Housing Support

Case Study: Andrew and Janet's story

Andrew and Janet, a couple approaching retirement age, were referred to the Housing Related Support Service as they were struggling to manage their tenancy.  Their rent and bills were in arrears and they were struggling to cope generally.

The first thing that the Housing Related Support Worker did was to assess the extent of the0 couple’s financial difficulties as the tenancy would be at risk if the rent arrears were not addressed. Andrew and Janet were struggling to pay the amount set by the Court for their previous rent arrears. The Housing Related Support Worker realised that there was an argument for reducing this weekly figure so the worker applied to the Court on the couple’s behalf to vary the original order. This was successful and the weekly rent arrears payments were reduced to a more affordable amount. Now that the couple were maintaining their payments, the landlords agreed not to proceed with court action to evict the couple. This threat of eviction had obviously been a huge source of stress to Andrew and Janet. 

The support worker then assessed the couple’s other financial commitments. Their electricity account was in arrears. The Housing Related Support Worker discovered that the couple had been charged incorrectly for their electricity. The support worker was able to assist Andrew and Janet to rectify this problem with the electricity supplier and to help them with a plan to bring the arrears up to date. Another reason why the couple had been struggling financially was that due to recent changes in their circumstances, Andrew and Janet had become confused as to which benefits they qualified for. Their Housing Related Support Worker was able to help the couple to claim the correct benefits and ensure that they received the monies that they were entitled to.

Another serious financial issue that needed resolving was Andrew and Janet’s large Council Tax debt. This debt had been passed by the Local Authority to a bailiff whose next course of action was to seize goods. The Housing Related Support Worker spoke to the specialist welfare team at the Company and between the bailiffs, the support worker and the couple; a realistic affordable payment plan was agreed.

Shortly after this Andrew was given the opportunity to take early retirement. He accepted this and received a lump sum of £16,000. Andrew worked carefully with his Housing Related Support Worker to assess how this money could be best used to clear all outstanding debts. It was vital that this money was seen to be spent appropriately otherwise certain benefit entitlements would be detrimentally effected.

The couple now felt that they were in a position to cope with the practicalities of the day to day management of a tenancy. All debts had been cleared, the threat of eviction had been removed and sustainable payment plans were in place. Andrew and Janet decided that it was a good time in their lives to move into more appropriate accommodation so they began the process of making an application to the Council to transfer from their family house to a bungalow

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