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  • FIRST POST
    • JonasJJ
    • By JonasJJ 15th Sep 17, 5:17 PM
    • 1Posts
    • 0Thanks
    JonasJJ
    Responsible for arrears? - Missed random HB home check x3.
    • #1
    • 15th Sep 17, 5:17 PM
    Responsible for arrears? - Missed random HB home check x3. 15th Sep 17 at 5:17 PM
    Hey guys

    I'll keep it short, been trying to type this right for a while.

    I received a letter from the council/housing benefit about a random home visit to make sure I lived there.

    I missed the 1st visit, 2nd and 3rd.
    Then I was told I was liable for the rent arrears that had accrued at over £2,000.

    What EXACTLY is the policy/rules on this? That doesn't seem right. If it's,
    "we are not responsible for that rent as you failed to prove you lived there" ? Then why wasn't fraud brought up for the 2+ years that had received HB for that flat?


    Several months later after missing the 3rd visit which I had arranged myself, I got an ADHD and Autistic Spectrum diagnosis.

    Also around this time shortly after diagnosis, the JSA job adviser asked me if wanted to see disability adviser after I informed of recent diagnosis, I said yes, they asked 3 times on 3 seperate occassions, third time I said yes I ended up with a sanction...
    Also had my housing officer harassing me to the point of "I'm on your back cause my boss is on mine!", due to my inability to consistently pay the arrears in installments, which I then found out about ADHD and ASD. I only intended to do until I could get an appeal done.
    I was being threatened with a second notice to quit, I asked the mental health clinic I attended for help, just needed someone to get me into the habit of going to the post office once a fortnight for a few months. Asked 3 times. 3 responses: I'll look into. I forgot. Sorry, no funding. Over 4 months.
    I had told the housing officer that I had asked for help and being looked into... never got the help...
    Did end up in intensive care via ambulance though given the sanction and few hundred grams of rice in 6 weeks + ADHD medication.

    ADHD medication was a life changing moment. A would of been key life moment, but with everything above going on, and having other mental health issues that I was not aware of til later, I could not get to the council offices. I couldnt even get back to the jobcentre to sign on after the sanction.

    Ended up evicted and a conversation with the housing officer "Well you didn't have them before!".

    Days later... was put on same councils homeless list... found not intentionally homeless, vulnerable adult, gold band and they found out what happened.

    Eventually was rehoused after almost 3 years of irreversible damage, and then another 2... (you don't want to know)

    So a little about 6 years since diagnosis i'm finally in an environment where I should be able to make progress, although quite honestly, the last 6 years have been horrifying and I've developed more problems (psychological, emotional and physical damage) due to the series of events around my diagnosis, affects on me and the environments thereafter. However now I am in an environment that allows me to sleep, I have some of my faculties back and can assess the past.

    I DID manage to get an appeal in after 14 months once evicted, with help from CAB, where housing benefit was informed of my mental health diagnosis, however I got zero response.



    I realise i'm on the Autistic Spectrum and I think a little differently than most, but...

    2+ years receiving housing benefit for the flat.
    Then RANDOM home check visit letter from the council/housing benefit to make sure I live there.
    Miss 3 visits which apparently automatically means I am responsible for the £2,000 rent arrears that were accrued...

    Then evicted from the flat that I had the random home check for to make sure I lived there...
    And then days later put on the same council's homeless list, found not intentionally homeless, vulnerable adult, gold band and they found out what happened.

    and I was only finally able to get in an appeal after 12months (but no response)...


    It doesn't make sense for the "You missed a random visit/check x3, so now you're liable for £2,000+ arrears"



    Any thoughts?


    Thanks guys

    (Sorry, it was a bit long after all)
Page 1
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 15th Sep 17, 6:14 PM
    • 321 Posts
    • 453 Thanks
    BorisThomson
    • #2
    • 15th Sep 17, 6:14 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Sep 17, 6:14 PM
    Your appeal would have been out of time, even taking into account your health difficulties.

    Why did you miss the visits? They would have left a card or letter when they visited, and if you did not make contact they would assume you not to be living there. They would then stop your money for the period under investigation.

    Unfortunately it's far too late to query anything now.
    • Housing Benefit Officer
    • By Housing Benefit Officer 15th Sep 17, 8:02 PM
    • 2,352 Posts
    • 4,196 Thanks
    Housing Benefit Officer
    • #3
    • 15th Sep 17, 8:02 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Sep 17, 8:02 PM
    Your appeal would have been out of time, even taking into account your health difficulties.

    Why did you miss the visits? They would have left a card or letter when they visited, and if you did not make contact they would assume you not to be living there. They would then stop your money for the period under investigation.

    Unfortunately it's far too late to query anything now.
    Originally posted by BorisThomson
    Asking someone who has a learning disability or mental health problems why they did not act or behave in a 'normal' rational way...

    Those that are often most at risk and vulnerable are often those who go by undetected by the services that are there to help and don't appear on anyone's radar until they are in crisis.

    When they evicted you did they take into account the Public Sector Equality Duty? Was you Landlord and the Housing Benefit Department aware of your diagnosis? Did you have a social worker helping you at all?

    The Council must have regard to those who have a disability. This is called the
    Public Sector Equality Duty. In relation to disability , the duty may mean treating
    disabled people more favourably than other tenants, having due regard to the
    need to remove or minimise disadvantage suffered by protected groups, taking
    steps to meet their needs, where different, and encouraging participation in
    public life where participation is disproportionately low. E.g. tenant representative
    groups. The Courts have held that the disability equality duty applies to
    decisions about individuals, including decisions about evictions.

    Courts should take into account whether this protocol has been followed when
    considering what orders to make. Social Landlords and private registered providers
    of social housing should also comply with guidance issued from time to time by the
    Homes and Communities Agency, the Department for Communities and Local
    Government and the Welsh Ministers.
    (a) If the landlord is aware that the tenant has difficulty in reading or understanding
    information given, the landlord should take reasonable steps to ensure that the
    tenant understands any information given. The landlord should be able to
    demonstrate that reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information
    has been appropriately communicated in ways that the tenant can understand.
    (b) If the landlord is aware that the tenant is under 18 or is particularly vulnerable, the
    landlord should consider at an early stage–
    i. whether or not the tenant has the mental capacity to defend possession
    proceedings and, if not, make an application for the appointment of a litigation
    friend in accordance with CPR 21;
    ii. Whether or not any issues arise under Equality Act 2010; and
    iii. In the case of a local authority landlord, whether or not there is a need for a
    community care assessment in accordance with National Health Service and
    Community Care Act 1990.
    These are my own views and you should seek advice from your local Benefits Department or CAB.
    • Housing Benefit Officer
    • By Housing Benefit Officer 15th Sep 17, 8:26 PM
    • 2,352 Posts
    • 4,196 Thanks
    Housing Benefit Officer
    • #4
    • 15th Sep 17, 8:26 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Sep 17, 8:26 PM
    You are out of time to appeal and for requesting backdating.

    You have 13 months from the date of being notified of a cancellation to request a late application for revision of the decision makers decision to terminate your claim.

    There needs to be grounds to revise the termination decision under
    regulation 4 of the HB/CTB D&A Regulations. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2001/0110192354/regulation/4

    You could argue that the cancellation of your claim was because of your Housing Benefits Departments ignorance of the material fact you were on the autistic spectrum. Hence not interacting with official correspondence and no comprehension of the consequences of not being available for a visiting officer.

    There also needs to be grounds for a late revision of the termination decision. Again being on the autistic spectrum may be considered a reasonable reason for not interacting or responding to official correspondence in a timely manner. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2001/0110192354/regulation/5

    You need to find the exact dates various Housing Benefit letters were sent to you and the exact date they received your appeal.

    If the appeal was received within 13 months of the notification informing you your claim had been cancelled and that appeal hasn't been dealt with you could ask for it to be treated instead as a late request for a revision of the termination decision (regulation 4 and 5 of the HB/CTB D&A Regulations).

    If HB is reinstated it would clear your arrears.

    Another path is requesting the rent arrears be written off. Ask for a copy of your Housing Departments policy in writing off rent arrears.

    As all this occurred 6 years ago then it might be difficult to resolve to your satisfaction and the arrears will stand.
    Last edited by Housing Benefit Officer; 15-09-2017 at 8:36 PM.
    These are my own views and you should seek advice from your local Benefits Department or CAB.
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