This week (Monday 27th to Friday 31st October) BHT is running a campaign to raise awareness of our Court Duty Service run at Brighton, Lewes, Eastbourne and Hastings County Courts. Whenever a housing possession case is listed to be heard, one of our solicitors or advisers will be present to advise and provide some representation to the defendant. Unfortunately, not everyone attends these possession hearing. This campaign aims to encourage people to get advice and, at the very least, attend Court and get advice and representation from our solicitors and advisers.
The following account, the third and final in this series, is by someone whose home was put at risk because of the ‘Bedroom Tax’:
I was quite tearful when I arrived at the court. I had lived in my housing association property for over 20 years and had never been in rent arrears before.
My children had grown up and left home and because of the new (at the time) bedroom tax for spare rooms, my housing benefit had been reduced by 14%.
Although I worked, I just hadn’t been able to cover the shortfall and the situation began to spiral out of control.
My adviser was really nice and helped me to calm down and focus on what we had to do before we went into the court room.
The housing association had told me I had to clear the arrears in seven days which was just not possible.
My adviser spoke to the Income Recovery Officer representing the Housing Association and explained the situation. They came to an agreement before we even got into the court room which was just brilliant news and such a weight off my mind.
It was agreed that the Income Recovery Officer would visit me at home the next day to complete a Discretionary Housing Payment form and assist me with applying to the Housing Register so that I could look to downsize and discuss other options to tackle the spare room issue.
I was so pleased to find a solution and was more than happy to look at new accommodation that I would be able to afford.
We went into the Court room and my adviser explained to the Judge that we had reached an agreement. The Judge adjourned the possession claim on the terms that we had agreed.