Ten-year saga may leave disabled Lapworth OAP homeless

The culmination of a battle'¨ between a disabled woman and Warwick District Council that has been going on for nearly 10 years has been '¨delayed even further.

Saturday, 10th December 2016, 7:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:50 pm
Jenny Morgan, who is in a long-running dispute about housing benefit with district council. In the latest liability order - she says - bailiffs were told to impound her two dogs! They are Tillie a border terrier and Thistle, a mongrel. Keep Trade Local photoshoot with Chris White MP. Also pictured are Clemens Street greengrocer John Clarke and Brian Dormer FTA. MHLC-06-12-13 Local Trade Dec9 ENGNNL00120130612144725

Jenny Morgan, who lives in Lapworth, received a letter from the council in 2007 asking for more than £13,000 in overpaid council tax benefit for the years 1995-2007.

Since then Mrs Morgan and the council have been in and out of various courts over the council tax dispute, despite the pensioner winning tribunals ruling that she does not owe £13,000 .

In 2015 more than 10 district councillors signed a letter to chief executive Chris Elliott urging him to drop the case against the pensioner, who over the years has fallen into ill health.

The council has now put a charging order on Mrs Morgan’s house and in July this year it applied to the County Court to make this absolute, which would allow the council to enforce the sale of her house and make her homeless.

Mrs Morgan said: “The council want to teach people a lesson but this happened 22 years ago. Why did they not do something at the time? This shows just how unsympathetic and unreasonable they can be.

“They have a charging order which means they can take my house but if they do that they will have to rehouse me and then pay for it to be adapted for my disability and then pay me housing benefits to pay the rent. What are they going to gain?

“At the latest hearing it was left that I would apply to the court to pay in instalments, which I have but the council made it clear that they do not accept that and want a charging order even if they end up with nothing.

“I now have a GoFundMe page to help raise money for legal costs as I cannot afford the legal help I need. The people of Warwick District need to know what their council is spending their money on.”

Former councillor Linda Bromley, accompanied Mrs Morgan to the latest court hearing last week. She said: “Already the council say the legal costs to the public purse in pursuing Mrs Morgan through the courts for around £12,000 (plus £15,000 costs) are £22,448.81 but I have disputed this figure and an internal review is being conducted by a solicitor, which is more expense.

“The judge has referred the matter to another hearing at a cost of another £5,000 and this also adds to Mrs Morgan’s costs. What is the council’s agenda here in spending our money in pursuing a vulnerable lady to the point of making her homeless when there appears to be little hope of ever recouping these enormous legal costs?”

A spokesperson for Warwick District Council said: “As this is part of an ongoing court case which is due to be concluded at a hearing in the New Year, we are unable to comment at this stage.”

To donate to Mrs Morgan GoFundMe page click here