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council are trying to take my home - help

(37 Posts)
prettyfly1 Sat 02-Jul-05 09:49:06

i moved into my council house on the 2nd may which is the same day my son was born. As a single parent on smp i am entitled to almost full housing benefits. I applied and was told that they were jsut waiting for decision from working tax credits. Working tax credits have mesed up and although i have been given an award they cnt say how much or when it will start and are trying to make emergency payment, holding up the housing benefit. Because i am waiting for this to go through obviously rent is held up. Recieved a letter from housing officer this morning who does know the situation and has been given full authority to check out the problems saying that they are giving me notice to quit the propert - making me homeless because my benefit hasnt gone through yet cannot be legal. If this happens i will have to give up my son becasue i will have nowhere to go. someone please tell me if they knwo of a solicitor who can help or what to do - this seems so unfair!!!

charliecat Sat 02-Jul-05 10:05:16

I wouldnt get intoo much a stress, I know thats hard, but they have to give you AT LEAST 2 months to get out, giving everyone time to sort out form and things.

prettyfly1 Sat 02-Jul-05 10:15:10

hi charlie cat, i am on a non secure tenancy so apparently they only have to give me four weeks

edam Sat 02-Jul-05 10:21:28

Get yourself down to your local citizen's advice bureau asap Monday morning. They have advisers who have bags of experience sorting problems like this out and can contact the council on your behalf. Address and phone no. will be in your phone book.
Sympathy, I know bureaucracy of benefits system can drive you round the bend...

ScummyMummy Sat 02-Jul-05 10:25:45

Hi prettyfly1.

Don't panic hon.

I think housing associations will often do this with the intention of putting a firecracker up the Housing Benefit people's bum. They are assuming that you will now shout loudly about the threat of eviction to Housing Benefit, who will then realise that your situation is serious and pay up. Housing Benefit are notorious for doing things like this and causing tenants to get into rent arrears and councils and housing assocs are starting to play hardball with them. Unfortunately this is extremely nervewracking for the tenant caught in the middle.

I suggest you ring up your Housing Officer and explain how worried you are. Ask her/him what you should do next and how you can avoid eviction. You may find that they have no intention of evicting you at all but are trying to force Housing Benefit's hand. If not, they should be willing to help you plan how to stay in your flat.

If your Housing Officer doesn't give you the answers you need I would suggest visiting your local Citizens Adivice Bureau or Law Centre for specialist advice.

Hope everything works out for you.

misdee Sat 02-Jul-05 10:45:04

call tyhe council and explain you are waiting for your HB and WTC tpo be sorted. its time to make some hard hitting calls. think WTC CTC is open today.

prettyfly1 Sat 02-Jul-05 12:05:38

thanks guys. i did that but all wtc would suggest to do is get a crisis loan in the interim. i flipped totally over this this morning. will go and be tough with housing benefit on monday.

expatinscotland Sat 02-Jul-05 12:38:13

A crisis loan isn't great enough to see you through. Get down to your CAB NOW and phone up your MP immediately! That's ridiculous that a single, working mother is being penalised b/c the tax credit people can't pull their heads out.

prettyfly1 Sat 02-Jul-05 18:22:40

that would be my thoughts but there you go. If i never worked it wouldnt be a problem either. But thats another matter

PeachyClair Sat 02-Jul-05 19:36:57

[shocked]Have you called the shelter advice line? I am sure they can help you with some sound advice, and at least hopefully give you worst case scenario picture that DOESNT involve you losing your son? hopefully today as I can imagine that waiting until Monday to see the CAB would be hard.

We used to get a lot of letters from the HB section when DH was unemployed (illness), threatening us- left hand didnt seem to know what the right hand was doing, and all that.
Not only was it scary, it was humiliating too.

Thinking of you, hope you get it sorted.

prettyfly1 Sat 02-Jul-05 20:07:55

thankyou. it is humiliating - i work for 8 years and paid tax an rent and everythign elsefor gods sake. No offence to anyone this applies to as you have as much right as me or anyone else to a home, but if i was sixteen and had never done a days work in my life i would get EVERYTHING. The worst of it is if i thought it would make a difference i would come off maternity leave but without working tax i cant afford childcare. It is shocking. I cant believe that they pick on the more vulnerable members of society like this.

PeachyClair Sat 02-Jul-05 20:12:52

Well, what I saw happen when I worked for HomeStart, was that those who shoued loudest got more. Now, like you said no offence to anyone, but a lot of people in your (and once my) situation ARE embarassed about asking for help, and therefore don't shout, and don't get.

Have you though about contacting the local press? Because you are a worker you'll get LOTS of poeple behind you. it might be a little embarassing, but embarassment or potentially (though I think it's unlikely, they have 'homeless' hostels where you could both live) lose your son. Drop the pride for a few eeks girl, kick up, you have earned it BY paying your way!!!!

prettyfly1 Sat 02-Jul-05 20:25:42

i think you have a point really. i am not going to lose my home. not for anyone!!!!!

PeachyClair Sat 02-Jul-05 20:48:07

You go for it! You sound pretty bright but if you need a hand writing to the press just ask, I've written enough press releases in my time in the charity sector!

Do try Shelter though, they're the experts after all.

prettyfly1 Sat 02-Jul-05 21:54:51

peachy clare i may just take you up on that one. tried them a couple of times - still busy but i will get through

expatinscotland Sat 02-Jul-05 21:56:41

No way, pretty! The squeaky wheel gets the grease! Get onto the MP. Write an email to your local paper. Call Shelter. You and your son deserve a home.

prettyfly1 Sun 03-Jul-05 18:43:57

will be doing that tomorrow so i will let you knwo how it goes

PeachyClair Sun 03-Jul-05 21:23:34

ANY HELP YOU WANT, YOU LET ME KNOW- I JUST FINISHED COLLEGE SO I HAVE VERY LITTLE ELSE TO DO, JUST PM ME.

Tortington Sun 03-Jul-05 22:30:40

i work for a HA ( not a H/O!) would like to second scummies post.

the housing association is doing this to make housing benefit get a move on. ofcourse they are covered legally should they want to get you out.

the rent is your responsibility, chasing it, nagging for it, crying over the phone to get it sorted - its all your responsibility not the HA's the onus is on you to get this sorted.

shelter is fab to get advice from.
as you are on a shorthold tenancy you have about the least amount of rights a tenant can have with a H/A so you need to be on the phone all day tomorrow to housing benefit to get them to pay something. none of the departments will speak to each other - and for gods sake dont let someone tell you "leave it with me" or anything similar. you need to try and get them to e-mail you and your HA and to write to you with an update you could even get your H/A's fax number and ask HB to fax through an update to them. remember to get teh anme of whoever you are speaking to, it just makes the person you are speaking to more aware that you are taking this seriously and you may well report your conversation with the employees name to someone more senior, keeps then on the ball. dont be afraid to ask to speak to a manager at any point and the best way to get things done is to keep calm and definatley not scream or shout or swear or they will just put the phone down. you can express your dismay and spea\k strongly but recognise the difference as ranting at HB wont get things done but persistance will.

going to the papers at this point wont actually be helpful as all the HA are going to say is that rent is your responsability to sort out not theirs and you could very well come off looking very uninformed and silly.

HTH

PeachyClair Mon 04-Jul-05 08:07:27

The HA will say the rent is your fault sure, Nut dont forget you need to be pressurising the WFTC guys, and they have had so much negative press at the moment. The ultimate problem is with the WFTC system, that is where you need to be targeting.

prettyfly1 Mon 04-Jul-05 16:45:06

on the case, and have pulled in support from shelter, the social work department and my solicitor. All are saying htat this sitution is ridiculous and should not be happening.

PeachyClair Mon 04-Jul-05 20:16:25

You keep strong and keep fighting, you're doing good!

expatinscotland Mon 04-Jul-05 20:33:10

Getting a social worker involved is another great idea. Have you contacted your MP? A lot of folks have had success with tax credit issues once their MP becomes involved.

Tortington Tue 05-Jul-05 10:06:50

who have you phoned today?

Tortington Tue 05-Jul-05 19:29:39

?

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