Grieving son in Northampton receives apology after threatening letters sent to his dead mother

Simon Gilby holding a picture of him and his mum
Simon Gilby holding a picture of him and his mum
  • Mrs Gilby died on January 5
  • Her son informed the housing association and was verbally assured staff understood
  • A letter threatening repossession was sent to Mrs Gilby in February
  • Despite her death certificate being produced, another letter threatening court action was received in March

​A housing association threatened to take a Northampton woman to court over rent arrears - despite the fact she had died.

Kathleen Gilby, of Hunter Street, The Mounts, died on January 5 and her son, Simon, informed Orbit housing association three weeks later.

I had told them after mum died that we had to go through probate and I was told verbally that was fine

Simon Gilby, son

However, Orbit then sent a letter on February 20 demanding payment of arrears totalling £158 and said it intended to take possession of the house.

Mr Gilby again contacted Orbit explaining how upset he was to receive the letter but assuring them the rent would be settled from her estate.

However another letter addressed to Mrs Gilby arrived on March 20, saying they intended to take her to court.

Mr Gilby said: “With the first letter I was mad at them but after the second I was furious.

“I had told them after mum died that we had to go through probate and I was told verbally that was fine.

“After the first letter I even sent them a copy of her death certificate.

“They have been extremely insensitive at a difficult time and there’s been a complete lack of compassion.”

On the first occasion Orbit sent Mrs Gilby a notice, from a named recovery officer, seeking possession of the house.

In bold type, it declared that “failure to contact me will result in you being taken to court”.

In the second letter, Orbit escalated matters, saying: “I must advise you that we will be issuing possession proceedings in the County Court unless, you clear your arrears in full in the next seven days.”

It went on to warn: “If possession proceedings are issued you could lose your home.”

After being contacted by the Chron, Orbit has said sorry for sending the demands in error.

Kevin Hornsby, head of housing at Orbit Heart of England, said: “We would like to apologise to the family of Mrs Gilby. Our housing officer has been working with the family on tenancy matters.

“The automated letters should not have been sent out and we have taken steps to ensure that no more will be received by the family.”

Mr Gilby is now set to take on the tenancy of his mum’s former home has agreed to settle the arrears.​