Kettering Council chases woman for £300 bill after three years

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A woman chased for a £300 debt almost three years after she moved out of a flat owned by Kettering Council said she has been frustrated by a lack of information from the authority.

Stella Hinks lived in a flat in Edinburgh Close, Rothwell, for a matter of weeks in 2012 and said she felt she had to leave when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and needed help from her partner with everyday tasks.

However, almost three years after she left the flat, Miss Hinks said she was shocked when she was sent a demand for £306 which the council said was because she had failed to give a proper notice period when she left the flat.

Miss Hinks said: “I was shocked. At the time, I only gave a couple of weeks’ notice but I had just been diagnosed with MS and I had to move out of the flat.

“I spoke to a housing officer at the time and explained my circumstances.

“At the time, the council seemed satisfied because of my circumstances. I had not been in the flat for long and I was moving out because of the diagnosis and was only just coming to terms with that, plus I needed more help.”

Miss Hinks now lives in Gartree, near Market Harborough.

She said she contacted Kettering Council to query the bill and also to ask why it had taken three years to send the notice.

She added: “They said they had been given money to chase-up old debts but could not explain why it had taken so long and why I had been given the impression at the time that it was not an issue.

“I have heard very little back and I am worried because the council have said if I do not pay up then my case could be passed on to an enforcement agency.”

A spokesman for Kettering Council said: “As Miss Hinks was a secure tenant she was obliged by law to give four weeks’ notice to end the tenancy.

“We apologise for the delay in chasing the debt in this instance but it is actually the responsibility of the tenant to ensure that rent is paid during the period of notice. We are happy to speak to Miss Hinks with the aim of agreeing a payment plan so that she can clear the debt in a manageable way.”