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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My mother has been placed in a Residential Care home following

Resolved Question:

My mother has been placed in a Residential Care home following a long illness. She used to receive certain benefits including free rent which was paid directly to Mossbank Homes. I have kept Social Services informed of each and every change of circumstances which in turn resulted in all her benefits being cancelled (which is to be expected) It appears that Social Services stopped paying Mossbank on the 1st January this year, and subsequently Mossbank say my mother owes them rent arrears of £962 to date. I have received nothing in writing from Mossbacnjk to inform me that as of January first rent would acrue until the property is vacacted. I contacted Mossbank to inform them that the property was vacant subject to Mum being accepted in to Marple Dale care home. At that point they said I had to give them 4 weeks notice and clear the property and if I needed more time they would try to help at no pioint did they inform me that rent was arueing on a weekly basis. I have to say rent wasn't discussed and I didn't ask about the rent payments considering Mum has lived rent free for at least 25 years if not more and didn't consider that they would assume she could sudddenly afford over £80 a week rent. I challenged the advisor this morning when she informed and she said she had covered during a conversation. I have to say there is no way I would have not addressed it at that time. Like any rental agreement change they surely should have sent a letter back in January notifying my Mother that Social Services had cancelled rent payments and that she would be liable. Please can you let me know where I stand to challenge them, as most of Mum's pension goes towards her care. Many thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I clarify with you please - is Mossbank a housing association?

Customer:

Mossbank Homes Ltd | Housing Corporation Number: SL3447 | Registration Number: 24178 R


Joshua :

Thanks. May I ask if your mother has savings and if so approximately what amount?

Joshua :

DO you have a formal power of attorney for your mother?

Customer:

Only £3000 put aside for funeral expenses

Customer:

No the illnes happened so quickly I never thought I needed a power of attorney

Joshua :

Thank you. Is this money in her name or has it been paid to a funeral provider previously in the form of a funeral plan?

Customer:

It's a cash ISA

Joshua :

Thanks. The first thing to say as you will be aware no doubt already is that you are not personally liable for any of your mothers debts

Joshua :

In terms of liability for rent, rent is payable until such time as the property is returned to the HA and the HA is entitled to 1 months notice as they have advised. As you are not your mothers attorney however the council (via social services) have a duty to your mother to make best interests decisions on her behalf under the terms of the Mental Capacity Act and being aware of your mothers rental situation perhaps should have considered discussing with you giving notice to the HA as a result of housing benefit being stopped.

Joshua :

If they failed to do so where it is reasonable to have expected them to have done so under their obligations towards your mother it may be that they have acted negligently and may as such be liable to your mother for any loss to her assets. If you consider they were in possession of all the relevant facts regarding her housing situation and the benefits, then you may consider raising this with them and if not satisfied as a formal complaint which you can escalate if necessary to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Joshua :

http://www.lgo.org.uk/making-a-complaint/

Joshua :

Local authorities in the absence of an attorney have obligations to manage vulnerable peoples finances under the Mental Capacity Act.

Joshua :

Having said all of the above, your mother cannot pay what she does not have and in the event that there is a claim against her savings for rent which cannot be recovered from the council you could apply for a bereavement grant on her passing to pay for or contribute towards a funeral if necessary.

Joshua :

However in the first instance at the very least the above issues can be raised with the local authority as above and of course either you or social services will no doubt wish to move to bring the tenancy to and end if this is in the best interests of your mother at this point.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

Customer:

did you receive my reply regarding not setting up a direct debit and taking them to task

Joshua :

Sorry I didn't/

Joshua :

Could I trouble you to kindly repost? I apologise for the inconvenience.

Customer:

They asked me to set up a direct debit of £20 a month but I feel at this moment I should refuse and take them to task for their lack of communication, I was Mum's registered carer before she was placed in Marple Dale consequently they had my contact details so there is no excuse about who to contact, do you agree?

Joshua :

Are they asking for this from your own money your or your mothers?

Customer:

I told them mum has very little left after the home take her contribution and they suggested she could pay £5 a week

Joshua :

Thanks so they are asking for money from her funds not yours? Are you jointly named on one or more of your mothers accounts in order to set up a standing order or direct debit in any event?

Customer:

yes I am a named signature

Joshua :

Thanks. On the basis that there is no registered attorney then owing to the councils obligations to your mother including management of her financial affairs under the requirements of the mental Capacity Act it seems to me before any form of payment or contribution is agreed, a review be it informal or formal via a complaint should be considered as to whether there was any negligence on the councils part in regard to management of her affairs - in particular whether it is reasonable for them to have taken steps to give notice under the tenancy. They have not allowed very substantial arrears to build up but given that your mother was in receipt of benefits and relative to the size of her estate, the arrears are significant nonetheless.

Joshua :

I therefore do think it is not unreasonable for you to request a review of the issue before anything is agreed and of course you can decide how far you wish to take the matter - namely an informal request for a review, to formal complaint to the Ombudsman as above. There is no charge for these processes.

Joshua :

is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Joshua :

Are you happy with the information I have provided to you above or is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

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