Desperate Housing situation please can I have advice - benefits, disability, homeless(82 Posts)
My contract on shared accommodation if finishing next week. I cannot sign the contract on my own and cannot find someone to take on the lease with me.
I am disabled and on housing benefit. It's very difficult to find a landlord willing to accept me. The council told me months ago to start looking for a place and they could help me with a private rental scheme.
I found a landlord willing to accept me and called council to say I had somewhere. Council then say no way is this ok I have to go through a lot of paperwork and so does potential landlord which takes weeks. Obviously, I will lose the flat.
Council want me to stay in this current flat and wait for eviction letter, then go into a hostel, then find a flat somewhere cheaper in London. It feels like every time I meet with my adviser at the council the information changes slightly. They also frequently suggest things that aren't actually compatible with council housing law ie suggesting I take over the whole lease on my own and then find a lodger - er no because that would mean I can't get my own housing benefit legitimately.
However if I stay here and refuse to budge my landlord won't pay the deposit back meaning my fellow tenants won't get their money?
I have had severe mental health issues in the past, attempted suicide two and a half years ago and done so well recovering. I am utterly terrified of having to sit it out here in this flat alone illegally waiting for eviction and bailiffs, coping with hostile fellow tenants demanding their money off me because I will be seen as the problem - which from their side, I am.
I have posted about these tenants before, shitting in the bath and stealing stuff etc. I feel stretched to my limits of coping.
I'm on waiting lists for 3 different health services in my borough and if the council move me out I go back to the bottom of the list in whatever new borough it will be.
I feel so demoralised. Posting here for traffic. Some people might recognise bits of this I have posted before - so yes, before you say it again, I fucking know, I shouldn't expect to be able to live in an expensive part of London like I do as I'm clearly undesirable disabled scum in the eyes of landlords - but this was never the plan when I moved here originally, to be broke and in poor health and needing help for the forseeable future.
What would you do?
You ask at the end of your post 'What would you do?'
I would ask my family for help. Do you have anyone to turn to?
Oh that sounds terrible, so sorry you're going through it.
I got the impression from your last paragraph that the council may be leaning towards housing you outside the borough you're in. Is this something you have been offered? I'm wondering if this might be a reason they're not being so good with the other things they're saying (hoping you will just accept a move away etc)? Unfortunately I think some councils (not sure if it's a nationwide thing) will regard you as making yourself intentionally homeless if you leave before an eviction notice is served which to me seems ridiculous (someone with more knowledge may come along and say why this is deemed okay!).
Also not sure how it works where you are, but do you have a points based bidding system and do you know where you stand on it?
You have my sympathy if nothing else. I was homeless as a teenager and battling councils and housing associations is not my idea of fun.
I would probably contact Shelter, CAB or maybe MIND. It really sounds like you need an advocate to help you navigate your way around finding suitable accomidation.
Can you find a charity related to your disability or mental health issues who could support you through rehousing?
The Council wont pay 2 lots of rent for you, but that doesnt mean they gave your good advice.
You could also google for your nearest Shelter office for their advice.
Thank you for respinding. I've been to Shelter and CAB. Shelter confirmed I would be eligible for the rent for the new place, but I would need another appointment now to see about this new development. CAB referred me to Shelter.
I have no family I can ask for help, no.
I'm not sure if the council would even house me outside the borough - I feel dizzy from all the conflicting information they have talked about. If they did house me outside the borough then that's of course fine I'm just upset because I'd lose all my medical stuff and I've gone to the ends of the earth to find someone IN my borough who would let to me and so not lose my supports. Because the council said to try finding a landlord, so I did, but now they say no way. That's really upsetting me, I have wasted shedloads of time and now it's the last minute of my current contract as well.
I feel so fobbed off and misled.
But I don't expect them to pay 2 lots of rent! That's not the problem!
I have no advice I just wanted to extend my sympathy, for all that it's worth, to you. You seem to be stuck in a nightmare situation and it must be so tough for you.
I found myself somewhere to move that will accept me on housing benefit, to coincide with the end of my current lease. And it's not ok with the council. Despite them saying to do that! WTF was the point in doing that???
I have emails advising me to go look for a private landlord dating back almost 3 months.
I took initiative as soon as I became aware of my impending housing situation, and became so fucking pro active trying to solve it and actually found a solution, to protect my mental health from a stressful eviction situation. Now it's not workable and I feel why the fuck did they mislead me like that? I may as well have sat on my arse and not bothered trying to fix it.
Thank you, I appreciate the kinds words and the thoughts and the advice. I really do. Makes me feel less alone with my frustration.
Have you contacted shelter, and also MIND? OP.
Have you been given your section 21 yet?
if you already have tenants in the shared tenancy why would you need someone to take on the tenancy or sign the tenancy with you?
Are there any voluntary organisations in your area that do 'housing related support'? I have MH problems and was made homeless last year, I was referred by a MH team to the housing related support but I noticed that they actually accepted self referrals as well. They helped me negotiate the council bits whilst not being part of the council IYSWIM.
I thought that the landlord had to give people their deposits back…if you overstay as long as the rent is paid they should give it back. I overstayed by 2 months and got it back, but I continued to pay rent. If you overstay and you're not able to pay the rent and the HB won't cover it then to be honest, given your fellow tenants behaviour I think it would be tough titties to them if they didn't get it back! The most important thing is that you do not make yourself 'intentionally homeless'. Is there an option for you to just go straight to the hostel when your Section 21 is up as some areas don't say you've made yourself intentionally homeless in those circumstances.
It's very likely going to be a tough few months if it is only through the council you can get accommodation. You will get notice of eviction though…and it takes ages…the LL has to apply to court, you will get papers and a date, then there will be a decision (and you never have to move out immediately). So you won't be waiting for a knock on the door, you will have a date and you can be all packed up ready to go on the day. It will get better though and you will end up with somewhere. It is such a hard thing to have to go through though
Can you speak to someone else at the council? Maybe someone higher up? It seems crazy that you can't move into the place you found.
I found myself somewhere to move that will accept me on housing benefit, to coincide with the end of my current lease. And it's not ok with the council.
Then the council gave you bad advice, that would have been the perfect solution. You really need to find a Law Centre.
Can you still take that flat? If not the Council have contributed to your homelessness, and the effect it will have on your mental health.
Try http://www.richmondfellowship.org.uk They can help you contact the relevant people at the council and support you.
The tenants are moving out at the end of the lease. I have advertised high and low, had very little interest, had some viewings, no takers. I don't understand it as the London rental market is usually heaving and the price is good.
It's 5pm now, but I think I will call MIND in the morning and see if they have any ideas. Thanks all of you suggesting that. I'll google and see if there are any other organisations I could call too.
Crossposted with some of you, I will follow up with these ideas and call them in morning.
I literally cannot believe the mess I am in. It's so humiliating as well.
What an utter shit situation for you. Definitely not fair being told one thing and then the council not sticking to it.
You said in your original post that your mental health declined substantially a few years back - do you happen to still have a cpn? If you did I would contact them and explain your concerns and see if they can do anything to help. I don't live in England, but where I live cpns often help with housing issues for their service users.
I am sure someone will come and correct me if this would not be a good idea.......
I don't have a cpn, no. I don't even have a psychiatrist anymore because the service closed so I am on a waiting list for another service just for a medication review. This wait will be long as I'm doing well and not a priority. This wait list isn't one of the other 3 I mentioned above, those 3 are all connected to my physical disability and are much more pressing.
Although at this rate I can feel my mental health slipping, and so may well be in crisis if there's no let up soon. I'm completely exhausted with it all, I'm so so incredibly scared of getting very ill mentally again.
I could cry with the futility of it all.
im failing to understand the paperwork here OP, you can move anytime you wish, and contact housing benefit with the new details, in what way does the new landlord need to do paperwork?
It is housing benefit?
Also the other tenants deposits should be in individual protected scheme separate from yourself, so even if you don't move out the money should be separate and if they move out they would get their deposits back from the landlord so that's a non issue.
Who did they give their deposits to?
If you do feel your mental health slipping please get yourself to the GP prior to hitting crisis point - I think contacting MIND in the morning is a really good idea. They might be able to help. Does your area have any free advocacy services? Maybe do a Google and see?
I used to work in an emergency homeless shelter and have often helped people when they have come in asking for advice and we would have people who were being threatened with homelessness coming to ask for advice and help prior to being made homeless. Amazing what our manager could do with a few phonecalls once we had done all the groundwork.
Obviously everywhere works different to where I currently live, but possibly ideas for different avenues to get some help?
have you asked how long the new landlord will wait OP?
OP also even if you where given the section 21, by the time the housing benefit paperwork was processed most likely the new landlord property will be available.
Also I'm assuming you won't need a bond as you will have the deposit from the shared scheme.
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