June 19 2013 Latest news:
John Phillips , Senior Reporter
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
A grieving son has blasted housing chiefs for asking him to pay his mother’s rent after her death in hospital.
Dave Hall, 36, was hit with the £658 bill nearly three months after his wheelchair-bound mother Theresa died of severe breathing complications aged 69.
The paralysed widow, of Althorne Way, Dagenham, had paid her rent in advance but Barking and Dagenham Council told Mr Hall he owed them an extra four weeks’ rent, which covered the period after her death.
The father-of-one is now urging the Labour council to withdraw the bill, as it emerged that families of other deceased relatives could be liable for similar charges.
Mr Hall said: “I had to know four weeks in advance my mum was going to die to avoid this bill. She was a very caring, unselfish and generous human being. She had never been in arrears.
“Now for them to ask a dead person’s relative for money because they think it’s their policy is not very endearing. There is no compassion. It’s almost like legal robbery.”
The grandmother was rushed to King George Hospital with severe breathing difficulties linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in May. She died at the hospital in Goodmayes four days later, on May 11.
Mr Hall had to take out a loan to pay for her funeral and then, on July 30, he received a letter asking for the four weeks’ rent.
Barking and Dagenham Council said it gives four weeks’ notice after the death of tenants to allow relatives to make a claim on the tenancy.
A spokesman said: “The council can only legally end a tenancy by serving a notice to quit and only after the expiry of such a notice, which is four weeks. This is to allow any relative or relatives to state any claim on the tenancy.
“The council is entitled to charge the deceased’s estate for rent due during the notice period.
“We endeavour to be as sensitive as possible when families are dealing with these very difficult circumstances and allow time for relatives to address the many practical issues they face during these times.”