Sue Bent of the Coventry Law Centre answers questions on housing, health and community care, human rights, discrimination, welfare rights, employment and immigration issues.
The centre employs solicitors and experienced paralegals and can represent clients in both court and in tribunal.
Q I HAVE recently had a fall at work and I have been on sick leave for the past 6 weeks but I have not received sick pay. My contract of employment states that I am entitled to statutory sick pay. What do I do? I am getting into debt.
A You are entitled to be paid your sick pay. The standard rate for SSP is pounds 72.55. You should write a grievance letter to your employer setting out how much you are owed; you must give your employer 28 days to respond to your letter. If they do not respond or they refuse to pay you sick pay, you can make a claim to the Employment Tribunal for an unlawful deduction of pay. There are strict time limits in doing so. It will also be worth will seeking advice from a solicitor who specialises in accidents at work to obtain advice about whether or not your have personal injuries claim.
Q I MOVED into my flat in 1992. I was not given a tenancy agreement or anything else in writing. The rent increased each year and in 2000 my landlord asked me to sign an assured shorthold tenancy agreement which had a fixed term of 12 months. I did this. I do not have any rent arrears. I have now been given 2 months' notice to leave the property. Is there anything I can do to keep my home?
A As your tenancy started before February 28, 1997, and you were given nothing in writing by your landlord you have what is called an assured tenancy. A landlord can only gain possession of such a tenancy in very specific circumstances or if you have rent arrears.
It would not be reasonable to accept that, had you realised the implications, you would have opted to change from an assured tenancy, which has good long-term security, to an assured shorthold tenancy, which has very little long-term security.
It is therefore likely that a court would accept that you still do have an assured tenancy and that the notice to leave would not be enforced.
In addition, if a landlord wishes to increase the rent payable under an assured tenancy, written notice must be given to you of the increase in the proper form (which includes notification that the proposed increase can be referred to the Rent Assessment Committee).
If this was not done then the rent now payable is likely to be the rent as it was in 1990 until such time as the landlord gives you the required written notice of the increase.
This is a complicated area of law and the issues are often only resolved by way of court proceedings.
I would therefore suggest that you seek legal advice immediately.
If you have a problem write to SUE BENT at Coventry Law Centre, The Bridge, Broadgate. www.covlaw.org.uk
For enquiries ask at reception or telephone 024 7622 3053
SUE BENT from Coventry Law Centre answers your legal questions