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Anyone else shocked by Mark Easton's report on BBC1 news about the plight of working families forced through no fault of their own to live in hostels/b & b's in Redbridge?

(78 Posts)
Sandycarrots Thu 05-Oct-17 22:45:10

I was utterly shocked and horrified by this report. Families of four with at least one partner working, with small dc, forced to live in one-bedroom rooms in miserable council hostels or b&b's in Redbridge, with shared bathroom and kitchen facilitates. Fellow residents are often convicted felons and drug dealers.

These families are working but in the majority of cases have been forced to move out of private rented accommodation because landlords wanted to sell or re-develop. They then cannot afford or find equivalent accommodation close to their jobs and schools (presumably because of the housing shortage/rent rises).

One family of four (including a baby) was sharing one bed. One (understandably depressed) mother talked about the lengthy commute her daughter faced going to school every morning sinced they'd been forced to move.

How can this be happening in the UK in 2017? Why is more not being done?

I know many people were happy for the opportunity to purchase their council houses back in the 80s/90s but surely, combined with a rise in population, this was a crisis waiting to happen when that housing was not replaced by anything else?

Off to browse Shelter website sad

SoPassRemarkable Thu 05-Oct-17 22:50:48

Yeah, was a depressing watch.

The reporter asked one dad if he would consider leaving London. He pointed out if he did he would lose his job and be unemployed. And what wasn't said that if he did that he wouldn't get benefits as he'd be considered to have left his job voluntarily. So trapped.

Butterymuffin Thu 05-Oct-17 22:50:56

Didn't see it but the situation sounds bad. The housing system is in a terrible state right now.

Sandycarrots Thu 05-Oct-17 22:53:33

Yes that was particularly depressing.

I feel very ignorant about this subject. How can he possibly find a way out of that situation? It's an impossible situation to be in.

Akire Thu 05-Oct-17 22:54:45

Not shocked as such, that’s what hostels are like. Families and alcoholics and vunerwble people sharing same bathroom as your kids. The government should do something so landlords can take housing benefit- and for vast majority it gets paid directly to them and no problems. Once you are stuck that’s it.

Sandycarrots Thu 05-Oct-17 22:58:06

Xposts Buttery - indeed. You hear about the housing crisis in general, but a report focusing on the individual families who have been negatively affected really brings the severity of the situation home.

Sorry, previous answer was to Sopassremarkable

Sandycarrots Thu 05-Oct-17 22:59:33

Akire why are landlords not able to accept housing benefit?

thereinmadnesslies Thu 05-Oct-17 23:00:50

Couldn't believe that poor family had to pay £200 per week rent for that tiny room.

BakedBeans47 Thu 05-Oct-17 23:01:51

Yes. It was so very upsetting.

What’s gone wrong in this country. How can it be right for people to have to live this way. How can governments not care?

Sandycarrots Thu 05-Oct-17 23:03:39

thereinmadnesslies yes with council tax on top I think.

RunningOutOfCharge Thu 05-Oct-17 23:03:46

Some mortgages don’t allow for housing benefit to be accepted

And some landlords just don’t want tenants who claim benefits

AndromedaPerseus Thu 05-Oct-17 23:04:12

A lot of ll have clauses in their mortgages which don't allow them to rent to those on HB. The reason is now that HB is paid directly to recipients there are significant numbers of people who default on their rent which meant ll couldn't keep up their mortgage repayments

HirplesWithHaggis Thu 05-Oct-17 23:04:18

Many LL with BTL mortgages are forbidden by their lenders to accept tenants on HB. This could be addressed by the government, but the hands of individual LL are tied.

Sandycarrots Thu 05-Oct-17 23:04:50

Exactly my thoughts Baked beans sad

Sandycarrots Thu 05-Oct-17 23:07:16

Thanks for explanations Hirples & Andromeda. Depressing.

Akire Thu 05-Oct-17 23:07:30

For some people they say is clause in their mortgage or insurence... for others it’s just stigma. I mean yes vet benefit tenants but those who always paid without any problems are no less risk than working family who could be unemployed at any time.
THe only good thing about hostel is you will months or years later probable offered social housing which will have a lower rent. Because you will be top of list. But some councils force you to move to private landlord who will accept you. Be very high rent so increases risk of eviction if get behind and doing the homeless cycle again. Plus with benefits cap large families get max £450 week which sounds a lot but if only landlord take you charging £400 week you can’t really live

inabizzlefam Thu 05-Oct-17 23:08:05

But these people were in London. They could move out of London and find the housing situation very different. And the argument that they would lose their jobs is counterproductive as they could move elsewhere, get another job in an area where housing is cheaper ergo a bigger house.
Not compulsory for everyone to live in London

SoPassRemarkable Thu 05-Oct-17 23:09:16

I've previously read that both landlords and BTL mortgage companies worry about housing benefit receipitants being able to pay the rent every month. Apparently there's so many cases where benefits are stopped in error, delays in payment or even just the reduction in overall benefit with universal credit that there's so many problems they won't take the risk.

Which surprised me. I just assumed it was stereotypical prejudice with landlords thinking that unemployed people would spend their rent money on booze.

inabizzlefam Thu 05-Oct-17 23:11:27

Also, where I live LL’s actually prefer housing benefits because they are guaranteed of payment

SoPassRemarkable Thu 05-Oct-17 23:13:50


But they need a job before they move. They can't move and run the risk of being out of work a few weeks/months with no income.

Maybe what they do is quite specialised and hard to find jobs in that field? Or maybe they don't have the money to spend on travelling to job interviews....train fares, days off work? Then they would need money for a house deposit in a new area. And references. A council won't house someone coming into a new area in such circumstances.

Friend of mine needed housing and our local/nearest town wouldn't help because technically she lived in a village in a different district council (same county). So even though Town A was nearer, her kids went to school there and she worked there the council said she had to be housed in Town B as that was her ordinary District of residence!

SingaSong12 Thu 05-Oct-17 23:18:52

Lots of landlords are wary of tenants on any benefits sometimes due to mortgages. Housing benefit was bad enough but now some landlords who accepted that won’t take new tenants because they may go onto universal credit. There are rent arrears built into the system because apart from a small advance that has to be repaid UC takes 6 weeks or more to come through.

Rightly or wrongly landlords are wary because they do not get the money directly, it all goes to the tenant. Of course a lot of tenants are very responsible but some aren’t and housing benefit went from the council to the landlord so was more secure.

inabizzlefam Thu 05-Oct-17 23:24:15

The family on the news had the DH working at the airport. That’s a pretty specialised are and there are plenty of other airports in the UK so a move not impossible

ftw Thu 05-Oct-17 23:25:16

Yes, a real eye-opener. I mean, I knew but I hadn't properly realised IYSWIM.

Out2pasture Thu 05-Oct-17 23:30:38

I get the impression it is near impossible to evict a bad tenant. the thought of 6 months of paperwork all the while not getting rent seems like an equal nightmare.
this is where maintaining ties with family is beneficial. not that at the age of 40 you should rely on your parents but if you've maintained a reasonable relationship sometimes this is the best route out of your dilemma.

Sandycarrots Thu 05-Oct-17 23:37:54

Inabizzle I underztand the need to go where the work is, but with everything else so uncertain in his life, he might be hanging on to his job for dear life. And would have thought the fact that his work was specialist airport work, would make it harder to find perhaps, as those jobs would be much in demand? Not sure? But there are other family reasons why people might want to stay in a certain area such as elderly parents etc.

In any case, as Sopassremarkable said, if they are being charged outrageous prices for one room and living month to month, they might not have the resources to make such a radical life change.

And thanks for responses about HB - hAve a slightly better idea of how the system works now- hadn't realised about built-in rent arrears for example.

Shelter website has useful info/policy documents on this subject (sorry cant link on this device).

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