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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 14783
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I have lived in a housing association house for over 12

Customer Question

I have lived in a housing association house for over 12 years. We first acquired the property through housing 21 who promised that we could buy the house after 5yrs. After 5yrs we phoned to start the process and was informed that we were in arrears. Advised housing that we pay monthly and did not owe any rent. but declined. The houses was transferred to Golding homes. who also declined. However, all others who wanted to buy were able to buy but not us. I feel this must be a racist issue. Whenever we propose to buy some of the neighbours will begin to meet in groups and looking mean at us. When greeted they will not answer. Pls help! as we want to buy.
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: We have made several calls and they have refused our offers. The last information given to us is they will sell at the market price which will be between 270 - 300. We were originally told that we would pay 50+ for the house which was 12yrs ago. I paid extra 1month rent for the rent to be in arrears about 2-3yrs ago and it has been in arrears since then. Also the kitchen of the neighbours were done about 5yrs ago, any time we called they will tell us, yours will be done next year up till the present date it has not been done. The front fence was done, When I approached the man in charge of the fence he said yours has just been done. I told him we have lived here for 8yrs. The fence was not done. We received a mail from the neighbours which stated ' Go back to where you came from Monkeys' This was reported to the police and we wrote a letter to the housing management but nothing was done about it. The lady who came to investigate lives within the community too and she did not proceed with the information passed on till date.
JA: Where is the house located?
Customer: Royal British legion, Aylesford ME20 7RP
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: We live in a 3 bedroom terraced house.
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 16 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 16 days ago.

There may be a case for discrimination on the grounds of race though I recommend you first make a formal complaint to Golding Homes to see if this will resolve informally without court action.
You can avail of the Housing Ombudsman service - which is free to use, quicker than court action and their decision is binding on the Home company (as it is an arbitration scheme).

The Ombudsman will not accept the claim however until you have Golding Homes' final response to your complaint.
You therefore need to make a complaint to them now and set out in simple terms which you feel discriminated against and to demand that you want to buy, etc.
You can make the complaint by email:***@******.*** or telephone : 0300(###) ###-####br>Once you have their final response and assuming it does not help, you can then go to the Ombudsman, who will investigate the facts and they will make a decision which if you accept, is binding. You can reach the Ombudsman by email here:***@******.*** or via their website : https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/residents/make-a-complaint/
If the Ombudsman does not uphold your complaint then you can consider court action - you can issue "Judicial Review" proceedings which is where you involve the court, and a senior judge or panel of judges looks at the legality of a housing association's decision. If the judge(s) find in your favour, they will make an order which is binding on the Association (e.g. they may say the decision was invalid or indeed, illegal) and they are then forced to act to sort the problem out. Further, if your human rights were breached then compensation may also be payable.

The issue with judicial review is that the cases are quite complex, but as a result of that, a law firm can usually recover their legal costs from the Association if they win the application. You should be able to have a no win no fee agreement with the law firm, to sue the council. Or if you are in receipt of means tested benefits then legal aid may well be available to you.

Here are a few firms who specialise in this area :

I hope this helps - please feel free to ask me anything else.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 16 days ago.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 16 days ago.

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim