!!!! Notts Bedroom Tax Campaign: Public Meeting Reminder !!!!

NO BEDROOM TAX EVICTIONS!

Tuesday 15th October 2013

7.15pm – 9.15pm

@ Nottingham Mechanics,

3 North Sherwood Street, Nottingham

NG1 4EZ

Public meeting to share experiences of fighting the Bedroom Tax and call for local Councils to adopt no evictions policies. Speakers will include local campaigners and Councillor Greg Marshall who has campaigned for Broxtowe Council to adopt a no evictions policy.

WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE


Councillors Against Cuts: Now is the time for Council policies of ‘No Evictions of Bedroom Tax Victims’

Councillors Against Cuts are a new network of local councillors formed to support the fight against cuts. They believe that instead of implementing the Coalition’s cuts, councils and councillors should refuse to do so and help workers and communities organise in resistance. 

Statement by Labour Councillors and other anti-Bedroom Tax activists;
http://councillorsagainstcuts.org/2013/10/01/labour-councils-should-be-clear-in-opposing-bedroom-tax-evictions/

Please repost this statement on Party and campaign websites and circulate all to every Labour council and Party organisation

The Bedroom Tax has so far created many tragic stories of suicides of those fearing being evicted because of rent arrears or being moved away from the only communities they have. Many of those stories have been covered in the media but there are tens of thousands of other untold and terrible stories of despair and anguish as a result of this Tax.

Already the Bedroom Tax has made debtors out of 50,000 council tenants, virtually all of whom are very poor and many of them disabled. The Tax has outraged anyone in the general public with even the slightest compassion.

At the time when the act was passed there was considerable denunciation of it by Labour councils and councillors. But after that, whilst very little was said at a national level, not enough has been done by our Labour Councils. Some councils have reclassified rooms other than bedrooms. A few councils in Scotland and a very few in England & Wales have made clear and unequivocal commitments that none of the tenants they are responsible for, will be evicted for going into arrears because of the Tax.

We know many councillors have felt that they cannot persuade their full Labour groups to adopt such a measure and have attempted to get their councils to be as sympathetic as they can to Bedroom Tax victims.

But sympathy expressed in Council Chambers or Labour Group meetings will not relieve the fear of homelessness. Many tenants may not hear of their council’s sympathies – overzealous council officers may be driven by other ‘targets’. The discretionary payments fund can only answer a fraction of the requests for help.

Councillors may have been concerned at getting out-of-line with national policy. Indeed, for many months it was uncertain whether there would be a firm commitment from the Labour Party leadership to repeal this act.  But now there is a clear commitment from Labour to remove the Bedroom Tax when it gets in, as it must, in 2015.

Councillors may have been worried of the loss of revenues from uncollected rents. But even if one ignores the moral aspect of burdening the poorest sections of our community with the task of balancing Council housing budgets, the fact is now, even where threats of evictions remain, the debts are already huge and growing. The threat of eviction does not help councils balance their books: it only brings unbelievable and unnecessary distress to hundreds of thousands of the poorest people in our communities.

There cannot therefore be any serious concerns either financial or about Party unity that can sensibly be used by councils against the ‘no eviction’ position.

What other concerns might there be? Damage to Labour’s electoral standing? The opinion poll response to Ed Miliband’s statement on the Bedroom tax shows that many of those who we need to persuade to vote Labour are fiercely opposed to this Tax.

An even clearer stand by Labour in Councils to block the Bedroom Tax could conceivably make this measure so unworkable and unpopular that the Tories may be compelled to withdraw it, as they did the Poll Tax, for fear of even wider electoral damage.

Our campaign asks all councils and councillors to reconsider how they respond to the suffering caused by the Bedroom Tax.

We are calling on all our councils to refuse to evict those put in arrears accumulated because of the Bedroom Tax.

A ‘refusal to evict’ is not illegal, it can only do damage to the Tory and Lib Dem government – it’s the only decent thing to do – let’s just do it.

Let’s work together to stop the dreadful consequences of the Bedroom Tax. Let’s get rid of it and the government that is responsible for it.

If you support this argument, especially if you are a Labour councillor, activist or affiliated trade unionist, please contact the Councillors Against the Cuts campaign.

Current signing councillors
Kingsley Abrams, Lambeth Council
Steve Barber, Broxtowe Council
George Barratt, Barking & Dagenham Council
Kevin Bennett, Warrington Council
Emma Corlett, Norfolk Council
Richard Doran, West Lindsey District and Gainsborough Town Council
Waida Forman, Harlow Council
Josh Jones, Birmingham City Council
Len Junier, Middleborough Council
Gill Kennett, Hull Council
Nina Killen, Sefton Council
Dean Kirk, Hull Council
Greg Marshall, Broxtowe Council
Mary McGuckin, Broxtowe Council
Nathan Morrison, Aberdeen City Council
Wayne Naylor, Leicester City Council
Andrea Oates, Broxtowe Council
Patrick Vernon, Hackney Council

Also signed by
John McDonnell MP
Clive Lewis, Labour PPC, Norwich South
Nick Palmer, Labour PPC, Broxtowe

Alan Wyllie, No2BedroomTax campaign
Pete Radcliff, Secretary, Councillors Against Cuts campaign

 


Notts Bedroom Tax Campaign Public Meeting

NOTTS BEDROOM TAX CAMPAIGN PUBLIC MEETING

NO EVICTIONS!

Tuesday 15th October 2013

7.15pm – 9.15pm

@ Nottingham Mechanics,

3 North Sherwood Street, Nottingham

NG1 4EZ

Public meeting to share experiences of fighting the Bedroom Tax and call for local Councils to adopt no evictions policies. Speakers will include local campaigners and Councillor Greg Marshall who has campaigned for Broxtowe Council to adopt a no evictions policy.

!!  ALL WELCOME  !!


Minutes from Meeting to Discuss Proposals for taking forward the Notts Bedroom Tax Campaign

Meeting to Discuss Proposals for taking forward the Notts Bedroom Tax Campaign
Minutes – 28th August 2013, 6pm
Nottingham City Gallery

  • The meeting focused on holding a public meeting in Sept/Oct to put pressure on Nottingham City Council to implement a ‘No Evictions’ policy regarding BT arrears.
  • September has many other events happening (NHS demo, Men & Feminism event, etc) so as not to clash Tuesday 15th Oct was proposed – it would also coincide with a Nottingham City Council meeting the following Monday 21st Oct.
  • Notts BT Campaign will explore promoting the ‘No Eviction’ petition/s that have already been established to present to the Nottingham City Council – possibly on the 21st Oct?
  • The Campaign will write to key organisations to seek financial backing to help fund the campaign – Notts TUC & GMB were two which were identified.
  • Will promote the Public Meeting via social media, creating a flyer to be distributed at other events as well as a letter to Nottingham Evening Post.
  • It was agreed that the campaign would promote the ‘HomeGuard UK (Bedroom Tax Evictions)’ Facebook page which is a national group which aims to co-ordinate people for eviction prevention on a regional and then local level.
  • Notts BT Campaign will aim to link up with other campaigns that we can learn from such as the Leicester BT campaign which is very active and the Refugee Centre who are successful in organising eviction prevention groups.

No Eviction Pledges from Local Authorities

As we enter month 3 of the implementation of the awful Bedroom Tax, people are starting to really feel the pressure from their landlords – private or social – and the threat of  EVICTION is hanging over many. Although I am not directly affected by the bedroom tax I am indirectly as my mum IS being hit by it, and so I know what it is like to have the dread and fear of eviction hanging over you like a cloud…how this fear rears it’s head at the most inopportune moments when you are having a laugh or a little bit of fun, and permeates into every aspect of your life.

As such whilst we all do whatever we can to fight to get this Bedroom Tax repealed by central government…..which to be honest is probably going to be when we oust the ConDems at the next election….we need to take action regarding the threat of eviction NOW!

Many Councils around the country  – Brighton & Hove, Edinburgh, Darlington, Broxtowe Borough, etc – have started to make ‘No Eviction’ pledges with regards to arrears that have accrued solely because of the Bedroom tax reduction in benefits. I think (hope?) many Councils are starting to realise that there are many people on limited incomes because they are on benefits (through disability, redundancy, NO JOBS!!) who live within their means, have no debt, and manage their money appropriately, and have never had rent arrears in their LIVES ! However these same people are now suddenly finding themselves with arrears mounting up, helpless to do anything about it because they simply have no money to pay it and through no fault of their own – rather that the government has moved the goalposts on them.

It is unfair to have people, many those most vulnerable members of our society, live in constant fear and dread, and so here is an apolitical petition calling on Nottingham City Council t0 follow the example of Nottinghamshire’s Broxtowe Borough Council and make a ‘No Eviction’ pledge regarding rent arrears caused by the Bedroom Tax for it’s tenants. It also calls for Nottingham City Council to lobby other social landlords within wider Nottinghamshire to follow the same path and not evict their tenants because of the Bedroom Tax.

If you agree with all of the above please take 2 minutes to sign this petition, and if you want to share/forward to your friends/contacts too, well thats even better!!

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/NoEvictionBTNotts


Rent Arrears & Possession (Eviction) Proceedings

Now we are nearly 2 months into the implementation of the bedroom tax, many people who have not (because they CAN NOT!) pay the housing benefit shortfall are falling into arrears. Landlords, whether it be Council or HAs will have procedures for dealing with arrears and any possible possession (eviction) proceedings. This can be really daunting and many people think that landlords can just evict you overnight – this is not the case.

After seeking some legal advice the following information has been given to give an outline as to what landlords and the courts need to do as a minimum with regards to eviction proceedings.

 

STAGE 1
Social housing landlords have to follow special rules called ‘rent arrears pre-action protocol’. This means there are certain steps they need to follow before they can take you to court for rent arrears. Social housing landlords include local authorities and housing associations.

A social housing landlord can’t start court action for rent arrears unless they’ve:

  • tried to come to an agreement with you to pay off what you owe. This must be an amount you can afford to pay, based on how much money you have coming into your household and how much you need to spend.
  • offered to help you to claim Housing Benefit/DHP.
  • advised you to get help from a Citizens Advice Bureau or debt advice agency.

When a tenant has accrued rent arrears the Landlord will initially make contact with them to discuss why the rent arrears have occurred and discuss solutions to resolve them  (i.e payment plans)

STAGE 2
The Landlord will send the tenant a letter (Notice to Seek Possession), stating that due to rent arrears there are potential grounds for possession. The notice usually states that court proceedings will commence by a certain date – this is usually a 4 week period.

STAGE 3
If no arrangement or progress has been made regarding the rent arrears post the set date out in the Notice then it is usually 7 days after this date that the Landlord will apply to issue Possession Proceedings in the County Court.

STAGE 4
The Court will then serve the Summons (the papers) to the tenant once a date has been scheduled for the hearing.

At the Court Hearing the judge can:

  1. Make an outright Possession Order, (the Landlord can take over possession of their property however this can not be done without a Warrant of Eviction)
  2. They can dismiss the claim for possession.
  3. They can make a postponed/suspended possession order; this is common and basically means that an agreement is reached whereby the tenant will ensure their rent is paid plus an agreed amount of the arrears.
  4. They can adjourn the hearing until a future date, this is usually the case when Housing Benefit has not been processed and the rent arrears have accrued due to the delayed Housing Benefit Claim.
  5. If you currently have an appeal with the council it depends what the appeal is about as to whether they will adjourn the hearing. If it’s about bedroom tax generally it is unlikely at this stage a judge will commit to make a decision where others could easier follow suit. If it’s about bedroom size, or other technicalities then it should be adjourned until it has been determined.
  6. A hearing should be adjourned if DHP has been submitted but a tenant is still waiting to hear – usually income and expenditure breakdown is helpful for the courts at this stage to show there is a reasonable prospect of DHP being awarded.

STAGE 5
If a tenant fails to adhere to the court’s agreement the Landlord will return to the court to apply for a Warrant for Possession. A warrant for possession is granted then a hearing for eviction is set. This is when eviction occurs and you will receive date/time when the court bailiffs will be attending to evict you from the property. It is usually a month till the eviction date.

STAGE 6
Even at this stage mitigating circumstances can be submitted (on form N224) and the eviction can be suspended/postponed. The N224 form can either be downloaded from HM Courts & Tribunal Services Website or from the County Court in Nottingham. On the form you must state the reasons why you have not been able to adhere to the agreed arrangement, i.e. you lost your job, your claim for Housing Benefit/DHP hasn’t been processed yet.

******* THIS MUST BE DONE ASAP *******

PLEASE NOTE: If you have an introductory tenancy you need to seek legal advice immediately, you do not have the same rights as above.

The following website contain further detailed information;

Citizen’s Advice Bureau

Shelter


Iain Duncan Smith’s threat to the Treasury

Iain Duncan Smith’s threat to the Treasury: ‘I’ll bite your balls off and send them to you in a box’ | Mail Online.

Dear IDS

If you carry out this threat can you please get one of your junior ministers to video it (Lord Fraud will do) and put it on YouTube?

Yours sincerely

A large part of the electorate