The Labour and Cooperative spokesperson for tenant liaison, Cllr Leigh Farrow, is demanding an immediate investigation into the Green administrations much trumpeted ‘policy’ of ‘no eviction’ if any tenant gets into arrears over the Tory led governments Bedroom Tax, after the Labour and Cooperative Group were handed a letter sent to a tenant, threatening them with court proceedings to repossess their home after getting into arrears over the tax.
Two weeks ago the Green administration running the council brought an amendment to the Housing Committee setting out a policy that would preclude those getting into arrears over Bedroom tax from being evicted, however the tenant who has received the threatening letter spoke to the Councils team responsible, citing the ‘no eviction’ policy, only to be told by the member of staff that they had “never heard of it”.
The tenant is currently appealing a council decision regarding their assessment of the Bedroom Tax and as of today’s date has not received any reply.
At the meeting two weeks ago a Green Housing Committee spokesperson assured a deputation of residents that “there would be no more threatening letters sent to tenants”.
Labour and Cooperative Councillor, Leigh Farrow said:
“After receiving assurances from the Green administration that no tenant would be threatened with eviction if they were in arrears over the Bedroom Tax, we once again see them acting as agents for the Tory led government’s austerity policies. This is why I am today calling on the Green administration to launch an immediate investigation into this matter and to give assurances that no further distressing threatening letters are being sent out to tenants”
A council spokesperson, said:
“We have a legal obligation to warn tenants of the consequences of not paying rent and this letter is part of the multiple efforts we already make to work with tenants to avoid building up debts and facing eviction.
“Both these important facts were reiterated through the recent amendment at housing committee on under occupancy. The letter sent out is part of the process that enables us to work with tenants to explore all options including the feasibility of transferring to a more suitable property to avoid any benefit reductions.”
“The council’s policy on this issues is: That for a transitional period until 1st April 2014, where (i) all other avenues have been explored, and (ii) transfer is the only option but there are no suitable properties to transfer to, and (iii) where it is possible to clearly identify that arrears are solely due to the under-occupancy penalty; officers will use all means other than evictions and bailiffs to recover rent due.”