Jack and his mother were referred to Z2K from their local MP as they were due to be evicted from their home. Jack had succeed to the property when his father died.  However, he was very young at the time and lacked the ability to deal with financial issues. Jack also had health problems.

Jack had lived in the property with his father since 2000. He officially succeeded to the tenancy in July 2008. However, arrears had accrued on the rent account since his father passed away in December 2007. The housing association believed he was liable on the basis of in use and occupation charges.

Jack had numerous court hearings, some questioning his capacity. A suspended possession order had been granted in 2012. The housing association were now proceeding to evict as the arrears had increased. Jack and his mother attended an appointment with Z2K and it was clear that no one had spent any time explaining to him how the arrears had increased and what the terms of the possession order actually meant in monetary terms.

His mother moved in the property in 2013 and whilst this now gave him some support with his health issues it also caused the rent arrears to increase due to non-dependent deductions. It had also never been explained to him that his mother’s benefits would be taken into account as income and therefore reduce his entitlement to housing benefit.

I explained that I wanted to go back to when his father died and explore what had occurred on the rent account. This was initially met with some surprise however, in doing so I discovered no housing benefit had been paid from his father death to when the tenancy commenced in Jack name.

There were other housing benefit issues which had to be resolved, however this period between 2007 and 2008 were the major part of the arrears. At some point a backdated request had been made and was not processed as proof of income had not been provided for the entire period. After Z2K’s intervention housing benefit have now reviewed the case and agreed to pay over £3,000 to cover the period between his father death and succeeding to the tenancy. This means it’s unlikely the eviction will now go ahead

The most alarming part of this case is that the information which was available to Z2K was also available to the housing association but they seemingly made no attempt to understand how and why the arrears had arose. Instead they tried to evict a vulnerable tenant. This kind of behaviour is more akin to a private landlord than a social one.