how do I move on benefits?

(6 Posts)
oxcat1 Wed 08-Jun-16 14:50:00

I have posted a few threads before about my situation, but this is quite a specific set of queries and I wonder if people have any ideas?

I need to move into London to be near family and friends, having had a really rough few years with severe illness and my husband running off with my best friend. I'm looking at moving to Peckham/East Dulwich, to e within 'walking' distance of friends.

However, how do you move into London if your sole income is benefits? With my current 'income', I can afford a 1-bed flat, but I don't understand the practicalities of moving...

At the moment I receive full housing benefit, at this 2-bedroom rate as I have care overnight. However, the rate for a month here is the less than the equivalent rate for a fortnight in London. I know that I should be eligible for the same equivalent 2-bed rate, but when I apply for a property, first I need to persuade the agent to get past the prevalent prejudice against those on benefits, but also the affordability check will not work out as I do not yet receive enough to rent in London, although I should once I have moved?

1) How do I persuade an agent to accept me, solely on benefits?

2) how does the affordability check work out when the rate is so different in your current area to London?

3) London properties seem to be advertised for immediate availability, but because I am in receipt of full-time care, I need to give them significant notice in order to allow a new company to be recruited and trained. How can I work that?

4) I am currently in a wheelchair, and have been on and off for years. I need to find a ground-floor flat, but without steps up to the front door, or inside. This isn't always made clear in the description, and agents don't always know, but I can't view a property without a lot of forewarning, as it means my care team taking me and a long day travelling to and from London. How do I find somewhere suitable? It doesn't need to be adapted, just accessible.

Any help, on any points, hugely appreciated.

specialsubject Wed 08-Jun-16 15:19:25

Be aware that it is not prejudice against benefits. There are many reasons why landlords cannot rent to claimants.

But it isn't all landlords.

Hope someone more local can help with your other questions.

oxcat1 Wed 08-Jun-16 16:56:26

Sorry - I suppose I meant 'prejudice' in the sense of having preconceived ideas. I understand that for some those preconceived ideas may be held by, for example, the insurance company rather than the landlords themselves, but what it still means is that the answer can sometimes be an automatic 'no' when they hear I am on benefits.

For some, it is solely due to fear or apprehension, rightly or not, about the kinds of people who might be on benefits and the responsibility they will afford the property. With them, oh many occasions, when they have met me, and seen me in my wheelchair with my care team, they have been prepared to waive their 'No DSS' rule. However, getting to London in order to meet each agent personally is tough, hence wondering if anybody could direct me.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Wed 08-Jun-16 17:06:46

Being really honest, it will be tough.

You could hire an estate agent to find you somewhere that meets your needs, including accessibility, and put down a holding deposit for you so you can make plans to move. You'd probably have overlapping rent if you need more than a months' notice of the move, though, because the landlord won't want the property empty. That would get around a few of your issues but would mean trusting the agent.

The bigger problem will be that finding somewhere to rent in London for the LHA rate, which is currently £260 for two bedrooms in Peckham, and then convincing everyone necessary that you will be eligible for benefits and they'll be paid with no issue. Do you have a deposit? Six months upfront might help, then you could get the claim set up in that time.

It'll be a challenge. Perhaps slightly less of a challenge than trying to get council housing in London but the housing situation in London is pretty poor for everyone but the mega-rich.

Do you have friends elsewhere, incase you need a back-up plan?

oxcat1 Wed 08-Jun-16 18:39:27

Thanks for your thoughts. £260 Per week does enable me to get a flat, but it is persuading people that it can be done that will be the tricky bit, as you say.

My current rental said 'no DSS', but agreed on condition the full six months' rent was paid upfront. I can't really do that for a London flat as, whilst I can put down the deposit, I won't have enough for 6 x London rents. Also, because of the way the agent dealt with my payments this time, I won't be able to get proof that I could have paid on time each month. I have put my housing benefit (and additional, as that doesn't quite cover it, even here) away each month, ready to pay the next 6-months in advance, but of course I can't prove that. The landlord is certainly happy with how I have kept the House and can provide a reference, but can't really assure anybody about my personal financial management.

I have settled on London as my brother is also very close, plus a number of friends in easy walking distance of each other. Most other friends come from large cities, where u lived very happy will my ex-DH. Given how badly I am coping with the split, and how little I have moved on emotionally, I don't think I could manage in one of the places where we lived before. These friends are all pre-DH so knew me at university.

How would I go about hiring an agent to find somewhere? That is exactly what I need, and they might even know about places before they come on the rental market, but I didn't know agents did that kind of thing.

PuraVida Wed 08-Jun-16 19:21:49

I've no idea how to deal with the housing benefit stuff but Gould you get your brother or friends to scope out potential flats to see if they are accessible?

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