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To ask how easy is it to get a private rental property on housing benefit and should I snap up the flat I have found?

(8 Posts)
ae123 Wed 05-Mar-14 21:59:33

I found out on monday that my landlords are selling the flat me and DD have been living in for the last 2 years because they want to retire.

Unfortunately I was made redundant a few months back so am currently on housing benefit. Being on housing benefit means that my choices of private rent are extremely restricted as for insurance/mortgage reasons, many landlords cannot rent to people of HB. I have already been to the council who say they will help me sooner to my deadline to move out but say that there is an extreme social housing shortage in the city that I live in.

I found a private rent flat today - it is 2 bedrooms, the rightish sort of area, the right price for me. The problem is that it is filthy, there is a bit of black mold around the top of the kitchen window (the letting agent said that it had only been pointed out to her since its been vacant), it smelt quite musty, there was a wet patch on the ceiling of one of the bedrooms (agent said that the shower in the flat above leaked but it is fixed now). The view in the back is of someone elses' messy garden and the view from the front is a motorway bridge. I know beggars can't be choosers and all, and I could paint and scrub the flat to make it a bit nicer.

I've been quite spoilt because the flat that I've lived in the last 2 years has been lovely (I was working at the time when I got it).

I'm so worried of making the wrong choice either by taking the property (it's the first one I have seen) and then it not being very nice or not taking it and regretting it because I haven't subsequently been able to find anything else.

Does anyone have any experience of trying to find property when on housing benefit? How did it pan out - are there nice stuff out there or are they very rare?

extremepie Wed 05-Mar-14 22:10:50

In my experience getting any place when you're on HB is very difficult, I wouldn't say necessarily take it straight away but just bear in mind that it could be hard to get somewhere else!

Good luck smile

specialsubject Wed 05-Mar-14 22:21:34

obviously there is nothing to be done about the view. But if the location is ok then can you live with it?

is the wet patch actually wet (in which case the problem hasn't been fixed) or just a stain? Can you negotiate to have the place steam-cleaned and redecorated before you move in?

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 05-Mar-14 22:25:19

That's a tough one! Apart from being close to a motorway, is the area otherwise nice?

If so, I would be tempted to take it.

ShitOnAStick Wed 05-Mar-14 22:29:41

It's very difficult op but they shouldn't be letting a filthy flat, ask if they'll clean it before you move in. I'd probably take it if I were you, if you find employment and come off housing benefit then you can find somewhere nicer. Good luck with your search/move.

RestingActress Wed 05-Mar-14 22:33:41

The majority of landlords are not able to accept tenants on HB, but there are some that can, and they know that the market can be quite lucrative depending upon the area, but unfortunately you will often find that because they are few and far between that the quality of property can be quite poor.

Is there anyone that could stand as a guarantor for you? This might get round the problem

purpleroses Wed 05-Mar-14 22:41:23

Yes it can be very hard to find a place on HB.
Damp can often be more to do with how the place is lived in rather than something inherent in the flat itself so probably solvable. If you believed the agent when he said about the shower upstairs now being fixed then it would probably be worth going for it if you can live with the views.

Or have a quick phone around tomorrow to see if there are any other options, and snap it up if there aren't.

Yes you're right a lot of landlords are prevented taking tenants on HB because of conditions of their mortgage or insurance. And some won't because in some areas the market rent they can get for it is a lot higher than HB will pay.

BumpyGrindy Wed 05-Mar-14 22:44:06

OP you should speak to your local council as they have a list of landlords who are happy to let to those in receipt of HB. They will also pay your deposit for you. Call the local housing dept and ask tomorrow.

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