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LA charging for house clearance after forced move

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My dad died in March and my sister lived with him in our family home that we all grew up in. He had a tenancy, she didn’t. After his death she was told she can not succeed his tenancy as in my parents separation the transfer of the joint tenancy to a sole tenancy counted as a succession. They offered my sister to move her to a flat under her own discretionary tenancy as the house (a 3 bed) was too big for her needs. she has paid all bills, council tax and rent in this time whilst she has waited for rehoming. 

She moved 2 weeks ago and was told to drop his keys to the council office by 5 pm Monday. She dropped them in at 3pm only to be told she’d been advised wrong and it should have been 1pm so she was now liable for another weeks rent. 

Today they get in touch to tell her she needs to pay for the house to be cleared - my dad was a hoarder and had 35 years of car parts and ‘life’ stuff collected. Nobody has ever had a say over his things - she has lived there but couldn’t tell him what he can or can’t do in his home so there is a lot of stuff. 

originally she was told (by the same person who told her the wrong time for the keys) that she didn’t have to be responsible for all his things as it isn’t hers. Now they are back tracking again. 
can they do this?

She’s only a student so has no income except student loans and is finding this all very overwhelming- there’s a lot of stuff to clear and she has no money. 

they wouldn’t let her stay because the tenancy was not hers, so can they enforce that she clears a mess that is not hers? 

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sadly they can. now if its legally enforceable is another matter.

i suspect this is what they are calling a 'summary charge'?

i argued this in 2011 and just ignored them after months of willy waving. never heard from the council again.

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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I would ignore it myself but unfortunately they are her landlords in her new tenancy so she can’t.

it seems so unfair, none of it is her mess and if she was allowed to stay there she would have cleared it eventually but they made her move. 

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same with me they just gave up.

their only eventual course of action is to raise a county court claim and try for a CCJ for the sum it cost to clear the property as its a CIVIL matter, hence i asked you if this was a 'summary charge' invoice by the council?. if so the above is all they can do and then you'll get to tell the story and the judge will decide.

i know mine was 10yrs+ ago but they could find no 'law' that they could force me to pay it.

same type of thing.

i was not a tenant of that council at the time, but had lived there with whom was for +15yrs before

the tenant moved out, i didn't till forced too,  by the council, they gave me a flat, thus i was then their tenant.

i kept up the pretence that the contents were not mine and never were as i was not their tenant. but inherited it.

there's far more to this story before hand, but thats all irrelevant .

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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This sounds very similar scenario

- my sister has never been their tenants until she was moved last week.

Thank you for sharing your experience 

Edited by dx100uk
unnecessary previous post quote removed
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As this is Council Housing they are a Registered Social Landlord (RSL) and as the exact same as Housing Associations/Trusts etc so never ever be afraid to challenge them just because they are the Council does not make them anything special as they still have to follow the exact same Legislation/Regulations as all RSLs must.

Nice to see a Council when someone parent has passed using the heavy handed tactic with absolutely no compassion.

Sadly the Council Housing can charge to empty out the property as it is the Tenants responsibility  to clear out the Property before handing it back i.e. handing in the Properties Keys and if they have to end up removing items to clear the property they can then charge for this service especially if 35yrs worth of stuff has been left.

I can see what dx100uk is saying but your situation is slightly different as this was the family home and you were all related and have now moved to another property with the same council. So what the Council will probably do with these charges from liable for one weeks rent to charge for clearing property if not paid is they will add this to your rent account for your new property as a Charge until fully paid.

Depending on how much they decide to charge if unable to pay it in full the Council must give you the option or ask for the option of setting up a payment plan but you don't let them dictate the weekly/monthly payment you tell them what you can afford and remember if you default they can then take other action.

Which Council Housing is this?

What you need to do here is challenge their action by following the Council Housings Complaints Procedure and write to them ensuring to title the letter Formal Complaint. (Get Free Proof of Posting from the Post Office and keep a Good Paper Trail)


Dear Sir/Madam

Formal Complaint

As you are aware my Father passed away on XX/XX/XXXX and the Tenancy Agreement was in his Sole Name and you were arranging for me to down size to another property due to Bedroom Tax/Under Occupation which was done by yourselves.

During this and getting my new property not once was it explained to myself by the Council Housing that I had to full clear out the property
as the Tenancy Agreement was in my late fathers name and I would have expected to be informed of something so crucial.

I was also informed by (name) from the Council that I had to drop off the Keys to the Property to the Council Office by 5pm on Monday (month, year) but I actually dropped the key earlier at 3pm on that day. I have now been informed that I had been advised wrongly and the keys should have been dropped off by 1pm and due to this I am late and am now liable for another weeks rent.

I fully refute that I am now liable for another weeks rents as this error was due to the incorrect information given to me by (name) Councill Officer
so this maladministration lies directly with your staff giving incorrect information.

Also bear in mind your Tenancy Agreement for that Property was with my Late Father and not myself so I would have been unaware of your 
Policy and Procedures for Ending the Tenancy as it was actually the Council that did this due to Bedroom Tax/Under Occupation and made me down size to another property.

Therefore the Council are in Breach of their own Policies and Procedures for Ending a Tenancy as nothing was mentioned to myself as to the proper way to follow your Policies and Procedures for ending that Tenancy that was in my Late Fathers Name as I should have been informed properly by your staff which I was not as I was never informed about ensuring to fully clear the property before handover to Council to the incorrect information about handing the key back.

This is disgraceful action by your staff and maladministration which I am being forced to pay for and fully refute due to your the Council Housings Actions

I look forward to your reply.


NOTE: please amend the above to suit your needs again never ever be scared to challenge Council Housing just because they are the Council they are no different to any other Social Housing Landlord and you use their own Policies and Procedures against them



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