Catalyst back-tracks on charging dead grandmother rent on her Willesden home after public outcry
PUBLISHED: 07:43 21 August 2019
A grieving daughter has had the rent for her dead mum's Willesden home waived - following a public outcry over the landlord's housing policy.
Samantha Ash rang Catalyst Housing Association on Friday to inform them that her 77-year-old mum Maria Keeble had died the day before.
Samantha, an only child, was stunned when an officer told her she must hand back the keys to the Garrard Road property as soon as possible or face charges.
Her plight quickly went viral on social media sites Twitter and Facebook.
Speaking to this paper on Friday she said: "The first person told me I need to hand the keys back as soon as possible or I will be charged. They told me I have 28 days to clear the house and any money will be taken from my mum's estate.
"She only died yesterday, there's no way I can clear the house. [...] You can't even die in peace nowadays."
On Tuesday a Catalyst spokesman said: "Given the upset already caused, there will be no charge beyond the date when Mrs Keeble passed away."
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When a Catalyst tenant dies, the housing association says it wants a copy of the death certificate within 10 days of being notified.
But it says it won't pursue next of kin to cover any monies owed, but will instead seek to recover it from the resident's estate. If there is no money there, it will write the costs off.
Catalyst added: "Rent will still accrue on the property until it is handed back to us, but we try to ensure this happens within 28 days of receiving the death certificate."
Widow Mrs Keeble had lived in the property for 38 years and accumulated decades of personal possessions.
Samantha said on Tuesday: "Catalyst backtracked because I made such a fuss about it.
"I'm relieved I don't have to throw mum's stuff away. I thought I'd have to put it in the dump. She had a brand new sofa - her cooker is immaculate. Charities told me they have a three-week waiting list to collect things. If I had to get it all out in a week or so I'd have to put it all in a skip."
She added: "There are other people that have come back to me saying that it's happened to their families.
"Apparently it's across the board, it's not just Catalyst. It's awful."