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Help with Council Housing

(22 Posts)
WantToHelpHer Tue 19-May-09 11:30:09

I have name changed to not out myself, or my friend. Please can someone help me, I have a friend who has finally decided to leave her husband (no children involved). They have been living together in a council house for the last 10 years. She has found somewhere else to live (non council) and will be able to move at the end of this month.

Heres where the problem is – she wants to sign over the house to her husbands name, which she was told she can do, but has now been told it takes weeks, and the person she needs to speak to is very busy, and they don’t know when he will be able to call her back to start the ball rolling.

She does not want to kick her husband out of the house, as he has no money and nowhere to go, so she wants him to be able to keep the home. But, she wants out and now, any suggestions on what she should do? I have posted this in Relationships and Legal.

Anyone know the best / quickest way out of this, she may need council housing again in the very near future?


WantToHelpHer Tue 19-May-09 16:36:56


sparklefrog Sun 07-Jun-09 18:26:03

Is this a joint tenancy? Did it get sorted?

XXModernMomXX Sun 28-Jun-09 12:11:52

I am a Housing Officer so here goes...

What you are talking about is "a tenancy assignment" which is an easy procedure providing;
1) there are no rent arrears on the property
2) there is no court order on the tenants due to rent arrears or anti-social behaviour
3) the person taking on the property is "entitled" to it - ie it isn't a single person taking on a 4 bedroomed house.

If all 3 of these conditions are not met then the case could become quite complicated and you will have to ask a more senior housing worker to make a discretionary decision in your favour.

You have the right to demand an appointment with a housing officer within a reasonable time (ie 2 weeks) and if this is not happening then phone up and insist on talking to a manger.

Hope this helps

vovon Sun 28-Jun-09 18:31:20

Hi there. Wonder if you can give me some advice.
I am considering giving up my council flat to move in with my mum at her council flat.She has lived here since 1979.
My mother is now elderly and has recently had a triple bypass. She is depressed and lonely and I feel guilty that I should do more.
I have been told that if I do this I maynot be an added household member and might not be able to succeed her tenancy.
This seems harsh. I work full time and will not be overcrowded.(She has 3 bed, I have 2bed with my daughter whos 10)
Iam hoping that she will be around for years to come but am worried that I will be asked to leave if she dies. Please help!
Can I not ask for a discresionary decision if the worst comes?
How can they make these decisions now?
I feel as though I am being penalised for wanting to give up my house to help her.
Surely this is a good thing?

XXModernMomXX Sun 28-Jun-09 18:53:39

Hi Vovon

That does seem harsh.

You WILL be added as a houshold member - this is a legal thing to do with Council Tax and any benefit claims (ie the single person discount on Ctax will be cancelled with another adult there)

Does your mother claim benefits? As a side issue, if she claims housing benefit and/or council tax benefit AND gets DLA or Attendance Allowance then there will not be a non-dependant charge (ie your contribution to the rent or CTax)

Succession will only be allowed if
1) you will have lived there for 12 months when your mother sadly passes on (or moves to another property)
2) there hasn't been a previous succession on the property
3) you are "entitled" to a property of that size.
4) you have no rent arrears from your previous tenancies (but even that can be negotiated)

You could consider being a joint tenant with your mother (if she's willing and if there are no rent arrears) and this would make things so much easier in the future but even if you just wanted to move in I personally would have every confidence that when the time came, you would be allowed to stay - even if you do have to ask for a discretionary decision.

Hope that helps

vovon Sun 28-Jun-09 20:12:22

How grateful am I to you. smile

I have spent all week in bits.
I went to see my housing officer on Monday and she really upset me.
She was ademant that I would be refused as a household member and then said that if mum dies I would be evicted and not be entitled to any help, as I made myself intentionally homeless by giving up my tenancy. She said that me moving in was an arrangement between me and mum and would never be recognised by the council .She even suggested that I put mum in a home!

She also stated that I could never be part of the tenancy.
Mum is 69 so she only pays water rates and no council tax, but I know that will change if I move in.( I work as a teaching assistant). Neither of us have any arrears.

vovon Sun 28-Jun-09 20:17:40

PS Thanks for making me smile for first time in days. You are very nice. Thank you.wink

XXModernMomXX Sun 28-Jun-09 20:35:02

Unless your local council are following some very strange rules, the HO spoke nonsense. I would advise that you get an appointment to speak to a manager or better still, write a letter to the ombudsman!

Good luck x

vovon Sun 28-Jun-09 21:24:45

Thank you very much XXModernMomXX.
Shall i put my intentions in writing?
And also how would i get my name on mums tenancy?

vovon Sun 28-Jun-09 21:47:04


XXModernMomXX Sun 28-Jun-09 22:13:57

Step by step, here's what you need to do;

1) Decide on a date to move in to your Mom's.
2) Give 4 weeks notice on your own place, in writing, to your local housing office. (make sure the date you tenancy actually ends at your own place is the actual date you decide to move to mom's)
3) Put together a joint letter with your Mom (both signatures required) stating the rasons you are moving in with your Mom and the date you are moving in (ie to care for) and because of the sensitivity of the situation you want to either be included in the household OR be made a joint tenant with your Mom. Send this letter to both your housing office manager AND to the Ombudsman. Ask for a discretionary decision if the normal rules don't apply.
4) Make sure you inform Council Tax of your change of address and any benefit departments that you and your Mom claim from.
5) There should be no problem with all of this BUT if there is go and see your local CAB who will act on your behalf.

I really see no problem with this but I do know how certain individuals are on power trips. I have every confidence that you will get what you want....that's certainly how it works in every local council I know of.


vovon Mon 29-Jun-09 13:53:49

Thanks for the advice. I certainly see what you mean by power trip!

I have written to my HO to terminate my tenancy and also to mums HO to inform of this decision.
I hope this is ok. Is it ok if I keep you informed please?

mommy6 Mon 29-Jun-09 17:24:52

I don't want to say what XXModernMomXX is saying is wrong, because she is a housing officer so must know what she is talking about.But i just wanted to let you know of two examples that i know for 100% are true.
Friend has lived with her mom for about 20 years,with her 2 DC.The tenancy is in her moms name.About 2 years ago they went to the council to ask for friends name to be added but were turned down.Friend has to pay rent and council tax there,but will have to move out when her mom dies.
The other story is about my best friend.When her husband pasted away from cancer last year,she was told she may have to move because the house was now to big for her.She had lived there for 30 years and it was in her name.The council did see sense in the end but did tell it was something they were bring in because of lack of housing.So when family die or move away they are moving people into smaller houses.
I don't want to scare you.Just be carefull you don't end up with no where to live.

vovon Mon 29-Jun-09 19:14:57

Hi there mommy6!

Thanx for the information.
Iam really worried about this.
I am going to see a solictor to see whats what, but I also hope that should worst happen they will make a decision in my favour. x

XXModernMomXX Tue 30-Jun-09 18:58:37

Well I've worked for 3 different local authorities and each of those work the way I've said. As I said before, unless your council are following some very strange rules then what I have said should happen.

You're right - get it checked out legally. Your local CAB will be familiar with your local housing policies...and their advice is free!

vovon Tue 30-Jun-09 19:24:45

Hi XXModernMomXX

Hope your ok and alls well in your world.

Well, they certainly keeping me waiting.

Contacted my mothers HO to hand deliver a written request about our intentions and was told they would have to look into whether I could move back home with mum.
I was made to feel like what I was asking for was wrong!
I bet that if I was on benefits and claiming HB and was staying somewhere else that they would take the property away from me.
They certainly are not making things easy.
So now I have to await a response.
In the meantime I have been staying full time at mums,(whos doing great)and trying to juggle work, motherhood, carer and saint all at once! Phew.

Funbags Thu 02-Jul-09 22:32:36

shelter advice Is useful.

If your Mum has lived there as a joint tenant with a spouse or parter who has died leaving her as sole tenent than that will count as a sucession and tecnically further ones are not allowed. However that does not mean to say that they cant offer you a new, introducory tenency in the event that your Mother passes away, particularly as you have freed up another property for them by moving in and they would be making your daughter homeless too.

If your Mum is not a sucessor herself then the 12 month rule would apply, but again they could always just grant a new tenency if you can't inherit the old one.

You could get them to make an 'in principle' decision now, so that when the time comes the paperwork is a formality. The other thing I would do is get a benefits check done as you might find you are better off there as a family member over being a joint tenant. The CAB could do this. The council ougt to have its policy on its website and in your tenents handbook.

If they give you a verbal 'it will be ok' in a meeting, then I'd confirm your understanding in writing, then its all down on paper for the record.

I've been in social housing for 10 years and I'd say that in my view shelter give the best free and indepenant legal advice and could do this pretty quickly over the phone, so dont pay for a solicitor just yet.

This should be a very straight forward case - get shelter to act for you if they dick about anymore, that tends to focus thier minds!

Funbags Thu 02-Jul-09 22:50:20

also forgot to mention if mum is under 65 look into getting Disability living allowance, if over 65 then attendance alowance/carers allowance etc...

sorry want tohelpher just realised this is your thread too....If friends hubbie is joint tenant then its just a case of her relinquishing her half, dead easy, if not then she needs to seek independent advice (again shelter or cab pretty good if you need it free). She might bugger her chances of being rehoused in future though. her local homlessness team can advise on her rights to get rehoused, however if she has no kids and no health problems etc then she might not stand much of a chance if she lives somewhere with high demand. I would strongly advise her to check this out before leaving. If she is suffering any kind of domestic abuse then she can present herself as homeless if she feels at risk and they should provide temp accom until everything is sorted out.

vovon Fri 03-Jul-09 16:36:13

Hi funbags,

Thanks for the

Mum got divorced back in 88 but she insists that my dad wasnt a joint tenant, only family member.
I still havent recieved any feedback from council as to whether I am allowed to move back in with mum.
Is it allowed or am I breaking the law?
We would not be overcrowded.
As for her benefits she is 69 and was told that she wasnt entitled to carers allowance.hmm Thats ok though cause she has her pension and pension credit and her needs are small.
I work full time so I can help her when she needs it.
Do you think I stand a chance of getting on as a household member?
I would feel a little off if I paid full rent and council tax and was not even down as living somewhere.

mommy6 Fri 03-Jul-09 17:15:05

You would be down has living there but not a tenant.Just the same has my grown up children,they are down has living here and have to pay a % of the rent(even though i recieve housing benefit)but i'm the tenant not them.If i was to move they couldn't stay here.If i was to die then the council would decide if they could stay or not.They most likely wouldn't let me 18y old stay here on her own,but if the younger children stayed with her then they may let her take on the tenancy.It depends on if the remaining family need the property.i.e 3 bedroomed house and only one person left living there will most likely be asked to move out.

vovon Fri 03-Jul-09 18:17:16

Thanks mommy6.

Hope so.x

After all I am giving back a flat to them and its in alot better condition now than when I recieved it.
Having a good day..... Its been 4 weeks since mums surgery and shes starting walking outside.

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