Rent arrears (sorry boring)

(54 Posts)
Hedgehog80 Fri 31-Jan-14 20:19:33

Got into arrears after the council made a mistake last year when we stopped getting hb but they didn't adjust the direct debit to reflect this meaning I got behind on payments without realising.

When they did realise after few months they tried to put dd up to a stupidly high amount which we couldn't afford so I cancelled it and phoned them, arranged to set up a so for fixed amount and clear the arrears as and when.
They then kept trying to take the dd as well as so and were quite rude each time I phoned and denied that they needed to change it their end but the bank told me that they controlled the dd not me so even though I'd cancelled it they had o as well.

In the end to avoid double payments each month I cancelled so too and have been using my rent card, my rent is approx £130 a week, this week I paid £130, last week £200 and week before £400 etc so I've been making a huge effort to clear it.

Got a letter today which is apparently my 'final warning' before they take further action???

There's approx £250 arrears left but they are insisting I go to an appt next week, with four unwell dcs it will be impossible to get there but they said if I don't show up it will go against me??

I think they are being very unfair, I've contacted them regularly to try and resolve this and have been paying each week. I'm considering just ignoring them and continuing to pay as it'll be cleared soon anyway, I'm just really annoyed at the way they have treated me.

WaffilyVersatile Fri 31-Jan-14 20:23:39

do not ignore it. write back to them and send it recorded. explain everything you have said here and see what they say. if you are paying it off they wont waste money or time taking you to court

RandyRudolf Fri 31-Jan-14 20:25:01

It must be difficult for you if the DC are poorly but don't ignore the appointment. Ring the council to rearrange or ask for a telephone appointment instead. At least this will show them that you're willing to work with them to pay back the arrears. At the end of the day all they want to do is set up an affordable repayment plan with you. Try not to worry, work with them and it will be fine.

PumpkinPie2013 Fri 31-Jan-14 20:25:40

That does sound difficult and stressful sad

Can anyone sit with your dc while you go to the app?

If not can you ask them to send someone to your house?

Either way you should contact citizens advice for some detailed help. I assume you have evidence of the additional payments made?

Good luck - hope you get sorted soon x

SaucyJack Fri 31-Jan-14 20:26:37

If it was you that posted about an identical situation a little while ago, then I'm sorry- but you are completely in the wrong.

You allowed the debt to build up and you can't complain that they want it back.

Hedgehog80 Fri 31-Jan-14 20:28:04

I don't know if a telephone appt would work as I've phoned them regularly to check the arrears amount and tell them how much extra I plan to pay each week to clear it. They told me notes were put on my rent file each time I phoned so I assumed it would be ok.

I think it just shocked me seeing 'final warning' at the top of the letter which was from the housing officer I always speak to??

Hedgehog80 Fri 31-Jan-14 20:30:17

I didn't allow it to build up.

I set up a direct debit, the housing department by their own admission made a mistake not adjusting the amount when we stopped getting hb.

With four unwell dcs life is very hectic and stressful, I thought as I had dd set up that rent was being paid, like all the other bills. It wasn't deliberate.

Hedgehog80 Fri 31-Jan-14 20:31:22

Yes I have receipts from using the rent card.

RandyRudolf Fri 31-Jan-14 20:33:14

I was in a similar situation some years ago. I understand that the letters they send are very frightening but honestly, just work out a payment plan and things will be fine. Just make sure you stick to it.

Hedgehog80 Fri 31-Jan-14 20:35:05

That's the problem, I thought I had worked out a repayment plan.

I will try resolving it over the phone on Monday but if they insist on an appt they will have to do a home visit.

RandyRudolf Fri 31-Jan-14 20:37:57

If a repayment plan had been agreed you should have received a confirmation letter in the post detailing what had been agreed. That's what my council did.

SparklyTwinkleGlitter Fri 31-Jan-14 20:39:12

Don't ignore the letter but equally, don't get overly stressed about it.

Speak to Citizens Advice ASAP taking all your paperwork with you and ask them to negotiate with the council on your behalf.

They will probably be a lot more successful at organising a sensible re-payment plan and will help ensure you are receiving the correct benefits.

RhondaJean Fri 31-Jan-14 20:40:07

What is the repayment plan you agreed?

Ie how much are you supposed to play weekly over and above your rent

You haven't paid any extra this week and that's probably flagged up as a breach of the plan on the system.

Even though you made a big overpayment a few weeks ago it won't be counted against this weeks required payment on some systems.

Do NOT ignore. You shouldn't have a big problem here - it should be easily resolved - but if you ignore then yes they will proceed to escalate towards legal proceedings.

Hedgehog80 Fri 31-Jan-14 20:44:19

The agreement was that I paid the rent each week and made extra payments as and when I could to clear the arrears, agreed over the phone with my rent officer.

I received no written confirmation but was told it was logged in notes on my rent account.

Every week I've paid more than the weekly rent except this week could only afford the rent but as we had agreed as and when I was just going to pay more next week.

RandyRudolf Fri 31-Jan-14 20:45:39

So you didn't pay the agreed amount this week?

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 31-Jan-14 20:45:45

Saucy this is quite a common problem with HB and housing officers.

Op, they are often computer generated but you should never ignore them.

When you talk to them you can talk about the payments already made you can point out that you are obviously paying they will know that its pointless taking you to court and if they did the likelihood of not getting a costs order is high.

If you ignore they will go to court and they will get a costs order as them knowing your plan is essential to the argument that court is not needed

webwiz Fri 31-Jan-14 20:47:08

I would contact the CAB and get them to speak to your income officer to make sure they have a true picture of your situation.

It is actually better to have a meeting about the arrears at this stage when they are relatively low and clearable rather than leaving it till people are in real trouble with their payments.

Hedgehog80 Fri 31-Jan-14 20:47:59

I did, I paid the rent amount. They did not specify I had to make an additional payment each week, it was agreed "as and when" I had just been paying extra each week anyway.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 31-Jan-14 20:48:27

Chances are they won't even know about this weeks payment yet. It can take up to 7 days for a pp transaction to show up on your rent account.

Hedgehog80 Fri 31-Jan-14 20:49:55

Surely they can see though that I've been clearing the arrears and that if I continue how I have been that in a few weeks I won't be in arrears any longer?

I've been making a huge effort to keep in touch with them.

RhondaJean Fri 31-Jan-14 20:52:55

The possibility is the housing officer has logged something in the system to say you are making a weekly overpayment and then when you didn't this week a most likely computer generated letter appeared. If you have had one or two before the letters can start getting stronger.

There is no way you can actually be late with this payment is there? that could explain it too. It could be a few things.

I honestly don't think you have a problem but phone first thing on Monday and try to get it sorted on the phone. If you explain about your children they should be sympathetic as to your issues about getting in for the interview.

RandyRudolf Fri 31-Jan-14 20:53:24

An 'as and when' arrangement sounds a bit iffy to me. I think for your own piece of mind you need to get an affordable amount confirmed in writing.

StandingInLine Fri 31-Jan-14 20:53:41

My parents had rent arrears (about £4000); mum ignored the warnings and was finally taken to court. They were very understanding and came to a payment scheme that was suitable for them (think it was an extra £5 a week ) Started paying it in 2007 and finally cleared it up last year.

The way the council see it is they're more likely to get their money back whilst you're in their property ,as opposed to kicking you out for you to find rented accommodation.

IamInvisible Fri 31-Jan-14 20:53:42

Tell your DH to take the time off work so he can look after the DC while you are at the appointment.

I'm sorry to be harsh, hedgehog, and I know life is stressful for you, but it is his problem too. He can not keep going off to work, leaving you to cope with all this because he sees it as "respite". He needs to take the time off.

IamInvisible Fri 31-Jan-14 20:54:30

Tell DH to take the time off so you can attend the appointment. It is his problem too. He can not keep leaving everything to you. They are his children so he needs to look after them while you sort out both of your arrears!

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