Ms H who lives in a three-bedroom housing association property with her 31-year-old son, who suffers from autism and is unable to work, sought our help with making an application to prevent her and her son being evicted the following week.

Her landlord had secured a possession order in 2019 (due to rent arrears that had subsequently been paid) and had applied for an eviction date, as Ms H, who has dyslexia and dyscalculia, had fallen back into arrears following a reduction in hours at her zero hours contract job in January 2022 and her contract being terminated in March 2022 resulted in Universal Credit being her only income. Her dyscalculia meant she struggled to understand the online statements she received from the DWP and did not understand, that the “bedroom tax” and non-dependent deductions meant that her award of UC did not cover the full rent and that deductions were being made from her UC for a loan.

We explained to Ms H the reasons why her full rent isn’t covered by UC, enabling her to speak to her son about the non-dependent deductions, which he is now paying by direct debit to her. We liaised with the council’s housing prevention team and her landlord, resulting in the council looking at helping to pay the arrears. We referred her to Citizens Advice for advice on income maximisation, debt and budgeting help. We contacted the DWP and arranged for a 3 month freeze to be placed on the loan deductions while she sought assistance with maximising her income and dealing with her debts. The above actions meant that Ms H is now able to pay the rent shortfall and make payments towards the arrears. We were therefore able to assist her with making a successful application to court to stop the eviction going ahead, meaning that if the payments are made the landlord cannot take any further action to evict, providing peace of mind for Ms H and her son. Furthermore, once the arrears are paid Ms H will be able to make an application to downsize to a two-bedroom property.