to think council housing is a last resort

(150 Posts)
nailak Wed 08-May-13 20:03:10

we have been given notice, everyone keeps saying go to council, but i don't want to deal with the uncertainty of being in temporary accommodation and not having a choice over where i live and so on, even though in the long run after a few years we would probably be better off once i am housed an am settled in a new area (which takes a couple of years to make friends). Am i being precious? Obviously we need like 3k for deposit and first months rent and we dont have that so need to find it etc, and if we have no choice then i will have to go down this route. But absolutely as a last resort. aibu?

noisytoys Wed 08-May-13 20:08:50

YANBU. But given the circumstances you wouldn't be unreasonable to go council either. You sound in dire straits and that's what council housing is for (it doesn't have to be forever). Hope you find somewhere soon

BegoniaBampot Wed 08-May-13 20:09:23

depends on the area. I know people living in very nice council areas, though probably most of the houses have been bought now and then there are areas where I would never want to live. I grew up in council estates and loved it but don't know how much they have changed. Most of the people who could bought and moved out when they could.

expatinscotland Wed 08-May-13 20:11:12

If you're looking for choice then yanbu.

There's a lot of council house envy/sneering on MN, but I reckon many who do it would not like where they were allocated - it's not usually lovely houses, or houses at all, in good areas.

purpleroses Wed 08-May-13 20:15:56

I lived in council for several years, it was fine. Could have found the deposit for private rented, but wanted the security and rent we could afford without needing to claim housing benefit. Area was fine, council are good landlords, and neighbours were mostly fine too. If you don't like it you can always move to private rented from it.

BUT - worth finding out what the typical wait in temporary accommodation is like in your area - some places it's just a few weeks, or even no wait at all if they find you somewhere before your notice expires. Other places, like London, you could be there for years. Ask around, or ask the council themselves (though they may try and put you off if they think you might manage to find yourself somewhere).

Be aware too that some areas have started putting people from temporary accommodation into private rented places (they can do this legally since last year) - not most areas but some do - so worth checking that out as a spell in temporary and then private at the end of it is probably the worst of all worlds.

andubelievedthat Wed 08-May-13 21:32:07

Trust me ,your pride will long have disappeared when you unfortunately find yourself homeless, temp.housing is a godsend (to some) don't knock it sister.

HollyBerryBush Wed 08-May-13 21:34:56

I never understand the whole council estate snobbery - it used to be when I was growing up, you had to be a decent upstanding citizen to get a council house - and you were slung out if you weren't and went into Rachman style accommodation.

This time last year I spent a fortnight in the a B&B in Slough. We were homeless, so no choice. So yes, it is a last resort & quite extreme but it isn't all that bad.

We went through that and a period of adjusting etc and we're now very happy & settled elsewhere, in temp accommodation (but we'll be here for a few years yet).

You may get to the point where you have no choice so I'd advise you hop on that list asap...As all it means is you're on the system & it'll be easier if the worst were to happen (plus you get 5 points per year of being on the list, which can make the difference when it comes to 'choice' ).

mrsjay Wed 08-May-13 21:49:55

I live in a council house area I was given it when i was homeless I mean properly homeless and pregnant I could have kissed the housing officer when she handed me the keys, where I live is truly nice and quiet and not the sterotypical estate you see on shameless or whatever, you sound desperate go to the council see what they can offer you, a private let isnt secure either

needaholidaynow Wed 08-May-13 21:49:56

I live in a council property and really like living here.

I have also lived in a privately rented property and I hated it. The house was manky and the landlord had done a quick job just to get it on the market as soon as possible. When I viewed it I jumped in to it as I wanted to escape the parents and ILs. The landlord to ages to get repairs sorted and didn't want to buy a new toilet.

Council houses are maintained to a good quality. My front yard is currently being done up by the council and its things like this that show me that councils are better landlords as they put time and effort in to their properties for their tenants. I there is ever an occurrence where you fall behind on your rent a little bit, then the council work with you so that you can pay the arrears off. If you rent privately then you are basically out on your arse.

There is also much more security living in a council property, in that after 6 months you're not going to receive a letter informing you that your landlord is selling up, and again you are out on your arse.

mrsjay Wed 08-May-13 21:50:11

or housing association is usually in 'nicer areas'

mrsjay Wed 08-May-13 21:51:48

I know social housing is different now and not all tenancies are secure but I think if you wait a certain amount of time you can get secure tenancy and you will get on your feet dont be proud

specialsubject Wed 08-May-13 21:52:05

nothing wrong with the council housing - but will you get such a place? Get on the list anyway.

any chance of a budgeting loan for the rent/deposit? (Because you'll get your current deposit back).

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 21:55:20

You are only being U in thinking of Council housing as a 'last resort',there are some fabulous council houses and you make it your own.
Most areas have very little housing stock and you'll most likely eventually be housed by a Housing association after temp accommodation which can be up to two years.
But as andubelievedthat said,you will be very grateful for it if you become homeless.

I don't get the CH snobbery on here.

crazynanna Wed 08-May-13 21:56:32

The thing is with council/social housing is it is so diverse. From large sprawling estates, to small blocks, to street properties. I have lived in all 3...and now in a street property in a house of 3 flats, mine being the only LA owned. You could walk down any road, and be really surprised what is a council property. It doesn't always fit the 'stereotype'.

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 21:59:00

I would love to have a HA or CH property,we are private rental and while our LL is great and do any work that is needed,you still lack the security that CH gives you.
If you don't like the area or want to move you can try to swap i believe.

mrsjay Wed 08-May-13 21:59:19

your right nana it doesn't my whole village has council houses in it <shrug> it is nothing like the sterotype however go a few miles down the road and jeez it is rough

Floggingmolly Wed 08-May-13 22:00:15

That was the original intention, HollyBerry, but it's long since been turned on it's head, unfortunately.

needaholidaynow Wed 08-May-13 22:00:49

What is Council House snobbery anyway??

mrsjay Wed 08-May-13 22:02:28

some people assume if you live in a council house you are a pleb scum a chav or taking housing from somebody in need and should be saving for a mortgage, or all of the above

mrsjay Wed 08-May-13 22:03:11

oh and claiming thousands a week on benefit and never paid any rent in your life

needaholidaynow Wed 08-May-13 22:05:21

Oh shock

mrsjay Wed 08-May-13 22:06:22

OH indeed hmm shocking eh

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 22:07:59


Tres shock

needaholidaynow Wed 08-May-13 22:08:22

It just baffles me the sheer ignorance of some people when it comes to council tenants and, dare I say it...

<whispers> benefits.

You could get lucky and get somewhere lovely, you never know.

mrsjay Wed 08-May-13 22:10:31

and when you say but I pay full rent somebody will pipe up oh but it is subsidised isn't it so the tax payers are blah blah . baffles me how they can go on

chattychattyboomba Wed 08-May-13 22:11:33

If you are in need then council housing serves a purpose. I just resent paying 5 times more than my neighbours for our centrally located mid terraced house.

chatty do you own or privately rent, if you don't mind my asking?

needaholidaynow Wed 08-May-13 22:13:55

LOL the benefit bashing brigade eh?

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 22:17:11

I am sure that some people take advantage of the CH and benefits system,just like others take advantage of the tax system at the other end of the financial spectrum,but that does not mean that everyone in CH is a sponger.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 08-May-13 22:17:32

Social housing is actually for everyone that intended to live in it,that was always its intended reason for existing however due to the volume required they now allocate with fairly strict priority.

But this was not its intention its intention was to provide affordable decent housing for anyone who requested it and had nowhere else to live.

So no it shouldn't be a last resort but sadly due to snobbery it is considered to be.

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 22:21:53

I thought HA's were started because there was so little CH left after so much had been sold off.

They are very strict and can and will evict if they need to.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 08-May-13 22:23:11

Chatty social rents are set at a discount of market rents on the area so they wouldn't be 5 times less than the private equivilent

chattychattyboomba Wed 08-May-13 22:24:00

We rent privately. My DH owns a property company in the west end of London. He rented a property to a man in one of the most exclusive mews houses in Chelsea who was originally training to become a teacher, quit his job, had 3 children so was entitled to claim £800 a week towards rent via DSS. Landlords usually don't mind as they get paid asking price, and the council guarantees the return of the house in the same condition (pay for any repairs etc).

expatinscotland Wed 08-May-13 22:24:27

That's very true, mrsjay. We are in a HA maisonette (there's no council here, the stock was all transferred to an HA a while back). We have invested loads of money into our home to make it home, flooring being the most expensive part of it, but also shelving and storage, internal doors, skirting boards, lighting fixtures. We pay rent and council tax and work. The vast majority of tenants in our building of 34 flats are the same. There are many families in here, all mostly in low-paid work - supermarkets, hotels/restaurants/tourism, care work, childcare.

Good, secure, affordable housing should not be only for those who can buy or those in quite high-paying jobs.

We look after our home and so do our neighbours. We look after one another, too, and are considerate of one another as these are flats.

chattychattyboomba Wed 08-May-13 22:26:55

I totally agree that good affordable housing should be for everyone- not just those in high paying jobs. I resent the inflation of London properties. The average property in Knightsbridge is now being valued at £2000 per square foot!

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 22:30:37

expat,we live in private rental and have just put a new carpet on the stairs,we have put shelving and storage too,new lighting,(dp is an electrician) and pay our rent and CT ad nauseum.

Hey Ho,you want to make your home nice don't you.

sydlexic Wed 08-May-13 22:31:23

A member of my family moved into social housing last week. A brand new house with a stunning kitchen, nice doors and flooring, very large bathroom. I was shocked they have a lovely home. The house is Eco friendly and very inexpensive to run.

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 22:33:29

sydlexic were you shocked because the place was nice?

purpleroses Wed 08-May-13 22:34:16

Chatty - it's untrue that anyone can claim £800 a week in housing benefit from the DSSs, and has been for about 15 years. Whoever told you that was either misinformed or lying.

Housing benefit even in London is capped at £340 a week for 3 bedroom houses, and soon to be much less when Universal Credit comes in.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 08-May-13 22:38:49

Chatty I'm very sorry but unless it was a long time ago ( like pre 2003) then no he didnt.

Since 2003 private renters can not claim housing benefit they have to claim local housing allowence this has set rates granted Chelsea is one of the highest in the country but the largest property he would have been entitled to claim for would be a 3 bed even today in that area the apsolute max he would be able to claim in LHA for a 3 bed (the only size he would be able to claim for) would be £347 per week. As far as I recall it was about £80 pw less in 2003.

chattychattyboomba Wed 08-May-13 22:40:14

Purple roses. I just asked my husband to confirm this. It was about 5 years ago. Perhaps there were other circumstances but he has no reason to lie.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 08-May-13 22:41:41

Reeling the difference between you and expat is you did it to make your home nice. She had to do it because social housing is supplied as effectively a bare shell unless you are lucky enough to get a HA new build and then you get kitchen and bathroom Lino but nothing else.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 08-May-13 22:47:23

Chatty there are absolutely no other circumstances whatsoever that would allow a private renter to claim any more than the max LHA rates. Even if he was able to claim for a 4 bed the LHA rate for that is £408 pw.

His wife could have been pregnant with 17 babies and they still wouldn't get more.he could have no legs a purple head spend his spare time saving puppies from house fires and have fled a war torn country and still only get the max LHA

chattychattyboomba Wed 08-May-13 22:51:35

If you say so. He must have dreamt it wink I'm off to bed.

expatinscotland Wed 08-May-13 22:58:20

Our mates have a lovely council flat. They've put a lot of work into it. He works FT as a 911 dispatcher and she works FT in a pet shop, but in the 3rd most expensive city in the UK.

I'm glad they have a nice, stable home for their family of themselves and their two children.

I think everyone should. Not as just a 'last resort'.

Why shouldn't such people have a decent, affordable home with a stable tenancy?

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 23:01:30

That's not actually true Sock,i know people in HA with laminate flooring and fitted kitchens and cupboards etc.
When DP and i improve our home it is eventually for the benefit of the LL,although obviously we want it to be nice for us.

We put a new carpet in but if we have to/want to move then the carpet gets left behind for the next tenant.

We have made the garden nice,planted and painted (the grotty walls) and bought a shed and made a decent area to sit in,so we can enjoy it.

nailak Wed 08-May-13 23:04:37

its not about anything against council houses tbh, or the areas they are in, yesterday i saw someone smoking crack outside the post office and someone else picking up green at the park gates so my area is not the best of areas.

It is the fact that if they put me in temporary accomodation (which I live in London so can be years) they can put me anywhere, accross 4 boroughs, away from my friends, family, the life and community that I have built up here, my kids schools, and i will have to start from scratch again, I worked so hard to make relationships, get involved in community stuff over here. And the uncertainty of not being able to plan, to know if where I live will easily let me travel to family, shops etc, and also in temp accomodation they dont let you see it first, you have to take what they got. The whole idea scares me.

I would do anything to avoid this situation, as i dont think i can emotionally handle it.

whatamardarse Wed 08-May-13 23:05:23

YABU - There is nothing wrong with council houses. Beggars cant be choosers when your about to be homeless...or even looking for affordable living space when your not on mega money!

oh how the other half live hey? hmm

nailak Wed 08-May-13 23:09:46

can u read my last post, it is not about anything being wrong with council houses, council houses are nicer then the place i currently live, it is about being scared of the uncertainty, of moving to a new place again, of having to make new networks, new friends,

nailak Wed 08-May-13 23:10:26

and if u saying beggars cant be choosers then thats kind of saying coucil housing is for beggars so is last resort?

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 23:12:34

Council housing is not for beggars,it is for people who need housing who are eligible and in need.

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 23:13:19

The vast majority of people who live in CH or HA are in work,they are not beggars.

nailak Wed 08-May-13 23:16:00

can anyone actually answer my question?

Am I being silly that I don't want to deal with the uncertainty and upheaval of moving to a new area, making new friends, living in an unseen house, not knowing if I will be able to visit family easily or not, taking my kids out of school, leaving my voluntary activities etc,

even though if I do do this in 12 years time I will have a council house? however by that time my youngest will be 15 and will only be a few years in it I suppose before bedroom tax kicks in.....

nailak Wed 08-May-13 23:16:57

and yes my DH works. I am not saying people in council houses are beggars, I am saying that the poster who said beggars cant be choosers is calling people who live in council houses beggars.

nailak Wed 08-May-13 23:19:35

No one seems to understand what I am saying, people around me advise me to go to council, but because i dont want to deal with the upheaval and uncertainty and think it will have a negative effect on my mental health and well being i dont want to even though it would be cheaper.

therefore aibu to try everything I can before going to council?

Nothing to do with council houses are grotty areas are bad etc, because council houses are lovely compared to the private house i am living in now.

OldRichandGrateful Wed 08-May-13 23:23:44

nailak your are not bu. I understand how upsetting change and upheaval is. Try everything before you approach the council, because they would expect you to do that anyway. You haven't reached your "last resort" yet so you can keep the council in reserve IYSWIM.

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 23:40:49

nailak You need a home,wherever you move you will have to make new friends,there is no certainty that you will find/be offered somewhere near where you are now that you can afford.

Get on the list and take your chances,what do you have to lose,you don't have to take what you are offered especially if you can afford somewhere else.

If you can afford to rent privately you may well not be eligible.

reelingintheyears Wed 08-May-13 23:43:11

The waiting lists are so long anyway,you will probably find somewhere before a CH even becomes available.

But at least you will be on the waiting list and if you have DC you will be housed if only temporarily until somewhere becomes available.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 08-May-13 23:48:54

Reeling. I apologise I should have been clearer social housing if its a new build if your lucky tends to come with Lino already laid in the kitchen and bathroom,they also come with a bath a toilet a sink and a semi fitted kitchen ( with cupboards a side board a sink) they do not come with appliances. They do not come with any other type of flooring unless a previous tenant has fitted it.

On a normal allocation carpets and curtain poles and what not ( fittings) would be removed and disposed off with a mutual exchange the previous tenant may leave these but tend not to.

Op. is your housing situation not already insecure? What is preferable to you possibly moving every 6 months or less frequently with a secure tenancy at the end?

reelingintheyears Thu 09-May-13 00:04:01

Sock,that's ok,but nowhere comes with appliances,are you talking washing machines etc?
Nothing comes for free,and you can get loans for a cooker and a fridge if you really can't get one elsewhere.

A bathroom,toilet and sink are a good start.

fortyplus Thu 09-May-13 00:24:44

I work in Council Housing. Around 50% of our tenants claim full or part Housing Benefit. Most of these people are either in low paid jobs or are retired and/or disabled. They're not scroungers.

'Target rent' for social housing is 80% of what the property would fetch as a private rental. Having said this, in many areas social housing rents are still way below target. eg I live near Watford where you can still get a HA 2 bed flat for about £80 per week. It would be at least £175 privately.

expatinscotland Thu 09-May-13 00:47:36

I don't get this! So a 911 dispatcher and his wife who works FT in a pet shop are 'scroungers'? They deserve to pay ridiculous rents on shit places and their kids bounced from pillar to post rather than their council flat? I can't think of many people on MN who'd want to live where they do, and yet all their neighbours are in work, too, albeit low-paid. They work A LOT, in their spare time, on their community and neighbourhood association.

Where we live is 'deprived'. We work, most of our neighbours do. We have a good community.

reelingintheyears Thu 09-May-13 00:56:28

Expat,who said that about a 911 dispatcher and his wife who works in a pet shop?

whatamardarse Thu 09-May-13 00:59:12

It was probably bad terminology to use beggers can't be choosers ( even though the fact you ran with it was quite hmm )

How go you know it was crack some one was smoking ??

Your posts seem contradictory and as though your chasing your tail do fuck know what your gonna do! Just hope you font end up homeless and in a hostel! Then you really would have done thing to winge over!

whatamardarse Thu 09-May-13 01:00:13

Freakin predictive text!

reelingintheyears Thu 09-May-13 01:02:54

Cripes,my mistake,you did.

No one should have to pay ridiculous rents but some of us have to,AND we work aswell.

And the part of town where we live isn't exactly the best.

But it is ok.

Some may say deprived,others may say upward looking.

nailak Thu 09-May-13 01:04:59

Sock we would be eligible and the average wait for three bed property is twelve years. I am looking for property in local area I would need first months rent and deposit and would need to pay top up rent so obviously temporary accommodation would be cheaper.

fourtyplus can you explain something, housing benefit is paid in arrears where as rent is paid before the month, when we move in to the house we are currently in we paid first months rent and deposit then after the month housing paid directly to landlord for that monthl, but actially landlord is taking it as advance payment for the second month. So when it comes to last month we would have already paid at the beginning of the month, but hb would come again to landlord at end of month so he would get paid twice? Is there anyway we could get that money instead as would help with deposit?

nailak Thu 09-May-13 01:13:06

I know it was crack because he was smoking rocks in a crack pipe! Lol

I don't know what you mean about chasing my tail. I don't see how going in to a B and B for a couple of months changes the outcome of my question. And I don't see how that would change as even if I went now to council I would have to wait until eviction and court proceedings etc then they would give me what accommodation they have as temporary accommodation. I still wouldn't be given council house until years later..

nailak Thu 09-May-13 01:14:42

Oh and I am not winging I am asking if I am being unreasonable to make mental well being the biggest priority. Where do I come across as winging?

olgaga Thu 09-May-13 01:15:07

nailak going by your last question you are so skint you're just going to have to go with what you can afford.

The Landlord isn't getting paid twice because you're not paying the whole rent, HB is covering the rest.

You just need to accept what you can afford and go with it. If you're living on the edge you will need to accept periods of temporary accommodation before you can settle somewhere.

I feel sad for you, but I'm sure you know it's going to be more of an upheaval for your kids than it is for you. You're an adult and should be more able to adjust and make the best of it, for their sakes.

nailak Thu 09-May-13 01:28:08

I don't understand why the landlord is not getting paid twice?

expatinscotland Thu 09-May-13 01:33:46

Which begs the question, of how UC is going to deal with those on WTC and CTC and partial HB/LHA, if it's paid in arrears.

olgaga Thu 09-May-13 01:42:06

Duh because you pay your rent in advance and the housing benefit is paid in arrears!

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 09-May-13 01:46:13

When people think of fitted kitchens they tend to imagine ones with built in cookers loads of cupboard/ storage ect a bit like the ones you see on adverts not quite the same basic arrangement that you get in a LA house we tend to call those just kitchens.

olgaga Thu 09-May-13 01:48:40

Which begs the question, of how UC is going to deal with those on WTC and CTC and partial HB/LHA, if it's paid in arrears.

It's clearly going to be a massive problem, specifically designed to put people off thinking it's an easy lifestyle choice.

A lot of people, and their children, will suffer enormously.

The idea is to make living on benefits such a horrendous choice that people just won't choose to do it.

nailak Thu 09-May-13 01:55:30

Oglala you misunderstand I think the housing benefit pays the rent, we just paid one months rent and deposit at beginning look I will break it down for u.

We paid for month a at beginning of month a

At beginning of month b housing benefit paid for month a and we paid top up so landlord considered that advance rent for month b

At beginning of month c hb paid in arrears for month b and we paid top up so landlord considered that as payment for month c

Then at beginning of month d we move out yet landlord will receive hb for month c.

I don't understand about utc either

nailak Thu 09-May-13 01:57:44

Or are u saying no hb would be paid for month c?

olgaga Thu 09-May-13 02:04:59

Yes but you're paying the top-up in advance, the HB pays the remainder in arrears.

Under UC you will get one monthly payment and will have to pay the whole of your month's rent from that, yourself - whether in advance or arrears, it'll be your responsibility to make sure you pay it.

nailak Thu 09-May-13 02:39:31

But I paid for the first month before I moved in the whole amount one months rent and one months deposit, so the landlord would have been paid again for that month from hb

Say rent is 1000

Before moved in we paid 2000 one months rent and one rents deposit

So month a paid by us

Month b 500 paid by hb for month a (which we already had to pay for in advance) plus top up taken as advance payment for month b

Month c 500 paid for hb for month b combined with top up taken as month c advance

Month d we move out 500 still paid to landlord by hb, but we don't owe him anything as all rent already paid

nailak Thu 09-May-13 02:41:52

So I'm asking can we have this 500 from month d to cover the cost of the month we already paid in advance ourselves, the initial 1000 you have to pay befor you move in?

In theory, hb paid in month d should be paid to you to cover your 1st month (a) rather than the landlord. This would either be directly from the council or the landlord should return it along with any deposit owing.

If you do manage to rent somewhere privately again after this place then you will be paid the LHA direct. It's a shame that you weren't changed over from HB to LHA before now.

Sorry crossed posted but I think you are correct re: the rent. Also back to your OP, can totally understand your thinking. I would be getting my name on the HA/CH waiting list but as a last resort and as I'm likely to be in a similar situation in the near future I will take my own advice too.

mrsjay Thu 09-May-13 09:36:45

8hen people think of fitted kitchens they tend to imagine ones with built in cookers loads of cupboard/ storage ect a bit like the ones you see on adverts not quite the same basic arrangement that you get in a LA house we tend to call those just kitchens*.

this is laughable I read on here but CH has fitted kitchens don't they I have to pay for my kitchen when somebody is a council house is getting a free kitchen <stamps feet> it is some work stops and a bloody sink WHICH ALL HOUSES HAVE grin, we put our own fitted kitchen in our flat as we had a work top and 2 cupboards when we moved in

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 09-May-13 11:17:34

Quite mrsjay.

And lets not forget the fact that they pay rent

olgaga Thu 09-May-13 11:27:27

nailak how about give Shelter a call? They have a helpline 0808 800 4444.

Shinyshoes1 Thu 09-May-13 11:43:36

There's nothing wrong with council housing
I live in a lovely 4 bedroom council house with own drive , huge back garden which we are renovating . My daughter goes to the local primary school that has scored " outstanding " for the past 3 ofsted visits .
Im surrounded by elderly and disabled bungalows so it's a very quiet street
I have lovely neighbours who have bought their houses . In fact I think I'm the only council tenant in my street

If you are about to be homeless I'd swallow that pride of yours . Not all social housing are bad with scummy neighbours

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 12:05:41

Ok I haven't read it all but in regards to the orignial post...

Council housing is a last resort, and there if you should need it.

I'm in a council place and trust me I waited 11 months in a hostel and there were people who left before us that didn't actually need council housing yet were taking it as their right (like the couple who pretended they had split up while he was earning enough to private rent yet he was there every night, and the other couple who both worked and claimed JSA).
Me on the other hand, I had no deposit, a 5 year old with sn, I had lost my job the year before and all the private rentals wanted a garuntor who earned £30k a year. So yes council and hostel were a last resort, and should never be used as a first resort.

If it is a snobbery 'last resort' the answer is still YANBU because let's face it even the best council places are still council places and everyone knows which ones are council.

Naila, the housing benefit claim would have started when you moved in and claimed, even if it was paid later. I expect that first month has been paid to your landlord somehow. You need to get your paperwork together and go through it carefully.
Yanbu to be scared of the thought of council housing the process, but actual council housing is generally fine.

ouryve Thu 09-May-13 12:07:37

If you're in real danger of ending up homeless for want of a deposit, then you're already at the stage of last resort.

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 12:09:32

If its the deposit that is a problem most councils will help with a deposit or do a rent deposit scheme

AmberLeaf Thu 09-May-13 12:28:05

Naila re your actual question;

I think that as you sound like the sort of person who makes the effort to be a part of their community and to engage positively...that you will be ok in the end wherever you live.

I know what you mean about uprooting etc, but, I have done this several times and it really isn't that bad, but I do understand your apprehension.

I think the benefits of a secure tenancy and no worries of being given notice for nothing you have done will over ride anything else.

Once you make this move and settle you wont have to do it again.

In London [Im sure thats where you are?] temp acc is more than like a regular property but one that you wont stay in, ie not a B&B but a flat/house whatever, you may be in a hostel for a short while, but IME you would then be moved into a temp property which would be the same as any other council property.

In your position, I would approach the local authority housing dept.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 09-May-13 12:31:32

Dinky LA housing is not allocated on a financial bases so him being there would make no difference to the actual allocation you do not have to be in receipt of HB or any benefits to apply.most LA tenants do not claim HB

TeenTwinsToddlerandTiaras Thu 09-May-13 12:32:12

nailak IME, I would not bother with the council and put all your energies into searching for a longer term private rent.

I was in the same position as you a few years ago, moved on yet again for the 3rd time in 3 years from a private rental. Went to the council as I could not stand moving again with DCs and they made me jump through hoops to get any help at all. Had to go through going to court for a repossession hearing as the council said they would not do anything until the landlords bailiffs turned up at the door to evict us (very stressful) and were then dumped in a absolute shithole of a 'temporary' house which we had to pay full market rent on (no choice in it) as it was privately rented through a letting agent that had a contract with the council. They were shysters, did not repair major water leaks, let us move in although there was a gas leak ('it's OK, it's just a small one, keep the windows open love') and insisted I had not paid rent when I had.

After 2 years of hell, I finally get offered a 'settled' home from the council so I thought the long wait and stress would be worth it - a 2nd floor flat in a shitty block in a shitty area with the token stinky, sweary drunken old pervert living downstairs who complains about everything and calls my DC 'cunts'. I could not refuse this offer as the council would then discharge it's duty to house me and they would evict me from the 'temporary' house. I was told that after my one year introductory council tenancy is over and I become a 'secure' council tenant, I could request a transfer. Yeah right, I have been told it will be a 3/4 year wait for a house from now. I am in despair (4 DCs in a 2nd floor flat with no lift or garden) and it has really dragged me further into depression living here. I have any choice of where and how I lived taken away from me for the last 3 years and the whole psychological impact of feeling like control has been taken away from me is horrible.

I am now having to try and get back into private rent again. I tried to get a 'secure' home for my DCs and it has not been worth it at all. I wish we had never gone down this route. So beware!

AmberLeaf Thu 09-May-13 13:21:35

Naila, also, most London authorities use choice based lettings, where you 'bid' for properties you want.

That gives you much more say over where you live and hopefully your experience would be different from the poster above.

ophelia275 Thu 09-May-13 13:22:09

It is very unlikely you would get social housing anyway as the rules changed last year which means that councils will have fulfilled their obligation to you as a homeless person by finding you somewhere to live and they are now legally entitled to put you back into a private rental, even if it is temporary. This is because there is so much demand for social housing and in the past homelessness has been seen as the fast track to social housing, so a small minority of unscrupulous people have claimed to be homeless to get social housing.

See here;

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 09-May-13 13:42:48

Amberleaf you are correct with your information and are eggellent wink and knowledgeable when it comes to housing info and always gives good advice.

AmberLeaf Thu 09-May-13 14:31:55

Thank you Sock wink I am no eggspert....but I try! grin

andubelievedthat Thu 09-May-13 14:44:28

For someone who seems to be close to being out on the street you seem to be over concerned re money any landlord is receiving ? why, if you need a roof over your head ?,who gives a fuck how much the landlord is getting? as regards council house getting new kitchen ? the housing is an asset ,the council are being prudent in maintaining said property.Those houses are part of a balance sheet come "add up the figures " day.>assets/ example > Glasgow Uni owns an entire St of new build solely to rent out to students ,everything is sub contracted to a.n.other company re maintenance,rent etc ,but at accountancy day ,those properties are a big fat asset,same as council homes.

Pendeen Thu 09-May-13 16:23:49

As others have said, depends on the estate...

There is a group of council houses not far from here which are spacious, beautifully built, well maintained and - as a bonus - have lovely sea views!

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Thu 09-May-13 16:34:49

Hi OP,

We are in Temporary accommodation and the whole process was a bit upsetting but we had no choice as no one would let to us due to housing benefit.

I would say though it is worth speaking to your council and asking if they have a housing options team. My LA worked with some private landlords who were willing to take HB tenants and you didn't need a deposit. It's worth getting in touch with them as they will often try anything to stop you getting to the point of being on their homeless list.

We spent 6 weeks in emergency housing and now will be here (nice 3 bed private flat) for 2 years before we get priority for bidding. We didn't get any choice about being here but the next time we move will be the house we pick and the thought of being in that house with the level of security we will get is worth being here for a couple of years tbh,

usualsuspect Thu 09-May-13 16:43:07

Some people seem to be jealous of those in social housing these days.

So if I were you OP, I would do all I could to get a council house.

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 17:21:05


That is not the case in our LA, in our LA not only do you have to prove that you do not earn enough to rent privately, you have to go on the rent deposit scheme and actively search for other accommodation as there is a complete lack of social housing. Only those who are owed a duty of care under the homeless act are housed.
If there are people in a position to rent privately than they should do so.
In our LA they have introduced 5 year tenancies so that if your circumstances change and you are able to move from social to private then your tenancy ends.
I do not claim to be more deserving than anyone but social housing should be there for dire need, not 'I can't be arsed to pay for private'.
I am my daughters carer, I can't work because she has appointments, I have appointments with the school and I have to be on hand if she needs to come home. She is 5 and in reception.
I did not have a choice, yet there are those fully able to rent privately but cheaper rents mean they play the system and take up social housing that they don't actually need at the expense of others in dire need.
So yes social housing is supposed to be a last resort.

expatinscotland Thu 09-May-13 17:24:33

'I do not claim to be more deserving than anyone but social housing should be there for dire need, not 'I can't be arsed to pay for private'.'

So they don't deserve to have a secure tenancy, but you do?

Bramshott Thu 09-May-13 17:29:03

It might be a last resort these days sad. It shouldn't be, and that wasn't why it was built.

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 17:30:39

My tenancy isn't secure... Read my post... I have a 5 year tenancy

expatinscotland Thu 09-May-13 17:31:58

And? So they don't deserve it but you do? LOL at the hordes of people going through the homeless process because they 'can't be arsed to pay private rental'.

usualsuspect Thu 09-May-13 17:32:55

Council house envy is alive and well on MN then.

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 17:34:49

While I have a dd with a disability and can not work (therefore can not afford private rent), at the present time my need for social housing is a need, not a want.

I don't want to be in council accommodation. I have no choice... It should be last resort, not about secure tenancies.

ophelia275 Thu 09-May-13 17:35:09

Usualsuspect - I totally understand the jealousy. Social housing = secure, longterm tenancies, normally much better quality than private rentals because they are run by the council, not by some shitty landlord who just wants to make a profit and much lower rents. Social housing is like winning the lottery, especially in London!

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 17:36:07

That is not what I was saying expat read my post properly, stop jumping to conclusions or do one!

And actually yes... There were two couples that played the homeless card and got housed so not to pay private rents...

usualsuspect Thu 09-May-13 17:40:09

Why wouldn't you choose a secure tenancy with a reasonable rent over a private let?

The state of private rental in this as country is not the fault of SH tenants.As much as people would . Like to blame them for everything.

AmberLeaf Thu 09-May-13 17:40:56

You cant play the homeless card really, you have to be actually really homeless.

The thing you said about your LAs rent deposit scheme sounds a lot like the flannel that housing depts give people to discourage them from joining the list.

usualsuspect Thu 09-May-13 17:41:22

Sorry about shit typing in that last post

AmberLeaf Thu 09-May-13 17:42:17

rent deposit schemes are an option, but if there is a duty to house....there is a duty to house and financial circs don't necessarily come into it.

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 17:43:40

Actually amber you can.

These two couples did very similar.
Moved in with their parents, got them to kick them out or had kids, went on the register while their partners they had 'split from' earnt up to 30k a year moved into the hostel, stayed there 4 nights a week... Got housed... Miraculously issues resolved partners move in to social housing rent reduction means more for holiday to Disneyland!

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 17:45:16

I don't understand what I am saying that is wrong here...

Is social housing supposed to be a free for all?

If that is the case disregard my post and all join the social housing lists..

expatinscotland Thu 09-May-13 17:45:49

'While I have a dd with a disability and can not work (therefore can not afford private rent), at the present time my need for social housing is a need, not a want.

I don't want to be in council accommodation. I have no choice... It should be last resort, not about secure tenancies.'

But it's a want for everyone else? Bollocks. Why are you any less deserving or a long-term tenancy than someone else?

AmberLeaf Thu 09-May-13 17:50:10

Moved in with their parents, got them to kick them out or had kids

So they didnt have a home then if their parents had kicked them out? having kids would mean they were overcrowded?

went on the register while their partners they had 'split from

LA housing isn't only for single parents!

earnt up to 30k a year

? lots of people in social housing work, in fact most do.

moved into the hostel, stayed there 4 nights a week

Have you ever lived in a hostel? particularly with children? I have, if I could kip at a friends house the odd night a week I would have, staying at someones house isnt the same as having somewhere to live.

Got housed... Miraculously issues resolved partners move in to social housing rent reduction means more for holiday to Disneyland!

You sound liked you've fallen for the misconception that LA housing is only for poor single parents!

usualsuspect Thu 09-May-13 17:50:15

Anyone can apply for social housing.

So yes it is a free for all in a way.

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 17:51:54

That's it, twist what I am saying expat lovely...

Not for everyone.... I didn't say everyone. Show me where I say I'm the only one in dire need.
All I'm saying is if it is not a dire need, then social housing is a last resort.

If I'm wrong... I apologise. But don't twist what I say.

AmberLeaf Thu 09-May-13 17:52:23

Eligibility is about housing need.

expatinscotland Thu 09-May-13 17:53:41

Yep, here we go again. My friend's hamster's pet sitter got a 4-bed detached council house in Primrose Hill after pretending to be homeless and they go to Lanzarote every weekend now. It should be ME who has that house! I deserve it more! Everyone else can just put up with private letting and moving every 4 months.

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 17:54:50

Everyone keeps twisting what I am saying....

No it isn't for single parents but it is not for those who wouldn't meet the criteria if they told the truth and said they lived with their partners.

One of the mums said she had her dd to get social housing.

I'm going to get flamed whatever I say....

expatinscotland Thu 09-May-13 17:55:06

Being homeless is a dire need. What Amber says.

usualsuspect Thu 09-May-13 17:56:12

You are wrong.

Plenty of people who live in so SH work.

Good luck to them I say.

Moan about private LLs and short term let's if you want to sort the housing situation out.

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 17:57:00

I'm sure you are having fun there expat

Keep twisting...I'm sure I've said something else in there you can take offence to

Dinkysmummy Thu 09-May-13 17:57:44

Forget it...

I'm wrong...

I apologise

Flame me shoot me

I'm done

expatinscotland Thu 09-May-13 17:58:18

Exactly, usual. Well-put.

AmberLeaf Thu 09-May-13 18:08:45

No it isn't for single parents but it is not for those who wouldn't meet the criteria if they told the truth and said they lived with their partners

Lived where with their partners?

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 09-May-13 22:02:01

Well I was going to jump in and explain the rules and the actual law regarding social housing but I now see I don't need to.

So on that note I'm off for a nice cup of tea and a snooze.

amber as you were,your doing well

mrsjay Thu 09-May-13 22:07:04

I think dinkys situation just shows how bad social housing has got I dont think it is the same in all areas though the criteria isn't like that everywhere although social housing is like hens teeth and anybody who gets offered one and doesn't take it is a loon ,

mrsjay Thu 09-May-13 22:09:30

so if people work they cant have a CH or go to d disney world what confused

nailak Thu 09-May-13 22:24:25

ok andu I was thinking about using that money to pay for deposit for next place as it would help me out, is that not clear?

RE rent deposit scheme I did look at it and seems my council has rent bond scheme in which they dont actually give landlord a deposit and i cannot understand why any landlord would take that, i also know finding a landlord who takes the rent bond scheme is a lot harder then finding one which takes dss which is already hard enough. There are hundreds of people on the scheme and only few landlords.

amber thank you, you seem to under stand what I am saying, but it is the lack of control and total sense of being at someone esles whims that terrifies me, it is not easy to get involved and I am scared of ending up like TTTT

Also the things I am doing now I am hoping will lead to paid employment. If I have to move somwehre esle for two years and then somewhere else it is hard to build these links with organisations who will then employ you.

and i know people who have been looking for rent bond scheme and in temporary accomodation for 4+ years.

When I first moved here it took me a couple of years to be at the place I am now. I am scared of having to start over!

As for the poster who said it would be harder for my kids I should think about them, I actually disagree, it is easier for kids to make new friends etc as they are in school every day, for adults it is a lot harder, and if I am depressed and demotivated it will defnitely have negative effect on my kids and family life.

AmberLeaf Thu 09-May-13 23:32:11

How large is your borough? would you be so far away from where you are now? wouldn't you still be able to keep the links you have going currently? I think I remember roughly where you are, but not sure which borough, in my borough, I could get around it whichever part I was in, but I know thats not necessarily possible everywhere.

but it is the lack of control and total sense of being at someone esles whims that terrifies me

That is how I see living in private accommodation!

I really do understand your concerns and I agree it isn't easy to make connections in a new place, but I think you should give yourself some deserved credit. you sound motivated and ambitious.

AmberLeaf Thu 09-May-13 23:33:32

Thanks Sock!

nailak Fri 10-May-13 00:36:51

with the choice lettings they can house me across about 4/ 5 boroughs

gadget86 Fri 10-May-13 07:57:24


Good luck with which ever way you decide to go, it must be a difficult position to be in flowers

Yes SH is a last resort, but if you need it, that is what it is there for

You do get a choice, you get 3 choices here and then you go to the back of the list, you can also specify a certain amount of areas.

Hope you manage to find something.

AmberLeaf Fri 10-May-13 10:32:02

Are you 100% sure on that Naila?

I know that some of the schemes cover various boroughs but if you are on one boroughs list then you should be bidding on that boroughs properties. There is an option sometimes to go out of borough but not a requirement.

The good thing about the choice based system though is that you can pick properties in the area that suits you.

nailak Fri 10-May-13 11:13:29

if you go in emergency accomodation they can house you anywhere, you get 3 choices, but if u reject first 2 have to take 3rd otherwise they wont house u.

AmberLeaf Fri 10-May-13 12:29:41

Choices for what? Temporary accom?

If they have the choice based bidding system, then you would only pick the areas you want.

The other thing I wanted to say was it is better to go through this while your children are still fairly young (not sure how old your eldest is?) As it is easier for the kids to resettle.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 15:51:55

If its a allocation system rather than a bidding one on the form they ask you what areas your interested in and they don't make an offer outside those. You can also reject with a good reason so if for example it was near a violent ex's family or your child had a genuine reason for not being able to cope with a change of school and the allocation would make your journey more than 90 mins walking you could refuse without penalty.

If its bidding you only bid on ones you want.

nailak Fri 10-May-13 17:27:20

But before bidding we would be put in to temporary accommodation, then the average wait for three bed in bidding system is eight to twelve years

AmberLeaf Fri 10-May-13 17:48:23

You wouldn't be in temp accom for 8-12 years.

The avg wait of 8-12 yrs on the bidding system won't apply to those in temp accom.

nailak Fri 10-May-13 20:43:40

I Know a lot of people that are in temporary accommodation and have been for that amount of time. They encourage them to get out of temp accommodation and in to private housing n bnd scheme but no landlords take bond scheme. Temp accommodation also tends to be one bedroom less. Out of my friends quite a few have been in temp accommodation for around 4 years. You can only be in b and b for three months but temp accommodation doesn't seem to be limit!

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 21:07:07

But once you have the temp place they don't often move you until you have a allocation. So more secure than most private rentals.

AmberLeaf Fri 10-May-13 21:35:23

Either way, it is a lot more secure and cheaper than private renting.

Staying in private is putting off the inevitable IMO.

A private let will never be a 'forever home' you will have to leave at some point and more than likely it wont be at a time of your choosing.

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Sat 11-May-13 00:02:14

Check with your LA on their temp housing system.

If you're declared homeless and placed in Temp housing in my LA you are in a low priority banding for two years then bumped up to the top band where you will get a bid accepted.

2 years classed as homeless seemed quite routine from what I had read.

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