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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 15159
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have tried to ring CAB but no reply. My son stepson became

Customer Question

JA: Hello. How can I help?
Customer: Hello. I have tried to ring CAB but no reply. My son stepson became estranged from his partner in the summer of 2012 taking his 3 children with him. For approx 6 months they lived with us, with my wife and I sleeping on the lounge floor which was not sustainable. We struggled to find a place for him through social housing. He found a house to rent around the corner which was perfect. We signed an initial 6 month agreement in March 2013 with me as guarantor. This agreement has never been re-addressed. My son found another partner and 2 years ago they had a child (4 children in the house). Several times I was written to to say Adam had fallen behind with the rent. I would discuss this with them immediately and told it was being sorted. January this year I received a summons to court as the arrears had amounted to 20 months (£16k). He wanted the money paid and was also seeking eviction. We attended court last month. I disputed the fact that was I still guarantor after 7 years? The judge has told me to get advice. I had a letter Saturday morning to say we needed to put a defence in by tomorrow at 16:00. We have made an offer to remain in the property and pay rent plus £400, this was then slightly upgraded to £300 per week so the debt would be paid in 2.5 years. The landlord has never done any maintenance or assisted in any way. My son got a grant to replace the boiler. I shoud have said before that unknown to us my son had depression and got into a gambling addiction which he is now controlling. Am I still guarantor? I am in no way saying he shouldn't get his money. I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer so am concerned I won't be able to get a loan or mortgage should i have to pay.
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: I sent my original defence to the court last month. The judge said we may be able to sort something between us. I sent a mail and spreadsheet to the landlord but had no reply. Apart from that I can only think to put a longer version of what I have just told you into the court. Unsure why it has to be in tomorrow as the case is not heard until end of April.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this?
Customer: I spoke to a lawyer on the phone as I have a support package from work. They said as they couldn't review the original agreement to contact CAB.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: If my stepson and family are evicted they will have to find a rental which will be the amount we are offering so no extra money to pay back. I am concerned about finding this amount. The other lawyer did mention that to allow 20 months of arrears was irresponsible and should take part of the blame
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 15 days ago.

Good afternoon. I will assist with your question - be aware this is an email not chat service therefore i maybe delayed in replying.

for clarification -

are you still housed?

and its your stepson who is now going to be made homeless due to his gambling and not paying the rent - is this correct?

why hasnt he or his partner got benefits for the rent?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I am living with my wife and our son in our house..
It is my stepson with the issue. Both he and his partner both work.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 15 days ago.

Thank you.

Can I see the defence that you submitted to the court please? I don’t need any personal information.

If your stepson and his partner both work, why is it you that being asked to pay all these arrears?


Has this offer been submitted to the landlord and if so when?


Was the rent plus the GBP300 extra paid? Has that been paid every week? If not, why not?


Did your son pay anything at all to replace the boiler? Why did the landlord not do that?


Can I see the guarantee please? Once again, please submit a any personal details.


When the property was first rented, were you given a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate, the tenancy agreement, and a copy of the How to Rent in England booklet and the gas safety certificate?


Tenancy agreements like this normally last six months or 12 months. Has this been renewed year-on-year?


Has your stepson paid a deposit and if so, do you know whether that deposit is in a recognised Tenant Deposit Scheme?


Do you know how your stepson and the landlord have allowed the arrears to escalate so much?


I appreciate your illness may affect things but as a general overall picture, would the landlord think that you were particularly well off all well able to pay all these arrears? Thank you.