I'm being kicked out of my home of 17 years after council accidentally paid me £9k – and now want it back | The Sun

A FURIOUS mum could be kicked out of her “forever home” of 17 years within days – after becoming embroiled in a £9,000 row with the council.

Monica Cru-Hall has shared the two-bed house in Knutton, Staffordshire, with her four children since 2005.

She bought the property, but is facing bankruptcy proceedings from Stoke-on-Trent City Council over £9,000 that was given to her in a settlement argument.

But it later transpired that the council had paid the amount twice in error – and Monica didn't realise until it was too late.

The former teacher has been handed an eviction notice for February 16, and the row dates back to 2016.

Monica, 43, told the Stoke Sentinel: The council gave me a cheque which I put it into the bank account. I waited for four days and then started paying stuff out. But it appears they also paid the money into my account via bank transfer.

“From July to December, 2016 I had no income at all. There were bills that needed to be paid and I had quite a few family bereavements. It was a really crazy time.

“The council said they had overpaid me in late December 2016 to early January 2017. At that time my father was in hospital and he subsequently died.

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"When he died he had an outstanding amount of life insurance which was around £5,000. He had expected to live for longer.

“I genuinely didn’t notice my account balance. I had two young children under the age of three and I had my dad, who meant the world to me, unexpectedly pass.

"He had no prior illnesses. He was 77 but didn't look a day over 50.

“I cannot explain how mental that time of my life was. I had been left for nearly six months with no money at all.

“The first thing I did was pay a bulk amount down on my mortgage because it hadn’t been paid for six months.

"It wasn’t a case of looking at my money, it was the case of knowing that money is here and to pay people.

“We realised dad needed to pay around £4,000 on his life insurance in order for the body to be collected.”

The mum-of-four claims that she gave £1,000 back to relatives to allow her cousin's body to be flown back to the UK after dying in Jamaica.

After paying off various expenses she looked at her bank account and realised she still had £5,000 left.

She knew something was wrong, and says she offered to pay the council £7,000 initially and then agree to payment plan for the remaining £2,000.

But Monica says this was rejected by the council and the money owed has now leapt to £60,000 due to court fees.

She said that she has already started packing her belongings from her home of 17 years to leave.

Monica added: “What the council is trying to do now is force the sale of my house which means I’ll have nowhere to live. I’ve checked to see if I can get housing but I can’t.

“I’ve checked to see if I could get any money from the sale of the house but I won’t really. I might end up with £10,000 maybe. It won't be a deposit for another house and I won’t get that immediately.

“It’s disgusting. I think the council has shown a complete and utter lack of empathy. I have no idea how they can pay me in error and then have me in court.

“I was so embarrassed, even though I’ve done nothing wrong. The council made the mistake.

"I can’t figure out why it’s been allowed to happen. They made the mistake but they are punishing me and my children for it.

“It’s their incompetence that has caused me and my four kids to face being left without a home. This is our forever home.

“I have been so stressed about it. I’ve got this thing about remaining positive in negative situations. I’ve got four little people who depend on me and that has been my light.”


A council spokesman said: "The dispute with Mrs Cru-Hall has been ongoing since 2016. Stoke-on-Trent City Council does not treat applications for bankruptcy lightly, and these are only applied when there is no other alternative.

"We consider that all action taken against Mrs Cru-Hall to recover public money has been carried out in a reasonable, fair and timely manner.

"A debtor has ample opportunities to pay or agree a mutually beneficial payment plan throughout the recovery process, as well as being offered the chance to pay the outstanding money in full.

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"We have tried to communicate with her, however with no reasonable offers of repayment, ultimately this has led the case to progress to court.

"Stoke-on-Trent City Council is not making Mrs Cru-Hall homeless, nor have we been asked to assist with any further applications from her.

"We liaise with the courts and the Citizen's Advice Bureau to the best of our ability but are mindful of the council’s duty to protect the public purse.

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"We engage and discuss options with any debtors who inform us that they are experiencing financial difficulties, to set in place the best form of recovery for them.

"As part of that process, we signpost people to agencies that offer free financial help and guidance."

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