If you are in rent arrears or at risk of losing your home and live in Stratford District Citizens Advice South Warwickshire has a service that can help you.
Our Court Desk service is a comprehensive “wrap-around” service. This means that we support people before, during and after Court proceedings, including attending clients and providing advocacy in the Court room.
Our overarching aim is to provide consistently excellent advice to our clients who are often feeling overwhelmed by a complex welfare benefit and court system.
We prefer always to work cooperatively with Landlords, Housing associations, the District Council and our Partners to find sustainable solutions. We aim to help our clients to remain in their homes by affording their rent and avoiding the devastating effect of homelessness.
How do we work?
We encourage referrals from anyone who is struggling to pay their rent. The earlier we receive the referral the more we can do! We explain the Repossession Process to clients to help people to understand that their cooperation is essential to navigating their way safely through the stages. We assist clients with their budgeting so that their income is maximised (this may mean ensuring that clients are receiving the correct entitlement to welfare benefits) and also reducing their outgoings. We help clients to access the best water gas and electricity tariffs and look at money-saving ideas. We help clients to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments where appropriate.
We explain the difference between priority and nonpriority debts so that clients can understand that their rent is one of their most important outgoings. We can also consider different ways to ease the burden of non-priority debts including making token offers, Debt Management Plans, considering DROs, Bankruptcy and also write-offs.
Wherever possible we try to reach agreements with Landlords prior to Court to ease the stress for our client and to encourage the repayment to start as soon as possible.
Our Court Desk Worker is an experienced advocate. We attend every Tuesday Possession Hearing and spend the time negotiating wherever possible and supporting our clients with advocacy in the hearing. Our services are valued by the Judiciary. Our Court Desk worker attends every County Court User meeting which helps the Judge to understand the intricacies and challenges of the benefits system. This in turn results in realistic Orders leading in turn to tenancies that are more likely to be sustained.
We provide ongoing financial capability support. Our clients have ever-evolving lives and this sometimes necessitates Orders to be varied when their circumstances change in order to avoid a breach of the Order. We prepare the paperwork to make these applications and attend with clients as necessary. Where eviction warrants are issued we can act swiftly to get the matter to Court and to work hand in glove with the District Council to see whether extra support might be available to our clients. In these situations we are often working closely with our Partners to provide the necessary support for clients e.g St Basils, P3, Together etc.
Making a Referral is very straightforward – simply email Helen.firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 01789 200134.