Dead Men Tell No Tales, But Do Pay Council Rent

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 7:20 | Filed in Politics, Public Sector

…at least if they live in Loughborough, it would appear.

…Charnwood Borough Council, in Loughborough, has sickened grieving relatives. They say they are being left to pick up rent bills from the local authority, charged to their loved ones after their deaths.

And the only way the charges can be avoided is if the dying person gives the council notice they will not be needing their home because they are four weeks away from death’s door.

Several relatives complained to the council about the ruling and were told ‘rules are rules’ and everyone must give a month’s notice of when they are to vacate a property – whether they are dead or not.

Sunday Mercury

(Also seen in The Metro)

Now I understand that if someone dies and the property is vacated quickly, the council may not be able to move someone in immediately because of the lack of notice, and that the council want to maximise revenue, but at a time when the Labour party are imploding nationally, I would have thought that a Conservative-run council would be wanting to simply keep their heads down and avoid drumming up adverse publicity.

After all, there are two important differences between a tenant choosing to move out and dying in situ. Firstly, there’s that element of choice. I really don’t think that the tenants have chosen to die specifically to make things awkward for the council. Secondly, if someone chooses to move out, you don’t tend to have grieving relatives and upset families.

It wouldn’t be inappropriate for the council to charge until the flat/house is empty (although in order to avoid seeming callous and cold-hearted, I’d generally allow at least a week’s free grace period for this), but it certainly seems harsh to expect someone to give four weeks notice of something they themselves were unlikely to want to happen, and were also unlikely to have been given four weeks notice of…

Is Charnwood Council so fiscally in the shit that it can’t afford to make an exception for grieving relatives? Or are they just mean and uncaring?

If this is ‘caring conservatism’, I’d hate to see the other sort…

(Although in the interests of fairness, I betcha there are an awful lot of Conservatives repulsed by this as well…)

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2 Comments to Dead Men Tell No Tales, But Do Pay Council Rent

  1. Gary Miller says:

    May 19th, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Bloody disgraceful! Would the letter you sent to the council start with something like: “Dear Council, I’m just dying to move out…”?

  2. Gill says:

    May 19th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    So hang on, what happens if the deceased person has no relatives? Are they going to take them to court for non-payment?

    “Well your honour, he’s refusing to pay. We sent him red reminders and after a month the bailiffs went round. They tried to take all his stuff to cover the debt but he wouldn’t get out of the chair!”

    These jobsworths are a damn nuisance. We have raised a generation of idiots who can’t think outside the box and they don’t just end up in public service. Have you tried phoning an IT support line recently?

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