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To really not know what to do next RE housing situation?

(138 Posts)
extremepie Fri 06-Dec-13 19:22:46

Bit of background, me & DH split up recently meaning I have had to give up my job due to childcare difficulties.

We actually got given notice to quit on our current rented house in June because our 6 month contract had expired and they didn't want to renew as they are elderly and want to sell the house.

There was a property we were due to move in to that is owned by a former friend but it needed quite major renovations so landlords agreed to let us stay until it was ready. Unfortunately at the last minute friend changed her mind (after me & DH split) & said we could no longer have the house.

I have been looking for a private rented place since September with no luck, the issues are as follows:

I don't drive & wanted to stay close to DS' school - I have relaxed this a bit to include anywhere in a certain area that is close to any school as so few have come up in the area I wanted!

I am receiving HB (LHA) but do not have a guarentor so 80% of agencies & private rentals will not touch me with a barge pole.

I am on the council lisg for a property. I have 2 boys so the council say I only need 2 beds but DS2 has ASD and quite severe sleep issues which impact heavily on DS1 if they share a room so we have had a social worker & paediatrician write letters recommending DS2 have his own room to minimise the disturbance but the council have only given us the option to bid on 2 bed houses.

We are on band e so have virtually no hope of getting a couple place any time soon anyway!

I have found a property that looks perfect & may actually possibly take us on with our circumstances but I have been told because there is a £150 a month difference between the HB we get & the rent on the house the council will not help us move into it (with the rent deposit scheme) because it is too expensive & we need to look for somewhere cheaper.

It's driving me mad & I don't know what to do next! It's a bloody miracle I managed to find the one I did & now they are saying they won't help so what's my next option? Sit & wait to get evicted & then stuck in a hostel or temporary accommodation until we can get housed?

No clue where to go next sad

GailTheGoldfish Fri 06-Dec-13 19:46:15

The charity Shelter should be able to advise you. Either them or CAB. You need some proper advice about your situation. Good luck.

mumofweeboys Fri 06-Dec-13 20:14:13

Any chance a 2 bed house council house might have a separate dining room that you could convert to a bedroom.

DeckTheHallsWithBoughsOfHorry Fri 06-Dec-13 20:24:00

Can you share with DS1? Plan to bid on two-bed sharing with him until your paed statement comes through, then bid on three-bed?

scott2609 Fri 06-Dec-13 20:30:57

Have you made a formal homeless application or not? You should do.

Under S,184 of the Housing Act 1996 (Part VII) your local authority are required to take a homeless application because, at the moment, there is reason to believe you are:

1) Eligible (I presume you're British)

2) Facing homelessness. (Your landlord has served you with a notice seeking possession)

3) In priority need. (You have dependent children).

The council must then make enquiries as to whether they owe you a full housing duty. This means being 'satisfied' in law that you definitely fulfill the above criteria and then also:

4) Not intentionally homeless (Your landlord is selling the house- you wouldn't be intentionally homeless)

5) Have a local connection. (As long as you've lived there at least 6 months out of the past year)

Once they're satisfied that you pass the above tests, they have a duty to provide you with emergency accommodation if you become homeless, and then ensure that you are permanently housed into suitable accommodation.

Suitable means affordable. A property £150 per month above LHA is just not going to be affordable. The council I worked for wouldn't give financial assistance if the rent was even £50 above the LHA rate. Don't take it personally- it would be unlawful for them to do it. It would be really irresponsible, and if arrears were accrued, would just result in your ultimate homelessness again.

But I do sympathise so much. I see every day in my job how extraordinarily difficult it is for people just to get something as basic as a roof over their head. People frequently report how much they feel like 'scum' because they're faced everyday with property adverts saying 'no HB tenants' even if they've got amazing references as long as their arm.

You should also consider that if you fulfill those five tests, the council can increase your banding to the highest available so that you are more likely to secure social housing. Since the Localism Act however, authorities can 'discharge their duty' into private rented accommodation as well, so long as it suitable and on at least a 12 month fixed term.

But I agree with the above poster- you really need to contact Shelter and see if there is a local housing advice service near you, where you can get legal advice and representation.

Please do let me know if you want further advice.

Theincidental Fri 06-Dec-13 20:31:52

When were you last assessed for housing?

If your housing has fallen through and you have a deadline to leave your existing home, then you are threatened with homlessness which constitutes a need to re-assess your banding.

Go to your local authority housing advice team and ask. Also ask if they can help with deposits or guaranteeing for you, as there are often schemes to help you get into private rental.

You have to keep on and at them to get anywhere.

You sound like you need help, so ask for it from them; it's their job to help people in need.

foslady Fri 06-Dec-13 20:32:33

I don't know where you live, but are you on choice based lettings? If so are there ever any properties that don't get a bid on them? With the RSA I work for, we usually have 6-12 a week go to 'Direct Let', meaning anyone can bid on them which would get you your extra bedroom.
Also google Registered social Landlords 'your area' to see who else has affordable rent properties

extremepie Fri 06-Dec-13 22:07:06

I only signed on to the council housing list in the last month so they have assessed very recently based on our current circumstances sad

Theincidental Fri 06-Dec-13 22:36:13

When do you have to be out by and did your current landlords give you a correct notice to quit?

In my case they upped my banding in the last eight weeks if my tenancy which enabled me to have a shot on bidding for homes.

MidniteScribbler Fri 06-Dec-13 22:47:43

Can you sleep on a sofa bed or set up your own bed in the living room if you get a two bedder? Not ideal, but better that than a motel or b&b. Good luck.

HowBadCanThisGet Fri 06-Dec-13 22:54:30

There is a Discretionary Housing Payments scheme, which all councils must run by law. You need to apply to the council in writing, and I would put all the information that you can in, including the doctors letters saying that the children can't share.

You may be able to get extra money to top up your rent.

The law is changing to allow for an extra room for children that cannot share, but they have to be on middle or higher rate DLA care to count.

RedLondonBus Fri 06-Dec-13 23:18:39

Yes, you can forego a bedroom of your own. Many of us have done that and found it workable

expatinscotland Fri 06-Dec-13 23:28:43

Their father should be stumping up the extra difference in rent. Is he paying maintenance?

CookieB Fri 06-Dec-13 23:41:24

You should contact 1 of your local MSP's. They will push this matter further for you. I am studying Politics at the moment & have been through hell with my local authority for the last 2 years for many reasons. Pester the life out of them & keep note of every correspondence. I am clued up now but remember budgets have been cut but you are still entitled to what you deserve. Do not let them fob you off. Research your local council and how they should help you. That's the way I get through to them(all guns blazing).

extremepie Sat 07-Dec-13 10:27:08

Howbad ds2 does get high rate care and low rate mobility so that should help a bit :/

Problem is even if I can find a 2 bed place I can afford it still doesnt help me if the landlords wont take me on because Im on benefits with no guarentor sad

Ds' father has moved 300 odd miles away and is living with friends currently not working so I dont get a penny from him, in fact I am still paying for his mobile so I can contact him! It sucks sad

SaucyJack Sat 07-Dec-13 10:36:31

Could you borrow the money from family for a deposit on a private let?

There's no point going through the council if they've assessed you as only needing a two-bed, and you won't take one.

expatinscotland Sat 07-Dec-13 12:16:07

If he has night rate care, I would definitely go to your MP. They should be offering you three bedrooms.

bluecheeseforbreakfast Sat 07-Dec-13 13:06:20

Why don't you move into a 2 bed council house and either share with one of the dc or sleep in the living room? I find the perceived need for each family memberto have their own room odd, especially when you have such few options.

youarewinning Sat 07-Dec-13 13:13:29

With a disabled child and facing homelessness I would have thought you should have been on priority banding. I was on top band - but not emergency/ priority when not even facing homelessness. A friend of mine has just got a priority move due to having a child on hrc who was a risk to their sibling due to violence.
Have you also had your HB assessed since getting hrc because that entitles you to a premium on HB to help towards costs of needing bigger/ certain accommodation.

Have you got a copy of your councils housing criteria?

CoffeeTea103 Sat 07-Dec-13 13:37:45

You are being offered a 2 bed place and yet you can't seem to make this work. Do you realize that there are many people who don't even have an option of turning anywhere let alone having a bedroom issue? Share with your DS1, sleep in the lounge, make a plan!

Lillilly Sat 07-Dec-13 13:51:09

Have you been to housing associations directly? They may have properties, and will be cheaper. If you can get a 3 bed and pay bedroom tax, it will be much cheaper than private, also the entire rent will be cheaper when you come off benefits.

Maybe a bit too weird for you but there are a few supported housing/ hotels with flats near me where they need someone to be on site overnight.

Lastly, people with holiday lets will sometimes have a tenant for a few months over the winter, just as a stop gap

expatinscotland Sat 07-Dec-13 14:06:24

' I find the perceived need for each family memberto have their own room odd, especially when you have such few options.'

The child is disabled and you find that odd that they should have their own room?

I wonder how many would be willing to swap places with the OP, since she has it so easy. I don't begrudge people who have a disabled child a fecking bedroom because, having had one, I'd have rather lived in a hole if it meant we didn't have to live like that.

extremepie Sat 07-Dec-13 14:45:54

I've been assessed as needing a 2 bed not been offered one - I'm still on band E so I will not get a look in on any available properties anyway (band E is as low as it goes)!

Youare, DS has been on high rate care for months & HB was recently reassessed & had not changed so either they haven't taken it into account or it hasn't made a difference sad

expatinscotland Sat 07-Dec-13 14:47:39

Get onto your MP! You should be assessed for 3 bed if he is on higher-rate care DLA and your banding changed.

judgejudithjudy Sat 07-Dec-13 15:47:49

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