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Notice seeking posession - 2 month arrears question

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Hi. I have recently fallen into rent arrears with my housing association

 

I have a long term tenancy, have been here since 2010.

 

I have a long term illness that has got progressively worse and in the past 2 years, I have been totally disabled.

Without going into a load of irrelevant details, I spend am average of 18 hours everyday in a lot of pain, and have been hospitalized more times than I can count. I have recently been told I will never get any better as the bulk of the pain is because of scar tissue from a series of operations in a short space of time.

 

Our rent payments made have been quite erratic, in all honesty for a while now due to being very low income and prioritising food and heating over rent, as we knew we could catch up on the rent at a later date. We always did catch up in maybe a couple of months. We have had housing benefit for a while also, so even when we fell behind, it was not actually by much.

 

However, with my illness getting worse and (7 months back now) the DWP curing me of my illness (I am appealing and my consultant says I should absolutely win and most likely go from standard to higher ontop of this, and get everything backdated) and removing a large chunk of our income, things have not been so great.

 

Our housing association just switched hands a couple of months ago, and almost immediately I was threatened with a notice of seeking posession. At the time I owed 200 pounds in total in arrears. I missed one payment recently and was planning on making it up the next ESA payment, but I received a notice seeking posession a week after this. Since then I have kept making payments and still plan to, but this is quite scary as we have nowhere we could go if we were evicted.

 

My questions are

1. From looking around on the internet, apparently I have to owe 2 months rent before a notice can be issued. I do not owe 2 months rent.

 

2. Is housing benefit supposed to be taken into account for this? I owe £160 in arrears (I confirmed this with an adviser, got her to take off HB owed. I also worked it out myself from previous bank statements crossed with recent rent statement), however the letter I recieved said I owe £360. This is likely because the housing benefit owed has not been calculated.

 

The 2 months rent, would this be the 2 months worth of topup I am meant to pay?

Which would make the total I am supposed to owe to make it 8 weeks £200.

Or is it meant to be 2 months total rent, which would make the total I was supposed to owe £800

 

Or is the 2 month figure false altogether?

 

If the 2 month figure is correct, then I do not owe enough for this action surely?

If it is only supposed to be the topup I pay that counts for this,

then the housing benefit owed should be taken off the total they are saying I owe,

so it would be £160, not the £200 it would be of it was 8 weeks behind..

 

I suspect by the time I appear in court, there won't actually be any arrears at all, or they will be extremely low

(people I have spoke to say that these are already extremely low at £160, but I mean low as in under 100).

 

Or if I have had my tribunal and have had the backdated PIP then I will actually be way in credit on my rent account.

Will any of this make a difference? And what actually are the chances of a judge evicting us?

 

I hope this message makes sense, I am a little emotional right now.

Edited by vf87

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Thread moved to Residential and Commercial lettings/Freehold issues Forum...please continue to post here to your thread.

 

 

Regards

 

Andy


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so when is the hearing?

if you can show to the judge that since the issuance of the order you have kept up the payments

and

going fwd you will be in abetter position to make the payments and some erosion toward the 'arrears'

if they even still exist and the hearing date

then no judge would ever allow it .

 

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I have had nothing about the hearing, only the actual notice.

But on it it says the earlierst time there will be a court date is feb 12th?

 

I don't see how the housing association could say that as surely its going to be up to the court to decide any hearing date.

Its all confusing me so much to be honest.

 

I don't understand why they are being like this,

I know I should never have got into arrears,

but I never would have done if not for this PIP thing,

and the housing association do know this too.

 

I am really trying to clear this but with our income as it is its just impossible to do it all in one go which seems to be what the new housing association want us to do.

 

One of the advisors suggested I take out a payday loan to clear it, but my credit rating is not good and I cannot get a payday loan with me not being able to work anyway..and if I did get a payday loan, then I would be unable to pay that back either.

 

So as long as I do keep up payments, a judge is not going to kick us out?

 

I really am hoping that whenever a hearing is, it is a few months in the future (though the feb 12th date is worrying me) as I should hopefully have had my PIP hearing by then and if I have then the first thing I will be doing is clearing the arrears, and also putting some 'credit' onto my account just incase anything happens in the future, so if I cannot make payments for whatever reason, I am already ahead.

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Hi

 

What a heavy handed approach your Housing Association has yes most but not all Housing Association with 2 months in Arrears they will be using there Arrears Policy for the actions taken to date.

 

What I would have expected from your HA is for them to liaise with you to find out your circumstance and any way the could help whether its a Welfare Right Officer (might be missing out on certain benefits or entitlements) or to make an arrangement to pay off the arrears i.e. a payment plan (but you would need to stick to these payment as miss one they can continue action)

 

Has the HA offered you a Payment Plan for the Arrears (or have you previous to this had any payment plans in place with the HA?

 

The 2 months Top Up Rent you refer to could you clarify that you have to be 2 months Rent in Advance with your HA?

(if this is the case all the HA tenants not just yourself need to challenge this as just think all those tenant 2 months rent in advance sitting in the HA Bank Account collecting them a nice big bit of interest/profit on your money, even if the HA is registered as a Charity)

 

Have you previous to this occasion ever been in Arrears with the HA?

 

write to the HA and ask them for copies of the following but please title your letter 'Formal Complaint and the Reference number of HA letters from the HA on this' keep a copy of letter for your records as you now need to keep a good paper trail of evidence and get free proof of posting from the post office.

 

1. Complaints Policy. (not the complaints leaflet as this is a shortened version of the actual Policy they hold).

2. Customer Care Policy.

3. Arrears Policy.

4. Rent and Service Charge Statements from XX/XX/XXXX to XX/XX/XXXX. (put to from and to dates they are claiming these arrears are for)

5. 2 months Rent in Advance Policy.

6. Equality Act Policy.

 

You need to have this information as how do you know if the HA has actually followed its own Policies and Procedures and that there records are correct.

 

If on getting these Policies just read through them (make sure your have a highliter or marker) and just thik to yourself 'DID THEY DO THAT' and if not highlight the areas.

Edited by stu007

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Firstly, and most importantly, what type of tenancy do you have? I can deduce from what you say that it is probably an assured tenancy - but check your tenancy agreement to be sure as it might be a shorthold.

 

Secondly, what notice was served on you? It should say on the notice whether it is a s8 or a s21 and should indicate clearly if the former, which grounds they intend to apply for possession under. What are those grounds? They will be listed as numbers, anything from 1 to 17 or any combination of those numbers. It may make sense for you to scan and redact the notice and post it up.

 

1. Two months arrears means two months rent - if your rent is £400 a month, you would need to be £800 in arrears on the date the notice was served on you. If not, then the two month ground (ground 8) cannot be used.

 

2. If your housing benefit has not been paid, or is late (it's paid in arrears in any case), then the rent it should have covered is also late and will be counted as arrears. The HA are not obliged to reduce the arrears by the missing housing benefit until that money has been paid to them. The reason for this is that housing benefit is not responsible for paying your rent, they are responsible for paying you anything you are entitled to in order to help YOU pay your rent, but the contract for your property is between you and the HA and you remain responsible to them, hence your letter from them detailing the full amount of the missing rent - even though your entitlement to HB will reduce it to a smaller amount (once they receive it).

 

Thirdly, let me reassure you that there is no judge hearing a possession list that is going to grant a possession order (or even a suspended order) on the basis of £160 of arrears - so please stop worrying. There is zero chance of you being evicted for that level of arrears. It also seems to me that your HA haven't followed the possession proceedings pre-action protocol for social housing...they should have contacted you to discuss what the issue was, checked to see that you were getting all the benefits to which you are entitled, and allowed you to come to an arrangement to pay the arrears off. Only IF you then breached the agreement to pay the arrears off would they be entitled to proceed to issue possession proceedings. But again, on such a tiny amount of arrears they are not even likely to get a suspended order and will have spent over £300 taking you to court...which you would strongly object to having to pay given the tiny amount of your arrears and the fact that they have not followed appropriate protocol.

 

Lastly, you MUST make a complaint about the idiot who told you to get a pay day loan out to pay the rent arrears. That is one of the stupidest things anyone could tell someone in rent arrears to social housing to do. If this does end up in court, be sure to include that in your statement to the court. Never, ever take out payday loans, or any other kind of loan, to repay rent to a social landlord. They do not add interest on rent arrears and will accept low payments to clear the arrears - so there is never a good reason to take out a loan to repay them. (My advice would be different if it was a private rental or mortgage repossession.)

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