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do i stay in my damp cold expensive house or lie through my teeth so my kids can have a nice home??

(332 Posts)
bellarose2011 Mon 26-Nov-12 15:49:44

just looking for some advice really, i am a single mother to 2 DD, 10 months and 2yrs.
we currently live in a 3 bed semi detatched house, it has an old back boiler which makes the gas bills huge yet we are still always freezing. the garden is a vertical hill (literally!) there is mold growing on the kids bedroom wall. the double glazing doesn't work and there is puddles of water on all the windowsills every morning. i hate it!!
in the area i live there is a shortage of social housing and my name is on all council/housing association lists. my only hope is a house from an estate agents. but of course they won't accept DSS.
now i get my housing benefit paid to me so there is no reason i need to disclose this other than it being dishonest. but i know i would be a great tenant, i have never not paid my rent, i'm a clean freak and have no pets.
i have found a perfect house that i can afford and have the application form in front of me, i know i won't get it if i tell the truth. i have a friend who runs her own business and would say i worked for her. i just don't know what to do??
the eatate agents use MARAS, will my bank tell them where my funds come from?

TantrumsAndBalloons Mon 26-Nov-12 18:27:14

Don't lie.

You might think your situation is bad now.

If you lie, one way or another at some point you will be found out.

And then you will be in a worse situation with no where to live at all.

Speak to the landlord.

IAmSoFuckingRock Mon 26-Nov-12 18:30:12

speak to the LL and be honest. at the same time go into all the local agents and ask them for a list of all the properties available to DHSS tenants. tell them you can provide excellent references and a guarantor, bank statements etc. get friendly with them. check in every friday afternoon and ask them to ring you as soon as new properties within your budget become available.

expatinscotland Mon 26-Nov-12 18:36:25

Try to contact the LL and explain the situation. He/she might be willing to let to you if you have a guarantor.

bellarose2011 Mon 26-Nov-12 18:48:45

yes this estate agent says no dss on all properties.
i live in a small town and rentals just don't come up that often, when they do they 10-15 applicants.
i think we all know that given other applicants who are not on dss and me, who they are going to choose.
its just they way things work, i don't really blame the landlords.

IAmSoFuckingRock Mon 26-Nov-12 18:56:15

ok so imagine trying to get a property after being evicted ffrom this one after lying. you will be making things 10X harder for yourself. you have children to think of, what if you get evicted and find nothing? where will you go? the council may say you have made yourself homeless by lying and refuse to house you.

CelstialNavigation Mon 26-Nov-12 19:22:54

There is a thread on here at the moment where the OP's landlord realised they were on housing benefit after a few years and has asked them to leave, even though the OP had not realised the LL didnt know.

From what many people are saying it invalidates the LL's insurance if his insurance specifies no housing benefit clients so it could put the LL in a very difficult position.

I think you would need to be straight with them for that reason - you may find it is not an insirance situation and they may be willing to consider your application with refernences and guarantor.

It sounds like a horrendous situation you are in atm. Can you talk to Shelter about your current landlords obligations with sorting out the mould until you can move? If you have a health visitor for your youngest, a letter about the conditions you are living in may help with the housing associations.

CelstialNavigation Mon 26-Nov-12 19:23:52

Also I would consider moving areas and speading your search father afield if that is remotely possible

bellarose2011 Mon 26-Nov-12 19:32:38

my landlord now is very nice but the damp is basically down to the house needing a new roof (my ex is a builder and has had a look) and i don't think they have that kind of money. its not even just the damp. the house is constantly freezing but my bills are huge. there is 7 steps from the path to the house and getting a double buggy up and down is near impossible. also it is just to big for us, the rent is only 400 a month which is why i took it but never thought how much it would cost to heat.
i have considered other areas but i would be taking the kids away from there dad.

Could you tell them you work but claim a minimal amount of hb too? Maybe they would be more accepting of that?

InNeedOfBrandy Mon 26-Nov-12 19:45:05

No do not do it through an estate agents or any one who will do a credit check, you won't get away with it and you will have shelled out £100 to £250 on the credit checks for fuck all.

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Mon 26-Nov-12 19:48:26

I am a private tenant, let through an estate agent, also benefit claimant in a property that specified no DSS.

It has never been a problem here. HB is paid to my bank account and I then pay my rent out of that.

We have also had major building work done through LL's insurance claim and it didn't cause any problems.

OP, you sound very similar to me. Victorian house, freezing, wet and condensated windows, damp and mould. It's awful. I say do what you have to to get your kids a decent house.

Good luck.

IAmSoFuckingRock Mon 26-Nov-12 19:48:48

if the house has damp then the landlord has no choice but to fix it! if they dont have the money to fix it they dont get to let it out to anyone. it's a health risk. tell LL they need to get it fixed ASAP or you are withholding your rent money. tehy aren't upholding tehir side of the contract.

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Mon 26-Nov-12 19:50:17

Oh and for the record I also know someone who was on income support and wanted to private rent. The agent told them in order to do that they needed to pay 6 months up front so it can still be done.

And for the credit check I was asked for wage slips etc. We had to pay a fee for credit check and a fee for admin costs. then a month and a half rent up front as a deposit which we get back should we leave.

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Mon 26-Nov-12 19:51:34

Our credit check was only about £50.

IAmSoFuckingRock Mon 26-Nov-12 19:55:51

mine was £30

Xiaoxiong Mon 26-Nov-12 20:24:41

I wouldn't do it OP, for all the reasons people say but also if it were me even if it was the nicest house in the world I would never feel secure - I'd always be wondering when the landlord will find out and what will happen.

What I would do is put all your cards on the table, tell them all the things you'll do to set their mind at rest (guarantor, pay a certain amount upfront etc), and see if they have any scope to make an exception. You have nothing to lose by doing that IMO and it might work.

(Just for the record I think it should be illegal for mortgage contracts and insurance policies to specify a blanket ban on housing benefit recipients. I think it's completely unjust and leads to unfair outcomes like the OP's situation. Even if you could plausibly show that HB claimants are more likely to be bad tenants/fail to pay the rent (and I'm not sure how you could possibly say this definitively for every HB recipient everywhere), surely there are just as many non-HB recipients who are bad tenants too and the way insurance and mortgage pools work it should average out in the long run if they were forced to cover everyone.)

bellarose2011 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:53:35

lovelybunchcoconuts: did you tell the estate agent you were on benefits?

it is a really unfair system and also puts a lot of people in social housing who are perfectly capable of getting a private rented house. social housing should be for people who really need it and anyone who wants to rent privately should be judged like any other applicant. but it is the way it works so i either work around it or ill be stuck here forever!!

bellarose2011 Mon 26-Nov-12 21:11:20

obviously the biggest problem with this is the landlord finding out after ive moved in, but how would that ever happen?
i rented of my mum for 2yrs and claimed housing benefit for 8 months, the council knew i was renting from my mum but they never contacted her to check things out.
so i just can't see how he would ever know.
but i think the insurance thing is a valid point, i don't want to cause anyone else trouble.
i think i will say that i do work part time and get tax credits and a small amount of housing benefit and see what they say.

IAmSoFuckingRock Mon 26-Nov-12 21:53:56

anything could happen that would mean them finding out!

say there's a HB computer failure and you get no money for a month and cant pay rent. how do you explain that to the LL?

what if Hb change their rules (it's happening soon with UC) and they need LL information/consent for something to happen?

really it is too risky. it's like saying "it'll never happen to me". it always does.

i think that's the best plan, let them know that HB is at least a factor so they know what they are dealing with. good luck OP. i do hope you get this house or one that's even better. it must be awful to be living where you are with very little choice.

bellarose2011 Mon 26-Nov-12 22:00:40

thanks! i really hope i get it to!
i could always cover at least a months rent and borrow at least another one so that wouldn't be an issue.
i have a feeling that housing benefit won't change the rules as it isn't in there interest, it would just mean loads of people getting evicted or not being able to find a home who would then become the councils responsibility to rehome.
if i tell them i get a little HB then if something happens i can always tell them my circumstances changed and i had to apply for more help towards my rent.

IAmSoFuckingRock Mon 26-Nov-12 22:07:05

i think you need to take a look at universal credit and how it will affect you. HB is being affected and lots of people will be homeless. it's actually quite unbelievable what they are going to be doing and really frightening. i'm terrified TBH.

IAmSoFuckingRock Mon 26-Nov-12 22:09:27

just prepare yourself is all i'm saying so it doesn't come as a complete shock when it happens. the more you know the better prepared you can be smile

bellarose2011 Tue 27-Nov-12 10:19:40

ok, i have read stuff about universal credit but i don't want to terrify myself when, lets face it, it might not happen as they are saying.
what situation are you in rock?
i just don't see how they can make people homeless?
do you know how it will affect a single mum with 2 kids?

bellarose2011 Tue 27-Nov-12 11:08:11

oh god, just starting reading more about universal credit. makes me very depressed. think i would rather not know untill it is actually affecting me.
hopefully by then i will be working anyway.
i really do feel for the people that are trying there best to climb out of poverty and will be hit by this, so unfair.
if it really is as bad as they are saying, surely there will be riots?

DudeIAmSoFuckingRock Tue 27-Nov-12 16:02:24

i'm a single mum with 2 children too so in pretty much your shoes except right now i dont work (i wasn't sure if you work part time or if that's just what you are telling LL?)

like you i am trying to get into employment now so that the effect is minimal on me and hopefully so i can stay living where i am.

i know it is very tempting to say i dont want to know and that it wont happen, tehy wont make people homeless etc but this is really happening. what is really scaring me is how few people actually have even heard of UC. no-one i know in RL has even mentioned it and LOTS of them will be affected, massively.

it is very scary and really quite unbeleiveable that they are actually getting away with doing this in 21st century britain but it is happening. they are passing laws on the quiet to get this pushed through.

right now i get income support, child benefit, child tax credits and full housing benefit.

when UC comes in, all benefits (apart from CB AFAIK) and tax credits will be rolled into one and it will all be called UC. basically anyone who isn't working or who is working and earning less than the full time equivalent if minimum wage will be treated like a job seeker. even if you have a part time job doing 20 hours a week you will be expecetd to apply for jobs that pay full time wage and attend interviews, even if thsi means taking time off your paid job and losing that job. if you dont attent the interview or refuse to job search/take a job your UC will be sanctioned. housing benefit will also be only paid for a total of two years for everyone. after that you will have to wait a set period of time (yes to be specified) before you can apply again. so basically every 2 years you could be made homeless unless you have the money hidden somewhere to make up the rest of your rent. lots of people will be homeless and the new system will mean the local councils cannot house them.

if you can in anyway get yourself into a better situation so you are less dependent on benefits then do it. i know how hard that is as i'm trying right now but it's really necessary. the less we need to depend on, the less they can take off us when the time comes. good luck with everything and i hope you get the house.

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