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Divorcing: If I have a mortgage, can I move into rented accom and get Housing Benefit?

46 replies

Frooty · 23/11/2006 18:56

I'm not trying to fiddle a benefit here - my mental health has been very bad and I want to move out of my mortgaged house. I'm in the process of a divorce and home situ is bad as there was a previous history of domestic violence (stopped now - not in any danger). Have 2 kids and recently got income support on advice on my solicitor. Was previously working for Ex for his business - obviously not practical to continue with that now, plus I had a breakdown recently and depression, etc. The house is in my name but he is the earner. Currently Ex pays for mortgage and bills etc. Many replying to this could urge me to stay and for him to move out but the cost/benefit analysis isnt worth it to me, plus I'd be better off in rented financially and stresswise. Getting him to move out would start WW3 again and I've had enough. Once I've moved out, the house can be put up for sale and I won't be living in the stress zone. Once I have a breathing space and divorce is final, I'll start trying for jobs to coincide with me getting my share of the equity to put on a small mortgage; then I'll obviously be off any benefits. My current living situ is very stressful. I really want to go.
So question is: can I get Housing Benefit and move into private rented accomm if I already hold a mortgage in my name? My council have given me conflicting answers. I don't want to flat hunt and find a lovely place and then be turned down for HB at the last minute. Does anyone know the answer to this? Thanks. xx

OP posts:
Mellowma · 23/11/2006 21:49

Message withdrawn

zookeeper · 24/11/2006 09:05

ucm, haven't read all the thread but just on your point - if you are married and the family home is in the sole name of one of you and the relationship breaks down then the one who isn't the owner can - and should, pretty sharpish - register a notice at the land registry. I can't remember what it's called now but it's something like a notice of Matrimonial rights - whatever it's called once it's been registered it then means that the owner can't sell or remortgage or do anything with the property except with the agreement of the other spouse or court order. On decree absolute it comes off which is why it's better to get a financial settlemtnt before then.

Frooty - try Yellow Pages and call around solictors to see if they have a Welfare benefits department - they might tell you over the phone or tell you in a free half hour interview which lots of them offer.

sorry if this is a bit garbled - in a hurry1

expatinscotland · 24/11/2006 09:20

i agree custy, maybe it happens in some councils, but in this one - haahaahaa. i practically had to give a DNA sample. we had FA. nada. had to miss one month's rent till my husband got paid.

it's set up for really, really poor people, not unfortunate ones.

expatinscotland · 24/11/2006 09:20

unless you happen to be unfortunate AND poor.

mumblechum · 24/11/2006 10:18

What you could do is release some equity to pay for say 12 months rent. You'll have to do a remortgage v. quickly, tho', before he registers his Mat. Homes restriction.

expatinscotland · 24/11/2006 10:21

good idea, mumble!

zookeeper · 24/11/2006 10:32

doesn't sound like Frooty will be able to get a remortgage if she is not working and struggling - also the banks normally ask the occupiers to sign something waiving their rights in the property which will alert him to what she's doing

mumblechum · 24/11/2006 10:50

Sorry hadn't read the whole thread re. not working.

UCM · 24/11/2006 10:59

ZK, thankyou. I wont be telling DH that

Frooty · 24/11/2006 11:06

Thanks for these replies - the resourcefulness of women never fails to amaze. Good suggestions.

Weaselmum ? disregarding value of property for 6 months rings a bell. A few months back I had a brilliant support worker from an agency (she's left now otherwise I'd ask her) who was sure I could get HB and had cited similar examples in her long + previous experience. The same agency is trying to find out more for me atm.

UCM: I will ring around/email today to some DV orgs - that's a good suggestion ? they must know. Will stick to the truth with the Council - but I appreciate your comments + that you were trying to help because of my situ. Mrsratty, I would consider a shelter/refuge if I was in danger - but right now it would be extreme situation for me and the kids. They (and me) are craving an immediate secure environment. Zookeeper - will try some legal advice centres ? previous exp of solicitors is that they are too snowed under to give free advice, but that could be my bad luck. The Rights of Women are brilliant for free legal/welfare advice on their helpline so I will ring them too.

Btw, my ex won't take action to stop me selling - he's too lazy/moneyminded even to get himself a solicitor for the divorce! But I didn?t know that an order stopping sale ceased at the decree absolute, that?s really useful to know.

Anonymum: That is interesting - was the mortgage in both their names? Mumblechum ? that is a brilliant idea ? if the HB isnt possible, then that?s a good solution.

I am going to have a busy day ? will post back later. Thanks again.

OP posts:
Frooty · 24/11/2006 11:16

zookeeper/mumblechum: Oh! But we have released/borrowed money before on the mortgage with Ex being earner even tho house is in my name. I think Ex would OK about releasing more equity so I could rent as long as it didn't affect his eventual pay off of equity. Is this what you meant or am I getting confused?

OP posts:
Frooty · 24/11/2006 11:17

I will check back much later - ex needs the computer. Thanks all

OP posts:
mumblechum · 24/11/2006 11:40

If he'll consent to sign the occupational home rights waiver (ie say that he has no interest in the property) in order that you can remortgage, and for his income to be taken into account, then fine.
It would be a good idea, if you're that cooperative to do a basic separation deed now, setting out what each of you is going to get out of the sale proceeds. It can also cover child and (if approp), spousal maintenance, any other assets and any joint liabilities.
If I were you I'd get a lawyer on board now. Try to find a specialist family lawyer near you.
I appreciate that you say you can't handle any more stress, but have you considered an injunction/occupation order? An occupation order would order him out of the property, and for him to pay some of the expenses until the divorce is all sorted out. It's a fairly draconian step, and you'd only get it if you've either been subject to or threatened with violence. Again, that's something you may want to raise with your lawyer.
I'd expect you to qualify for legal aid.

UCM · 24/11/2006 11:48

Frooty, I hope you find some information that helps you from somewhere today

Mumblechum, that signed waiver, DH signed one when I changed my mortgage recently. So does that mean he could still put register a notice even though he signed to say he had nothing to do with house. We are not thinking about splitting or anything, it's just that this is brilliant information for any of my friends who may find themselves in this position.

WeaselMum · 24/11/2006 12:02

You can definitely claim even if you own other property - I have checked with the DWP advisor's website

There is a calculation for working out how much of the value you take into account

In practice, few people who own a second property actually qualify because once the income is worked out it is over the threshold - but some do. And the 6 month rule applies in some circumstances so there are lots of people out there claiming hb, even for a short time, while they have a mortgage on another property

thanks for your comments Custy, I will assume they are your opinion rather than a fact you have discovered somewhere - I look forward to seeing you eat your own arse

mumblechum · 24/11/2006 12:03

UCM, yes, though it sounds legally schizophrenic.
The waiver a non-owner signs is for the benefit of the lender. If the mortgage payer defaults and possession proceedings are issued, the other party has agreed in advance to give up possession.
Under the Matrimonial Homes Act, however, a non-owning spouse (and it must be a spouse, not a cohabitee), can and should register a restriction on dealings so that the house can't be sold or mortgaged without them knowing about it.

suburbanjellybrain · 24/11/2006 22:20

My sister was joint mortgage holder I believe - the house wasn't sold as bil didn't leave and children are staying there (ir is amicable - as much as any divorce can be!)

HB is available for anyone with small income and there is info on 'shelter' website about what is taken into account. As I said the main problem for my sis was finding accomodation as she needed to claim hb (many agets don't want to consider tenants who are'on benefits')and no council housing available so the easiest option was paying 6m rent up front then making claim (hb is paid in arrears anyway)- am anonymum btw - decided to blow cover

Frooty · 25/11/2006 10:14

Yes, I've confirmed it too - Mumblechum + SJB are right - I am entitled to HB!

I rang around and ended up speaking to a very experienced welfare benefits woman in a Benefits Office who had come across this situ many times. She said that I was perfectly entitled to it because of my circumstances. I can support my application with all the paperwork/action Ive taken regarding the d violence/stress (GP, DV agencies, Police, Support Agency, solicitor, psychotherapy, etc.)

Once the HB is granted the council will do reviews on me at regular intervals, the 1st after 6 months to check I am progressing sale my house and doing legal necessities/consent order to split and come off HB. She made it sound like reviews would carry on even after 6mths, but I dont intend to be on it for very long.

Mumblechum, a solicitor is already on board, Ive just instructed a new solicitor because previous one was pushy. Me and Ex have recently applied for mediation so whatever comes out of it will be drawn up in consent order.

I'm very reluctant to take out injunction to get him to move out - I'd be the loser in the end because he'd be very vengeful because of shame/honour reasons and how it would look in front of his family etc (there are asian/culture issues here) and he'd probably contest the divorce throughout and our lawyers fees would both go through the roof in the bloodbath and eat into the equity too (which isn't huge). Once divorce is final and I'm independent and newly mortgaged again and he can't hurt me, then I will be in a very liberating position to tell my side of the story (DV) to his family/community - only if I choose to - it could be very dangerous - I can't stress how much he cares about his reputation. If I say anything to his family now it will start WW3. I have been v isolated in the marriage, but late have been doing plenty to remedy it + feeling good!

Thanks for all this support/advice.

OP posts:
finefatmama · 29/11/2006 13:28

I remember my coz being able to prove that he had rights on on his ex's house because he alone paid all the mortgage for 7 years. She couldn't put him out and he did register the notice thing.

Mediation is a good way to go. You've been through enough already and you don't need the added stress.

Good luck with your new life. I hope things work out well for you an your kids.

Prestonsnanny3 · 27/04/2020 20:29

Hi could you let me know the outcome as I’m in the same situation !

Babyroobs · 27/04/2020 23:30

Preston - This thread is 14 years old, rules and benefits have all changed now. If you needed to claim help with private rent on a property so you can move out then you may be able to claim Universal credit as long as you don't have savings in excess of 16k. They would help you with a rent element but if you have half the equity of a maritial home they will expect reasonable measures to be taken that the property is being sold or he is buying you out. I think they give you maybe 6 months grace period. Any Uc that you are entitled to depends on your income and savings, age, number of children and rent amount etc.

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