Homeless with son. Should I live in a tent? Or on a beach somewhere?

(220 Posts)
SwimmingClose Wed 19-Feb-14 00:09:11

I live in the south of England.

I have one child.

I have a serious chronic illness.

I cannot afford to top-up my housing benefit any more. After one year, my savings are now gone.

I worked for 25 years. My parents worked all their lives.

I will be homeless.

Its seemingly impossible to find a Landlord, Social Housing, etc without a Guarantor. I cannot find anyone unless I have a rent 'Guarantor' (which I don't have).

Any thoughts? Just don't know what to do.

Feel weird about it all too. Not sure what to do. Should I live in a tent, etc? Feel very marginalised and strange situation, horrible really.

myrubberduck Wed 19-Feb-14 16:25:40

Hi I am housing law professional

You are considered by the law to be homeless if you do not have accommodation which it would be reasonable to expect you to live in . If your current accommodation is not affordable given your means then you are tecnically homeless already.

You need a legal aid lawyer pronto as the council will fob

you off until they are forced to do something - they will wait until you are on the street if you let them.

Your local citizens advice bureau should be able to help or point you in the right direction.

Good luck.

MrsFlorrick Wed 19-Feb-14 15:15:01

Swimming. sad (((Hugs)))
Horrible situation you're in.

Others on here seem to fail to understand re your guarantor.

You're in a catch 22!

If you stop paying rent, then the landlord will go after your guarantor who did you a huge favour.

If you leave of your own free will, then you will be deemed to have intentionally made yourself homeless and won't qualify for council help.

If you stay until evicted, all the court fees will be heaped upon your guarantor. sad

My advice is firstly to contact the landlord directly (NOT the agent who has a vested interest in a renewed lease at a higher rent!)
Explain to landlord what a shitty situation you are in and that you don't want to punish the landlord and leave him or your guarantor out of pocket.

As there is a housing benefit top up, the rent the landlord charges has been deemed to be higher than market rate.

Try to negotiate with landlord to that the housing benefit payment goes directly to him (landlords like this. Trust me I am a landlord).
And that he will renew you lease at the level of market rent without the £300 PCM topup.

Often landlords will accept this rather than have a void or a court battle or some other draw out nonsense.

It's not guaranteed that the landlord will but there is a chance.

Also speak to housing benefit about having the HB level reassessed.

Perhaps housing costs have risen since you rented the flat and you would be entitled to a higher level of rent paid which means the landlord wouldn't lose out much. Obv also explain to landlord you're trying to negotiate this too.

I hope this makes sense. Sorry for you.
PM me if you like.

AgaPanthers Wed 19-Feb-14 14:56:01

Sorry, pressed submit too soon.

Guildford BRMA map:
https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/DownloadHelper.aspx?file=%2fDocsTemp%2fMAPS%2fMAP%7e79%7eGuildford%7e2011-03-01.pdf

To the west of the Guildford BRMA is Blackwater Valley BRMA.

As an example, this house at £1475 pcm in Bisley is allowed with a 4-bed LHA:

www.zoopla.co.uk/to-rent/details/31207832?search_identifier=416fcaa3d34e79af9b825291b58a2627

because it's within Guildford BRMA

but this one a couple of miles away in Bagshot at £1495 pcm would require a £200 pcm top-up

www.zoopla.co.uk/to-rent/details/31155162?search_identifier=255de90ecb2b523aaf32c589ea095a3f

because it's in Blackwater Valley

Bagshot isn't a cheaper place to live than Bisley, it's actually slightly more expensive, but because the BRMA is so broad, you can potentially 'shop' for a better house in a cheaper part of the BRMA.

The overall BRMA is hugely diverse from newbuild 'executive' flats near commuter stations to leafy villages with only a few places to rent.

fideline Wed 19-Feb-14 14:35:34

Bit much to define "swankiest" as the the top 7/8ths of the market!

hickorychicken Wed 19-Feb-14 14:31:06

Its too cold for a tent tbf, could you move back in with parents while you save to move somewhere cheaper maybe?

AgaPanthers Wed 19-Feb-14 14:30:22

ProfYaffle, it's the 30th percentile. So if there are 100 2-bed place for rent, the cheapest might be £450, and the most expensive £1200, they simply take the price of number 30 (ranked in order from cheapest to priciest).

If the cheapest falls to £350, it doesn't change the 30th percentile, the others all have to fall for that to happen.

The rates are allocated in what are known as BRMAs, broad rental market areas.

As an example here:

http://www.guildford.gov.uk/localhousingallowance

Within the borough of Guildford you can get £1600 pcm for a 4-bed in the Guildford BRMA, or £1300 pcm in the Blackwater area.

This is Guildford BRMA:

ProfYaffle Wed 19-Feb-14 14:17:35

fideline Yes, that's the intention, to make sure hb doesn't pay for the swankiest properties.

Loopylou It doesn't necessarily mean there are enough properties in that price bracket to go around! Also, I don't know how often a particular rent has to offered to be included. eg if there is one property offered at a ridiculously low rent will that then pull the entire 'pool' of rent to averaged down? Not sure I've explained that well confused

Cobain Wed 19-Feb-14 14:00:54

I became a LL due to meeting DP and living in his property but still wanting to remain on the property ladder. I have let to people on housing benefit but they have been people i have known, I do charge less than most and been relaxed with deposits and never had any problems.
But I have never let to a stranger on housing benefit and probably never will, the OP has to do what she needs to do for her family but many landlords are as well informed as the people on threads like these.
Insurance esp guaranteed rent is very expensive. It is a horrible catch 22, people on HB need affordability and choice but they are seen as a risk, so yes why should a tennant worry about the LL in the same way why should LL worry about tennant on HB having no choice.

WipsGlitter Wed 19-Feb-14 13:17:28

No. There's been a massive crash in house prices (I live in NI, we have been worst affected - huge property bubble). it is worth less than what I paid for it.

I'm not saying I'm not in a good position, I'm saying that not all landlords own multiple properties and make stacks of cash. So the person up-thread who was basically saying 'fuck the landlord' doesn't seem to realise there are repercussions for them too.

But hey, you stay on your high ignorant horse.

fideline Wed 19-Feb-14 13:11:43

Rightly or wrongly, expat, Social services are unlikely to agree with you

AgaPanthers Wed 19-Feb-14 13:09:41

So, you, completely voluntarily, bought a house on a high LTV, and now it's worth less than what you paid for. You made a further choice to go into business and rent it out, and by doing so you chose to expose yourself to normal business risks of non-payment.

Those were your choices. Nobody else's.

You have and had other choices, such as not buying an overpriced house, or not paying your mortgage and having the house repossessed. They might not all be attractive or appealing choices, but they are yours, and no concern of anyone you do business with.

It would seem to me that owning effectively two homes albeit with one worth slightly less than you paid for it, is a pretty good position to be in. But it's not really a concern of any tenant of yours.

expatinscotland Wed 19-Feb-14 13:05:08

Living in a tent is not bad for your health. People have done it.

WipsGlitter Wed 19-Feb-14 12:52:46

I live in a house with my husband. We both had our own places when we met and then moved in with in.

fideline Wed 19-Feb-14 12:29:23

Wips, you are insured against voids and non-payment of rent though?

Viviennemary Wed 19-Feb-14 12:29:01

This is a dreadful position to be in. You simply cannot afford to rent in the area you are in. People have given practical advice but none of it seems to have been taken on board. I hope you get sorted out.

AgaPanthers Wed 19-Feb-14 12:25:32

So where are you living while your house is rented out?

WipsGlitter Wed 19-Feb-14 12:23:26

TheXxed no I shouldn't be a landlord but I have a house in negative equity so I can't sell it. Should I just let it sit empty?

I do maintain the house, washing machine broke - it was replaced within days, all repairs carried out very quickly. But it costs me money. Like lots of people I don't make a profit at all. But people love to make out that everyone who rents out a property is loaded and merrily pissing on their tenants.

Loopylouu Wed 19-Feb-14 12:18:51

Another problem of course is that you might be able to FIND the LHA properties, but they won't necessarily rent to you on HB.

And that is the biggest problem of all.

Loopylouu Wed 19-Feb-14 12:17:47

prof I just can't see how that works out in my local authority. I am constantly looking in the hope we can find somewhere cheaper, but I have never seen anything even close to the LHA.

As for universal credit, I don't know if that will make it better or worse.

If everything you claim comes under the same banner, then a landlord or agent wouldn't know if you were claiming top up HB or not (I know people say you don't have to tell them, but when your entire monthly wage is the rent, you have to say where you are getting the rest of your money from when they do the credit checks!). But would that make the. Turn away everyone who is claiming universal credit?!

AgaPanthers Wed 19-Feb-14 12:13:12

In my area it's relatively easy to find properties under the LHA, because there's a concentration of expensive commuter properties, so the 25th percentile still leaves quite a lot of properties in less desirable areas.

In more homogenous areas it can be trickier.

Another problem of course is that you might be able to FIND the LHA properties, but they won't necessarily rent to you on HB.

fideline Wed 19-Feb-14 12:06:02

Jeez there is going to be mayhem when (if?) Universal Credit comes in.

fideline Wed 19-Feb-14 12:03:08

Prof so in effect if one is in that situation, you either rent in the cheapest octile of the market or you pay a top up? Ghettosiation much?

IneedAwittierNickname Wed 19-Feb-14 12:00:40

Ah I see that makes sense Prof.
It doesn't seem fair though!

ProfYaffle Wed 19-Feb-14 11:58:24

LHA rates are set by looking at the range of rents in an area and taking the average of the lowest quartile. ie they take the lowest 25% of the range and average that, it's not the average of the whole range.

fideline Wed 19-Feb-14 11:54:20

"clearly whoever wrote this is happy to work for free. The OP recognises that not paying rent is theft, so I hope the writer of this post is also happy to be burgled. Making money from renting property is not a crime, same as selling food is not a crime."

What a selfish, ignorant tosser.

Landlording is not a trade or a profession; it is a business, like any other, with risks and wastage and void periods.

You would like vulnerable people, in tenuous housing situations to ignore correct advice about housing law and regs? To risk literal homelessness as a result just so that the landlord doesn't lose out in anyway? It is not the roof over the Landlord's head and the Landlord's children;s heads at risk, is it?

Do fuck off.

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