Housing & Money Advice

CHAI provides specialist housing and money advice to tenants and homeowners.

Housing and Money Advice

CHAI provides specialist housing and money advice across Edinburgh and Midlothian to both tenants and homeowners. We can help with:

Please call 0131 442 2100 or email chai@chaiedinburgh.org.uk to make an appointment.

Case Studies

Read case studies of our work which illustrate how we can maximise people’s income and resolve housing and debt issues.

Rafael (pseudonym) approached our Court Representation and Money Advice Service for help to save his home. He had been in a private tenancy for a number of years. He had been in arrears with his rent for some time and had an arrangement to pay off the debt.


However, during the Covid-19 pandemic Rafael had periods of ill health, his income had reduced, he had kept paying his rent but was unable to deal with the arrears owed. He had found it difficult to deal with the stress of being in debt. Rafael also had a relative who had visited regularly over the years, but during the pandemic had become permanently resident in Rafael’s home.


Rafael had taken on two jobs to ensure he could cover his rent and pay off his arrears. He also wanted his relative to join the tenancy officially as a joint tenant, so that they could help with the ongoing rent. However, because of the unaddressed arrears, the landlord’s letting agent had issued a notice to quit, and a section 33 notice for recovery of possession.


We were able to advise Rafael, that he still had a right to remain in his home. The landlord would need an order for eviction from the First-tier Tribunal, and recent changes to the law meant that that tribunal would have to be satisfied that it was reasonable to evict.


On looking further at the papers, we advised Rafael, that the fault was not all his. The rent statements produced by his landlord’s letting agent were difficult for anyone to follow. They showed that the full rent had been paid each month for more than two years, but they also included many additional penalty charges.

The statements were laid out unclearly and gave contradictory figures as to how much was owed.


At the tribunal we accepted that the notice to quit was correct but opposed the order for eviction on the basis that it was not reasonable. With the support from our representative, Rafael was able to tell the tribunal hearing of the difficulties he had experienced, the steps he had taken to turn things around and the efforts he was making to make things right.


The tribunal decided that Rafael was making a reasonable offer to pay off his debt. The tribunal found that, although he could have done that sooner, the rent statements from the letting agent were misleading. That would have added to the difficulty in dealing with the debt, which in fact was found to be a fraction of that claimed in the rent statements.


In all the circumstances, the tribunal decided it was not reasonable to grant an order for eviction. With the notice to quit having ended the short assured tenancy, Rafael remained in his home with a more secure assured tenancy.

Mr and Mrs AB (pseudonym) reside in a 1-bedroom tenancy managed by Viewpoint Housing Association. Both receive state pensions and occupational pensions, and Mrs AB also receives Attendance Allowance. They possess no savings or assets.


The couple received a letter from their bank on December 28th, notifying them that £1,741.62 had been arrested by Scott & Co. They also received a demand letter from Scott & Co for the years 2021 and 2022, amounting to £764.58, along with a scheduled direct debit of £100 per month, commencing on February 4th.


The clients expressed confusion regarding the bank’s letter. Bank statements were presented, revealing consistent monthly payments of £100 to Scott & Co over the past year.


A call was placed to Scott & Co, confirming that Mrs AB had initiated a direct debit of £100 per month in March. This arrangement had been consistently maintained. However, the 2022 liability had erroneously been added to their existing accounts. Additionally, it was discovered that there were older accounts dating back to 2015 and 2016.


An agreement was reached with Scott & Co to consolidate all accounts under the existing direct debit arrangement of £100 per month. Efforts were initiated to lift the bank arrestment, including sending a letter to Virgin Bank.


The total debt owed by the clients was assessed at £3,956.67. The clients were provided with a detailed explanation of why they had been making payments to Scott & Co for an extended period. This was primarily due to the accumulation of a 10% interest charge on their debt, in conjunction with prior lower payments. Notably, they had never made direct payments to Edinburgh Council for their council tax.


Verification with the bank confirmed the return of the funds to the clients, who continued to make ongoing monthly payments to Scott & Co. An arrangement was also established with Edinburgh Council to set up a direct debit for the 2023 ongoing council tax liability.


This case study highlights how effective communication, financial clarification, and strategic planning have resolved a complex debt situation for Mr and Mrs AB, placing them on a sustainable path for managing their liabilities.

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