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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70526
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi am an introductory tentant and had been out of work for

Customer Question

Hi am an introductory tentant and had been out of work for a couple of months, then on part time empolyment and just recently in full time employment I accumliated £4,000.00 of rent arrears and the council wants to take me to court to seek possession of my home. I have offered to set up a repayment plan of £650 per month thats £440 for rent and £210 off the arrears every month and can make the first payment of this proposal now but the council said its procedure does not allow it to make repayment arrangements. Should I pay the money regardless and hope the judge see's it as an indication of my intention to repay and avoid furthur arrears and instruct the council to accept the plan or should it keep the funds as I would need to use it as desposit for another property as I would need this for rehousing as I would have to rent privately as I would be classed as intentionally homeless if the possession order was granted
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Is this the first time you have been in arrears?

are you on an AST?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes but the account as been in arrears sinces the start of the introductory tenancy as I was out of work when I started it, I have been making sporadiac payments when I was working part time, I have only recently secured full time employment, the introductory tenancy is for 12 months but this is not yet complete as I have not been in the property for 12 months

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

Have they served a S21 and a S8 notice on you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

All I recieved was a back dated to december notice to quit and then a seeking possession letter from lambeth crown court for 19th May and just recently a letter from the council after saying if I cleared the arrears and set up a monthly standing order as garrantee for future rent they would stop the pocession proccess. The issue is I dont have the funds to clear the arrear outright. I phone the income officer and tried to dicuss the case but they said because of procedure they could not set up a repayment plan with me. I told them I had the funds to make first payment and she urged me to make payment as it would show good faith to the judge but it would stop the process

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
So is there already a possession order against you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


No the date for the court hearing for the possession order is 19th may, the council are seeking it

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
It appears that you will have not paid rent for nine months which is, as you say, virtually since the start of the tenancy.

The fact that you may be made homeless is not an issue for the Council unless you have children although if you have not paid rent, you would be deemed to have made yourself homeless.

Assuming that this is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and may have given you the correct notice you are at the mercy of the judge in court.

You are quite right paying the arrears shows an intention however you are liable to pay the arrears in any event regardless of whether you are allowed to stay in the property or not. The council will pursue you for the arrears of rent whether you are in the house or not. The fact that you may need it as a deposit for another property is not something that they would be concerned with.

The judge can instruct the Council to accept the payment plan and the Council will be bound by it even though it may not be their policy.

It would certainly help, when you get to court, if you had made a big dent on the arrears. Without that, I do not think that you are on particularly good ground to oppose a possession order although judges do not make people homeless lightly.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So would you advice be to make payment as £650 would only represent £210 off the arrears but rent paid in full for the month and hope the judge instructs the council the only problem is if I lose I would be homeless for at least a month until I have a accumilated 2 month pay to afford private rent. I understand I have to clear the arears no matter what the out come but I wouldn't be in position to begin that until I have secured alternative accomedation. The problem their being the time I would have to vacate the property, If I retained the money I could leave within 1 month as I would have 2 months rent available to me. If I paid the money I would need to stay for 2 months and I am concerned that with that 2 month window the council would have escalted the eviction process to literarily putting me out on the street via county court sheriffs. I need to ensure I have a home as that would not only affect me but affect the level of access I have to my daughter as without a home I would not be able to have her overnight.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I think you have a better chance if you have already started paying the arrears off (by the time it gets to court) because that shows more intention than simply saying in court that you will do it.

If this is the first hearing and because it is the local authority and not a private landlord it is more likely that the judge will give you time to pay the arrears.

The local authority cannot instruct bailiffs without a further court order. This if it is the first hearing will be the application for possession and the next one (if you do not move out) will be the application for a warrant for possession (bailiffs eviction).

When you get to court make sure that you have details of when you see your daughter and if there is a contact order allowing you overnight contact, so much the better. The more reasons you can give the judge not to grant the council possession, the better.
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Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’. You can also bookmark my profile http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-remus2004/