Grieving man billed for rent on dead brother’s Holloway house

Brian and Gary Simons, pictured in February this year. Picture: Simons family

Brian and Gary Simons, pictured in February this year. Picture: Simons family - Credit: Archant

A housing association billed a grieving man in error after his dead brother failed to pay the rent.

Gary Simons, a tenant at a Hyde Group property in Corporation Street, Holloway, died of liver cancer on May 28.

Before his death, 58-year-old Gary, who had lived at the house for 40 years, had paid his rent in advance.

But Hyde failed to update their records with the fact Gary’s tenancy had ended – leaving older brother Brian “devastated” by two demands for unpaid rent.

Brian, of Medway, Kent, told the Gazette the first arrived on August 4. “I then received another letter, demanding even more rent, on August 18,” he said. “This was two months after my brother died, and it just dragged everything up again.

“When you consider the bereavement process, we were just devastated. They tried to get money from a dead man.

“My brother was a good guy: a hard worker who always paid his rent on time. He had only just retired and was diagnosed with the cancer at the start of the year.

Most Read

“It was like his reputation was being dragged through mud.”

After a lengthy complaints process – Brian claimed he made 11 phone calls and sent two letters and numerous emails – Hyde admitted the rent demand had been made in error as Gary’s tenancy had not been cancelled.

Brian, 60, added: “What really disturbed me, aside from demanding money from my dead brother, was that Hyde didn’t seem to have a bereavement team.

“I was chasing the issue for a month. To be fair, all of Hyde’s staff were very supportive of me. But every time I had to call them, I had to explain my situation. It just hadn’t been logged.”

Lee Daly, Hyde’s head of housing, responded: “Our sympathies remain with Mr Simons and his family at what is clearly still a very testing time.

“Supporting families in tragic circumstances such as these can be difficult and our aim is always to respond promptly and sensitively to the individual needs of each family.

“We’re disappointed Mr Simons feels we’ve fallen short of this commitment and apologise. We would urge him to talk to us about his concerns so we can understand and discuss how things could have been done differently.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter