not an aibu, but more traffic here and need urgent advice re housing

(25 Posts)
Charliefarlie1192 Mon 09-Sep-13 13:57:24

I have a council property. I am extremely behind with my rent, and am being taken to court. I have been unwell mentally, and am only now starting to get back on my feet. I have counselling support through a womens centre. I am in a position now to make an arrangement with the council to pay my arrears as I am well again, working, and have basically pulled my head out of the sand.

The council are still taking me to court to seek possession of the property. Am I likely to lose it in court?

EweHaveGoatToBeKiddin Mon 09-Sep-13 14:02:08

Have you contacting the council housing office to try and come up with a payment schedule?

I'm sure they'd much rather deal with you directly than through court.

Try speaking to Shelter, they are good with stuff like this.

everlong Mon 09-Sep-13 14:03:10

If you're paying your arrears why are they taking you to court?

DoJo Mon 09-Sep-13 14:03:26

Have you spoken to Shelter? As I understand they are very helpful. Sorry that you're going through this, I hope you get it sorted out.

housinghelp Mon 09-Sep-13 14:05:09

Please call Shelter urgently on 0808 800 4444 to get some advice. They are usually really good at keeping people in their homes. The line is open
8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 8am-5pm Saturday-Sunday - but keep trying as the lines can get really busy.

I really hope things work out for you.

OHforDUCKScake Mon 09-Sep-13 14:07:07

Shelter are amazing Ive had to call them a lot recently. Please call them.

Charliefarlie1192 Mon 09-Sep-13 14:07:52

they are taking me to court because arrears are so high and because I have ignored previous payment plans

Its my own fault, but my mental health problems have made me bury my head

EweHaveGoatToBeKiddin Mon 09-Sep-13 14:14:56

I don't know how it works, but couldn't you make an appointment at a first stop shop (that's what they're called here) and discuss the matter with them face to face?

Take someone with you for support.

Have doctors' letters etc to prove you've been ill. Tell them that you are now fully committed to repaying your arrears and show them numbers/facts of what you can afford each month. Offer to set up a direct debit with them for payments.

trippleM Mon 09-Sep-13 14:15:43

As you have already received a Notice of seeking possession I presume that the housing office have already been in contact with you regarding your arrears? Court action is a last resort, and would (should) only be taken once all other avenues of trying to recover the arrears have been exhausted. Have you had agreements in place previously, which you have broken? Or have you buried your head in the sand and ignored communications from the council?

You need to contact the housing office asap and make an offer of an agreement with them and stick to it between now and the court date. When you go to court be suitably contrite, be very clear and open about your situation. If this is the first time you have been in court for arrears and can provide a good account of yourself and why your arrears have built up enough to be taken to court over them, and providing there are no other tenancy issues, and can make a realistic agreement to repay your debt, you will be giving yourself the best chance of keeping your home.

Finally, if you do end up with an agreement in place do stick to it! Good luck OP

Lampshadeofdoom Mon 09-Sep-13 14:20:55
Beautifulbabyboy Mon 09-Sep-13 14:29:33

Hi I have worked for the CAB, it is very unlikely that you will lose your home. What is likely is that you will get a suspended possession order. That means, the court will look at your finances, your rent and the debt, and decide how much of your debt you can afford to reasonably pay on a regular basis. If you make these payments, then there will be no problems and as soon as your debt is repaid the suspended possession order will cease to exist. If you don't stick to the agreed repayment plan, and don't engage with the council about why not, that would be when you are in danger of losing your home.

Hope this sets your mind at rest. This is what happens at our local council, obviously I can't speak for yours, but can't imagine it is much different.

Give shelter a call as well!!

Xx

Misspixietrix Mon 09-Sep-13 14:31:44

OP do you have DC's? Me and the Ex had to seek help a few years ago when he lost his job. Framework were amazing with us and if I remember correctly they cant evict you If you have dependants. Please dont worry Its just a procedure they dont kick you out at the first hearing. We went back at least 3 times where they kept adjourning It. Do you have a Law Centre near you OP? I havent used Shelter but have heard great things about them ~

Charliefarlie1192 Mon 09-Sep-13 14:38:28

Thanks all

Just rang shelter, they explained about a suspended possession order etc, which means I may be given the opportunity to continue paying my rent plus arrears on a plan without losing my home

mirry2 Mon 09-Sep-13 14:48:00

Charlie - make sure that the arrears repayments you agree to are well within your ability to pay as if you fail to stick to the agreement the council will be able to repossess your home without going to court again. If you miss just one payment after you've had a suspended possession order made, you won't be able to make another agreement with the council so this will be your last chance to keep your home

Beautifulbabyboy Mon 09-Sep-13 14:57:08

Mirry2, you can lose your home if you don't keep to the terms of the suspended possession order but most councils are sympathetic if people do have problems as kong as they regularly pay, and keep then up to date about circumstances. I just didn't want Charlie to think that it's one strike and your out now as that is a lot of pressure.

TidyDancer Mon 09-Sep-13 15:17:01

Not to be nosy, but how high are the arrears? When I was growing up, my father hid rent arrears (ie didn't tell my mum the rent wasn't being paid and hid any letter chasing it) and at the peak, the debt reached just over £3k. It went to court, but they never lost the house.

Satnightdropout Mon 09-Sep-13 15:22:22

My mum had the same, she was over £4,000 in debt and was taken to court so they could repossess their house. She went and they helped her come up with a repayment plan (think it was an extra £20 a week) and finally 5 years she's cleared it smile
She hadn't been claiming housing benefit which would've helped a lot so sorted the forms out for that as well. The council know they've got more chance of getting the money back if they keep you as a tenant as opposed to kicking you out.

If it does get to court one thing the Judge will want to hear is that you recognise that rent payment is a priority payment. It will be helpful for you to show the Judge that you do take it seriously and made changes / put in place systems to help you meet your obligations going forward. e.g. is it feasible for you to pay your rent by direct debit or have you had help with budgeting issues. I would think its likely that they will be understanding about your MH problems especially as you are getting appropriate help.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 09-Sep-13 15:59:35

You need to actually ask for the suspended notice and when you have it do not and I mean really do not be late or miss any payments for any reason.

wonderingsoul Mon 09-Sep-13 16:02:04

my friend has just been to court, all that happened was they settled on a amount to pay each week.

i highly doubt you will lose your house, it is a VERY hard to kick some one out of ha/copuncil housing, you will also have gp notes to back up your reason for falling behind.

please dont worry, you have said your coming out of it and about to get back on track, please dont let the worry set you backwards again.

lovingthelackofpressure Mon 09-Sep-13 18:41:38

I was in court last week with the council.

Was very quick and they agreed to paying £10 a week off my arrears.

mirry2 Mon 09-Sep-13 19:50:27

Beautifulboy I know some local authorities are more sympathetic than others but if it has got so far as court proceedings it has to be taken seriously. If the terms of the suspended possession order are broken or even renegotiated between her and the council, the council will have to go back to court to have it ratified
In my experience, local authorities don't take tenants to court for rent arrears until they've exhausted everything else.

mirry2 Mon 09-Sep-13 19:52:18

wonderingsoul it isn't hard to 'kick someone out' It happens all the time so don't tell the op she's not got anything to worry about. She hasn't got anything to worry about if she keeps to the terms of the suspended possession order

foslady Mon 09-Sep-13 20:35:54

OP - firstly congratulations for taking the steps back to being you that you have. If it's the 1st time you've gone to court for rent arrears withthe council there's a strong chance you will be given the opportunity to work with them BUT it is very important you stick to the agreement making sure you meet your payments, otherwise it can be much harder if you end up in court again as you cannot show that you are serious about paying your debt. The amount you will be requested to pay off your arrears each week will not be a huge amount, it's a workable amount, but please don't get suckered into the idea that as it's such a small amount, missing a week or two doesn't matter, it does. A HA/council would rather have 20 x £5 payments made over 20 weeks, than £100 and nothing for the next 3 months....

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