Category Archives: ILC Spotlight

Another Win for ILC!

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Congratulations are in order to the Debt & Consumer and Housing Units of ILC!

Both units have worked together closely in resolving a dispute regarding a housing association’s mishandling of billing tenants for the use of the district heating system.  It was a hard earned fight, but we received word from the Housing Ombudsmen Service last week that they have decided in favour of our clients.

Background

A group of tenants approached ILC early last year after receiving utility bills backdated 2 years (some bills were as high as £1,000!).  The reason for these arrears was due to the fact that ‘gas for heating and hot water’ was listed in the tenants’ service charges and as such, the tenants believed they were paying for this service as part of their rent.  The housing association attempted to back pedal and removed the ‘gas for heating and hot water’ aspect from the service charge; however, remained in their position that tenants were responsible for the past 2 years’ worth of utilities charges.

As social housing tenants, the majority of our clients are unemployed and/or in receipt of low income and not in a position to pay such a large amount out of pocket.  Their landlord is of course fully aware of these circumstances, but has paid no mind to such factors and continued to ask for payment.

A unique aspect of this case is the utilisation of a district heating scheme by the housing association.  District heating is a relatively new initiative and rather than draw energy from the city’s pipelines, these systems generate their own energy for a predetermined set of properties.  Such a network can be incredibly beneficial in terms of reducing the carbon footprint and costs for end users.

Unfortunately, the economic benefit of this system was lost on our tenants as the housing association failed to fully understand the scheme and bill their tenants properly.  This matter is further exasperated by the fact that district heating systems are not yet regulated by a governing authority.

After numerous attempts of settling this matter with the housing association itself, ILC lodged an application to the Housing Ombudsmen on behalf of 20+ tenants.

We are pleased to report that after a lengthy waiting period, the Housing Ombudsmen have decided in favour of our clients and have instructed the housing association to write off the backdated payment amounts.

Although a final outcome in this matter is still pending, the decision by the Ombudsmen is incredibly encouraging and we will continue to fight for the rights of our clients.

ILC Spotlight: Shola Joseph

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Who knew we had so many budding authors at the Law Centre!

In this ILC Spotlight, we look at Shola Joseph, a caseworker in our Debt Unit and has helped countless individuals manage their finances whether through assisting in debt relief orders and bankruptcy applications giving clients a fresh start, successfully challenging unjust debts, or setting up payment plans with creditors to help clients manage.

In April, Shola released her debut novel, End of My Rainbow, a story about Tolani, a Nigerian girl removed from her beloved grandmother’s care and placed in her Auntie’s abusive hands.  She must learn to overcome challenges through love, faith, and perseverance.  It is an inspirational tale that is truly moving and emotional.

EOMR

If you would like to learn more about Shola’s book, please click here.

Disclaimer: none of the views or opinions presented in End of My Rainbow are made by or endorsed by the Islington Law Centre – all views and opinions are the author’s own.

ILC Spotlight: Oby Akhigbe

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Here at the Islington Law Centre we are proud providers of free legal advice and assistance to the Islington Community and recognise the amount of time and dedication our solicitors and caseworkers put into their clients and casework.  So you can imagine how impressed we are when we discover their personal achievements outside the Law Centre!  For this reason, we have decided to dedicate an occasional blog post to these accomplishments.

For the inaugural post of this series, we turn to Oby Akhigbe.  Oby is a solicitor in our Housing Unit and provides clients with assistance in re-housing, disrepair, anti-social behaviour, among other housing issues.

Last year Oby wrote and self-published a book detailing her journey securing a place at grammar school for her son.  My 11 Plus Journey describes the challenges and obstacles Oby, as a parent, encountered and hopes to offer practical tips and advice to other parents embarking on a similar journey.

If you would like to learn more about Oby’s book, click here.

Disclaimer: none of the views or opinions presented in My 11 Plus Journey are made by or endorsed by the Islington Law Centre – all views and opinions are the author’s own.

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