Rent bill for grieving family

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A family devastated by the death of their grandmother are furious after the council told them they will still have to pay rent on her warden-controlled bungalow.

Joyce Thirkell died on November 9 just seven weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, but just a few days later when they reported her death to South Holland District Council her grieving family were told they would still be liable for a month’s rent on her home in Sezanne Walk for the month-long notice to quit period – although her housing and council tax benefits would be stopped with immediate effect.

The bill, which will total more than £300, has deeply upset Joyce’s son Stuart and grandaughters Rebecca and Rachel.

Rebecca (32), of Sherman Way, Spalding, who helped care for her 85-year-old nan, said: “We were all so close to her that we are devastated at losing her and miss her so much.

“Every other person we have had to contact to sort out her affairs has been brilliant but the council has been disgusting and not once has anyone even said sorry for our loss.

“Nan has never owed money in her life and we will make sure she doesn’t in death and will pay if we have to, but it’s so wrong.

“All the council wants is money. My nan would be so cross and until everything is sorted I will keep fighting for her to try and get some justice from the council.”

The family intend to hand back the keys on November 21, after Joyce’s funeral.

Rebecca said: “When Nan was in hospital she was desperate to go home, but she deteriorated so fast she couldn’t. We want the keys so her funeral procession can leave from her house so she finally got home in the end.”

The family cleared out Mrs Thirkell’s bungalow the day after her death after Rachel travelled from her home in Yorkshire to help out.

All the furniture and belongings were removed – but to add insult to injury the council refused to take away the black bin bags they left out, saying they were in the wrong place.

Rebecca said: “They said a tumble drier had been left out, but Nan never had one in her life.

“We were then told it was because the black bin bags had not been left on the path. I explained it was a warden-controlled area and that many people use mobility scooters and walking aids so we wanted to leave the path clear.

“I have been in floods of tears because of this mess with the council because it is all so unnecessary.”

A spokesman for South Holland District Council said: “In circumstances where there is outstanding rent after the tenant passes away, we would seek consideration from the executor of the estate, and would not seek payment from another family member.”