the information required of you.

That you could not reasonably have known you were being overpaid.

 

 

Yes incompetency of LA decision makers is very common in my experience. Some of the errors I've come across have completely amazed me. Even in my own claim since I became ill, each change of circumstances has needed 4 to 5 emails from me to correct errors. So you're not alone in being a victim of this. Sadly with HB and CTB, unlike with DWP benefits, there is this added requirement with overpayments that you need to prove that you could not reasonably have known you were being overpaid in order to make the overpayment 'unrecoverable due to official error'.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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Fair enough - well thanks again. Will post on here after the decision has been made to help anyone else who finds themselves in a similar predicament.

 

BTW were you aware that the petition group 38 Degrees is currently running a campaign about our voting system? In case anyone is interested check out https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/

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