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tallorder

Housing Assoc changed door lock without notice

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This is a follow up on another post.

 

March 2019

 

My friend works away from home probably around 9-10 months a year. There is nowhere nearby to work with his specialisation. Often Mon-Thurs with long hours, travel and hotels.

 

His mother recently died and lived in a housing association flat along with him he would be there most weekends and holidays, and work permitting could sometimes do remote working.

 

She had been advised by the council previously that it would be best to pay for a single occupant, even though they were aware of her son.

 

He also needs to get the tenancy in his name as despite this being his only home, he had never been added formally. 

 

As far as I know his mother had planned to buy the property (been there since 1977), but again nothing was finalised before her sudden death.

 

June 2019

 

As he works away often, he has friendly neighbours that looked in on his mother and now were regularly forwarding any mail as his mother previously did.

 

Last week, when the neighbours stopped by, the key no longer worked and a new coded key box was attached to the outside. The new lock would allow criminals to enter the property without a key as they had done before - which lead to a burglary crime number and eventually at police suggestion a different type of lock.

 

From other posts here, I have gleaned that there might be rent arrears which ultimately could lead to eviction, but no notice has been given.

 

He received an unknown caller which went to answerphone the day before the lock change was noticed, but as his personal mobile is PAYG combined with other post bereavement costs he has not yet heard what it says. His voicemail takes around 30 minutes to get to most recent message.

 

A short email arrived telling him to remove his mother's things:

Quote

I’m the Housing Officer for XXXXXXXX and I’m dealing with your late mothers property.

 

Please contact us as a matter of urgency to arrange the collection of your mothers belongings.

 

If this is not done, they may be disposed of.

 

From this I gather they don't even see him as resident, despite receiving 4+1 weeks rent each month to reduce the arrears.

 

He is in quite the state right now and understandably is loosing sleep and not thinking straight.

 

Another friend agreed to take him on holiday abroad as a gift, this holiday starts on Wednesday for 10 days.

 

Understandably as they have already changed the locks he is not looking forward to something that should have been a welcome relief. 

 

Any suggestions are most welcome.


 

Find something to enjoy every day.

 

[20190624]

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He needs to contact the HA to understand what's going on. 

What springs to mind is the fact that he was never registered there as a resident, so the HA has regained ownership of the property after he failed to contact them.

I'm sure there are legal timeframes, however,  once a person dies, they move very quickly and i mean same day.

It's heartless if you ask me but they don't care, they're short of accommodations and getting a property back is gold dust to them.

If he can prove that he was a permanent resident and paying the rent maybe he could convince them to stay there, but he needs to contact them immediately before they assign the property to someone else. 

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The rent was paid via housing benefit until his mother died, he has taken it on and I think was something like two months behind.

 

He's never claimed in his own right, but has a disability which all the paperwork relates to that address which is his sole residence.

 

All the bills apart from the telephone were in his mothers name and the original agreement has only her details on, despite having young children at the time.

 


 

Find something to enjoy every day.

 

[20190624]

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Whatever disability he has, he better contact a dedicated charity and ask if they can guide him to a solution. 

Some charities are very good in getting involved and sort things out, others are not.

Worth a shot.

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Posted (edited)

LL and HA cannot go around willy nilly just changing locks.

 

The Son needs to find out did the HA have a valid possession order to change the the locks, ask the HA or contact the county court.

 

From 1977 The mum and son been living there, the Son may have had Succession rights  to mums tenancy, which the HA sounds like they taken away unlawfully.

 

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/council_housing_association/can_you_inherit_a_housing_association_tenancy

 

If there was No valid possession order, Son may be able to sue HA for illegal eviction, this would need to checked with  CAB, Shelter or Solicitor  1st.

 

IMHO.

 

 

...

Edited by 45002
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Sorry 45002, that would never be the case for many reasons.

1. HA are notoriously a law into themselves and judges are very lenient with them

2. LA OFFICIALLY was not aware of his residency there, in fact his mother was claiming single occupancy (i suppose to pay less council tax)

3. All bills were in mother's name, so proving residency would prove difficult with a mobile phone bill

4. Shortage of accommodations has made changing locks an accepted practice when someone dies and next of kin don't get in touch within a few days. Again, judges are aware of this and lenient.

 

Given all of the above, going down the legal route would probably open a can of worms with the unpaid council tax since 1977, of course if the son can prove of having lived there without any evidence.

So my previous advice remains unchanged,  the son should seek help from a charity related to his disability, they might help.

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To add to my previous post, this is not an eviction.

As far as the HA is concerned, the mother lived there alone, they tried to get in touch with her next of kin who was not reachable.

At best they could be held responsible if they disposed of mother's belongings,  but in my experience they keep them for at least 28 days.

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Posted (edited)

tallorder

 

I stand by what I posted in post  #5

 

As the HA clearly don't know how to obtain lawfully possession of a property.

 

Let us know how it goes and don't just give up.

 

Good luck

 

 

Edited by 45002

Just say No to 0870 and 0845 Numbers,Use

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Hi

 

I have to agree if the Mum was the only one named on the Tenancy Agreement when she passed and claiming single occupancy with the council. 

 

Was the HA aware that you were living at the property?

 

When mum passed was the HA & Council made aware of this? (by the executor of the estate)

 

Did you claim Succession Rights when mum passed?

 

Did you receive paperwork (i.e. it would be addressed to those named on the tenancy agreement at the named property address) leading up to there action to change the locks?

 

There are different processes the HA would have to go through which can take some months before they even think about changing the locks to a property and they would have went through the courts to obtain the property back.

 

 

 

 


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

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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Hi stu007, I can guarantee that HA and LA don't take months to change locks.

As soon as they're notified of the death of a sole occupant, they contact the next of kin, phone call, email and letter.

If they don't get a response within a couple of days they pack all the tenant's belongings, store them safely and change the locks.

The property is then assessed for any defect to be repaired (usually same day) and once ready is put back in the pool of available properties to rent out.

This process can take as little as a week, it all depends on the state of the property.

The lock change happens in a few days.

Even if the next of kin asks for some time to empty the property, i've never heard of anyone being given longer than a week.

Remember,  the key point is that the mum lived there alone, the son was staying occasionally at weekends and cannot even prove it as all bills were in mum's name, including sole occupant council tax.

As much as I dislike HA and LA, in this case they won't get in any trouble for the reasons in my previous post.

The son should have registered his occupancy 40 odd years ago instead of saving a few pounds by paying single occupant council tax. 

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I think if your friend approches the HA to say that the flat was their main home even though they worked away a lot of the time, Questions will be asked as to why housing benefit have been paying the rent, That could open a huge can of worms

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King I fully understand the mother was living there on her own and only one named on the tenancy agreement.

 

As for your comment that after informed of the passing in a few days they pack tenants belongings and store them and change the locks this I completely disagree with.

 

In my are the different HA (and there are many) in a scenario like this will:

 

Communicate with the executor/family member once informed of bereavement informing them of any succession rights, property to be handed back ( 28 days on being informed of above) if unable to must notify the HA to ask for an extension.

 

After the 28 days if no contact the HA will then follow its Abandonment Policy.

 

If contact made after 28 days and no extension has been granted HA will then go to court to claim property back.

 

Once this is done and no contact off to court to claim property back only then will the enter the property unless in an emergency or legally required i.e. gas safety inspection even then may need to go to court for that to get access.

 

 

 


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

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

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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Yes, this is the correct procedure, but at least around here in Greater London,  they don't follow it.

And I know people who have taken the HA to court only to be told: "that's not your house, you should have replied to the HA communication" and at best, awarded a nominal sum for the inconvenience of having to collect the deceased belongings from storage.

If you think about it, you can't even blame the HA, they need the property and they're not going to hung about waiting for the next of kin. 

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Posted (edited)

Just because, someone has passed away is No excuse for HA to take back a property unlawfully.

 

Just because, it happens in Great London is No excuse for HA to take back a property unlawfully.

 

Just because, there a housing shortage and changing locks an accepted practice is No excuse for HA to take back a property unlawfully.

 

Just because, Son may or may not have Succession rights is No excuse for HA to take back a property unlawfully.

 

Just because, judges are aware of this and lenient is No excuse for HA to take back a property unlawfully.

 

HA should know about the various housing act and tort of goods act, but clearly don't.

 

Before you know it, where be back in the rachman era.....................

Edited by 45002

Just say No to 0870 and 0845 Numbers,Use

http://www.saynoto0870.com/search.php

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Posted (edited)

All well and good, but once the locks have been changed, what are you going to do about it?

You can throw money at it and waste taxpayer's money to win £50 compensation for distress.

And then?

The lock has been changed.

You say illegally, They would argue that the son was staying there rent free and cheating the system by claiming of not being there.

Then what?

The son could be in for a shock with an enormous bill for unpaid council tax and rent.

I am all against HA, they're the devil, but on this one I have to say that the son could've at least replied to their communication instead of waiting until they changed the locks.

Now it's too late and there's too much to lose challenging the HA.

The son in any case will not get back into the property,  unless a miracle happens.

Edited by king12345

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13 minutes ago, king12345 said:

All well and good, but once the locks have been changed, what are you going to do about it?

You can throw money at it and waste taxpayer's money to win £50 compensation for distress.

And then?

The lock has been changed.

You say illegally, They would argue that the son was staying there rent free and cheating the system by claiming of not being there.

Then what?

The son could be in for a shock with an enormous bill for unpaid council tax and rent.

I am all against HA, they're the devil, but on this one I have to say that the son could've at least replied to their communication instead of waiting until they changed the locks.

Now it's too late and there's too much to lose challenging the HA.

The son in any case will not get back into the property,  unless a miracle happens.

 

You really have No grasp at All, how to lawfully gain possession of a property or Succession rights to a tenancy granted in 1977 do you.

 

If there No valid possession order. i

 

Its illegal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Yes, i agreed to that at post 1.

My following question is: What you gonna do about it???

Answer: Nothing!

And in this case the son could be peeled like a potato in a banana coat if he's not careful.

So the illegality of it is absolutely irrelevant. 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, king12345 said:

Yes, i agreed to that at post 1.

My following question is: What you gonna do about it???

Answer: Nothing!

And in this case the son could be peeled like a potato in a banana coat if he's not careful.

So the illegality of it is absolutely irrelevant.

 

Im doing nothing and waiting for a reply from the OP.

 

In the meaning time keep replying to posts that support illegal acts !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

....

Edited by 45002

Just say No to 0870 and 0845 Numbers,Use

http://www.saynoto0870.com/search.php

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Posted (edited)

I'm not supporting anything illegal but i am old enough to accept that sometimes i cannot change things and have to live with it.

Fighting a lost cause is for younger and inexperienced people so they can learn like i did in the days when I had a head full of hair and could run 10 miles barefoot.

Besides, the son failed to declare he was living there and avoided paying rent and council tax for 4 decades, isn't that illegal?

Edited by king12345

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, king12345 said:

I'm not supporting anything illegal but i am old enough to accept that sometimes i cannot change things and have to live with it.

Fighting a lost cause is for younger and inexperienced people so they can learn like i did in the days when I had a head full of hair and could run 10 miles barefoot.

Besides, the son failed to declare he was living there and avoided paying rent and council tax for 4 decades, isn't that illegal?

 

They where aware of son.

 

Quote

She had been advised by the council previously that it would be best to pay for a single occupant,

even though they were aware of her son.

 

 

 

I'm too am old enough to accept that you need a lawfully possession order to take a property back, including rent arrears.

Edited by 45002

Just say No to 0870 and 0845 Numbers,Use

http://www.saynoto0870.com/search.php

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"They were aware of her son" sounds exactly like "i told them i stay here sometimes at weekend, i'm in the clear".

They won't have any record of this anyway,  unless the son has proof of having told them.

As much as I hate it,  my money is on the HA unfortunately; I doubt the son would have any proof in his favour.

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from my reading of the original post there was no agreement in the tenancy to allow succession.

It is also clear that the person lived alone as far as the council and HA were concerned so if such a condition was in the original assured tenancy so dereliction would render it void anyway.

Paying off arrears  of a deceased person doesnt create a new tenancy so where is the illegality? if the deceased had any estate the son would be obliged to use it to pay the debt so it wont even be seen as his money.

The tenancy ended on death so no possession order needed so no unlawful behaviour in enetering their own property.

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Posted (edited)

The tenancy started before 1985 and 1988 Housing acts.

 

Doesn't have to be a written tenancy for Succession rights pre 1985, 1988, Succession rights are written into Law........

 

A tenancy don't just end because some has passed away.

 

Good afternoon...

Edited by 45002
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Just say No to 0870 and 0845 Numbers,Use

http://www.saynoto0870.com/search.php

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Posted (edited)

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/council_housing_association/what_happens_to_a_tenancy_when_the_tenant_dies

 

Forget to add

 

It even says on shelter website regards a Death of a Tenant.

 

Quote

A tenancy does not automatically end when a tenant dies and no one has inherited it.

 

 

 

...

Edited by 45002

Just say No to 0870 and 0845 Numbers,Use

http://www.saynoto0870.com/search.php

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