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Friend and daughter can't pay rent and being evicted. Is there any social housing left?

(86 Posts)
Wtftoadvise Wed 18-Sep-19 16:19:28

Both work with agencies on min wage, as far as I can tell must be on zero hour contracts. Friend gets hours 9 - 9 some days then other weeks far less work available. Upshot is they cannot pay the rent on October 1st and landlord has asked for it and told them to get out by November 1st.

Friend is distraught and has nowhere to go, no family as a temporary option. I don't live in the UK anymore and am not in a position to be able to lend money for a deposit and first month's rent. What can I suggest to help? I suggested applying for discretionary housing payment a few weeks ago, she's still waiting to hear about that but now things have got worse because the landlord is actually saying to get out as he now knows there's a problem paying the rent.

She has been to CAB, and tried many times to call Shelter but constantly gets the busy message.

They're in the Southeast but would go anywhere, is there anywhere left in the country that has social housing stock left? if they approached the council and asked to be re housed somewhere else would that be an option?

Are there any other ideas? I am really worried, friend is talking about trying to live on the streets because she can't think straight anymore and is completely frightened and exhausted.

dementedpixie Wed 18-Sep-19 16:25:23

Has he served a Section21 notice as he cant just tell them to leave, he has to do it in a legal manner

Lulualla Wed 18-Sep-19 16:27:25

That's not how evictions work. Tell her not to leave and speak to shelter to find out what the landlord needs to do. It will give her time to find somewhere else.

Somerandompersons Wed 18-Sep-19 16:28:06

Your friend should not leave unless being formally evicted. Ie, court order granted and eviction date set by bailiffs/sheriff officers. She may be seen to be making herself intentionally homeless.

Persist with shelter. Probably her best bet.

dementedpixie Wed 18-Sep-19 16:28:52

And a section 21 give 2 months notice so if he hasn't done it in the proper manner then he cant force her out by November 1st

HollowTalk Wed 18-Sep-19 16:31:33

Why has the landlord asked for their rent two weeks before it's due?

WrongKindOfFace Wed 18-Sep-19 16:32:54

As other have said landlord can’t simply evict. The eviction process takes time. They can absolutely approach the council (and housing associations) and go on the list, but until they are actually evicted they may be low priority.

Are they also claiming benefits? If not they should apply for universal credit. They may then be entitled to some help on months when wages are low.

Wtftoadvise Wed 18-Sep-19 16:33:12

Ok, I will mention to keep calling Shelter and that the best option is to stay. He got fairly angry on the phone to them and kept insisting they must go when he said. I don't know if he's the type that would just come to their flat and throw out their stuff and change the locks.

Obviously, have not voiced this concern to her as don't want to cause more panic. He has not served a Section 21.

DoctorAllcome Wed 18-Sep-19 16:34:07

I agree with demented pixie. LL has to evict them following legal procedure. For rent arrears, it would be a Section 8, but he cannot do that until the rent arrears = 2 months rent. So if your friend is short paying rent, it will take months for the arrears to add up. If October 1st is the first missed payment, the earliest he can ask them to leave is November 2nd and only if they have paid zero in rent. If they even pay £20, they are good until 1 Dec.

A section 21 is when the landlord is ending the tenancy for any reason to include no fault of tenant like wants to sell place. Even then, it has to give a minimum of 60days to tenant to move out.

So friend and DD should be ok for at least next 2mos. In meantime, several letting agents do have no deposit options so they can start looking for a cheaper place to live. They should also apply for universal credit because they may be eligible for some housing benefit to top up their wages.

Wtftoadvise Wed 18-Sep-19 16:34:58

Why has the landlord asked for their rent two weeks before it's due?

He hasn't. She called him because she knows she will not be able to pay when it's due, I think possibly hoping to negotiate a reduced rent or paying late.

Lulualla Wed 18-Sep-19 16:35:52

She needs to change the locks so he can't get in. She must keep the original so she can change it back when she leaves, and she can't damage the door but she can change the locks to keep him out.

DoctorAllcome Wed 18-Sep-19 16:36:27

The council may be able to help them too by talking sense to their LL about their rights as tenants.....

swingofthings Wed 18-Sep-19 16:37:38

It's unlikely they had told you as it really is. Rent should always come as a priority payment, and if they are struggling financially, would be entitled to HB.

Also, the LL can't evict after 1 month and certainly can't give notice using a S8 before an arrears are due. A Section 21 would require 2 months notice. Despite this, they still wouldn't have to move until bailiffs force them to and that would take months.

Are you sure they were not trying to get money out of you and told you a distorted version of the truth?

HollowTalk Wed 18-Sep-19 16:37:56

How much is the rent and how much do they earn? If they are both earning and there are no children, why can't they afford it? (Not a hostile question, just wondering.)

HollowTalk Wed 18-Sep-19 16:38:34

Do they have a history of late or missing payments? It seems an extreme reaction from their landlord otherwise.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Wed 18-Sep-19 16:41:25

@Wtftoadvise Everyone seems to have covered that their eviction will not be legal, so I won't cover that again.

In terms of "is there anywhere with social housing", it doesn't work like that. They'll only be entitled to social housing in places where they have a local connection, which is usually where your employment is, or where you've lived for the past 2/5 years. So they would have to seek social housing where they live, sadly. They could tell the council that they'd be happy to be rehoused elsewhere, but it generally doesn't help priority, as all the people above them would be offered the housing before them and you can only turn down one or two usually.

How old is daughter? I'm guessing an adult, if both have been employed? They may be able to get accommodation in a Salvation Army or similar if they have nowhere to go, I had to do that at 16. It was horrible but the council used it to assess whether you really did have nowhere to go! If they are both adults, they may well not get a very high banding for social housing, as they don't appear to have any vulnerabilities.

It's a stark world when it comes to social housing... I slept outside for a bit and still got no more help.

Has friend applied for all the benefits she'd be entitled to? I think UC can take into account varying wages and they may be entitled on the weeks she can't get many hours, which would mean they could pay rent. She needs to explore any options like that because the council may suggest that she's made herself intentionally homeless by not paying her own rent.

Wtftoadvise Wed 18-Sep-19 16:42:50

No history of late payments as far as I know. I don't know exactly how much they earn but it is min wage, and changes depending on what work is available.

I don't know the ins and outs of their finances beyond the fact they are in this situation, and friend is very upset at the moment.

user1471449295 Wed 18-Sep-19 16:44:21

She is not being evicted on 1st November. If Landlord needs to serve a section 21. This gives her two months to vacate the property. If at the eviction date, she has not vacated, the landlord will apply to the courts.
If she goes down the social housing route, she must not leave her property until the courts grant possession back to the landlord, or she will be see as making herself intentially homeless.
She needs to speak to her local authority homeless prevention team with regards to social housing. You say she is in the south east...the demand far, far outweighs housing stock I’m afraid. IF she is accepted on to the housing register, she is bidding against families with children, high medical needs/vulnerabilities and people fleeing all sorts of horrific situations. The properties are scarce. Unfortunately you aren’t given a property just like that. (Ex housing employee here)
Can she claim any benefits to top up her income? Is she able to join a job agency?
If she is amenable to relocating I would suggest look for a job in a cheaper area and move.

CanIhelpyouatall Wed 18-Sep-19 16:44:45

Shelter online chat is the best bet. You can save a transcript of the chat.

user1471449295 Wed 18-Sep-19 16:46:42

It may be useful for her to look up her local authorities housing allocation policy

Broken11Girl Wed 18-Sep-19 16:52:21

What the others said - this is not legal. They must not leave until you bailiffs come and that process takes months. They can then go to the council. Agree re seeing if they are entitled to benefits. CAB would be a good place to start for advice in general on this.
She can call the police if landlord harasses them, comes round being threatening/ aggressive etc. It would be a good idea to get a scary legal official-sounding letter explaining the law on evictions written on their behalf, CAB can advise on this.

Frequency Wed 18-Sep-19 16:52:32

*It's unlikely they had told you as it really is. Rent should always come as a priority payment, and if they are struggling financially, would be entitled to HB.

Also, the LL can't evict after 1 month and certainly can't give notice using a S8 before an arrears are due. A Section 21 would require 2 months notice. Despite this, they still wouldn't have to move until bailiffs force them to and that would take months.

Are you sure they were not trying to get money out of you and told you a distorted version of the truth?*

You've not met many LLs have you? This is common behaviour from LL in the private rented section. OP, you've been given good advice on behalf of your friend.

Tell her she must stay put or she stands no chance of getting social housing. She'll be classed as intentionally homeless and the council won't help. The council will help talk sense to her LL so she should go down in person asap with a copy of tenancy agreement and any other paperwork she has. Tell her to start emailing her LL so she has a paper trail. And yy to changing the lock and whatever the LL says she does not have to give him a copy of the key. The LL has no legal right to have a key to the property. If he turns up at the property threatening her she can call the police.

To answer your original question, yes, many areas in the North have social housing available and/or a good stock of HA housing. What we don't have is a mass of employment opportunities so tell your friend to think carefully before re-locating away from her job.

Wtftoadvise Wed 18-Sep-19 16:55:01

Are you sure they were not trying to get money out of you and told you a distorted version of the truth?

They are not trying to get money out of me. They didn't ask.

Bluntness100 Wed 18-Sep-19 16:56:08

If she's made homeless then the council will house her, but it may be in a b&b before something comes up. She should speak to her council who will tell her to hold tight until she's evicted and then they will start the process. She can't just leave due to a verbal request to do so. Because without written proof of eviction she would be seen as making her self intentionally homeless.

Wtftoadvise Wed 18-Sep-19 16:58:30

Thank you for all the information and advice. I feel so helpless on the end of the phone not even in the same country, now at least maybe I can pass on some of the info and hopefully help her feel calmer and come up with a plan of action.

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