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    • I came across this discussion recently and just wanted to give my experience of A Shade Greener that may help others regarding their boiler finance agreement.
       
      We had a 10yr  finance contract for a boiler fitted July 2015.
       
      After a summer of discontent with ASG I discovered that if you have paid HALF the agreement or more you can legally return the boiler to them at no cost to yourself. I've just returned mine the feeling is liberating.
       
      It all started mid summer during lockdown when they refused to service our boiler because we didn't have a loft ladder or flooring installed despite the fact AS installed the boiler. and had previosuly serviced it without issue for 4yrs. After consulting with an independent installer I was informed that if this was the case then ASG had breached building regulations,  this was duly reported to Gas Safe to investigate and even then ASG refused to accept blame and repeatedly said it was my problem. Anyway Gas Safe found them in breach of building regs and a compromise was reached.
       
      A month later and ASG attended to service our boiler but in the process left the boiler unusuable as it kept losing pressure not to mention they had damaged the filling loop in the process which they said was my responsibilty not theres and would charge me to repair, so generous of them! Soon after reporting the fault I got a letter stating it was time we arranged a powerflush on our heating system which they make you do after 5 years even though there's nothing in the contract that states this. Coincidence?
       
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      The boiler was removed and replaced by a reputable installer,  and the old boiler was returned to ASG thus ending our contract with them. What's mad is I saved in excess of £1000 in the long run and got a new boiler with a brand new 12yr warranty. 
       
      You only have to look at TrustPilot to get an idea of what this company is like.
       
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    • Dazza a few months ago I discovered a good friend of mine who had ten debts with cards and catalogues which he was slavishly paying off at detriment to his own family quality of life, and I mean hardship, not just absence of second holidays or flat screen TV's.
       
      I wrote to all his creditors asking for supporting documents and not one could provide any material that would allow them to enforce the debt.
       
      As a result he stopped paying and they have been unable to do anything, one even admitted it was unenforceable.
       
      If circumstances have got to the point where you are finding it unmanageable you must ask yourself why you feel the need to pay.  I guarantee you that these companies have built bad debt into their business model and no one over there is losing any sleep over your debt to them!  They will see you as a victim and cash cow and they will be reluctant to discuss final offers, only ways to keep you paying with threats of court action or seizing your assets if you have any.
       
      They are not your friends and you owe them no loyalty or moral duty, that must remain only for yourself and your family.
       
      If it was me I would send them all a CCA request.   I would bet that not one will provide the correct response and you can quite legally stop paying them until such time as they do provide a response.   Even when they do you should check back here as they mostly send dodgy photo copies or generic rubbish that has no connection with your supposed debt.
       
      The money you are paying them should, as far as you are able, be put to a savings account for yourself and as a means of paying of one of these fleecers should they ever manage to get to to the point of a successful court judgement.  After six years they will not be able to start court action and that money will then become yours.
       
      They will of course pursue you for the funds and pass your file around various departments of their business and out to third parties.
       
      Your response is that you should treat it as a hobby.  I have numerous files of correspondence each faithfully organised showing the various letters from different DCA;s , solicitors etc with a mix of threats, inducements and offers.   It is like my stamp collection and I show it to anyone who is interested!
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Housing Benefit suspended since March Possession Order now in place.


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I suppose it must depend on area, but even accelerated possession takes 8-12 weeks in our area.

 

Shouldn't depend on the area - it's part of the CPR.

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I know. But I would be running after my money first because if council pays this substantial amount to the LL, I am done and unable to rent another flat when S21 expires and accelerated proceedings succeed. People on JSA get £72 per week with which it is impossible to save up one month deposit, one months rent at short notice so I am doomed if LL is overpaid by council and refuses to pay me back.

 

People who work are sometimes have less money left after paying the bills than those on benefits so an up to date rent statement and original bank statements submitted to council to be photocopied to stop LL getting my thousands.

 

Is it 4 weeks LA gives T to show evidence of rent payments? If no evidence, they will pay the LL direct. It may take over a week to get a summary of rent payments from the bank. I stapled my pay-in slips onto A4 paper.

 

Council decided it was my overriding interest that LL gets my HB straight. Preventing rent arrears prevents notice to be served, which in turn prevents eviction and homelessness. Which prevents council having to house people. [LA's overriding interest..]

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If OP states when the tenancy started, how long the fix term was, if deposit was protected, if HMO with no licence and maybe uploads S21 with name and address blanked out, there are knowledgeable people up here which is as good as Citizens Advice without having to wait a week for an appointment.

 

If it is established that S21 is invalid, OP has 2 extra months after S21 is reserved. LLs who know they can get T's HB straight from the council know too much and their S21 may be much better than the above example. Meaning: valid.

 

Getting the period of notice wrong, eg exactly 2 months from the date of notice, or deposit not protected when S21 is served will invalidate the notice, which we keep a secret and never tell the LL "Your notice is rubbish, the court will throw it out", in case LL gets advice and serves a valid one for a change.

 

We don't know how much time OP has. As opposed to the tenant's time whose LL produced the excellent handwritten notice above.

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  • 2 years later...

I hope to get some advice on how to tackle my ridiculous housing benefit situation.

 

I reported a change of circumstances in January, and called housing benefit weekly to ask why they were not acting on my information. Eventually at the end of March they suspended my claim and asked for further information. This resulted in a great deal of communication as every time I supplied more information it led to them asking for even more proof of other things.

I made a complaint about the length of time to process the claim but that was not upheld.

 

I received an award letter on the 22nd July and the arrears were to be paid direct to landlord (which was fine), but before payment was made the claim was suspended again.

 

I was not asked for any further information and was given no reason for the suspension which is still in place.

I have lived in the same place for over 6 years, I love my home, I am self-employed and need housing benefit to make up a part of my rent.

 

My landlord has been to court and had a possession order for 2nd September, (I have a solicitor helping with that), so was told not to do anything until I receive the next notice which is when the bailiffs will come.

 

Are housing benefit accountable to anyone, is there anything I can do about this?

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This is unacceptable from your council. They haven't asked for any further information or told you why your claim remains suspended, is that correct?

 

If so, I think my first action would be to contact my local councillor (there should be a list of them on the LA's website) and ask them to investigate. The council benefits department answers to the councillors themselves who, of course, answer to the electorate.

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The idea that all politicians lie is music to the ears of the most egregious liars.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've not heard back from the email to my councillor or MP, but submitted a complaint through the council website.

 

Today when I called I was told that my claim was being looked at and that it had been suspended in error. They expect it to be back in payment by the end of the week.

 

It has been suspended since July, for no reason causing a great deal of hardship, stress and anxiety. Is there any way to hold them accountable for this error?

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Hi

If you are not happy with the councils resolution you can escalate it higher within the complaints system. Councils have either two or three stages of complaint, each one considered by someone higher up the 'food chain'

If you are still not satisfied after exhausting the complaints procedure then you can go the the Local Government Ombudsman. If the Ombudsman finds in your favour, they could award you a monetary sum which will likely be a small(ish) amount dependant on how serious they consider the matter to be.

 

As the council has admitted to an error, they should be held liable for some of the costs you have incurred although they will deny this. Any compensation from the council will never be called compensation as that word means they screwed up so if they offer anything, it will be a 'Gesture of Goodwill'.

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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MP's are a law unto themselves! Absolutely criminal that they brushed you off like this, of course there is something they can do, otherwise they wouldn't be a ruddy MP! Makes my teeth itch.

 

As SF says, escalate the complaint within the LA's complaints process, then when they fail miserably complain to the LGO.

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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I've received a letter of response to my stage 1 complaint that my complaint has been upheld, and that they hope I am satisfied with the response. Is there any benefit in going to stage 2? If it could mean that things are brought to light or improved in any way I would want to continue.

 

Also, although I have an appeal in about the award and the amount of overpayment they say is owed. Are they within their rights to take money from housing benefit towards this overpayment?

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If the resolution is acceptable to you then you don't need to escalate further.

 

With any overpayment, if it was official error which you could not have been expected to know about rather than your fault they should suck it up.

If you are on benefits, they are only allowed to recover legit overpayments at a fixed rate per week/month

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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It was more, could the repayment of overpayment be suspended until after the appeal decision on whether i have been overpaid?

 

Not sure TBH. I would have thought they could do so but maybe they are having the thought that if it is found against you, at least some has already been paid back.

 

If, at the moment, you are paying the overpayment back at a rate you cannot afford, they should take this into account and set a level you can afford based on the minimum payment system

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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  • 3 weeks later...

An update on this and if anyone can advise on how to progress I would be extremely grateful.

 

I have received a letter informing me that my appeal has been upheld, but they have not decided on figures yet as they now want to see my SA tax return for 2 years. I sent that straight back to them, but it can take 10 days for them to look at this.

 

Meanwhile my landlord informed me

 

I have been instructed by the owner to appoint bailiffs and, as he is no longer prepared to waste time, you will not have the luxury of the lengthy wait time for a Court Bailiff.

An application has been made to transfer up to the High Court, whereupon private bailiffs will be appointed and I am sure he will also instruct them to seek collection of outstanding rental/arrears.

 

After receiving the letter that my appeal had been upheld I was hopeful payment of the arrears would be imminent and my landlord would be pacified, but on speaking to housing benefit today the new award letter is for the same amount as the first one. It takes about 7 days for me to receive these letters through the post before I can read it properly and respond to it.

 

Is it true that with the High Court judgment bailiffs will arrive without any notice?

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My gut feeling is that your landlord has made up his/her mind that they do not want you in their property as they don't want to be in this situation again.

 

and as there is probably no chance of you remaining there I would be knocking on the councils door to see if they can find you somewhere to live as you would be made homeless by your current landlord directly due to the suspension of the HB.

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So, the landlord although justified in being miffed, is going to get the rent owed and evict his long term tennant. He/She/They will then dramatically increase rent and further cleanse the capital of yet another low-med income individual and replace with high earner!?

 

Sorry for rant.

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So, the landlord although justified in being miffed, is going to get the rent owed and evict his long term tennant. He/She/They will then dramatically increase rent and further cleanse the capital of yet another low-med income individual and replace with high earner!?

 

Sorry for rant.

 

I would suspect that you are far closer to being right than wrong.

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Is it true that with the High Court judgment bailiffs will arrive without any notice?

 

Yes. Although you will usually be told that the notice has been granted.

 

What has your solicitor told you to do?

 

I'd call SHELTER and ask for their advice urgently as you already been served a possession order with a date that has passed.

 

Although you might not like this idea the Council will have a Department called something like Housing Options SHELTER will probably say that you need to take your paper work to them for emergency housing etc.

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My landlord has been remarkably patient. I'm fairly sure they don't want me out, they just want the rent paid.

My local councillors did not respond to any of my emails, I am going to the surgery on Saturday morning to see if they can help at all.

I am disgusted that Housing benefit can put me in this position though.

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My solicitor said to go to housing options with the notice, but I've not received anything except the email from my landlord telling me they were applying for it.

 

Shelter said it's very rare for Landlord to go that route and they didn't have any experience of it, but to take any letters to the council.

 

I've emailed the landlord to ask when their application to move to the High Court is being heard in County Court.

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My landlord has been remarkably patient. I'm fairly sure they don't want me out, they just want the rent paid.

My local councillors did not respond to any of my emails, I am going to the surgery on Saturday morning to see if they can help at all.

I am disgusted that Housing benefit can put me in this position though.

 

I just briefly skimmed your case so might miss some details, but you should cover yourself by making Homeless application becasue it seems to me that according to the law, you qualify to be not intentionally homeless. Each council has different procedures, but in general you would have to go Housing & Option advice. This simply means advisor looking at your case and if skilled, trying to negotiate with your landlord. Councils in general have responsibility to give you advice and prevent homelessness. Sometimes they go way out of the way to make a deal with landlords so they don't have to take legal responsibility to re-house you. It seems to me you have a good chance because suspensions and delayed payments were council's mistakes and I would emphasise this fact to them. If not, council can blame you that accummulation of the arrears it's your fault and may consider you intentionally homeless, meaning they don't have to do anything for you. To sum up, take all the documents from the landlord, court, bailifs and hand them in your council during the appointment. Shelter can give you advice session, but they will refer you approach council anyway so you will save yourself time by going to council first.

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My landlord has been remarkably patient. I'm fairly sure they don't want me out, they just want the rent paid.

My local councillors did not respond to any of my emails, I am going to the surgery on Saturday morning to see if they can help at all.

I am disgusted that Housing benefit can put me in this position though.

 

I'm really unsure of what you are waiting on?

 

If this has been to court and a possession order has been granted then you take that notice to the Council.

 

Court papers would have been issued and sent to you informing you of the possession hearing and asking for your defence and any mitigating circumstances to extend the possession date granted by up to 40 days.

 

If your defence was unsuccessful you would then have received a notice from the Court with a date from which the landlord could enforce possession. If you still refuse to leave once that date has passed usually a County Court bailiff will be sent to legally remove you from the house as and when they turn up. The transfer to the High Court just just a shifting from overburdened CC bailiffs to swifter High Court Bailiffs to enforce the possession notice. Nearly Legal has an interesting piece on how this might not be being done legally.

 

The constant request for the same information from the Council usually means there is an error on your claim which they are refusing to admit, spot or fix. Been through this one when somebody entered my final wage payment as my recurring monthly wage.

 

You need to take your possession letter to the council and ask for their housing options team. Check on Westminsters web site for what identification documents proof they require and take more in a belt and braces approach.

 

You want then to;

1, sort out your benefit claim (this may take you sitting with an actual housing officer going through your whole claim to see where the error is)

They have too;

2, talk to the landlord for you to stop them proceeding with enforcement and negotiate a settlement that allows you to stay.

3, put you on the housing register as you have been issued a possession order. This should have happened well before it got to court and the possession order issued.

 

 

Westminster are notorious for being a bit rubbish and illegally digging it's heals in so......

 

This site is quite good reading to learn/spot when/how your council is being naughty and homelessness.

 

http://nearlylegal.co.uk/2016/06/gatekeeping-special/

 

 

Having gone through Council error then successfully defending eviction possession due to non protection of my deposit you have to be proactive, you have to be resolute when you know you are right, you also have to tell the people apparently supporting you what the law is and how they should help you!

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I went to housing options on Friday, at first they were saying I wasn't homeless as I didn't have an eviction date, but then did accept that I might not get one if it's transferred to High Court.

 

I got there at 12.30, but had to leave at 15.00 to pick up the children, they told me just to present again on Monday. So will be there straight after school tomorrow.

 

Thank you for the very helpful response and links. I wish I'd gone to housing options some time ago, as although I don't want a council house I am fairly certain that they have the most vested interest in making sure this mess is sorted out.

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You want then to;

1, sort out your benefit claim (this may take you sitting with an actual housing officer going through your whole claim to see where the error is)

They have too;

2, talk to the landlord for you to stop them proceeding with enforcement and negotiate a settlement that allows you to stay.

3, put you on the housing register as you have been issued a possession order. This should have happened well before it got to court and the possession order issued.

 

You say they have to, is there policy for this that I can use when I go in tomorrow?

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