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Housing benefits question

(17 Posts)
estuaryfairy Mon 08-Sep-08 09:12:57

Have put my house on the market because I can't afford the mortgage any more and need to sell it before I get repossessed sad. It's worth £15,000 less than it was this time last year and I'll come out with about £2,000 after solicitor fees etc. Am intending to rent privately and apply for HB (am a lone parent to a 15 month old dd and on a low income, getting working tax and child tax credits). A male friend has said he'll rent with me and dd. If he did, we'd be able to afford the rent on a three-bed house. But would I still get HB for my half of the rent if I was house sharing with him? We are not a couple, he's my best friend's little brother and I've known him all my life.

trumpetgirl Mon 08-Sep-08 09:38:38

I don't know the ins and outs of housing benefit, but thought i'd let you know what happened to me!
I moved in with my cousin when I first had my dd (also, not a relationship!) and despite the fact that I was on full benefits at the time, we were only entitled to a 'second adult rebate' which certainly covered nothing like half of the rent.
I was just staying with him temperarily though. Don't know if you could get contracts drawn up such that you are required to pay half of the rent, I don't think they could argue with that. I was looking at house sharing a couple of years ago, and they gave me the impression that would be fine.
I'm no expert though. Hope someone else can help more!

Tinkerbel6 Mon 08-Sep-08 10:20:47

estuaryfairy you woudl be better off renting on your own in a 2 bedroomed property, the council assume that when a man and a woman share they are in a relationship and often it takes months, phone class and stress to prove you are not, I wouldn't complicate things so just be responsible for re-homing you and your daughter.

trumpetgirl Mon 08-Sep-08 12:11:51

Oh yeah. Forgot about that!
They came out to see if I was living with my cousin as if we were married. I thought that was weird, and quite disgusting, and it took about 6 weeks to sort out!
I agree with Tinkerbel6. It is easier to find a place on your own.

Tinkerbel6 Mon 08-Sep-08 14:24:32

Yes I agree trumpet girl as it happened to me, I was house sharing with a female and she moved out and a male friend needed a place to stay so he moved in and I had a terrible time with housing benefit, even after they did an inspection and saw 2 seperate bedrooms and 2 seperate sets of wardrobes with clothes in they considered us living together as a couple, took a while to sort out but it worked out ok in the end. This might not happen all the time but it can be a grey area and it can delay any claim for housing benefit/LHA.

estuaryfairy Mon 08-Sep-08 20:36:27

Thanks, sounds like more red tape that I really don't need right now. Haven't applied for HB as my flat is still on the market, but think when the time comes (that I either sell it or the mortgage company very kindly takes it off my hands) I'll look for somewhere for just me and DD. Guess they'll tell me I made myself intentionally homeless and we'll have to live in a bus shelter anyway... sad

emskaboo Mon 08-Sep-08 20:58:49

Don't worry about intentionality, it doesn't apply to HB, just to whether you would be housed by the council as a statutorily homeless person. HB has only income conditions for payment.

estuaryfairy Mon 08-Sep-08 21:32:16

Thanks emskaboo. I'm not a homeless person, I don't even have a dog! Just trying to cope financially with the transition from employed person with a decent salary (hence buying the flat) to more-or-less unemployed single mum (I freelance, but it's been an unreliable source of income recently). Am trying everything I can to keep our heads above water but realistically don't think I'll be able to pay mortgage for much longer and want to pre-empt a repossession order. Have come to terms with selling mine and DD's home, even though I'll end up with virtually nothing to show for three years of mortgage payments and a £30,000 deposit, but hate the thought of some official bod taking the keys off me. Intending to use the pittance I come out of this mess with to rent privately and then apply for HB.

SpandexIsMyEnemy Mon 08-Sep-08 21:37:23

I think possibly (and don't quote me) that for mortgages for a spell they pay the interest part of your payments?? might that buy you some time to sort yourself out? - just thinking maybe you won't have to sell.

estuaryfairy Mon 08-Sep-08 21:59:26

Thanks Spandex, but they'll only pay the interest on your mortgage if you're on income support (which I'm not, as I work, so I'm on tax credits) and then it's only up to £100,000 on the property and they'll only pay it after nine months, by which time, you would have been repossessed anyway hmm. I don't expect the social to pay my mortgage (despite the fact that I could have paid it off many times over with the taxes I've paid over the years), I just want to be able to rent somewhere decent for my DD and myself and get some help towards it now I'm stony fecking broke in reduced circumstances.

newforold Tue 09-Sep-08 16:48:42

Is renting out your flat an option rather than selling it?

Rentals are more in demand now as the housing market struggles.

If you could let your flat then you would come back into profit in around 18months to two yrs i reckon. ( i am predicting that the housing market will recover in that period of time)

Also, have you looked at the scheme where you let your flat to the local housing authority on a long lease scheme. They cover your mortgage for 3 yrs and are contractually obliged to return the property in the same condition it was at the start of the lease. My childminder has just done this.

What are you freelancing? Are you advertising properly, is it better for you to get a full time job doing something else and continiue the freelance work on the side until things pick up? This would give you a regular income and allow you some breathing space.

Tinkerbel6 Tue 09-Sep-08 16:56:54

Housing benefit/LHA wont pay the rent on a property if the tennant already owns another one, they expect that person to live in the owned house no matter if they can pay the mortgage or not, I dont know if things have changed now but that was how it used to be, plus the rent will be regarded as income so will cancel out any means tested benefits that might need to be claimed.

estuaryfairy you are better off selling your property and banking any profits, privately rent until you have got yourself sorted and may in a year or so maybe look to buy another property just for you and child.

estuaryfairy Tue 09-Sep-08 18:53:50

Newforold, renting my flat out for a couple of years would be te ideal solution. Unfortunately, Tinkerbel is right, if I did that I wouldn't get HB to rent somewhere else, and my tax credits would be affected. I'm a freelance writer but now it's just me and DD, I can't rely on freelancing any more, even when times are good, it only takes one commissioning editor to leave a magazine and that's a third of your regular income gone. I'm waiting to see if I've got in to do an OU degree in October. The plan is to do that, then teacher training, so by the time DD is at school, or thereabouts, I'll have a decent job in school hours. Tinkerbel, there will be very little left once I've sold the flat, if I sell the flat before it gets repossessed. enough to rent privately for a while, maybe, while making a claim for HB. Think it will be more than a year or so for me to get back on the property ladder, if I ever do, but as long as I can put a decent roof over DD's head, that's all I care about. The 'me' who could once afford a mortgage and credit cards is far removed from the 'me' who's struggling to get by now, but that other me wasn't a mum to a beautiful, amazing DD and I know which 'me' I'd rather be.

Tinkerbel6 Wed 10-Sep-08 12:12:59

You would be better off getting yourself a 16 hour week job so you can claim tax credits, you can still do your writing on the side but at least you will have solid money coming in each month, give yourself time to get straight and get used to budgetting and then maybe in the future you can buy again, you will definately need a couple of months rent up front plus references and maybe a credit check, hopefully you can start planning for that now whilst you sell your house

estuaryfairy Wed 10-Sep-08 14:02:24

I have just started working one day a week 9-5 (DD's dad has her) and am trying to get another 8 hours a week to keep my hours at 16 (my current tax credits are based on 16 hours when I was freelancing). Got the letter from the OU today, saying I've got a full financial award and a grant, so I'll be starting my course next month. Hoping to be able to work 2 days a week and study p/t. I really need to do this degree to secure DD's future.

allgonebellyup Wed 10-Sep-08 16:31:44

estuaryfairy - you will be fine, i am just completing my OU degree and going to do teacher training next year. Am single parent of 2.

estuaryfairy Fri 12-Sep-08 08:40:13

Thanks allgonebellyup, good luck with the teacher training.

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