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Good Afternoon

 

I was looking to try and get some advice for a relative that has received a N54 Eviction Notice that's date of deadline is 10th April 2014.

 

The outstanding balance prior to Notice on the rent account was £1,600 to be up to date.

 

My relative contacted the Council yesterday and was advised to pay £750 by Monday and then arrange a time to meet with them to negotiate on the remaining £850.

 

A payment of £250 was made yesterday and my relative is unable to pay the other £500 by Monday or within the next couple of weeks at least.

 

Does anyone know what options are available at this point?

 

I understand there may be a N244 application form to help with suspending the notice. Where can I get one from?

 

The only other option I can think of is to try and re-negotiate with the Council before but from what I know they're proving inflexible.

 

The relative is a widow living with 4 children, 2 being dependents(Under 18yo) and 2 being non-dependents(18-20yo).

 

Two years ago she had a heart attack and was out of work relying on housing and sickness benefit. Earlier last year her sickness benefits were stopped and JSA was replaced as she was deemed "fit for work".

 

Five months ago my relative got employed on a zero hour retail contract with varying hours making re-payments hard to manage. Once employed her housing benefit was reduced to £90,00 per week for a £1000+ per month property.

 

Also, her daughter decided to work full-time after college and there was a delay in the daughter coming to an agreement to pay rent direct to the Council. This has left arrears in term's of re-paying previously received housing benefit.

 

My relative is keen to clear the remaining balance but needs time to do so at a slightly more affordable rate.

 

Any advice would be much appreciated.

 

Thank you

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Good Afternoon

 

I was looking to try and get some advice for a relative that has received a N54 Eviction Notice that's date of deadline is 10th April 2014.

 

The outstanding balance prior to Notice on the rent account was £1,600 to be up to date.

 

My relative contacted the Council yesterday and was advised to pay £750 by Monday and then arrange a time to meet with them to negotiate on the remaining £850.

 

A payment of £250 was made yesterday and my relative is unable to pay the other £500 by Monday or within the next couple of weeks at least.

 

Does anyone know what options are available at this point?

 

I understand there may be a N244 application form to help with suspending the notice. Where can I get one from?

 

The only other option I can think of is to try and re-negotiate with the Council before but from what I know they're proving inflexible.

 

The relative is a widow living with 4 children, 2 being dependents(Under 18yo) and 2 being non-dependents(18-20yo).

 

Two years ago she had a heart attack and was out of work relying on housing and sickness benefit. Earlier last year her sickness benefits were stopped and JSA was replaced as she was deemed "fit for work".

 

Five months ago my relative got employed on a zero hour retail contract with varying hours making re-payments hard to manage. Once employed her housing benefit was reduced to £90,00 per week for a £1000+ per month property.

 

Also, her daughter decided to work full-time after college and there was a delay in the daughter coming to an agreement to pay rent direct to the Council. This has left arrears in term's of re-paying previously received housing benefit.

 

My relative is keen to clear the remaining balance but needs time to do so at a slightly more affordable rate.

 

Any advice would be much appreciated.

 

Thank you

 

Hi

 

More information needed here, including the history of the case, but just going in general only on what you have put so far -

 

If an eviction warrant has indeed been obtained then application to the court to suspend with proposals is required within the time deadlines / limits

 

Never rely on verbal agreements where an eviction warrant is concerned.

 

As well as speaking with the council it is best to get full independent, impartial advice advice & support immediately from an agency such as the CAB, Law Centre or Shelter.

 

With changes in circumstances such as benefit changes or sanctions, inconsistant wages, non-dependents working, etc it usually means housing benefit payments can be suspended pending further information such as income from the claimant and any non-dependent such as adult children etc.

 

It can be the case where housing benefit claims are closed down due to claimants not providing income details and other information (proof of) to the Council / Local Authority benefits department within the specified time limits. Rent arrears (and council tax arrears for that matter) can quickly stack up when this happens The council and landlords will point to this being the responsibility of the claimant as far as possession proceedings are concerned and at subsequent court hearings however social landlords should follow a protocol regarding rent arrears and possession proceedings.

 

Best to get full advice as mentioned above on all aspects including benefit entitlement, budgeting, debt, possession, eviction etc

 

Citizens Advice Cabmoney link below on rent arrears, possession, eviction including how to complete an N244 etc but again immediate independent advice is paramount as it would certainly appear that the mentioned persons home is at serious risk

 

https://nedcab.cabmoney.org.uk/rentarrears.asp

 

Best Wishes

 

W

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Firstly, the pre-action protocol that social landlords must follow is PRE action - it does not apply to a warrant of execution. There were quite clearly other proceedings involved here as OP is asking about staying an eviction. So, the pre-action protocol is irrelevant.

 

Stay application must be made on N244 - OP you will find this in the sticky created by Ell-enn at the top of this forum. Fill it in, submit it with a statement and a proposal for repayment and include an income and expenditure for HOUSEHOLD income.

 

From reading the information you have posted, it would appear that housing benefit (or more likely local housing allowance) has been reduced due to the fact that there are non-dependants living in the property. Such circumstances, where both are working, will reduce the available benefit quite drastically - often to nothing at all if the wages earned by each non-dependent exceed certain amounts. The non-dependents must help their mother pay the rent - either that, or they should move out so the mother's LHA/HB can be increased accordingly.

 

The biggest concern here is that £1000 per month is not a usual social housing rent - is it a private rental via a housing association? Security of tenancy is less assured in such cases.

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Hi, thank you both for your help!

 

Wintry, I have spent some time on the Shelter website which has given me some decent information.

 

Lea_HTH- The local council manage the tenancy(maintenance,rent etc) but the property is owned by a housing association that strangely enough is located in the same council offices.

 

I will make the n244 application, do you know how much an application like this costs?

 

Thanks

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Firstly, the pre-action protocol that social landlords must follow is PRE action - it does not apply to a warrant of execution. There were quite clearly other proceedings involved here as OP is asking about staying an eviction. So, the pre-action protocol is irrelevant.

 

Stay application must be made on N244 - OP you will find this in the sticky created by Ell-enn at the top of this forum. Fill it in, submit it with a statement and a proposal for repayment and include an income and expenditure for HOUSEHOLD income.

 

From reading the information you have posted, it would appear that housing benefit (or more likely local housing allowance) has been reduced due to the fact that there are non-dependants living in the property. Such circumstances, where both are working, will reduce the available benefit quite drastically - often to nothing at all if the wages earned by each non-dependent exceed certain amounts. The non-dependents must help their mother pay the rent - either that, or they should move out so the mother's LHA/HB can be increased accordingly.

 

The biggest concern here is that £1000 per month is not a usual social housing rent - is it a private rental via a housing association? Security of tenancy is less assured in such cases.

 

With affordable rents at 80% of market rent, I fear that in some areas of the country this may not be so unusual for larger properties.

 

Obviously we need the OP to respond to get the facts here, but social housing is one of the things affected by current government policy.

 

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Filing an N244 before the notice of eviction is received is £80 (there is fee exemption for those on benefits or low incomes), and £40 if the notice of eviction has already been received.

 

Caro: yes, there are hikes in social rents, but not usually as high as £1000, even in London a four bed social housing property would be at best £150 or under per week - social housing rents are heavily subsidised. OP: is the tenancy agreement an AST or an AT? I suspect the former.

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Firstly, the pre-action protocol that social landlords must follow is PRE action - it does not apply to a warrant of execution. There were quite clearly other proceedings involved here as OP is asking about staying an eviction. So, the pre-action protocol is irrelevant.

 

Stay application must be made on N244 - OP you will find this in the sticky created by Ell-enn at the top of this forum. Fill it in, submit it with a statement and a proposal for repayment and include an income and expenditure for HOUSEHOLD income.

 

From reading the information you have posted, it would appear that housing benefit (or more likely local housing allowance) has been reduced due to the fact that there are non-dependants living in the property. Such circumstances, where both are working, will reduce the available benefit quite drastically - often to nothing at all if the wages earned by each non-dependent exceed certain amounts. The non-dependents must help their mother pay the rent - either that, or they should move out so the mother's LHA/HB can be increased accordingly.

 

The biggest concern here is that £1000 per month is not a usual social housing rent - is it a private rental via a housing association? Security of tenancy is less assured in such cases.

 

Hi Lea

 

On the contrary the social landlord protocol argument (if they have not previously followed pre as you state) can be used as mitigation at a court hearing where the defendant is asking for the warrant of eviction be adjourned or suspended. I did this late last week at hearing when I needed all the help I could get against a determined social landlord rep and their solicitor (the case lasted a lot longer than the allotted 5 mins and the landlord thought they had the case in the bag as the rent arrears were in excess of £4000, they were wrong the District Judge adjourned the case on our proposals backed up by our arguments.

 

When social landlords oppose applications to suspend (which they often do) they often use the argument that the defendant (tenant) has not co-operated or done this or that. I always check that the protocol has been followed both for possession hearings and applications to suspend warrants of eviction and use this as part of my defence where if in my opinion the protocol has not been followed properly especially where disability & health are concerned (I note that tenant mentioned here has suffered serious health problems and has been on sickness benefits.)

 

I am aware when an eviction warrant has been obtained that there must have been other proceedings. I suggested more information would be needed as to the background of the case. I also put that it would be best to seek immediate full advice and support due to the seriousness of the situation and stand by that.

 

I would not just advise that someone just fill in an N244 submit it with a statement and a proposal for repayment and include an income and expenditure for HOUSEHOLD income. For example they may not have to pay a fee and would need to complete a ex160 and provide proof of income, they may need advice and support with benefits, other debts that may be relevant and drafting their financial statement so that their proposals that will be put in front of the Diastrict Judge are accurate and sustainable, they may also need help at court including representation. When making an application to suspend a warrant of eviction best to be fully advised and prepared.

 

Advisers have their own methods and style, if it works it is OK by me

 

PS - I have been doing court work for more than 14 years

 

Best Regards

 

W

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Hi Lea

 

On the contrary the social landlord protocol argument (if they have not previously followed pre as you state) can be used as mitigation at a court hearing where the defendant is asking for the warrant of eviction be adjourned or suspended. I did this late last week at hearing when I needed all the help I could get against a determined social landlord rep and their solicitor (the case lasted a lot longer than the allotted 5 mins and the landlord thought they had the case in the bag as the rent arrears were in excess of £4000, they were wrong the District Judge adjourned the case on our proposals backed up by our arguments.

 

I think you'll find your proposals were what were persuasive - not the lack of following pre-action protocol.

 

 

When social landlords oppose applications to suspend (which they often do) they often use the argument that the defendant (tenant) has not co-operated or done this or that. I always check that the protocol has been followed both for possession hearings and applications to suspend warrants of eviction and use this as part of my defence where if in my opinion the protocol has not been followed properly especially where disability & health are concerned (I note that tenant mentioned here has suffered serious health problems and has been on sickness benefits.)

 

If the defendant didn't have representation at the hearing the possession order was granted at, or were not in attendance at the hearing, the the PAP argument might fly at a stay hearing - otherwise in my experience (several thousand cases), it doesn't.

 

I am aware when an eviction warrant has been obtained that there must have been other proceedings. I suggested more information would be needed as to the background of the case. I also put that it would be best to seek immdiate full advice and support due to the seriousness of the situation and stand by that.

 

I wasn't criticising your advice - it was good that you told OP to seek further advice - that is always sound advice to give.

 

I would not just advise that someone just fill in an N244 submit it with a statement and a proposal for repayment and include an income and expenditure for HOUSEHOLD income.

 

In social housing possession proceedings, household income where there are non-dependents in the household is hugely relevant. If, as you state below, you have been doing defence work for 14 years, you ought to know this.

 

For example they may not have to pay a fee and would need to complete a ex160 and provide proof of income, they may need advice and support with benefits, other debts that may be relevant, their financial statement so that their proposals that will be put in front of the Diastrict Judge are accurate and sustainable, they may also need help at court including representation. When making an application to suspend a warrant of eviction best to be fully advised and prepared.

 

They have to start somewhere - that somewhere is with the advice I gave - proposal, statement and income and expenditure for the HOUSEHOLD.

 

Advisers have their own methods and style, if it works it is OK by me

 

PS - I have been doing court work for more than 14 years

 

Best Regards

 

W

 

That's great - so have I been doing it for years and training others to do it. I'm secure in the advice I give.

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Has the Tenant concerned previously had any payment plan in place with the HA for the arrears and if so were payments met before the N54 Eviction Notice?

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I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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I think you'll find your proposals were what were persuasive - not the lack of following pre-action protocol.

 

 

 

 

If the defendant didn't have representation at the hearing the possession order was granted at, or were not in attendance at the hearing, the the PAP argument might fly at a stay hearing - otherwise in my experience (several thousand cases), it doesn't.

 

 

 

I wasn't criticising your advice - it was good that you told OP to seek further advice - that is always sound advice to give.

 

 

 

In social housing possession proceedings, household income where there are non-dependents in the household is hugely relevant. If, as you state below, you have been doing defence work for 14 years, you ought to know this.

 

 

 

They have to start somewhere - that somewhere is with the advice I gave - proposal, statement and income and expenditure for the HOUSEHOLD.

 

 

 

That's great - so have I been doing it for years and training others to do it. I'm secure in the advice I give.

 

 

Hi Lea

 

You are welcome to your opinion as to the mentioned hearing last week, but I was there and the clients health issues along with our argument that the SC landlord had not properly followed the protocol was acknowledged against a determined opposition that were making heavy use of our client not helping themselves, not co-operating with the LA & DWP. etc

 

As you will know many with rent arrears have other debts, circumstances, they can have health issues where they cannot cope, don't open their post, they are supposed to be made aware of independent advice, I sometimes have issues with what is meant by independent advice as far as landlords own financial inclusion & budget buddy advisers are concerned but we will not go there other than I have never yet seen any of these represent a tenant against their social landlord employer.

 

I would always (and do) use the SC protocol as an argument if not followed properly and honestly believe that it can sometimes make the difference.

 

I know all income including non-dependents is relevant, many tenants end up at court with rent arrears either due to the non-dependent not paying their share so to speak or where housing benefit has been suspended due a child reaching an age where they are classed as a non-dependent and proof their employment status / income is required. That was not the point I was making if you read my previous post.

 

The rest I stand by and no offence meant.

 

Just responding and defending my position, views and style perhaps.

 

Keep up the good work

 

Best Regards

 

W

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All of that is extraneous Wintry - we could all post anecdotal information, it doesn't make it a legal argument and to state it in a way that makes it look as though it will fly in any court in the land is misleading.

 

I take it you're not a lawyer.

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All of that is extraneous Wintry - we could all post anecdotal information, it doesn't make it a legal argument and to state it in a way that makes it look as though it will fly in any court in the land is misleading.

 

I take it you're not a lawyer.

 

Hi

 

Who said it was a legal argument?

 

You have your opinions and can read into it as you wish.

 

Please don't try to put words into my mouth or misquote me, it does not work, I have heard it all before:)

 

W

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Has the Tenant concerned previously had any payment plan in place with the HA for the arrears and if so were payments met before the N54 Eviction Notice?

 

Hi Stu007, a repayment plan was set within the last two months and from what I know payments were made. The housing benefit since has been reviewed and there was a £500 shortfall so the Council have been chasing this in addition to existing arrears.

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Filing an N244 before the notice of eviction is received is £80 (there is fee exemption for those on benefits or low incomes), and £40 if the notice of eviction has already been received.

 

Caro: yes, there are hikes in social rents, but not usually as high as £1000, even in London a four bed social housing property would be at best £150 or under per week - social housing rents are heavily subsidised. OP: is the tenancy agreement an AST or an AT? I suspect the former.

 

Thanks. The tenancy agreement is AT.

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Hi

 

Who said it was a legal argument?

 

You have your opinions and can read into it as you wish.

 

Please don't try to put words into my mouth or misquote me, it does not work, I have heard it all before:)

 

W

 

You said it could be used as 'mitigation at a court hearing' - that's suggesting to the OP that it can be used in a court of law as a reason to get an adjournment. That's an attempt at a legal argument. You're not a lawyer, which is probably why you didn't get it.

 

I corrected your incorrect information, I suggest you get over that.

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My initial advice stands - file the N244 with a statement, proposal for payment and I&E for HOUSEHOLD income.

 

 

 

I have all the forms and will go through with the tenant, thanks again.

 

The date on the form states that 10th April is the final day. Do you think there still enough time to do this?

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You said it could be used as 'mitigation at a court hearing' - that's suggesting to the OP that it can be used in a court of law as a reason to get an adjournment. That's an attempt at a legal argument. You're not a lawyer, which is probably why you didn't get it.

 

I corrected your incorrect information, I suggest you get over that.

 

Hi

 

Nowhere have I stated that it is a legal argument

 

Applications to suspend are heard at county court.

 

You seem to have a problem with the SC Protocol and dont appear to be able to accept that you were wrong to state that it was irrelevant, try to get over it. learn and move on.

 

W

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