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Could anyone help me with my dilema?

 

We have recieved a letter of notice on our property given us 2 months notice, we are also on the local council bourough housing list.

The problem i have is we are 3 weeks away from the end of the notice having been down the local housing department today we have been told that we have to fill in a homeless form due at a meeting on thursday down the local council.

 

There are a few problems wth this as we are behind somewhat with the rent (the rent has not been paid because there are some repairs that need doing as we have sent several letters to the landlord explaining them and taking pictures IE Drafts, damp around windows and inside wardrobe and immersion heater not working making the only heat source an outside oil tank which costs the earth to fill up on top) this has caused my partner to gain some health problems, they did come round once or twice i think but just dismissed them and said nothing was the matter.

 

The second thing is that we have been recieving a small amount of money from housing benefit to pay towards the rent, now knowing the council that will be brought up.

 

The third thing is we recieved a letter of notice from a solicitor but is that classed a court order or is it just a standard letter to get us out the property as if not how long would it take roughly before we absolutely have to get out and is it legal to squat if the housing do not come up with anything between now and eviction time.

 

I really would appreciate someones advice thanks

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Check the notice, is it a standard letter or does it have Section 8 or Section 21 written on it? Otherwise you will have to wait for the Notice for Possession, that goes to court, can take over a month, if the judge grants it you have 14 days to leave, if you dont leave the LL has to instruct bailiffs to come, remove you, belongings, etc and change the locks. Unfortunately it can take several months.

You cant squat in a property you are already living in and have a tenancy agreement in.

 

The likelihood is the possesion order will be granted because you havent been paying rent.

And the council has no obligation to rehouse you because of the rent arrears

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Thanks emma or your reply, ill have to check the letter wether or not it has those sections on it.

 

even though the house we live in isnt fit to house a tramp and the conditions are really bad are you saying they wont rehouse us and were deliberatly making our selves homeless due to witholding the rent because of the lack of repairs done to the house through several requests and attempts.

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Its a disctinct possibility! And you never should have just stopped paying your rent, you are always legally obliged to pay rent. However there is a set process you can go through to get the repairs done, pay the workman yourself, and then deduct the money from the rent. Shelter has a section on their website about how to go about it

 

Shelter England - Tenants doing repairs

 

And if it really isnt fit to live in you should contact Enviromental Health

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We asked them about getting workmen in to do some work when we had the finances, they said that they do not accept work been done to the house only themselves are allowed to make judgements on there own properties, they are really funny about it, it took a neighbour nearly 20 years of barterring with them to let them do some work by other people on there property, so we stood no chance.:(

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if the house is so bad then why not find a different property?

 

or did you intend to just find any excuse not to pay rent?

 

thats the impression I get, and the impression I would expect a court to get if the landlord decided to take you to court.

 

you should never just stop paying rent if there are issues with the property.

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unfortunatley we wasnt bringing in the income - i lost my job jun last year, my patner worked but was on a low wage bringing home £165 per week.

We did get tax credits of £90 week.

we applied for housing c/tax benefit and was granted £13 week housing & £7 week council tax relief.

We approached the council to be put on the housing list feb 09. Explaining that with repairs for draughts damp etc - against the £1400 per yr just on oil for heating + the extreamley high c tax of £1400 yr - we knew we were going to hit problems.

The rent arrears stem from then.

In may this yr my partners job was threatened so rather than go on unemployment she started her own business working from home - at the moment it brings in more than jsa but is not enough (£130 tax credit + £100 earnings).

The housing benefit rose to £50 per wk in may 09 - but we were then so far behind with everything it was taken to catch up &pay whoever shouted the loudest.

We were issued with a section 21 (4)(a) notice to quit.

 

We complained several times to the landlord, but nothing was done - they did come round and look at the electric water heater and said it works just leave it switched on - which we did for 3 days but still no hot water.

The last couple of letters i have sent to thm recorded, they havejust ignored.

The property is rural and the ONLY form of transport to get my daughter to school is car - there is only 1 bus a day and it doesnt run until 12.20pm.

 

My partner had gone through a divorce when she took this place 2 yrs ago - she had nowhere to go at the time as again the council didnt help. She was helped by a employer with the deposit and he called in a favour from the institution that owns the houses round here. So it was a desperate quick move - i joined her a yr after she had moved in here.

 

If we had the means to get a deposit together then we would find our own, but unfortunatly circumstances wont allow it, we both wish we had purchased a property whilst there were morgages as i know there is a greatly reduced rate for people who have over extended on a morgage.

 

We have both found our own private rentals in previous times and have never had a council authority home in our lives.

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You are going to lose this property, but I think you already know that. There is no defence to the S21 NOSP other than the judge granting you up to 42 days extra time for hardship.

 

When you then present as homeless, they are going to find you in priority need but intentionally homeless. However, what cannot happen is a child left on the street. I would imagine that on the day of eviction, when you go to their offices, they will put you in B AND B or temporary up to 28 days whilst they investigate.

 

I am sorry to be blunt but you need to know what is going to happen so that you can deal with it.

 

Now, an appt with Shelter is a must. And then i advise you to enlist the help of social services, children and families unit, they are there to help you, not villify you for your situation and the last thing they will want is to see your young daughter homeless, or to separate the family in some way. You need a social worker on your case and to help you access accommodation, and get the best deal from the LA that you can - you will most likely get assistance with rent in advance or deposit for another private let. Ask in particular if there are any specialist housing associations in the area that give people final chances - I actually work for one in my area and can tell you that they may take you with arrears at this level provided you can show you have made a repayment agreement with your current landlord and stuck to it.

 

You also need the help of a Floating Support worker, if you ring your local authority or CAB they will point you in the right direction for that. This person will help you go through your finances, see that you are getting your full entitlements, and will support you throughout this issue. They will help you deal with HA's in your area, its worth a try. Also, some of the energy companies have a trust fund to help people in your situation, in my area its the EOS foundation, and its mainly funded by the water companies for some reason. Again, worth a try.

 

I know its all doom and gloom right now, but you will get through this. And always remember, even if you have to eat beans on toast for a year, its rent and C/Tax first, always. Fingers crossed, now instead of sitting fretting, you can get cracking and see what you can do to sort this out with the proper help and that alone will make you feel better.

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Thankyou for your kind advice.

 

We have an homeless interview tomorrow with the local council, so will find out more then.

 

I handed in the notice to quit 4 weeks before - as per the lady at the housing offices - they took it but failed to tell me that they wont consider it until i have had a homeless interview - hence tomorrows appt. I just wish they had told us earlier, as a week and half has passed by.

 

I will contact shelter to see if they can help.

 

thankyou again for your helpful reply.

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Also, don't forget, that just as the mortgage lenders have been ordered to be a tad more considerate during this recession, the homeless unit also have to be mindful of it.

 

Fingers crossed for today then.

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