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Archive for August, 2009

With A4E about to feature in Benefit Busters on C4 on 20th August 2009 Illegal mentions a piece in this Sunday’s Observer about them.

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No ongoing duty for YOU!

House is coming across a rather disturbing practice that appears to be on the rise amongst Local Authorities. House shall call this practice ‘The Disappearing Duty’ or TDD for short.

House now works in a fairly rural area. Local Authorities are now trying to state that because they have no ‘accommodation of their own’ that they will only be able to accommodate persons who have made a ‘homeless application’ under 188 before assisting them with finding privately rented accommodation.

Upon finding such accommodation House is finding that their ‘homeless application’ is mysteriously ddisappearing. If they haven’t done a sec 184 letter then they seem to be treating the privately rented accommodation as accommodation that the client has secured, rather than sec 188 acc, so treat the applicant as being not homeless and in most cases House has seen not even write a 184 letter to this effect.

Even if a full 193 duty has been accepted then this privately rented accommodation appears to coincide with the applicant mysteriously ‘withdrawing’ their homeless application thus meaning the LA don’t bother thinking they have any ongoing duty to said person.

Has anyone else spotted this?

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House has noticed a rather worrying growth RSL and Local Authority Neighbourhood Housing Officers doubling as Gatekeeper’s to the promised land of the ‘homeless application’ especially where rent arrears are involved.

House recently saw a letter from a Neighbourhood Housing Officer of a rather large Housing Association  that stated ‘as a result of the proceedings you will be found Intentionally Homeless and the Local Authority will only have a duty to house you for a maximum of 28 days’.

What annoys House about this is not only the use of the word WILL and not for instance MAY, but also that frequently the advice is rather misleading to say the least as for instance in the case of the client that received the letter House has quoted. House’s client had rent arrears yes, but actually their tenancy had been terminated (before they came to see House) by a joint tenant who had moved out years previously. Therefore the cause of homelessness may well have had nothing to do with the arrears.

House has heard of a number of cases where clients, who may have some rent arrears, issued with a section 21 for a reason that is not related to rent arrears have been told by a Local Authority Housing Officer that they are intentionally homeless so the Local Authority doesn’t have to help them. This is of course done without any sort of investigation or decision letter or even taking a ‘homeless application’.

So for anyone reading this who may not know, if you have been told that you are intentionally homeless by a Local Authority or Housing Association Housing Officer this does not prevent you from making a ‘homeless application’ and receiving a proper decision letter as per section 184 of the Housing Act 1996.

Has anyone else had experience of this?

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Hello

A pondering.

At Court last week a Judge ordered, in mortgage arrears possession proceedings, ordered that a Landlord give up possession in 28 days of the address at which they were registered proprietor. The property had some tenants in and the tenancy was binding on the claimant as it was a buy to let.

House’s question is from when would the mortgage company become the Landlord, from the date of the Court Order, from date the landlord was ordered to give up possession, another date, is House stupid for asking?

If you have it, there is a jolly useful article on the rights tenants such facing possession proceedings might have in July / August ‘Adviser‘  magazine,  a magazine well worth the money!

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In an excellent example of good practice this week GE Home Lending  informed House that they had only decided to refer House’s client to their team that deals with forebearance options after they had obtained a suspended possession order…

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If you missed it it’s worth catching up on Neighbourhood Watched.  It was, at least to House, a fairly impartial account of being a Neighbourhood Housing Officer.

What often startles House and this view was reinforced by watching this programme was the startling lack of responsibility people take for their actions. This was demonstrated by some spiv who stated something along the lines of ‘I’ll try and keep the music down, we’ll just have to see how it goes’ like the stereo was some sort of living creature beyond his control.

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Hello

House apologises if this is silly but House has a question. If a tenant gets into arrears of rent and the landlord’s insurance then pays the landlord to cover the losses does that mean the tenant has less rent unpaid for the purposes of ground 8 and 10?

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