I worked in London for 4 years and recently became unemployed. I am receiving contribution based JSA but been told I am eligible for Housing Benefits as well. I am very conflict-free person that is why I am writing to this forum for an advice.
My situation is difficult. I would like to claim Housing Benefits until I will find a new job - hopefully in less than 6 more weeks. The claim is also going to be backdated (extra 4 weeks) to the point I lost my job and so it should make up around 10+ weeks. It means a lot of money for me right now.
I live in a share house; have got a proper join-tenancy agreement for a double room that I share with my father. My unemployed father is here just to learn English and help me around and since he has never worked in UK he is not claiming any benefits (we never tried). The entire rent for a room was always paid by me - though there are 2 persons on our tenancy agreement.
I pay rent monthly in cash to the landlady but with no receipt/any proof/rent-book issued. As many of you would question why I pay this way - money was always tight and I could never afford "official prices" in London and bills were always included. Cash in hand got me a cheaper price for double room compared to official market prices. Until recently I wasn’t even aware Housing Benefits existed and the help they could have given me all those years.
Renting is all "black business" in our share-house I guess and I believe not a single person is registered on electoral list or anywhere as they should have been. Claiming my housing benefits might create too many problems for our landlady which is what I am trying to avoid – not my business.
I live 3 years in the same house on the same address but I am sure I have not been registered anywhere too. I do owe credit card registered to this address that I have been here 3 years. Many questions follow:
1.) Myself being over 25 years old and my father is unemployed how much of Housing Benefit would I receive? My LHA is £100 per week. Would I receive just my equal half of monthly rent or a full rent for appropriate weeks?
2.) I know Council will send somebody to check my room and I have zero problems with this. With tenancy agreement being just for my double bedroom will they check other rooms too - because I have read they are checking conditions you live in? House can be classified as overcrowded.
I haven't got any proof that I paid rent on time and no rent-book exists. Obviously every tenant and landlady can confirm I paid on time but is it a problem for me?
3.) My tenancy agreement is bills inclusive (including council tax) but it is not noted on the actual tenancy agreement - "bills inclusive" was verbal agreement only. Would I be liable to pay any outstanding Council Tax of those last 3 years?
4.) What would be time estimate when will they come to visit if I file HB claim?
As I said I do not mind them visiting at all but it will ruin relationship between me and landlady and tension might be very high from that point. I do not like being threatened by landlady (or anybody else) later on. I am not keen to create problems to landlady whatsoever or problems to any other tenants in the house as overcrowded and they might all have to move on. It is not my business I agreed to price and condition - so I am asking upfront. On the other hand 2.5 months of rent money is a lot to wave goodbye to – as I have no income right now. Unless it will be only half of rent of my room then it might not be worth the trouble.
I’ve downloaded "Housing Benefit claim form" and clearly the landlady HAS TO sign the form which scares me. See page 31 onwards of hounslow.gov.uk / housing_ctax_benefit_form.pdf
5.) I am pretty sure Landlady will refuse to sign anything. Then what is the point of me even trying and me causing problems? She would NOT agree for me to claim for many apparent reasons and she will refuse to sign it? Can I make a valid claim without her signing anything?
Thank you all in advance!