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Struggling to accept my social housing situation [sad]

(87 Posts)
TaserPet Mon 24-Oct-16 14:13:05

Myself and 15 year old daughter were finally re-housed by social housing. We were totally desperate, so took the first available offered place. Our flat is not bad - I've really worked hard to make it a home. But its very small, no garden and is in a noisy, densely populated area with some 'challenging' neighbours.

My problem is that I fear I/we might be stuck here forever now. There is no way we could afford to move to private housing again, assuming it was even available to someone single in their 50s in receipt of HB (due to health reasons I should add).

I think my problem is just accepting my situation basically. I feel grateful for somewhere to live and I do count my blessings as often as I can. But it just feels like I'm not where I want to be physically, and I'm one of those people who is sensitive to their environment - but feel I can't change it realistically-speaking...

I can't put this in Relationships, as strictly speaking not a relationship issue, but maybe some insights or helpful thoughts here?

TaserPet Mon 24-Oct-16 14:15:05

Forgot to add, I have tried being on an "exchange" Register, but have found the people who are interested are only in the same position as me. Exchange tends to be like-for-like.

MadHattersWineParty Mon 24-Oct-16 14:17:56

Well, sorry to be unhelpful but I'm struggling to see what anyone could suggest!

You've said yourself it's your issue in 'accepting the situation'. How can we help you to do that?

Are the neighbours causing real problems?

expatinscotland Mon 24-Oct-16 14:20:17

I'm in the same boat. I've accepted it, though.

MoveItMoveItMoveIt Mon 24-Oct-16 14:20:55

Being frank how bad is the flat?

How small/ what kind of building/ what kind of neighbours? Is the rent high?

YANBU but we need more detail then it may be easier to help.

expatinscotland Mon 24-Oct-16 14:23:43

Yeah, exchanges are all 'I'd like a house with a big back garden in a nice neighbourhood.'

emmeline25 Mon 24-Oct-16 14:25:18

I think a lot of people are in your situation. I had a council house in an area I hated. I was absolutely miserable as house prices are ridiculously high. I don't have any advice but just know you're not alone. It's really hard when you don't like where you live.

expatinscotland Mon 24-Oct-16 14:27:27

Oh, loads of people are in this situation. I have about 6 close personal friends who are.

SecretPeanut Mon 24-Oct-16 14:29:49

I work for a Main Contractor that carries out maintenance on behalf of a Local Authority. Your flat might be small and you got annoying neighbours but sometimes i would give my right arm to live in a LA property.

This isn't an attempt to change the topic but just think of all those private housing maintenance costs internally and externally that you are not liable for. I'm not saying all LA housing is perfect or up to standard but we work bloody hard to try and make sure tenants are happy.

Sometimes you just can't please some people

People pay a fortune to live in noisy, densely populated bits of London. This is not a facetious remark but a comment on perceptions. What can see like a great place to one person can feel awful to another and both will be valid feelings.
I wonder if some of your discomfort relates to how you came to need the housing and the restrictions your health problems may cause on where you live (this is pure guesswork on my behalf and may be totally wrong). Perhaps you are not leading the life you hoped.

What can you do about it? May be you can't change where you live but can you make your flat as homely as possible so it feels like an oasis. Are there good things about your area that you can focus on or community groups you can get involved with? If you can't move is there any way to make you feel more at home?

snakeyline Mon 24-Oct-16 14:37:01

OP I'm in a small council flat with no garden and in a deprived area, it's hard and I feel a pang whenever I see lovely three bed houses that I'll never be able to live in. But I've learned to accept it, because there are lots of plusses - the rent of course is very cheap (about a third of private rental flats in the same block), I never have to worry about my tenancy ending, my landlord covers all repair costs (I felt very glad about that when my homeowner friends were complaining about the cost of a new boiler). And there is so much more I can do with my home compared to a private rental - there are no restrictions on how I decorate it.

I'm in London so house prices/rentals are very expensive, and most of my friends my age (in my 30s) can't afford to buy here so they are in worse positions in being in private rentals, some of them are flatshares as the rents are so high. The ones who have been able to buy have had to move out much further from the city centre, so pay loads to commute in and have to get up really early. The fact my flat is small and has no garden is a bonus financially - I rarely put the heating on as we're surrounded on all sides, and gardens cost a lot in time and money - far easier to use the local parks. For us, living in a densely populated area is good because everything we need is at hand, we don't need to pay extra to get to the nearest high street or amenities, and we are never going to be stuck without a local shop to pick up some milk and bread.

So try to focus on the positive aspects of having a social housing flat, remember it's a secure place for you and your dd and that is far more important than having a big garden to maintain or a large property with huge heating bills. There are always threads on here about people who live in big rural properties which cost loads to maintain and is miles from anywhere so school runs etc are awkward and expensive. If you are unhappy about the situation on your estate you could join the local neighbourhood association, or help start one up if there isn't one already.

Sadsnake Mon 24-Oct-16 14:39:36

We own our home,and I feel the same as you do,it's small ,6 of us live here.stamp for a garden.we too have noisy neighbors.we can't afford to move,unless out of area,to somewhere very cheep.our kitchen and bathroom is deperate for repair..my friends in council houses have theirs done every 10 years...I wish we had gone on the housing list,not scrimped and saved for 20 years with no holidays or new things just to own a home

Mittensonastring Mon 24-Oct-16 14:41:48

I think the poster is asking how she can change her mindset. In accepting a situation however much we hate it the feelings of anger and disappointment etc can make the situation feel much worse.

How about focussing on something you like doing for yourself. I assume your hardly minted so it needs to be low or no cost. I see you have health issues so maybe you can't commit to voluntary work but one of the most rewarding things I have ever done was help run an arts and crafts group for pensioners at a day centre. Some of those people only had company for that one morning a week.

I'm sending you a brew and flowers I have some health issues, it's bloody crap isn't it.

ishallconquerthat Mon 24-Oct-16 14:44:23

Yes, it's very hard to accept life didn't turn out the way you expected. I have been dealing with it in some aspects of my life. Sorry I can't help, but wanted to offer a bit of sympathy. I think maybe after you accept it (or maybe accept that you will never accept it...) then you can direct your energy to try to change things a bit. Does it make sense?

x2boys Mon 24-Oct-16 14:46:04

op i have owned my own home and because of circumstances i now live in a council house there are positives and negatives too both my estate isnt in the best area but my neighbours are fine and we have enough space when i owned we were very cramped but lived in a better area ,i dont have to worry about repairs etc i suppose it all about perspective.

Sadsnake Mon 24-Oct-16 14:47:46

Oh yeah mittensonastring.i see what you mean...she wants to change her thinking...I need to change mine as well...I try to be greatful for the home we have.and when it's frustrating when we are tripping over ourselves I try to feel blessed I have my family here...when the neighbors are a nightmare..( my kids had exams this summer,and they had constant parties when my kids were revising).. I shut the windows and put classic fm on...

Laiste Mon 24-Oct-16 14:51:01

It is hard when you find yourself somewhere you never thought you'd be.

It's all relative though. I like to think of the plus points. 'It could be worse' is a phrase often bandied about, but think about that and count your blessings. Other people are in terrible situations and you have a roof and are warm at night. I mean this well; it's what i remember when i'm down.

We're private renting. Bloody great house. Sounds great! But ... there's no central heating, no gas, isolated village, shit plumbing (basically strip wash standing in the cold bath) and riddled with damp and mould from around now until May every year. AND it's costing us about the same as a mortgage on a nice normal warm house every month.

Good points i remember when i'm feeling crap: Big garage for DH's building stuff. Big drive. Big light rooms. Room for my big sofa's! Big garden (had to learn to love mowing). Peaceful, i guess (^nothing^, NOTHING ever happens here and that is driving me a bit mad). Lots of wildlife for young DC to see. Near to older DCs work. Near to DHs site.

I can't see us being able to move any time soon. Blessings counted. flowers OP

ComtesseDeSpair Mon 24-Oct-16 14:52:34

There's no reason to believe this is forever. Your DD is 15: in a few years she'll be thinking about moving out and then you'll have a certain amount of freedom to change your circumstances - downsize, move to a cheaper area, change your job, all sorts. Think of where you are now as a secure, safe, affordable home that you can improve on in time as you and your life changes.

PersianCatLady Mon 24-Oct-16 15:02:13

I think my problem is just accepting my situation basically
I am sorry but I just can't feel any sympathy for you.

How about when you can't get a SH place and you are stuck in PR paying £180 a week whereas the equivalent SH would be £80 a week.

Even though some of the rent is covered by HB you still have to pay a top-up sometimes out of JSA or ESA and as soon as you start to try and move into work instead of having to find £80 a week, you need to find £180 a week.

I can see why you are a bit sad but it could be so much worse.

mikesh909 Mon 24-Oct-16 15:02:56

Firstly, noisy / challenging neighbours are not exclusive to council housing properties. They are a feature of homes in close proximity to one another. I have rented privately for 10+ years in various, including 'naice' parts of the (expensive) city I live in and I've never lived anywhere without at least one noisy and / or antisocial neighbour. It's very frustrating but there is not a lot you can do.

More generally, I have an friend who is in her mid-late 40s. I am 32. We have both lived abroad for periods of time in the course of our work and have often discussed the difficulties associated with returning. For her, these are much greater, chiefly because her peers are mostly homeowners and it seems increasingly unlikely that she will struggle to become one of them. People of my age, in my type of profession, in this part of the country are very unlikely to become homeowners without family assistance. It's a sad fact of life that being born in 1984 vs 1954 makes a big difference in terms of the kind of quality of life you can expect relative to your education, qualifications and job. Whilst this is highly unfair, it is unfair for everyone who shares my circumstances and the unfairness is entirely outside my control. That's why the same reality that (barring substantial help from family / a lottery win, I will likely always be a renter) is less difficult to accept for me than for my friend.

I get the impression from your post that perhaps something has changed in your own circumstances. Perhaps (like my friend) you see the difference between your former life and the one you have now or the contrast between friends' living situations and your own? It's hard to do but stop making these comparisons. They bring nothing positive.

Thirdly, you mention private renting. I assume you have done this before so if you think back, you'll remember all the disadvantages - a pp has mentioned them also. Would you honestly trade what you've got for a similar flat at 3x the price, with no security of tenancy, no guarantee as to the character of the landlord, no freedom to decorate or even hang a picture and the ongoing potential neighbour issues?

OddBoots Mon 24-Oct-16 15:08:17

It may not be forever. Your dd is greeting older, she could well have left home in a few years, then you may be able to get an exchange or move to a retirement place, particularly if you are in ill health.

DixieNormas Mon 24-Oct-16 15:18:39

It can be difficult, I gave up a council house 10 years ago and I regretted it for at least 8 years until I moved into council again last year. Even though the area is shit its nothing compared to all the years of private and ll selling up, having to move constantly, not being ble to decorate and the ll not bothering to do it and the expense!

GrumpyDullard Mon 24-Oct-16 15:19:26

I do sympathise. We're a family of 5 in a 2 bed private rented house. We can't afford to move to anything bigger in this area. We have a tiny concrete yard. The lack of space is very frustrating, but I love the area where we live so we've put up with it so far.
We're now looking at moving miles away where we can afford something bigger. It means moving the children to a new school and making new friends. Fortunately, I don't have to give up my job as I can work from home but my partner will need a new job. It's scary and daunting but the reality was that we'd never be able to afford a decent place to live if we stay here. Would you consider moving away? You may be able to do an exchange with someone who is prepared to give up a nicer place in order to live in your area.

OneFlewOverTheDodosNest Mon 24-Oct-16 15:21:39

I can imagine it's difficult - there a lot of people in a similar situation to you, in both SH and private renting but at least take comfort in the fact that you have security.

In the mean time, a couple of things that helped me when living in a shitty place was decluttering and chucking out junk that was making my small room feel worse (I used Marie Kondo), getting to know neighbours and finally I found that making an effort to make it cosy around Christmas helped.

I hope you feel better about your flat soon.

BlueFolly Mon 24-Oct-16 15:23:38

Well, sorry to be unhelpful but I'm struggling to see what anyone could suggest!

That has got to be one of the most unhelpful posts I have read on Mumsnet!

I know someone who lives on a very, very, posh street. Their lives are made a misery by awful neighbours and bad sound insulation between flats. I find it helpful to remind myself of this, as knowing that even rich people have the same problems makes me feel less trapped.

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