A GRIEVING family has hit out at “insensitive” council housing managers who sent an eviction letter to a woman they knew had died.
Hilda Sexton’s son and daughter-in-law may also have to pay hundreds of pounds for the outstanding rent at her home in Peartree Close, Southend.
Mrs Sexton died three weeks after her 100th birthday, on March 27, and although her benefits were stopped the day she died, South Essex Homes is likely to charge the family rent for the five- week notice period.
Michael Sexton, 67, and his wife Colvina, 66, of Saxon Gardens, Shoebury, also said South Essex Homes needed lessons in compassion after having to fill out forms explaining his beloved mother had died.
Colvina, said: “South Essex Homes, in its usual robotic way, has shown no compassion at all. It treats people like they are pieces of meat.
“The letter was totally insensitive.
We had to fill in a form which made us spell out that our relative had died and it was grim.
“Hilda was a very strong and feisty woman. There was no mincing of words with my mother in law.
“If she had known what was happening she would be very worried and upset. She has been a model tenant for 70 years, never paid late, and this is a slap in the face.
“We had been through quite a lot over the past four or five weeks and this really didn’t help matters. Then we got a notice to quit letter which was the last straw.
“Why do they need to send that when they know they are getting the tenancy back?”
South Essex Homes, which manages council houses on behalf of Southend Council, has launched an investigation and will now create a separate form for grieving families.
Its spokesman said: “We were sorry to learn the family of one of our former tenants were disappointed with the response they received after they notified us of the death of the tenant.
“There are certain legal processes which need to be completed each time a tenancy is terminated, for whatever reason, including where the tenant is deceased.
“A Notification to Terminate Tenancy form needs to be completed and this leads toaNotice to Quit being served.
“In cases where the tenant is deceased, these processes are carried out through the executor of the estate. When family members are acting as executors, we send a letter expressing our condolences and explaining the processes we are legally bound to follow in the circumstances.
“We have received a formal complaint which is being investigated so we are unable to comment further on this case.
“However, all feedback is valued and we have made the decision to create two different termination forms for future use, one for tenants transferring or leaving accommodation and one for tenants who have died.”