TESS overturns under-occupancy charge

An ex-Chester City football player who was left disabled after a 60ft fall has successfully fought against an eviction with the help of ForHousing’s Tenants Extra Support Service (TESS).

27-year old Neil Carroll was left paralysed in 2013 after falling 60 feet from a bridge. Living in a specially adapted four bedroom home in Prescot with his partner Kathryn, he requires 24-hour care.

One bedroom features a specially modified hospital bed for Neil, which requires his partner to sleep in a separate room, with a third bedroom available for carers and fourth containing a lift to help Neil to get upstairs. However, under the government’s under-occupancy legislation, Neil and his partner were expected to share one room and their housing benefit was reduced accordingly.

The couple were referred to TESS, which provides specialist housing-related support to vulnerable residents across Knowsley. Project Officer Dawn Lawler took on Neil’s issue and worked with Citizens Advice Knowsley to develop a case to bring before a tribunal.

The case was first brought to court in August 2015, and was given a second hearing in January 2016, where it was announced that based on the evidence and testimony brought by TESS, the home was not under-occupied, and the penalty is to be written off.

Kathryn Dyer said: “It’s such a big relief to have this decision, because the pressure to pay this extra money is off us now. We would like to thank Dawn Lawler from TESS for all her support.”