Axminster man who paid too much rent taken to court

AN AXMINSTER man taken to court for being in arrears on his rent later learned he had in fact paid too much.

AN AXMINSTER man taken to court for being in arrears on his rent later learned he had in fact paid too much.

Steven Kelly, 33, of Bonners Causeway, was accused of owing �765 rent money to East Devon District Council in March last year.

But in October of last year Mr Kelly received a cheque for �407 for overpayment, plus another �169 for court costs.

His mother, Phoebe England, told the Herald: "Steven has had to live under the threat of eviction for months, been made to pay arrears he did not owe, and consequently his health has really suffered.

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"I have had to fight the council every step of the way and this has literally taken many days and over six months to sort it out."

The property manager and administrator has taken the matter to the ombudsman for maladministration. She was offered �100 in compensation, and Steven �200, but rejected it as derisory.

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She said: "I know what constitutes maladministration and how to treat tenants.

"If they've done this to Steve, who else are they doing it to? He's lucky he has a difficult mother to intervene.

"I have found it absolutely draining to be dealing with the council and shall be so glad when it is all over."

She said she managed to avert a second court hearing and the matter was investigated after she contacted EDDC chief executive Mark Williams.

She added that in the meantime Mr Kelly, who is on unemployment benefit, had been paying back the arrears at �10 a week.

A spokesman for EDDC said: "This issue is currently being investigated by the Local Government Ombudsman. The Council is not able to comment on the specifics of the case until after that investigation has been completed

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