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Homelessness/squatting advice needed please

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
OK *deep breath*

New to the site and not yet sure of etiquette etc so please bear with me if I do anything wrong.

My husband and I have been self employed for a number of years, running pubs for various companies, either as reliefs, troubleshooters or more recently as (supposed!) long term managers.

We've run 2 and 3 places at once, often at only a cpl hours notice to help the "gaffer" out of a hole when someone's done a runner etc.

We've worked for the same person for 2.5 yrs though the company name has changed 3 times (more later).

Anway, we've always worked our backsides off and treated each pub as our own, saving him cash where poss, and going beyond what was needed to redecorate/clean etc, often at our own expense. Last Mon 15th Feb, we were given 7 days notice, with no inkling anything was amiss (we were the top performing pub out of approx 20 over Xmas).

The gaffer promised us 2 other pubs and then abruptly withdrew the offer after we applied to the local council for housing. (assuming he panicked after we got officaldom involved)

We had an interview with the council last Fri (19th) and they informed us that the written notice (just a letter with little info) that we had been provided with was not anywhere close to proper notice and that they (council) wanted us to sit tight when the 7 days ended on 22nd.

We've done this.

The company we worked for has witheld our last £700 wages due to us "squatting", so we're struglling for cash too. Hubby has an occupational pension but it's paid once monthly and pays our "normal" bills (car insurance, tax, etc and we've just paid for my Mum's funeral ...had to be on the drip..it never rains it pours!) We are told we £13 over the benefit threshold, so no help there, which is fine. We've always worked and didn't expect our income to just stop (who ever does!) so are working hard to try and reduce outgoings, at least temp.

Council are "processing" us, and have 28 days to do so from what we gather, though we are unable to bid on anything at mo as, despite being promised our info was going on database last Mon, nothing yet.

We are currently in the flat above the pub we ran up until close of business last Sunday. We've locked the access door to the bar and the relief managers have locked it from their side too, which is fine, and we asked them to do, as they are caught in the middle. We have access via a back door and out through an outbuilding. This can be bolted from the inside when we are in, and padlocked from the outside when we are out. This is the advice council have given us.

We are concerned about our legal rights as such as we've been told that squatting is now illegal? (Sorry, never been in this situation before!)

Our immediate concern is husband and his health, as he is having severe panic attacks, and agoraphobia which is not like him, but which is having a massive effect on his health. The council are aware of this, and we've contacted them again tonight as the new relief managers have had 2 van fulls of people sat outside tonight playing music at full blast and openly taking drugs. To the point where ALL of us ( 2 kids included) have been in tears as it's been that loud and with that much bass that it's caused headaches and a nosebleed.

We're not daft, we know they're trying to force us out, but are being told to sit tight.

Council have known for almost a fortnight that we were due to be homeless, we had meeting last Fri. He tols us on Mon that it had been passed to data team to put us on system. Still nothing. Hubby is ex-Forces so we've got RBL and SSAFA involved, they're getting fobbed off too.

We are staying put as told, but it's getting very stressful (for hubby esp), and it's ramping up daily. Company have accepted we need time and VERY reluctantly gave us a week (til next Mon), but have made it clear in so many words that they will not tolerate anything beyond that. They are refusing to co-operate with Council, to the point where have refused to give ANY info, and even the council are getting p'd off with them.

We've since found out that company have been trading illegally (fraudulently?) on a bank account belonging to a company that has not existed since Aug 2015. Brewery may well terminate the lease when this comes to light, with no notice, and now we are panicking what happens then.

Council say we need a s21 notice, but we had no rental agreement per se, so not sure? We haven't broken in as we had license to occupy the flat, we are merely overstaying this.

REALLY would appreciate some advice xx

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