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Rant Need legal advice about council housing

Discussion in 'General' started by Rhydian, 5 Jan 2014.

  1. Rhydian

    Rhydian New Member

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    Thanks for any help in advanced, here's the situation.

    I recently lost my father in September, when the council found out they instantly jumped on the take as much money as possible bandwagon.

    I only live with my brother in the 3 bedroom property my father was given by the council. My brother and I work full time jobs just scraping £1000 take home pay. £2000 sounds like a decent amount on it's own however the bills the council are requiring us to pay are to the extreme for our wages.

    We have to pay £134.62 a week for Use and Occupation charge (since we are technically homeless and have no tenancy). £1500+ council tax a year, that has been charged in advance from my fathers death to March (even though we are being evicted in January???). Water rates (not sure total of this), gas and electricity for a 3 bedroom property with a faulty boiler (about £2000 a year £100/month). Broadband and phone at £38/month, contract phones at £26/month (required since work full time).

    Not including fuel, travel, clothing, food, insurance, mot, services etc.

    We can't receive any government help since we're both working full time. The council have outright refused to help us move into council or private accommodation. Even with legal advice stating that they have a legal responsibility to re home us. They haven't even included any form of appeal within their written communication with us. Instead they replaced it stating that any attempt to not pay or leave on the eviction date would result in them taking immediate legal action to have us forcibly evicted and our possessions repossessed to cover legal fee's.

    Right now I'm unable to sleep, my work has been effected because of the stress and depression brought on by their actions. I'm seeking medical help since my father and I were both diagnosed with clinical depression many years ago. If this gets any worse I fear I may lose my job entirely and any chance of being able to find a new one since I'm unable to concentrate or stay fully aware atm.

    To sum it up, council are doing their best to forcibly make us completely homeless. I'm ****ed in the head from all the stress. And as a last attempt to find some help, I've come here to see if anyone might be able to provide some advice?

    My apologies for terrible grammar making this hard to read, I really cannot focus atm.
     
  2. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Maximum Win

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    book an appointment down at CAB, im guessing they'll give you better advice then what we can.
     
  3. Rhydian

    Rhydian New Member

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    You'd think, however not. On Monday going to get some free legal advice from a solicitor. However after 6 calls in the space of 3 minutes very few people actually have the ability to challenge the council.
     
  4. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    Seek legal advice if you can, the CAB are about as much use as a chocolate fireplace...

    And fwiw, currently having a running with the local council ourselves... generally it seems to be like this - the council make **** up as they go along and do as the please, meanwhile no-one is willing to question any of it and to top it off usually the people you have to complain *to* are the very same people you're complaining *about*...
     
  5. Weekly_Estimate

    Weekly_Estimate Gives credit where its due

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    Perhaps look at going private with your brother into a smaller place? Might save allot of hassle and money?
     
  6. Carrie

    Carrie Well-Known Member

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    Rhydian sorry to hear about your troubles.

    Try reading this page on Shelter's website - particularly the succession tenancy section - and give them a call on free advice line 0808 800 4444 to talk through the situation.

    Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork to hand so you can be very specific as to the history of your situation because depending on how long your father lived there you may have/had a right to take over your father's tenancy, assuming he didn't inherit the tenancy from someone else that is.

    A lot will also depend on the circumstances surrounding arrears too, if there are any.

    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_a...bout_council_housing/secure_council_tenancies
     
    Last edited: 5 Jan 2014
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  7. Carrie

    Carrie Well-Known Member

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    Rhydian in the mean time, and to give you something constructive to do on the matter until you can talk to someone, try working your way through some of the documents found here that are published by NHAS:

    http://www.nhas.org.uk/publications/content-newpage_publications-tenants.htm

    Have a read of: Can I pass on my tenancy if I die ?(Factsheet 1 - council tenants)

    NHAS is a partnership between Shelter and Citizens Advice, funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
    "Our shared aim is to make sure that no one is homeless or badly housed through want of expert advice. We work with Citizens Advice Bureaux, voluntary advice agencies, and local authorities to make sure their staff can give appropriate, accurate, and timely housing advice."

    They do not advise the public but have extensive publications on the matter.
     
  8. Rhydian

    Rhydian New Member

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    Looking at that now, but the problem is the council are taking all of our money. We've got 3 weeks to move and have been told that is an impossible time frame to find a place and do the paperwork. Being close the London the cheapest rent is around £750/month for a flat above a shop with absolutely no parking and completely unfurnished.

    Tried their advice, council hired a solicitor, who judged that since my father was married at the start of the tenancy agreement (divorced over 10 years ago however). That the ex wife would be the only one that the tenancy could be passed down to.

    Sadly we can't afford our own solicitor to go through paperwork with us, and see what is and is not possible. All we wanted was some help to deal with the financial burden of paying for a funeral and moving out. But they've done everything possible not to help.

    It feels like they've tied a noose around our necks, taunting us whilst we wait to be hanged.
     
  9. Rhydian

    Rhydian New Member

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    Wow, thank you. Looking through those documents it seems as though the council has to treat me and my brother as a priority and find us temporary accommodation. I couldn't even get advice off them...

    They may also be evicting us illegally due to the time frame of the requested eviction, however can the council be charged criminally I wonder?
     
  10. Carrie

    Carrie Well-Known Member

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    When your father took on the tenancy, albeit married, was the tenancy in their joint names or just his? If joint and it then transferred to him alone then it looks like that would use the one right to transfer. If it was only ever in his name then she as his ex-spouse would seem not to qualify on the grounds she was no longer his spouse and hadn't resided there for 12 months prior to his death either. In which case you may have a right to it regardless of what the council says. They rely on people not being in a position to question them on complicated matters.

    Try calling these people to check on it and also the timeframes re eviction on 0800 437 0080, they offer a confidential, no-obligation initial discussion:

    http://www.hja.net/what-we-do/housing-law/homelessness.aspx

    As for criminal charges - no, it's a civil matter

    Off to sleep now, where I should have been nearly 2 hours ago!
     
    Last edited: 5 Jan 2014
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  11. Freedom

    Freedom Member

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    Dont forget the shelter http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/after_bereavement/if_a_tenant_dies/succession_rights

    http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/downloads_and_tools/emergency_housing_rights_checker

    and money saving expert have a forum dedicated to housing stuff http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?f=16

    If you haven't already get yourself on the council housing waiting list as you'll will be homeless you'll be bumped to the top of priority list.

    Unfortunately there a massive housing shortage in both the social and private sector especially in London hence why rents are sky high, I don't envy anyone living in London on a low to mid-range income.
     
  12. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    £26 a month for phone? Why does it have to be so much? Surely you could go down to a cheaper tariff if you need to stay on contract?
    Same kind of applies to the broadband/phone.

    Neither may be ideal, but if money is an issue going to a more basic setup on both of those would be things I would look into if I were in your situation.
     
  13. julianmartin

    julianmartin resident cyborg.

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    I cannot add too much here - all I will say is, get on the hunt for somewhere private, regardless of what might happen with the council. Leave as many doors open as you can - it isn't a resignation to leaving the place but the sooner you have another option the safer you will be. Even if it is short term - at the moment it sounds like buying time is the most important thing.
     
  14. defined

    defined Botch-Job

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    I recently had a lot of trouble with NPT homes (they took over all the council houses in my area),

    One of the best things you can do is send a letter/email to your local council member/Councillor explaining in full your situation and get them involved.

    This is what i done and he was very helpfull in putting NPT homes in their place and making them get off their backside.
     
  15. Carrie

    Carrie Well-Known Member

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    Rhydian, sorry to bombard you with ideas but a friend has suggested another avenue you might be able to use, in conjunction with the others, in dealing with the council.

    You say you've been diagnosed as clinically depressed; call MIND on 0300 123 3393 (open Mon - Fri, 9- 6). Explain your diagnosis, what's happened, how the council are treating you and the effect that's having on you life and they may well be able to approach the situation with the council from this angle too. They helped my friend's daughter sort things out.
     
  16. Rhydian

    Rhydian New Member

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    Contract ends this year, can cancel for free in febuary.
     
  17. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    Ah fair enough, I'm on a rolling contract, might be worth looking into when your current contract ends, especially considering how much money you could save.
     
  18. sniperdude

    sniperdude Active Member

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    Sorry to hear about you Dad Rhydian.

    I personally would contact your Local MP as this is a council matter as well as the CAB.

    My cousin Lost his mum leaving him in much the same situation, they showed no compassion
    and wanted him out the house...He managed to get the tenancy in his name after a battle tho involving the local MP.


    Regardless of what they say they can not kick you out WITHOUT a court order.
     
  19. Pete J

    Pete J Unemployed dole scum

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    Sorry to hear of your misfortune Rhydian.

    I was just thinking: if you write to the council with your situation, aren't they obligated to extend your tenure while it's reviewed? Otherwise just keep following the good advice from everyone else in this thread.

    On a side note, it annoys me that the council are turfing out two people who contribute to the economy and will probably give it to someone who doesn't deserve it IMHO. I don't see why they have to move you either - you're paying the rent FFS.
     
  20. RedFlames

    RedFlames ...is not a Belgian football team

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    From my experiences with the local council - what they're allowed/obliged to do and what they actually do [compounded by the unwillingness of anyone to pull them up about any of it] are poles apart... Any by the time you've jumped through all the hoops put in your way, chances are they've already done what you were trying to stop...

    Corrupt cockwombles one and all...
     

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