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Anyone legal around, any advice at all? Please, please help...

(122 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

demonchilde Tue 04-Apr-17 16:06:58

Hello all. Sorry if the thread title is a bit dramatic, I'm usually pretty resilient and keep things together but I am at my wits end, I really am. I'll try and paraphrase to avoid an essay.

I'm a lone parent to 6, 4 living at home with me still. Ex was violent, leaving me with depression, anxiety and PTSD. My children suffered the same. DS (18) has a history of self harm. She about to start her A levels (18). DS4 (11) suffers from ASD - history of self harm, sever meltdowns and pretty much missed the last 2 years of Junior school as he refused to go. He reacts really badly to even the slightest change in routine. He has now been settled at secondary since last September- attendance currently at 96% I am a student Nurse on the last intake before the bursary is stopped. I have wanted to do nursing all my life, so this is my last chance as I wouldn't be eligible for a student loan.

DS (13) is doing well but has a history of anxiety and panic attacks. He is being referred for counsellling at his school. Tragically, his best friend who he has known since nursery has just lost his battle with brain cancer. We are all devastated. He is not coping well. I have got him involved with fund raising (sponsored walk) I am helping arrange in the hope this will help him. I am trying to be strong so I can help him but am finding it so upsetting as well. He was a lovely, lovely lad and I can't believe life has been this cruel.

Landlord served me with a section 21 that expires next week. They are selling. We have been here 8 years and we love it here. I have spent the last 7 weeks trying desperately to find somewhere else but it is pointless. Rental prices have rocketed round here, there is a high demand for properties and people waiting. None will take partial HB, a lone parent with a poor credit history. I have no guarantor.

I contacted the council housing team way back in February. They gave me a runaround with the paperwork they said they needed, but finally said they had the info needed a month ago. They then booked me in for a telephone interview with a housing officer. They then postponed it twice due to staff sickness. Today is the 3rd day I have waited in all day for a phone interview ( my mobile keeps freezing). It is the 3rd time the phone has rung twice, only to be put straight down their other end. Each time it has happened I have rung their call centre straight back, only to be told they called several times and got no answer. They are lying. Every time I was next to the phone. My mobile didn't ring either. I am on hospital placement for the next few weeks working 3 13 hour shifts a week. I am having to take days off to wait for these calls. I am going to need to make these hours up somehow. I have now been told I have to wait all day Thursday for a callback to reshedule this once again. The 5th time. I have tried to go to the contact centre, only to be told the housing officers don't work from there and no one can speak to me. Spoke to shelter. They referred me to the civil advice people who can't help much now.

I am well aware I am going to be put into a b and b with my children all in one room indefininitely. I don't know how we will cope- my son doesn't sleep. All my children are extremely wary of strangers yet we will have to share a bathroom with up to 7 other families/ groups. I was sort of preparing for this but now I am so scared - if the council are treating us this badly before we're even on the streets, how are they going to act when we need a roof over our heads? Will they lie about things and ignore us then as well so we are trapped there for years.

My landlord is ruthless- he will be going straight to court and then will transfer it to high court bailiffs meaning the eviction will be quicker, plus they will not have to give any notice they are arriving. I am scared I will be at work or Uni (exams coming up) and my children will be here alone when they come. They will be petrified- their Dad used to boot the door in, they remember all that. Landlord has made implied threats whenever I have spoken to him.

I'm trying to be strong but I can't stop crying. I feel I have let my children down. I am scared of what is going to happen to us and how we will cope. What has happened to my friend's son is constantly on my mind - it's just beyond awful. And now all this. If anyone can help, then please - I really could do with it. I'm out of ideas completely, but I need to find a way to be strong enough to help my children through this. I need to find a way to cope for them - they only have me to fight for them. I apologise for any spelling, grammar errors- having to type this mega quick so I can go out with DS's to put some posters up in shops etc. But bloodyhell, all this is starting to seem like a nightmare. I don't know what to do, I really don't.

Iamtheresurrection Tue 04-Apr-17 16:44:53

No advice but bumping in case someone else does.

bilbodog Tue 04-Apr-17 16:48:15

Didnt want to read and run - so sorry you are in this situation. Im afraid i cant offer any useful advice other than ask if you have tried speaking to Shelter or someone like that in case they can help? Someone will come along who may be able to help. Wishing you all the best.

Applebite Tue 04-Apr-17 16:53:26

OK, first, try and breathe - the council cannot see you made homeless. I know it's horrifically stressful, but there is a long way to go yet.

Nobody can change the locks on you when the S21 expires. That would be a criminal offence. First, if you can see a lawyer or CAB, take your tenancy agreement and the section 21 notice and see if it's valid. A huge number of landlords fuck them up.

If it is valid, the landlord will have to apply to Court for an order for possession once it has expires, which will take 6-8 weeks. If the landlord gets the order for possession, then the council will rehome you. The order usually bites 14 or 28 days after the hearing date, but they can give you up to 6 weeks in cases of exceptional hardship, which you might well meet.

HTH a bit.

flowers

Justanothernameonthepage Tue 04-Apr-17 16:54:59

Write everything down with attached evidence and send to your MP. Ask on local FB groups if anyone knows of anywhere. Find out the heads of departments at the council and CC them all in. Look up bailiff rules in your location (in most the UK they can't force entry). Pack emergency bags for everyone in case you need to leave in a hurry
Put copies of any important documents somewhere safe outside the home. Also check with some local domestic abuse charities about help with PTSD for the kids. I hope someone else comes along with better advice.

Justanothernameonthepage Tue 04-Apr-17 16:56:13

Applebit came up with some great advice smile

Evalina Tue 04-Apr-17 16:56:44

Might be worth going to see your MP, they usually have surgeries regularly, they may be able to help by writing a letter to the council, which might help ensure your case gets attention. Good luck, hope it all turns out ok for you all.

Thinkingblonde Tue 04-Apr-17 16:57:27

Contact your local MP? I've read of others in similar situations to yours and the MP has helped the council employees to focus their minds to do the job they are employed to do.
It's got to be worth a try.

Cinderpi Tue 04-Apr-17 16:57:54

What a terrible situation! I would have suggested shelter and CAB too.

Are there any children's charities/ASD/Women's Aid type charities where you are who could help? Have you tried contacting your MP? I'm disgusted that the housing department are treating you like that. Can your university/college help at all?

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Tue 04-Apr-17 17:02:51

Definitely contact your local MP (or MSP if in Scotland) to see if they will help. They definitely can be useful in these kind of situations. Get in touch with their constituency office. Best of luck.

EnormousTiger Tue 04-Apr-17 17:15:29

You certainly write extremely well. I hope it can be sorted out.
The problem seems to be the local council not fixing up the call. Could you suggest a person to person interview with them with you going to their offices instead as the attempts to set up the call keep failing?

EnormousTiger Tue 04-Apr-17 17:16:20

Also your daughter doing A levels in the next 2 months - has she a school friend (or several) she could stay with if absolutely essential to do that just until the last of the A level exams so her A levels are not messed up?

aliceinwanderland Tue 04-Apr-17 17:22:06

Some good advice here. I would also email your local councillors today with details and ask them to chase up the housing department to fix up the call.

Electrolux2 Tue 04-Apr-17 17:27:38

Look at this.
http://www.savethefamily.org.uk/aboutus/
In a similar situation I was referred here. I didn't. Red it in the end and the council got their act together fast enough when provided with medical evidence. But they would have taken me and my children and some people stay for a long time. Up to a year with ongoing support and counselling for the whole family

MiscellaneousAssortment Tue 04-Apr-17 17:28:31

You need to keep your own strength up and keep on battling through. You'll get there, if you keep on moving and plodding forwards. Try not to panic and think about worst case scenarios, it ducks out your hope and resilience, and you need both right now flowers

fkds Tue 04-Apr-17 17:30:27

Please contact Shelter asap on 0808 800 4444.

Also try contacting this guy he might be able to help;
twitter.com/nearlylegal

Mrsmadevans Tue 04-Apr-17 17:31:48

Universities sometimes have houses for families , have you asked the Pastoral team there my dear? alternately what about the national union of students/ good luck I am sure this will be all ok in the end

yesiamgoingtoeatthat Tue 04-Apr-17 17:34:21

Hi OP, Shelter offers a free helpline. There are options for you out there. Good luck. And I agree with other posts, find friends who can look out for your children when necessary x
Phone Shelter's free national helpline on 0808 800 4444 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 5pm weekends). The expert advisers can: explain your rights and options. tell you what emergency housing is available in your area.

4square Tue 04-Apr-17 17:35:50

Bumping to get you more advice flowers

Bettyspants Tue 04-Apr-17 17:41:57

No legal help I'm afraid but lots of experience with student nurses. What year are you in? Do you have development nurses that link with your placement and the university? If you haven't done already email your personal tutor to explain your circumstances. There should be legal advice available via your university. Nursing students are unlike many other students and have to attend lectures /make up hours but you can apply for extenuating circumstances

HiggeldyPiggeldy Tue 04-Apr-17 20:49:18

OP your situation sounds awful, . Have you tried Womens Aid, Gingerbread, Shelter, you local MP. Also your university probably has a student welfare department, or you could speak to your personal tutor, I had a personal situation my last year and the support from my university was invaluable.

Lots of luck to you, I hope you get the help and support you need

demonchilde Tue 04-Apr-17 22:37:48

Thank you all so much - you are all lovely. I just felt so hopeless when they put the phone down like that yet again, like we matter to no one at all. So it means a lot to see messages of support on here and realise that isn't true, at least not to everyone. Some great advice as well, I will try and get a good nights sleep tonight (not been able to sleep which hasn't helped), phone my placement tomorrow to say I can't come in and follow up some of the suggestions given. Keep going. It is difficult as well as I hate asking for help, I'm too fed up of being let down. I can see I am starting to catastrophise a bit, and maybe looking ahead too far but it is so hard not to. Having so little control over things and having pretty much no options is so scary, I just want to protect my children but how can I when I am the mercy of others and circumstance.

I think my main fear is mucking up my degree, that is supposed to be our ticket out of a life where we are dependent upon others like we are now. I am also scared my depression will come back, I don't have anyone to catch me if it does. But I am so sad about everything. My son losing his friend like that at that age. His poor, poor family. But I am also sad about losing our home ( which I feel guilty about as it is nothing in comparison). This is the first home we have ever loved and felt safe in. The first nice area we have lived in. It is on the outskirts of what is a really dodgy area, massive drugs problem and all sorts. I don't even like walking my kids through some of the areas around here, and now I will have to take them back to live in places like that. I thought I had got them away from that life. I feel like I am letting them down so badly. We can't take our cat. That may sound like the least of our worries, but we adore him. We almost lost him as a kitten which I think makes him even more special.

Sorry if being a bit self indulgent, but it really is just so shit. I start off so determined to face problems and sort them out, but my God it's wearing when you just seem to hit one brick wall after another. I'm just so exhausted. But again, thank you. As I say, tomorrow I will be back on the case, make some more phone calls and so on. Thank you all again

bialystockandbloom Tue 04-Apr-17 22:45:19

So sorry, sounds a very hard situation for all of you. Why did the landlord issue the S21? And when was it? It must give 2 months notice for you (the tenant) - is this notice up yet?

bialystockandbloom Tue 04-Apr-17 22:48:00

Sorry OP I've just seen the S21 expires next week. Can't believe how utterly unhelpful the council housing has been. Sorry, haven't got anything to add to pp advice above but really hope you get it sorted flowers

Whatthefucknameisntalreadytake Tue 04-Apr-17 22:53:04

I echo what the others have said, please please write to your MP and copy in the Chief Executive of your council, and send the letters recorded delivery. Tell them exactly what you have told us. Please do this if nothing else. It does depend a bit then on how good your MP is but a good MP could really really help you.

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