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Urgent, renting single room work and benefits and landlord issues!!! help

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Hi need some urgent advice.



I ‘m currently in a dire situation, I’m looking for a single room in London. I’m going through a divorce. My ex- partner threw me out the house. That doesn’t really concern me. I’m working at the moment and can pay three months rent no problem. Thing is if I get the property (single room, shared bathroom kitchen etc) and I lose my work as it’s a short term thing, can I claim housing benefit, until my next project?



I have never been on housing benefit before but it looks like I may have to once this project comes to an end, in three months. As I reckon there will a 3-5 month gap before my next project begins. The private landlords only want professionals which I am.



I’ve contacted housing benefit in anticipation regarding this. They have told me you have a right to claim housing benefit and if your job ends do not have to tell the landlord about this. They mention something regarding ticking a box to have the money paid to you, on the form? Is this correct?



The lady informed me not to beat myself up. She said you’re working and you have a right to a roof over your head and to claim housing benefit (and job seekers) until your next job, if needed.



Thing is I’ve rang many single room vacancies and It seems that regarding these single rooms lets, the people in charge are loathe to offer tenancy agreements? Which I would need to prove to housing benefit that I am there? What do I ask for, a contract, a short hold tenancy? Which?



Also the single room offers seem to fall into two categories, either:-

A- families or house owners letting out their spare room



B professional landlords that convert multi-room properties into bedsits; with communal bathroom and kitchen?



The lady also warned me regarding to be careful of families or owners letting out rooms. It seems many of these in London claim benefits themselves, and as such is therefore acting illegally. Is there any method for finding the professional landlord that lets out single rooms? As I do not want to be in the situation of trying to claim housing benefit for a single room in a house where the owners are claiming as well!



I assume for my purposes I would be best looking for b? Is this correct? I’m also concerned if my job falls through in the next three months that if I do claim housing benefit at the property then letters may be picked up? Is there any way avoiding this?



I’m not trying to play any angles just want to keep a roof over my head. I’m seeing 5 properties today so any advice would be helpful. I do not want to move into a place only to be in the same dire situation as now in three months, thanks. please reply as im running out of time

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Yes you can claim Hb (local housing allowance) for a single room if your job ends. Before taking a room check the local housing allowance for the area - you should be able to find this on the local authority website. This will tell you the maximum single room rate you can be paid (which does not pay for utilities or non allowed charges). If your rent is above the LHA rate then you will have to pay the difference once you claim HB, out of whatever benefit you are on.



Personally having rented in shared houses until I was 26, I would never have got a room with a family, and had bad experiences in HMO's with live in landlords. Try and get an assured shorthold tenancy agreement if you can, if not you can request a rent book which has basic assured shorthold terms written in it (or you used to be able to), and the LA should accept this as long as it is correctly filled in, but may ask some confirmation from landlord (I'm not so up to date on what local authorities accept though so maybe someone with more knowledge will come along and weigh in).



You don't have to tell your landlord if you go on to housing benefit, and can tick to have benefit paid directly to you.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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I'm on JSA and HB, looking to rent a new place.

The council said they need the landlord's address- it can be a tenancy agreement or a letter from the LL setting out amount of rent, when it is due, if bills are included in the rent, address of the property, tenant's name, start date of tenancy.


If you are a lodger, it is called a Licence to Occupy, not a tenancy agreement but the title does not really matter. What matters is that you are working now so your chances of finding something to rent are very good compared to JSA claimants' so you must rent while you are still employed.


Bad news: 90% of landlords do not normally give a tenancy agreement in a shared house and law of England of Wales says they do not have to give a written agreement, although wise, esp if it is a self-contained flat / studio and not a house share.


To claim HB you have to show that you are liable to pay rent [tenancy agreement / letter from LL] so your chances would be a lot higher to obtain such a document if you rented a studio / one-bed flat as all landlords give a contract for such places to be on the safe side. If you are over 35, you are eligible for the one-bed / studio rate / LHA.


HB is income-based so they need proof of income [payslips going back to past 5 weeks] or JSA allowance letter or letters from accountant if self-employed.


They look at the eligible rent, the rent payable and your income to workout how much HB you get. You may be able to get some even now while working. When you sign on, you immediately have to report change of circumstances [change of income] and they adjust the amount of HB you get. Less income, more HB. Original documents have to be submitted for photocopying to the council after you make a claim. Council Tax Support you should claim as well. LL pays CT if it is a shared house.


I'm in London too and to get a studio we looking at £800pcm. Double that as they want one month deposit as well so £1,600 and agency fees if applicable. Zone 5 [price range].


The trick to avoid wasting your time doing viewings where there is no tenancy agreement: when you arrange the viewing over the phone, say that you are very keen and do not want other people to take the place so you will go with the one month rent, one month deposit cash and "Can we sign the tenancy agreement upon viewing if I like the place, please? I will bring my references and a copy of my passport + the original. Could you please bring two blank copies of the tenancy agreement to fill in?"


In London places go quickly so if the next person who views the flat five minutes after you puts the money into the LL's hand, it's his. There is no harm in asking over the phone if they normally give a tenancy agreement [house share]. How can you prove you paid a deposit if no paper?


Warning to EU migrants on JSA who do not have a permanent right to reside in the UK: if you are on HB, only move within the borough as it will be a change of circumstances [change of address].


If you move out of the borough, and make a HB claim, you will get no HB at all as the law changes on 1st April 2014 about EU migrants' benefit entitlements.


If they lose their JSA entitlement or if they make a new HB claim, whichever is the soonest, they lose their HB for good. In work they can still get HB provided right before the HB claim date they have been working for at least 3 months earning at least £150 per week [criteria for Worker status as opposed to Jobseeker status- latter not eligible for HB come 1st April, unless in receipt of HB on 31/03/2014].


If EU migrant Workers sign on immediately after losing their job, they retain their Worker status for at least 6 months and eligible for HB.


OP please let us know how you got on getting a tenancy agreement for renting a room to see current situation in London. Area wise not much choice as tough to get paper if room only. Whatever happens, do not mention that you intend to sign on because you won't get the room.


In the HB claim do not tick the box that you allow the council to contact your LL regarding your claim. Through his name and address / signature, they can check through Land Registry if property is his before allowing you HB. You should get your first money about 3-4 weeks after submitting the claim and all the evidence needed.

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