Frequently Asked Questions and Common Queries
On Street Parking (Footways and Verges)
One of the most common queries that I have received since being elected as a Councillor is the issue of on street parking and in particular vehicles being parked on the footway and or verges.
The first piece of advice that I will give you here is to speak to the owner of the vehicle. In fact that is my first piece of advice where any dispute is concerned. If you were to call the EBC Contact Centre, they would ask if you have spoken to the resident in question first.
Secondly, the police will quite rightly say that parking is a civil enforcement matter unless the vehicle is causing an obstruction or a danger to the public.
Thirdly, if there has been an obstruction caused, it has to be an actual obstruction and not a potential obstruction. The actual obstruction also needs to be witnessed by the Police or a PCSO.
EMH Rent Payments
In common with many other housing associations, the rent on East Midlands Housing (EMH) properties has historically been paid in arrears. It appears however, that they are now seeking to get their tenants to pay in advance which is clearly a change in policy.
The problem with this approach is that the council pays Housing Benefit in arrears. Consequently it is quite possible for a tenant to appear to be in arrears simply because of a mismatch between when the rent is due (in advance) and when the associated Housing Benefit is credited to the account (in arrears). This in turn can lead to arrears letters being sent to tenants by EMH even though their arrears are completely covered when the Housing Benefit is paid.
In the first week in August EMH issued hundreds of arrears notices to tenants just prior to when Housing Benefit was due to be paid. Consequently, many of the letters sent were identifying arrears which were subsequently paid off in full only a few days later.
Erewash Borough Council are aware of the issues.
if anyone has any concerns or have received a letter from EMH relating to this, please contact Cllr Harris or Erewash Borough Council.
Unauthorised Encampments (Gypsy or Traveller Sites)
When an unauthorised gypsy and traveller encampment park their vehicles on a piece of land belonging to the council, the council will take court action to recover possession of the land.
When dealing with those who trespass on council land, the council is required by law to follow a set process:
- We will serve a notice requiring those on council land to vacate it within 24 hours. The notice contains a warning of legal action being commenced where there is a failure to adhere to the notice.
- If the encampment remains on the council land after the expiry of the notice, we will begin legal proceedings.
- The county court will set the date for us to attend when we will request a court order for possession of our land. Although these matters are treated by the court as urgent, it does not guarantee that a judge will be immediately available to hear the application and the court hearing could exceed 10 working days.
Once an application is granted, we will instruct the court bailiff to attend the site and make arrangements to remove those trespassing.
Availability of judges and court bailiffs are determined by the court. These are factors which the council do not control and can cause delay.