Overcrowding with rent arrears
12/05/2011 10:08 am
I am a support worker with a client who lives with his two sons (15 and 18) in a 2-bed flat rented through the local authority's private sector lease scheme. He They are overcrowded. The local housing authority will not allow him on to the local choice based lettings scheme for social housing because he is jointly liable for arrears on a former council tenancy. The arrears are £1000. The local authority say that he must make regular payments towards the arrears for 12 months before the will consider his application to choice based lettings. Can I successfully contest this? Doesn't the overcrowding situation take some precedence over the former arrears? Thank you
Sort: Newest first | Oldest first
12/05/2011 11:23 am
Very unlikely that you would be successful in contesting this. There are no doubt plenty of other people on the waiting list who are overcrowded and who don't have arrears. You would be better off encouraging them to start paying off the arrears. Or encourage the 18 yr old son to find a job and help with the rent on a bigger property.
12/05/2011 11:46 am
Yes, they are overcroded now. But let.s say they are succesful and get a three bedroom flat or home, what guarantess the two sons will not move out very soon and the father will be living on his own in a three-bedroom property?...
There should be a system where overcrowding like this should be helped, but the system should also insure that either they will live there for at least another 15 years or if they move out before that the property is reclaumed and the father has to move out to a one bedroom flat.
12/05/2011 3:01 pm
Dont' take this the wrong way but why would you contest it?
You would simply be encouraging poor behaviour from the tenant. If he owes £1000 rent then he needs to pay £1000 rent.
If you find a way to re-house this man you are essentially saying "despite the fact you owe all this rent there is a way round the system"
I would genuinley be interested in your view on this as the system is set up to stop people accruing rent arrears on several properties and you would be potentailly enabling this.
Remember rents dont go into anyones pockets - they are used to maintain and manage the properties.
12/05/2011 4:57 pm
"Remember rents dont go into anyones pockets - they are used to maintain and manage the properties" In the private sector? I'd contest it to a point in the public, but to state that private properties are merely conduits for their owners to constantly improve is quite frankly laughable.
I've had a landlord on the phone today moaning that the tenant isn't paying and he's got to cover the mortgage, and I sympathise, but only to a point, for most landlords things like that are bumps in the road towrads their goal of 25 years down the line owning the property lock stock. If you can't handle the bumps - get off the road!!
12/05/2011 5:16 pm
Whilst the rules are general, and rent arrears will normally be a barrier to moving, each case is individual and so can be argued on its' own merit.
If the rent arrear is old, or linked to a previous situation of risk, harm, or other relationship stress, is there an argument for any write-off?
Would a move to alternative accomodation mean the Council saved money, for instance, on paying the high private rent - or would the arrears be more likely to be met if the tenant was not having to pay such a high private rent for unsuitable accomodation?
Would the circumstances that require supporting qualify for special consideration, or even a charitable intervention to assist, for instance to avoid disproportionate risk of harm to either of the under-25s?
Could the 18-year old be considered for independent accomodation as a way of releiving the overcrowding?
13/05/2011 5:13 pm
This made me laugh - they guy asked a question and in reply PSR (now sidney webb) gave him 4 questions. At least you are consistant PSR.
Nick - you have to get the man to address the arrears issue. Get him to contact the organisation who he owes and set up a payment plan (maybe only £5) per week but it will show he is taking action to address his arrears and will support any application he makes. The arrears cant be ignored.
Hope this helps.
13/05/2011 6:53 pm
£5 a week wont resolve this, the tenant needs to make a serious dent in the arrears, not take nearly 5 and a bit years to pay them off. by which time the the situation will be worse. My organisation allows a max of 2 weeks arrears when considering tenants for a transfer (food for thought).
As has been mentioned the arrears can not be ignored, your client has failed to play their part in the system and is now crying that the organisation isnt balling ball to their rules with regards to a transfer. Again, why would you want to contest this? The HA/LA have done nothing wrong, I suggest your efforts would be better directed at getting your client to work on a budget and living within the their means in such a way to pay what they owe to the landlord.
17/05/2011 9:18 am
Nick, in some authorities severe overcrowding will take precedent over rent arrears. However, 3 people in a 2 bed flat is not seriously ovecrowded. The definition of serious overcrowding is defiend in the Housing Act 85 and it's not a generous definition.
I don't agree with other posters about requiring the older son to move out as I don't think I'd have coped at 18 with independent living.
Given the scarcity of social housing and the, relatively, minor overcrowding. I think your client needs to make a commitment to reducing the existing rent arrears for the required period. Unless there are any other circumstances which you haven't posted, contesting the decision will only raise unrealistic expectations.
17/05/2011 10:24 am
Thanks all. Some good points made here. Yes, I agree that the former arrears must be addressed in some way but I think what bothers me about this client's circumstances is the way that children's services placed a child with him thus creating the overcrowding situation and then failed to help resolve the problem that they had in part created. So what we have is a statutory agency ostensibly acting in the best interests of a child but creating a difficult situation for the parent which then may actually have a derogator effect on the child they were aiming to protect (naturally, they close the case and pass on to a tenancy support agency like mine to tackle the problem that they as a statutory agency had more likelihood of solving).
17/05/2011 10:34 am
I would guess that your clients family make up changed following the local authority arranging this PSL anyway.
I agree with the other replies and that your client needs to address the former arearrs as soon as possible. I would suggest that you arrange this through a debt worker with the CAB as the amount to pay will depend on his income and that of the rest of the family. + ( non dependant contributions from the 18yr old?
17/05/2011 10:37 am
Ive just seen your reply Nick, can you get childrens ervices to assist in an application for a community care grant in order to clear the debt or to secure more suitable alternative. I would argue on the clients behalf that it is having a detrimental affect on the child.
17/05/2011 10:51 am
Yes, I agree that children's services should consider some kind of assistance - even if it were that they helped by paying half the arrears and the client contibuted for, say, 6 months instead of 12. Anyway, thanks again for all points raised.
17/05/2011 11:38 am
Nonny 13/05/2001 5:13pm
And it was those questions that gave rise to the further disclosure of fact, with which further advice and guidance could be given.
And the contribution from nonnyland was to not help! That's not funny nonny.
17/05/2011 11:57 am
alternatiley, if the arrears are not linked to the last settled address and given social services have placed a child. It is unlikley there will be intentionality under the homelssness legislation and therefore the LA would accept a duty to the household. You could therefore consider a homelessness application on the grounds of unsuitable accommodation.
01/06/2011 12:40 pm
If the local authority are simply operating a blanket policy without considering the individual circumstances of the case then there is a possible ground for a challenge. Therefore you will need to carefully consider the circumstances that were taking into account before deciding whether a challenge is worthwhile. The fact that the property is overcrowded does not mean that it automatically unsuitable so the overcrowding will not necessarily take precedence.
14/06/2011 11:43 am
I am a support worker with a client who lives with his two sons (15 and 18) in a 2-bed flat rented through the local authority's private sector lease scheme. They are overcrowded. The local housing authority will not allow him on to the local choice based lettings scheme for social housing because he is jointly liable for arrears on a former council tenancy. The arrears are £1000. The local authority say that he must make regular payments towards the arrears for 12 months before the will consider his application to choice based lettings. Can I successfully contest this? Doesn't the overcrowding situation take some precedence over the former arrears?