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Accelerated Possession – is indeed possible

Too often, the Court system seems to operate in such a way as to suggest that it is weighted very heavily in favour of the tenant, with the Landlord often coming a poor second in the outcomes. However, today, I have to say, I was very well chuffed by an event that seems to indicate that there might perhaps be justice in the system after all.

Today’s post bag brought me an envelope from the Court. It was an Order for Possession, given via the accelerated procedure for assured shorthold tenancy. I did a double take, and read it again in disbelief. But yes, it was an order, instructing the defendant to give possession on or before 9 August 2010. It came as a surprise because just over a week ago, the same court had sent me a copy of the Defence form filed by the Defendant, who had asked for the full 42 days to remain in the property, on grounds of exceptional hardship.  She was on the housing register, bidding for properties, had limited means and has 2 kids blah blah blah!! This, on top of the fact that I had sent in the N5b on 28-Jun-10, and later received a Notice of Issue from the Court stating that the claim was issued on 1-Jul-10, and will be deemed served on 7-Jul-10. A whole week down already. Why give 7 days to consider the notice served? Then to get the notice saying the tenant had filed a defence, I felt rather deflated, as it is well known fact that playing the “exceptional hardship” card was highly likely to involve a hearing bya Judge, and give the tenant more time to defraud the landlord.

I really did think I was in for the long haul on this one. This is the tenant I had previously told you about here, someone whom I had tried to support and help through her break up with her partner, whom I’d effectively had to nanny! I eventually gave up trying to get her on the straight and narrow, and sent in the N5b to court asking for possession of my property.

In her defence statement she decided to try to bring in that old chestnut of disrepair as shown below:

tenant claims disrepair in defence form

It is interesting to note that she reported the alleged problems to the Council, but not to the Landlord. How is a Landlord to carry out repairs that s/he is unaware of? Classic, isn’t it. I had a new boiler installed in October 2009! Each time I’ve spoken to her or been to the property, I’ve asked if everything is OK, and she’s always answered yes! As for the damp, she dries her washing on the radiators, keeps the windows tight shut, and guess what happens – condensation!! I have proof and a witness!

In her defence form, she goes on to say she’s been advised to pay her top-ups to avoid causing me further hardship – oh well now, just what had I been telling her to do?? and a misely £9.24 per week at that!! But of course, on this occasion she is trying to get a stay of execution isn’t she? more to cover herself than any obligation she might have to pay her rent in full.

tenant advised to pay her topups

And then to finish off she plays the trump cared “exceptional hardship” – it is obvious she’s gone to the CAB or somewhere like that.

tenant asks for more time

However, it would seem that the Judge was not impressed by the defence, and quite rightly too. How could she not be able to afford to pay a mere £9.24 per week when she is getting handouts totalling £175 per week, by her own admission!!I kid you not – here it is:

tenant's weekly handout income

What hardship is that? As a taxpayer, I am funding her handouts, but she can’t be bothered to spend it wisely. She’s probably also not paying any council tax, or its heavily subsidised. So what is she using the money for? If she and her mother really wanted to sort things out, they’d sit down and budget properly, and put forward a proposal that would ensure the arrears got cleared in no time. Clearly they can’t be bothered. I really do feel for the children, but I am not a charity, I run a business, and I’ve had enough of being robbed blind by the likes of these. Of course, its the rules set up by the previous Labour government that has exercebated the problem. They’ve cleared off now, leaving a trail of debt owed to private landlords by LHA claimants.

Come on Coalition government, put some sense back into the benefit system and get direct payment to landlords back in place. You can’t even begin to think of implementing the cuts in housing benefit rates without restoring the payments to landlords – if you do, you are asking for an unprecedented increase in homelessness that you can’t even begin to imagine as Landlords will not touch such folk with a barge pole. And those who can’t make up their top ups will find themselves on the streets. Mark my words.

Anyway, 9-Aug-10 is the date by which she must hand over my property back to me. Lets wait and see. I have  a suspicion that the bailiffs will have to get involved yet again, but hey ho, par for the course. That will be another £95 down the drain, on top of the £150 for the possession claim.

The next stage will be a money claim against her and her Guarantor-mother for every single penny that they owe me. She’s working, so attachment of earnings is a good route to take on that one. Watch out – Grumpy is on the war path…

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    Posted in Court and Justice, Lettings and Management, LHA.

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    2 Responses

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    1. sam says

      i sympathise with you! hope all goes well next week!

    2. rachel clarke says

      Looking forward to an update! It drives me nuts that people get away with such things



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