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Darth Wookie
21-12-2011, 13:52 PM
I’d like to pose a ‘hypothetical’ question regarding a tenants repayment of arrears as ordered by the suspension of a possession order (ground 8, 10 and 11) on terms of payment of rent + an amount (lets say £3.40pw) from arrears.

Let’s say it’s an RSL so Housing Benefit is paid directly to the landlord. HB is paid in full, excluding a water service charge. On the day of the SPO being awarded arrears were, for the sake of example, around £2k including all known eligible housing benefit. So the judge, nice fellow, awards an SPO on terms of current rent + £3.40.

Now, for those who regularly attend hearings and monitor payments, an SPO means that each week the tenant must pay their rent + the repayments ordered by the court. For tenants on HB, the repayments include any HB paid as the tenant has applied for HB to be paid on their behalf. If they fall behind on the overall payments as ordered, the SPO can be overturned and a warrant for eviction applied for. (Let’s not look at how many Judges go on to suspend warrants on the same terms as a second/third/fourth chance!)

In my ‘example’, let’s say the RSL walks away with the above order and then unexpectedly receives in excess of £800 backdated HB from a period we never even knew was in dispute with HB. This payment, of course, means that the repayments as ordered are well in excess of £3.40pw if spread over time. However, during the past year the tenant subsequently contributes nothing towards current rent (service charge shortfall) or arrears.

My question, at last, is whether a warrant can be applied for due to the absolute lack of contribution from them even though the backdated HB award technically covered the sum of the arrears contributions as due from the tenant. Overall there is little reduction in the gross arrears as without the backdated HB, the tenant could be as much as £600 behind payments as ordered.

westminster
21-12-2011, 19:11 PM
The source of the payments is irrelevant. Receiving a £800 backdated HB 'windfall' is exactly the same as if the T had paid you £800.

Darth Wookie
22-12-2011, 09:21 AM
Thanks for the clarification Westminster. I had a feeling that was going to be the answer. It's just so frustrating to see the legalities being immoraly used/abused. If the HB payment had been made prior to the hearing date, there would now be clear grounds for a warrant.
Oh well, let's hope for an escalation in ASB over xmas!!

westminster
22-12-2011, 12:45 PM
From the sound of it, the tenancy has lasted around a year, so the fixed term may be expiring soon or has already expired? If so, why not apply for possession under s.21?

Darth Wookie
22-12-2011, 14:24 PM
Assured tenancies (former council house) are not subject to Section 21 as it is not time/periodical limited. An assured tenancy can only be ended by mutual concnt or by order of the court. It's the enforcement of the order which I've been seeking to clarify through the HB payments - hypothetically again!!

westminster
22-12-2011, 14:39 PM
Ah, didn't realize it's an assured tenancy, not an AST.