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worried33

strict choice housing scheme requirements

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I have been in my current flat for 9 years and currently I get all my rent covered by housing benefit.

 

However this year the landlord decided to make things difficult and my terms are changing.

 

Extra £20 a week rent.

New guarantor required even tho I dont have arrears or ever had arrears. Without this 3 months rent paid in advance.

Early termination fee payable in advance

 

So to renew I need this amount of money.

£1245+£495 up front

and extra £20 month rent.

 

Council and charities have confirmed housing benefit will not cover extra rent, in fact I actually already get more than the allowance which I think has only been allowed as I was getting it anyway before the rates got revised.

 

My only income is ESA SG. Given the situation I have put in a claim for PIP although I think I will only be rewarded lower rate mobility.

 

It seems most councils will allow people to get on their choice schemes for needing more affordable housing, but my council seems very strict, unable to afford rent is not a valid reason and they wont let me register. They told me I can only register when I am actually homeless and only then if not intentional homelessness.

 

Shelter have advised me I am in a very tough situation, I can be deemed intentional homeless if I refuse to sign the new tenancy terms, but also likewise if I sign knowing I cannot fulfill the terms. My landlord has said if I dont sign I will get a section 21.

 

My council just kept refusing to acknowledge the private rental market is completely out of touch with local housing allowance rates and refusing me access to the housing association property market. Bedsits in my area cost more than the 1 bed flat LHA rates, thats how much of a difference there is.

 

I found one housing association property on housefinder thats the same rent as LHA rates but sadly they already got a tenant, they said they got 200 available on choice website, but just this one available outside of it.

 

It does seem a bit of a [problem] to be honest, one has to be homeless to get access to affordable housing.

 

My sister's council choice scheme doesnt have such requirements, one can register simply for 'affordability' reasons. But I do require a 'local connection', my sister however has only lived there 2 years (didnt tell them this), and they want 5 years as a minimum term for a relation.

 

Is there any advice on how to get housing association properties outside of choice schemes? or low priced benefit friendly places? I did wonder why these places never seem advertised and now I know why, they all seem locked away by the councils.

 

I have registered on all the housing associations on my councils website, none of them have any properties available, but have been told I have to do this and keep checking them or I risk been deemed intentionally homeless. I dread to think what happens then, do they literally chuck me on the street? What a society.

 

Since I have mobility issues and where I live now I currently cannot have a scooter, I am going to ask my GP this week if i get on the scheme for medical reasons, but I dont know if she will support me on that.

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Hi worried33

 

I really do sympathize with your situation which is a difficult one to get from private housing to social housing for the reasons you describe.

 

The actions you have taken by trying to apply to as many housing associations etc is what I would have advised even then as you have found out there are also barriers.

 

What I would advise is for you to get together as much medical evidence as possible (GP, Hospital Consultant, Occupational Therapy etc), in fact have you contacted the councils social work team to ask for an Occupational Assessment in your present property.

 

You need to get as much evidence as you can to give you a strong case.


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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Have you tried applying for discretionary housing payments to cover the extra upfront money they want, and possibly even the extra rent?


 

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England or Scotland?

 

Although I doubt it matters in this case.

 

You have been living in the same property for 9 years? If so you have a local connection by default. If your sister provides support or any caring duties even better tbf. But it's the 9 years which counts.

 

As for making yourself intentionally homeless are you sure the Shelter person said that?

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/homelessness/help_from_the_council_when_homeless/intentional_homelessness

 

But it would be considered unreasonable for you to stay in your accommodation if:

 

you or someone you live with was experiencing violence or threats of violence

the accommodation was very poor compared with other local housing

you couldn't afford the rent or mortgage payments unless you went without essentials such as food and heating

the accommodation was causing damage to your health

 

Basically asking you to stump up so much money in advance is unreasonable and pay an upfront termination fee? Seriously!

 

Being honest it looks like they want you out so you need to be pro-active about things.

 

Have you applied for the housing list? If not do so also there's an extra section you need to fill in for disability .

 

On the contract thing as above I seriously doubt that you could be accused of making yourself intentionally homeless by not signing. You do need to be careful though if the rent is above the LHA limit as signing then being unable to pay is considered to be one reason.

 

Next question is and this is very important is your deposit protected and in an approved scheme and do you have the prescribed information and was it given to you within the correct time frames?

 

Even if you think it is check to make sure it still is!

 

I'm assuming you've signed a new contract since 4th April 2007 if so it has to be protected. If it isn't don't tell your landlord as it's a very big potentially expensive bargaining chip!

 

Any further advice depends on deposit protection.

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Hi worried33

 

Is there any update on this at all?


How to Upload Documents/Images on CAG - **INSTRUCTIONS CLICK HERE**

FORUM RULES - Please ensure to read these before posting **FORUM RULES CLICK HERE**

I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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