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to ask a simple question about social housing without it turning into a bunfight or a benefit bashing thread?

(19 Posts)
littlemisssarcastic Sun 11-Nov-12 20:45:08

Whilst it may not be the most conventional way of getting oneself housed by HA or Council, is it in fact an effective way of climbing the waiting list faster by hassling/harrassing/continually phoning council, writing to MP/midwife/health visitor, GP.

If the sole intention is to be housed by the council, and bearing in mind how difficult it is to be housed in social housing lately, are any of the above methods successful in speeding up the process, and if they are not, what is the fastest way of being offered a council/HA property?

For example, what do you think a couple would have to do if they lived in a 4 bed council house, with 2 children, their brother, his wife and their child and their mother?
Can harrasing the council, making yourself known down at the council regularly help?
Is phoning the council daily helpful?

I'm not sure what my stance is tbh, hence asking. I can't help thinking that if the council don't have the properties, then no amount of telephoning or writing to the council is going to help, but on the other side of the coin, I hear quite a few people saying they are just going to keep harrassing the council for a place and eventually they will get one, and they believe if they sit back and wait their turn, they will never be offered a place.

So, AIBU to expect this not to turn into a bashing thread or a bunfight? And AIBU to believe that harrassing the council is probably not the best way to go about securing a council property? Or at least not as effective as some people might believe it to be, since the council can't house people in properties they don't have available? And AIBU to believe that it's probably quite difficult to increase your points to bid on properties substantially by writing letters to MP/GP/HV/MW or phoning the council every day?

mumblechum1 Sun 11-Nov-12 20:47:22

I don't know from experience, thank God, but I suspect that YANBU.

KellyMarieTunstall Sun 11-Nov-12 20:50:09

YabVu expecting this to be bunfight free smile

Ya also bu expecting things to be the same as they were several years ago. It was entirely possible to do as you suggest and harass the council for a place by phoning every day and bringing in bigger guns as necessary.

It is a wholly different paying field now and I dont think that such tactics would work and would most likely put you in a worse situation as you would be marked as a potentially problem tenant.No-one wants a problem tenant.

pouffepants Sun 11-Nov-12 20:50:52

I waited patiently for 4 years, for an adapted property for my husband who had to live in residential care in the meantime.

After a second large housing estate was built, and we told again that they had 'forgotten' us, we started harassing people, and a local counsellor started investigating. We discovered that we weren't on the housing list at all. it is my belief that they thought xdh would die before they had to do anything with us.

once we started legal action they housed us quite quickly, despite previously telling us that there were no suitable properties. With that and other people's tales I'm lead to believe that they will only house when put under great pressure.

Onebadbackandalostpelvicfloor Sun 11-Nov-12 20:53:13

Yes harassing helps. As does getting drs reports and housing needs assessments from social services.

You really need to know how to work the system to get help unfortunately which is why frequently people who genuinely need help get left behind

nailak Sun 11-Nov-12 20:53:36

You just have to bid, if you have priority status, you have priority status and letters won't help that.

spottybotts Sun 11-Nov-12 20:54:02

Who is the actual tenant in the council house?

ThatBastardSanta Sun 11-Nov-12 20:57:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NettleTea Sun 11-Nov-12 20:57:20

well I am not sure it was a coincidence that I was offered a transfer to a bigger house the day after I sent them a letter which cc'd the local MP but I did have written evidence that they had lied and misled me, AND I was in a situation which put my child at serious risk, so it wasnt a case of simple over occupancy.
I do see what you mean about a lack of properties meaning no amount of harranging could work - our area only has 4 bed, and not that many of them. there is nothing bigger, so if you needed bigger you could be swinging from the rooftops every day and it wouldnt make the slightest difference.
And isnt there a wierd bidding thing going on now? I dont understand it, but I thought it wasnt as clear cut as a list that you reach the top of?
I would guess that the OPs described situation could only be resolved by some of the group moving out and declaring themselves homeless, and possibly going into emergency housing until a place was found? In that situation I would think the brother and wife with the 1 child would be best placed, as a child would have more priority that their mother on her own. A family fall out situation.

Roseformeplease Sun 11-Nov-12 20:58:46

Many, many years ago I went to my MP's surgery to get myself, my mother and 3 siblings rehoused as we were being evicted. I was 18 and he was very kind, wrote a letter and, "Hey Presto" we were found housing 200 yards away within the week. I will never know if it was down to his intervention or it was just that we were in urgent need (all my siblings are younger and were in school) and only had a month left before being homeless. My father, on another matter, got considerably better treatment on the NHS before he died by being an excellent, and persistent, letter writer.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sun 11-Nov-12 21:00:42

I would have thought that how much effect hassling the council will have will depend on the individual council.

I don't have any personal experience but if I were in a position to need a council home, I'd be playing the game and getting letters from professionals and keeping in contact with the council.

littlemisssarcastic Sun 11-Nov-12 21:01:06

spottybots In the scenario I have described, the tenant is the mother.

lovelyladuree Sun 11-Nov-12 21:19:46

Many years ago, when my mother was trying to get us rehoused, a local councillor told her to trawl the streets looking for an empty council property and then go to the council offices and ask for it. And nag, and pester and nag some more. They do want all of their properties occupied. And if you volunteer to take on a shitty looking place in a grotty area, they will love you forever. Good luck.

StaceeJaxx Sun 11-Nov-12 21:26:48

We only got our HA house 4 years ago because the house we lived in was under Compulsory Purchase Order by the council and they had to rehouse us. I have no idea how else we would have got one because even though the house we lived in at the time was falling down around us (and the shitty landlord refused to fix it, including the huge hole in the roof above my baby's cot) we weren't a priority. We got lucky, had to endure years of hell on earth living in that house first though.

LilyRosa Sun 11-Nov-12 21:52:45

If the tennant is the mother then the other families i suspect would have to have their own applications.

It depends on what grounds you think you need re housing. Hasseling council officers will make no difference what so ever in my experience (am relativley well experienced working for an mp) - your MP is the wrong person to contact anyway given they have no jurisdicition over local authorites - if you contact anyone it needs to be your councillor.

Things are no where near how they were 2, 5, 10, 20 years ago. Since the opportunity to buy council houses as been possible housing stock is low, people rarely move out of larger properties, and larger properties arent a priority for rsl's to build. More and more people ar declaring themselves unintentionally homeless due to things such as evivction due to landlords not paying mortgages etc so the limited housing stock that there is is being streatched more than ever.

I would suggest that you make sure the housing application is uptodate including any medical priority that may be due. Calling the council on a daily basis is not going to magically make a 5+ bedroom house materialise when i expect the council has very few such properties in their stock in the first place.

DimLight Sun 11-Nov-12 21:54:56

I can offer some advice as this is my area of work:
Speak to a helpful member of staff to get their advice on your exact situation. It might have to be a manager if the day to day staff are not well trained.
Look at your areas allocation policy. Should be online. This will tell you the ins & outs & help you see where you fit with regards to priority status.
As for harrassing with letters from gp, mp etc. It depends. If there are other issues about you that they can point out, it can help. But its no guarantee. There is much more emphasis these days on councils following the rules & not bending them for these reasons. But a healthy level of harrassment will usually make sure someone senior sees your case & makes sure you are in the right band/priority award. There is discretion to move people up the list at times but its usually in extreme circumstances & managers have to cover their backs & be fair to others on the list too.
Be proactive & if there is a bidding system, less people bid at Xmas or holiday periods so lower down bands sometimes are successful then.
Also make sure you are on all the local social landlords waiting lists/registers. Some HA have their own & you night find do bend the rules a bit more than the council if they think you will be a good tenant.
Finally, be realistic. Some areas are so busy & in demand that it will always be the most urgent cases that get housed. Often the case in London, but in the north it can be easier.
Good luck.

When I worked for Social Services 10+ years ago the people who shouted loudest definitely got housed quicker.

Dandelion75 Sun 11-Nov-12 22:07:12

I work in social housing and have done for years, for both HA's and councils. 'Hassling' really does not get you anywhere - especially now when waiting lists nationwide are longer than ever before. However you referred to getting GP's letters etc, and these can make a difference if for example you think you should have additional priority because of a medical or social need. However there is a maximum amount of priority or points you can get for medical needs, so a limit to how far up the list you can get with medical priority. Those people who are telling you that they are getting housed quicker just through 'hassling' are unlikely to be telling the full truth.
IME MP letters have little effect, other than getting the priority that has already been awarded to be double checked. Just because we get an MP letter, the landlord will not be able to award additional points outside the limits of the allocations policy.
The other factor to bear in mind is that the number of available homes in most parts of the country is shrinking, the number of people waiting is growing - so inevitably there is waiting time. Sadly now even the 'grotty' properties are going like hot cakes in many areas simply because the is more demand. In addition, you will never be aware of the rehousing needs of the people who are higher up the list than you, and the HA will never be able to tell you those other people's circumstances - but they will have been properly assessed using the same criteria that was applied to your application, and they simply have higher priority.
I think you have a very realistic perspective on this OP. I would suggest you book an appointment with someone from leggings/allocations at the HA to review your application and make certain that they are fully aware of all of your circs and that you have all of the points you are entitled to - it is unfortunate.y quite easy for circs to not come across fully on a written application so a face to face to review so you and the HA are satisfied the points/priority are all correct is often worthwhile. They will also be able to advise you on the waiting times for different estates and areas, as sometimes you can get onto a much shorter list just by joining other lists for other very nearby areas.
HTH and good luck.

MammaTJ Sun 11-Nov-12 22:12:20

I think that not so much hassling but making them aware of you by phoning and being polite does help.

If there are two people (I know this NEVER happens) going for a house and they have the same amount of points, or are both on Gold band, then a decision has to be made. Now, they are going to give it to the person who takes up twenty minutes of their week, rather than the one they never hear from.

I know because I did this!

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