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Trying to rent when claiming UC

(27 Posts)
Thattwatoverthere Mon 21-Dec-20 18:19:04

Fully prepared to be told there's nothing I can do because there probably isn't. And it's long so sorry in advance.

Me and my partner are on UC to claim back childcare costs. I have gone back to work part time and he has recently been furloughed for the second time so affording a huge monthly payment isn't possible at the minute.

Most months we weren't entitled to anything as he was earning wage + overtime, it's only been this last month we were entitled to anything and that went on nursery fees.

We've been given notice on our current rented house for reasons beyond the LL or our control so have to move mid jan.

We have seen a house that is affordable nearby so contacted the agency who have spoken to the LL who said her insurance won't cover us.

To me, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. We aren't claiming HB, our wages can easily cover rent along with bills as proved by us renting for a long time without missing payments. We have offered my mum as a guarantor in the hope that this will help but it's a no.

There's nothing else affordable in the area. Is this a common legal thing worth challenging?

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BlackCat91 Mon 21-Dec-20 18:53:50

I rent out a cottage and the tenant had to be in employment otherwise I could not get building insurance with them ( Direct Line). However in your situation I would have thought as you are furloughed, you are still employed ( you would be working if not for the virus) so this should not affect you.

Lineofconcepcion Mon 21-Dec-20 21:17:21

What date were you given notice and how many months?

Lineofconcepcion Mon 21-Dec-20 21:18:25

Nearly all landlord insurance excludes those in receipt of benefits.

CodenameVillanelle Mon 21-Dec-20 21:19:10

Have you had your full 6 month notice?

CodenameVillanelle Mon 21-Dec-20 21:19:38

Lineofconcepcion

Nearly all landlord insurance excludes those in receipt of benefits.

In receipt of housing benefit yes but it should not apply to childcare top ups!!

Didyousaysomethingdarling Mon 21-Dec-20 21:26:50

Taken from a PropertyTribes landlord discussion:-

Try LV they offer insurance for HB tenants

www.propertytribes.com/insurance-refused-because-new-tenant-on-uc-t-127649341-2.html

safariboot Mon 21-Dec-20 21:27:43

A court case not too long ago held that for a landlord to impose a blanket ban on benefit claimants is unlawful discrimination. But evidently it's still happening.

dancemom Mon 21-Dec-20 21:29:41

If you're on Universal Credit you're not receiving Housing Benefit

CodenameVillanelle Mon 21-Dec-20 21:48:29

dancemom

If you're on Universal Credit you're not receiving Housing Benefit

You are if you're receiving the rent element!

Lineofconcepcion Mon 21-Dec-20 22:27:12

safariboot

A court case not too long ago held that for a landlord to impose a blanket ban on benefit claimants is unlawful discrimination. But evidently it's still happening.

It isn't the landlord's fault if their insurance contains a clause for business efficacy reasons that disallows persons in receipt of benefits.

I am a landlord and quite happily accept applicants who are in receipt of benefits, but I can guarantee they will not be successful because they fail the affordability test every time. That is not my fault, it is the fault of the ludicrously low benefit rate in the UK set by the government, and their incoherent housing policy.

Lineofconcepcion Mon 21-Dec-20 22:28:15

Op please answer my query re when you were given notice and how long you were given.

SpaceRaiders Mon 21-Dec-20 22:42:45

I don’t think you’ll get anywhere challenging this. Whilst it’s been deemed unlawful for landlords to discriminate against benefit claimants. Most mortgages and insurance policies stipulate that the tenants must be professional or working and will not accept benefit claimants. It’s really there to mitigate risk of non payment. Same way a lender wouldn’t give you a mortgage or loan without a means of repayment.

Thattwatoverthere Tue 22-Dec-20 01:18:14

Thanks for your replies.

We haven't been served sufficient notice however we are renting from a friend of my OH who has faced some challenging times over the last year and is being forced to move back to his home to receive care early in the new year. It's bizarre but we need to go with it unfortunately. The plan was always for us to move in the next year or so but it's come around far faster than we'd have hoped.

We are both employed however my OH has been furloughed so no longer earns the overtime he once did, this along with the 20% pay cut has left us short for paying for 2 x nursery fees per month along with all the other living costs. We're very grateful he's still being paid something but I didn't realise it would impact us quite so much in this way. He's looking for a new job at the moment as it doesn't seem likely he'll return at the end of it. I'm PT currently with the intention of increasing my hours from 15 to 30 per week when both kids are in school.

We claim UC however our budget shows that we can afford the rent and bills etc without this, I've never claimed before and have only been awarded any money this last month (since furlough) which means that we do receive help but our rent has always been paid directly by us and the amount we received was slightly over the childcare payment amount. It's all very new to me. My DD will be 3 in Feb so will receive her 15 hours free which will reduce the amount we can claim. We only intended to claim to help us with the childcare costs in the short term.

They've taken the listing down now anyway so I can't challenge their decision. On to the next one, all of which are £100 + more per month 😭

Sorry if I've rambled, I'm up with an ill 2 year old, hoping today's Covid test results come back clear. What a fucking year.

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safariboot Tue 22-Dec-20 03:56:45

We haven't been served sufficient notice however we are renting from a friend of my OH who has faced some challenging times over the last year and is being forced to move back to his home to receive care early in the new year. It's bizarre but we need to go with it unfortunately.

It's hard for everyone involved but if push comes to shove you have to not "go with it". Do not move out until you have secured new accommodation.

Thattwatoverthere Tue 22-Dec-20 05:12:42

If we absolutely had to we could move in with my mum but we tried that last year and I can't see it going well to be honest. I like my own space as does my mum and my MH wasn't great whilst I was there.

I'm going to call about the other houses in the morning and put my case across and see if I get the same resistance. Ideally I'd love to be able to move early in Jan and feel like we have a fresh new start but now I've been told no once I'm not optimistic.

I've looked at our budget and the rent and living costs are definitely affordable to us so long as we still get a bit of help with nursery costs. I just need to make them see that somehow.

I really wanted to know if anyone had an idea about the legalities of our situation so thank you to all that have replied, I'm really grateful.

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theantsgomarchin Tue 22-Dec-20 05:26:49

Hi OP. The issue is that although you say you can afford it without UC, any sane person would ask why you're claiming UC at all then? In your head you use one pot of money for rent and bills, and the other pot of money to top up childcare costs, but the reality is that money is money, and without the UC element you wouldn't be able to afford everything. So you do need help in order to afford it all, and that's where the trouble lies. Sadly the reality is that it is very hard to rent privately whilst receiving any sort of benefits, but not impossible. Don't give up hope

LadyLazaruss Tue 22-Dec-20 06:03:20

safariboot

*We haven't been served sufficient notice however we are renting from a friend of my OH who has faced some challenging times over the last year and is being forced to move back to his home to receive care early in the new year. It's bizarre but we need to go with it unfortunately.*

It's hard for everyone involved but if push comes to shove you have to not "go with it". Do not move out until you have secured new accommodation.

This. Whilst it must be hard on the LL too, 6 months is now the minimum notice, so take the extra time to find somewhere if you need to.

PleasantVille Tue 22-Dec-20 06:07:04

This problem was discussed on Money Box least week. If you look on BBC Sounds you can hear the programme, it'll give you more information and explain the issues.

They did say that most insurers will allow benefit renters but the LL may need to pay a small extra premium.

dontdisturbmenow Tue 22-Dec-20 08:55:21

The problem is LLs don't know you and your family. You are names and facts to them. Your OH furlough would raise serious concerns that he might be made redundant in April. That means that half way through your first 6 months tenancy, you can't pay anymore if the rent part of UC you're entitled to is lower than the actual rent, yet they can't evict you for 6 months potentially finding themselves in much trouble if they rely on the rent for their own bills.

A guarantor is little guarantee in the short term as few pay it up when faced with what they made themselves liable so will need to be taken to court, at cost, taking yet many more months and the risk of losing your own house in the process.

Sadly if as a LL you get 5 applicants, all professionals with good secure income, why would they say no to them and take a huge risk with your family?

My advice to anyone in your situation is to settle for an unpopular home where the LL will be grateful to have anyone to rent the place. It might be dirty, in need of repair, in a non desired location. See it as a 6 months situation. Use that time to secure your jobs and income, build a god deposit so that in 6 months time, you can be at the top of the least of your future LL for a nice home.

Thattwatoverthere Tue 22-Dec-20 11:36:38

Thanks all again for your advice. Totally understandable that they'd see us as a risk and want to go with others who are in a better situation than us.

I've spoken to another agency this morning who will see what the landlord thinks. 🤞 for some good news.

I've looked at worse houses in worse areas already and they aren't any different price wise to the ones I've expressed interest in. We are on a list for social ex military housing but who knows if or when that would be available. Also registered with our city council but there are going to be lots ahead of us in the queue.

Looks like it's back to my mums with 2 toddlers and a house full of small, breakable ornaments and no privacy. I'd better get the ADs ready again 😭

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Lineofconcepcion Tue 22-Dec-20 12:23:32

Op the law is there to protect tenants in your position. You would be foolhardy to move from your secure accommodation to a situation that you know is unsuitable. Landlords are running a business, and should be very careful at the moment to support tenants in your position, providing the rent is paid.
I would urge you to have a pragmatic down to earth discussion with your landlord laying out the legal position and negotiating s 6 month notice period as this is the minimum the law currently allows. Things will be more settled by Easter.

Lineofconcepcion Tue 22-Dec-20 12:25:37

And there are no situations where not being able to give appropriate notice is 'beyond the landlord's control'.

dancemom Tue 22-Dec-20 20:18:58

@CodenameVillanelle you're not. You receive Housing Costs as an element of Universal Credit administered by the DWP.

Housing Benefit is administered by local councils.

Thattwatoverthere Wed 23-Dec-20 14:36:58

We have a viewing next week! I explained our situation to the agency and they said they were fine with that so fingers crossed it's a good one!

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