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Homeless

I've been living with my brother for over 4 months now and looking for private accommodation. I'm also on a HE waiting list but they won't consider me for properties with more than one bedroom.
It's at the stage where I can't bare to be in the same room as him. He's unbelievably tight and mean . I give him half my esa money every week and he won't even put heat oil in the tank. There's been no heat or hot water for 4 month . Everything I own in is one room. 
He tells everyone he encounters my business, that I'm mental that I've tried suicide that I'm living rent free off him. I once put him up for 2 years in my house and never once took a single penny off him. 
I have to shower n wash in my mother's house. He's physically attacked me infront of his young son. 
I cannot get a break. Every house viewing I have goes like this : See it, apply, get turned down because they say I can't demonstrate where I can pay the rent. Despite a guarantor, Landlord references and a letter from the HE that I can claim HB they turn me down. I've even considered getting a loan and offering to pay up front 6 months rent but that's not good enough either.
Really can't take much more of it. 
Just needed to rent here. 
Teddy. 
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Comments

  • buzzer
    buzzer Member Posts: 106 Pioneering
    Hi Teddy,
    It sounds to me like you need more support from mental health services to achieve your objective of getting the HE to prioritise your housing needs.

    https://www.mindingyourhead.info/services 

    Sometimes we need additional support to move forwards,

    Try & be kind to one another even if we may have different views. 

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,450 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    I'm sorry to hear this! I'm assuming it's the privately rented sector you're looking at? If so then yes, it's very difficult out there for those that are claiming benefits. Most landlords will refuse people claiming DSS. There are some areas that may accept, if you have a home owner guarantor but they are often few and far between. You can try shelter to see if they can help you.

    Sometime a local council will have a list of landlords that will accept DSS claimants but the lists are often out of date but you can certainly try.

    When you do eventually find somewhere then unless you're claiming severe disability premium in with your ESA then you won't be able to make a new claiming for housing benefit. It will have to be Universal credit, for help with the rent. Once you claim UC then your ESA will stop and transfer across to UC.

    How much you can claim for help with the rent will depend on your circumstances. If you're under 35 and not claiming daily living PIP then you'll receive the shared housing allowance rate. If you're over 35 then you'll receive the 1 bedroom rate. This link will tell you how much you could claim, depending on area and circumstances. https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/


  • TeddyB22
    TeddyB22 Member Posts: 178 Courageous
    Thaks alot for the advice. I have claimed HB before. I never had a problem getting somewhere, I really don't know what has changed. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,450 Disability Gamechanger
    A lot has changed when trying to rent if you're claiming benefits. Some mortgage companies also won't allow landlords to rent to those claiming benefits.

    I'm currently having the same problem and i'm fighting a losing battle right now, despite having a guarantor, 2 months rent in advance and a bond.
  • TeddyB22
    TeddyB22 Member Posts: 178 Courageous
    Hi. Poppy. 
    I thought I would update people here of my situation as you were so kind with your advice.
    I have been offered a house near where a friend lives. It's not worth the £500 per month but it is in a good area and it's the only agency that has given me a chance. They want a £500 deposit & £500 up front for rent. It's over my budget and I'll have to be really careful if I do take it.
    I was thinking of some permitted work while I get esa but although they assure me that I can earn up to £125? per week and under 16 hrs and not be penalised I'm not sure if this will effect any housing benefit I receive. I will probably have to apply for Universal Credit but unlike HB it does not allow you to do permitted work which is a shame because it would help me pay my rent. I'm looking at the moment having to pay half my rent my self.
    The house also has solar panels but a friend told me it will not benefit me but only the landlord who stores the energy and then sells it (I really lost track of what he was saying). Either way it is a firm offer. I didn't tell them I was in receipt of ESA or that I would be claiming UC. They asked for a bank statement. I wasn't t lying when I said I'd been in hospital and living with my brother for 5 months while out sick. He asked for my employer and I gave him my old one from about 8 yrs ago. I'm hoping he doesn't ask for paysheets.
    Anyway any advice would be much appreciated and you have all helped me immensely esp Poppy.
    TeddyB. 
  • david235
    david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    A lot has changed when trying to rent if you're claiming benefits. Some mortgage companies also won't allow landlords to rent to those claiming benefits.

    I'm sorry to hear that you're in this position, @poppy123456 . As you say, much of the problem is that mortgage lenders often prohibit landlords from renting to those on benefits because they fear the risk of rent and therefore mortgage defaults.

    Another problem is that tenancy dispute and rent guarantee insurers normally exclude lettings to people on benefits. With landlords often having legal costs of thousands of pounds plus perhaps six months of lost rent and reletting costs to find if a letting goes wrong, many are simply unwilling or unable to take that risk, especially as in many areas there are more tenants seeking property than properties available to rent. If landlords have no problem letting to tenants who are not on benefit, it is understandable they will not consider tenants on benefit.


    I have heard suggestions that a refusal to consider renting to tenants on benefit might amount to indirect discrimination on the grounds of disability, gender and/or age. On a first glance, it seems this could be right, as whilst the landlord's policy purports to be solely about financial status, some of the groups protected by the Equality Act 2010 are more likely than the general population to be on means-tested benefits. Certainly disabled people and older people are more likely than the general population to be on means-tested benefits; I cannot remember if women are also more likely to be on means-tested benefits. However, indirect discrimination is lawful if it can be objectively justified. The Local Housing Allowance rule capping Housing Benefit to a third of median rents in the area as well as the rules limiting many claimants under 35 to the shared room rate allow many landlords to claim that their property is unaffordable to most or all on on benefit, which arguably justifies any indirect discrimination. The unavailablility of rent insurance cover and mortgage restrictions on tenants provide further justification for many cases of purported indirect discrimination.


    I fear that the private housing market will become even more troublesome for benefit claimants if the Government abolishes 'no fault' evictions. This would have the effect of making assured shorthold tenancies pretty much open-ended, as a landlord would not be able to seek possession merely because the fixed period had expired and the appropriate notice had been given. Abolishing 'no fault' evictions will also make it substantially more difficult, time-consuming and therefore expensive for landlords to evict problem tenants, meaning landlords will perhaps be even more eager to avoid letting to the poorest in society.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,450 Disability Gamechanger
    Firstly, you can't claim housing benefit because it no longer exists, so you'll need to claim Universal credit to claim the housing element. Once you claim UC then your ESA will stop and transfer across to UC and your ESA award will be honoured in UC.

    The housing element of UC, if you're under 35 then you'll only be entitled to the shared room rate of local housing allowance for your area, unless you claim PIP daily living. If you're over 35 then you'll be entitled to the 1 bedroom rate of local housing allowance. Check here what you'll receive. https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/

    To claim the housing element of UC you'll need a tenancy agreement, otherwise you won't be able to claim this.

    Finally, i wouldn't advise you to be dishonest with the agency because it's very likely they will find out because they do their checks. As you gave them your old employers details then i'm assuming you told them that you're working so they will ask for at least 3 payslips. Please be honest because it's better this way. There are landlords out there that will accept DSS tenants but they aren't easy to find. Do some internet searches for your area. Ask your local council if they have a list of landlords that accept DSS.

    You also need to make sure that you have enough money to live off once you pay your rent, living alone isn't cheap because you'll have all the other bills to, such as gas,electric, council tax, TV license etc and water.

    Hope this helps.
  • david235
    david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    TeddyB22 said:
    I didn't tell them I was in receipt of ESA or that I would be claiming UC. They asked for a bank statement. I wasn't t lying when I said I'd been in hospital and living with my brother for 5 months while out sick. He asked for my employer and I gave him my old one from about 8 yrs ago. I'm hoping he doesn't ask for paysheets.

    There is no requirement to tell a landlord or prospective landlord about benefits if they do not ask and there is nothing in the tenancy agreement about benefits.


    Whilst it is understandable that you lied about your employment status in light of your desperation to get housed, the landlord or their agent may well discover your deception by asking for recent payslips, by asking for a reference from the employer and/or by conducting their own checks.

    Perhaps more seriously, stating you are employed by a particular employer when you are not employed by them in an attempt to secure the tenancy seems to me to be a fairly clear cut case of fraud by false representation contrary to section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006. Your statement is dishonest according to the standards of ordinary, reasonable and honest individuals, so is dishonest in a criminal sense (test in Ivey v Genting Casinos [2017] UKSC 67 applied - this case removed the subjective element of the famous Ghosh test for dishonesty in criminal matters). Your statement is untrue and therefore is false. Your statement intends to expose your guarantor, the landlord and/or their insurers to a risk of loss, in that your claim to be employed overstates your financial position and therefore your ability to pay the rent. The offence therefore seems to be clearly made out.


    I know you are desperate to be housed, but a conviction for fraud carries a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine and/or 10 years imprisonment. It is perhaps unlikely that any complaint is made to the police in this scenario, somewhat questionable whether any prosecution is in the public interest and such a fraud is unlikely to result in anything like this maximum penalty upon conviction, but the risk of conviction nevertheless exists. Life could get a lot more complex with a conviction for an offence involving dishonesty, especially when that dishonesty involves housing.

    The ordinary position in contract law is that fraudulent misrepresentation gives the innocent party the right of rescission of contract - that is the right to undo the contract entirely and put the parties back in the positions they were before the contract was entered into. Tenancy agreements are a particular type of contract, with special rules applying to them. There is some authority from the Court of Appeal for the suggestion that fraudulent misrepresentation creates the right of rescission of a tenancy agreement (Killick v Roberts [1991] 4 All ER 289), though it is a risky choice for landlords to attempt to rescind a tenancy agreement when the landlord can evict the tenants on the ground that the tenant knowingly made a false statement to induce the landlord to grant the tenancy (ground 17 in schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988, read on conjunction with sections 7 and 8 of that Act). This risk of eviction leaves open the possibility of homelessness, which would likely be ruled as intentional homelessness leaving your local authority with no duty to house you.


    I want to step back from what I've just said - I think the chances of lying about being employed going any further than the offer of the tenancy being withdrawn if your lie is discovered are low. However, you are playing with fire by lying and I urge you not to do it. If nothing else, you risk turning the sadly too rare potentially sympathetic landlords and letting agents against you: it is one thing to work with them to find a solution when you are on benefits, but quite another to hide the truth from them in an likely criminal manner.


    I do wish you well with your search for housing; it is clear that your situation is causing you considerable and understandable distress.
  • cristobal
    cristobal Member Posts: 987 Disability Gamechanger
    I know you are desperate to be housed, but a conviction for fraud carries a maximum penalty of an unlimited fine and/or 10 years imprisonment.

    @david235 - the OP @teddyB22 is seeking help about housing and I do find your post about criminal behaviour unhelpful.

    You may be correct in what you say but mentioning unlimited fines and 10 years imprisonment could cause unnecessary distress to someone seeking help and support.

    I am not at all condoning criminal behaviour but, if there is a criminal offence here, it will certainly not result in imprisonment.


  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    Hi @TeddyB22, I'm really sorry to read about your predicament. In the past I've also been in the unenviable situation of trying to find privately rented accommodation while on benefits and it isn't easy. I noticed @poppy123456 shared a link for Shelter before, have you managed to get in touch with them?

    Do you know what your LHA rate is? It does sound like the place you've been offered might lead you into financial difficulty if there's a large shortfall for you to meet. Do you currently receive PIP?

    I also wanted to add that although Universal Credit doesn't have 'permitted work' in the same way ESA did, as your ESA award will move over with you, you'll be classed as having limited capacity for work so be entitled to a work allowance. As you'll have rent on your claim your work allowance will be £287, meaning you can earn this amount each month without it affecting your Universal Credit claim, you just need to ensure that any work you do doesn't contradict your reason for claiming ESA/LCW. 
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  • TeddyB22
    TeddyB22 Member Posts: 178 Courageous
    Hi. Thanks for all your comments. 
    I've been in touch with someone in the office and told them I am on ESA. They asked if I receive HB and I said no which is true as I'm just living with my brother and paying half his rent nearly. 
    She explained that as long as my bank statement illustrated I had enough money to pay the rent that was what was important. 
    I'm hoping the agent who showed me around won't bring up the inaccuracies in my application. 
    As for the Housing they've done nothing for me. I've had statements from psychologists, doctors, police and a letter from my brother (a lady in the office asked for this) and still they are quite happy for me to be off their hands.
    I'm out of options. Seems grossly unfair that bc Universal Credit has replaced HB that the permitted work amount you can earn is half. I mean what does it mean to the government? You are earning and paying tax.
    Seems this was something that I did not hear any welfare rights people mention. Also I'm hearing horror stories about how long it takes for people to get their UC. I get esa fortnightly and I cannot afford to wait for it. 
    I received some back dated money from the DWP but after I've paid off loans (taken out for deposits n month up front) then I will have to buy furniture as the house is unfurnished. I also have to buy heating oil as there no gas. £500 a month for this dirty house isn't reasonable but I think the landlord who has several houses wants someone in right away as the longer it's empty the more money he loses. It would have been nice had he cleaned the place or put a cooker in it not to mention he can well afford to install gas.
    TeddyB. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,450 Disability Gamechanger
    Glad to hear you rang and told them.

    Have you put the postcode of the house into the link i gave above to see how much housing element you're entitled to? As advised, if you're under 35 and don't claim PIP or DLA then you'll only receive the shared room rate. If you're over 35 then you'll receive the 1 bedroom rate. Both of these could be well under the £500 per month for the rent and this will leave you will a lot extra to pay each month. Sometimes, it's very easy to let your heart rule your head, so to speak and making decisions quickly like this isn't always the best thing to do. Here's that link again. https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/ please do check before deciding for sure whether or not to take the house.

    It takes 5 weeks to receive your first UC payment.

    If they do accept you for the house then when you claim UC you can ask for an advance payment when you attend your first job centre appointment. This advance will need to be repaid back from future UC payments so do take that into consideration as well.

    For furniture then have a look at the free sites on facebook in your area and gumtree. lots of people give furniture away for free.

  • TeddyB22
    TeddyB22 Member Posts: 178 Courageous
    Thanks Poppy. 
    I called into the Housing Executive and it seems even with a Descretionary payment which for a single guy won't be any more than £5 a week, I'm looking at £40 per week shortfall. 
    They gave me the usual speil about waiting for an offer. I find out I've been on the waiting list for 2 yrs I'm not being considered for 2 or 3 bed, no ground floor apartments and one of my placement areas don't even have any 1 beds. The other area are hostile to Catholics and another area has had one allocation in 5 yrs. 
    I can't afford to wait for them. 
    TeddyB

  • TeddyB22
    TeddyB22 Member Posts: 178 Courageous
    Sorry I left my last post unposted. 
    I didn't get the house in the end. They wouldn't even answer the phone. 
    I'm going through the motions. Seen a better one. Got on well with the Agent who told me the house was being used as a a benefit drop. He even admitted the Landlord probably wasn't registered as a Landlord who doesn't pay tax. 
    Anyway I'm waiting on word back. The HE tell me I should have been claiming HB from 6 months ago. That I can get it now but my brother who owns the house isn't registered as a LL and says if I claim HB he will be hit with a massive tax bill. The younger brother who pays him rent would actually be better off renting off someone else who will repair stuff and whatever.
    Apart from this I've a PIP tribunal coming up. My last one was a disaster, I didn't have medical notes (the letter didn't state this was needed) so they sent me home . They also asked me to get in touch with CA who might represent me. I've never had any practical help from Cit Advice. 
    I don't know where to go from here, this is probably my last chance to get it. I need to get 4 yrs of medical notes, they even ask if I can bring evidence of government court cases where they have had decisions overturned. Is that really my job? I'm already overwhelmed? How do I illustrate that I'm crippled with anxiety, that I can't leave the house and I suffer from depression and fear? I'm going to choke in my sleep like what happened 6 months ago? 
    Do I bother going? 
    Once again thanks for listening and your advice is paramount to me. 
    TeddyB. 

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,450 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2019
    I'm sorry to hear you didn't get the house. £40 per week shortfall is a lot of money so probably for the best that you didn't get it really. That as well as other bills would have left you with very little money for food.

    The advice you were given that you could have claimed housing benefit 6 months ago is incorrect, i'm afraid. You can't claim for help with any rent when living with member of your close family and a brother is classed as close family.

    It's almost impossible to rent from social housing when you're a single person. There's just not enough of houses available, unfortunately.

    It's extremely difficult also to find a private landlord that will accept those claiming benefits. I've been looking for a privately rented landlord myself for the past several months and it's been the most difficult thing ever. Finally i have found one and now i'm just waiting for the final checks to be done before i know for sure if the house is mine or not. I'll know in the next couple of days. Thankfully i was able to get a guarantor which hugely went in my favour.

    As for your PIP Tribunal. I'm afraid it's your responsibility to send evidence to them to support your claim and not there responsibility to request it. You can request to see your medical records free of charge and you'll receive digital copies of those. Any printed copies they will charge you for. Maybe it's worth requesting those and see what you can use to support your claim.

    It's your decision whether you decide to go ahead but appearing in person will give you the best chance of a decision in your favour. Good luck with everything and i hope you find a suitable home soon.
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    Good luck with all this @TeddyB22 and I'm really sorry you're in such a difficult situation. Did you ever speak to Shelter, did they have any suggestions?
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  • TeddyB22
    TeddyB22 Member Posts: 178 Courageous
    Thanks Poppy. I hope you get your new home and are very happy there.
    Adrian, I have a little dog so Shelters were out of the question. 
    I did have high hopes for this new place, got on well with the Agent and he asked me to scan documents to him. However I text him today to see if he received them and got no reply. I know a normal person would have called but I don't like speaking on the phone much to o the annoyance of people around me. Looks like this agency is the same as the rest. Does it take alot of effort to let an applicant know if they have been accepted or not?
    I tried to register with gov.uk to claim a tax rebate but they say they can't identify me. Same with Equifax. Could this be hampering me with my search if I don't exist online? How does that happen? I'm on a voters register, I have a history of previous tenancy and I have my ni number?
    Thanks for replies. 
  • TeddyB22
    TeddyB22 Member Posts: 178 Courageous
    I also received an offer of Temporary Accommodation from the HE. It's a ground floor flat, I think it's a house split between up n down. It's electric fire heating. (I'm surprised this passed inspection). There area is not great and I am reluctant to have upstairs or downstairs neighbours due to the last year or so and the harassment and bullying.
    I will view it and they say I'm not obliged to take it but it could be my best option so far. 
    Thanks, 
    TeddyB. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,450 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks! I'm still waiting to hear back from them but fingers crossed it will be tomorrow.

    Don't be put off by lack of contact from the agents because it can take time to do their checks. So far mine has taken 5 working days and up until yesterday they were still waiting for a reference from a previous landlord and this is the only thing they are waiting for. Checks often take a week, at least. I wouldn't worry about the agency not being able to verify you as a person because the electoral role will do that.

    Online identity is different and it's a complicated process. My identity couldn't be verified online either with equifax but i'm not really bothered.

    Temporary housing is an option but don't be fooled by the word temporary because you could be there a long time. Just some extra advice and i'm not trying to put you off BUT i currently lived in a ground floor flat, a converted house. It's been a flat for many many years and all the properties in my street are the same. I have to admit it's awful, the floors between myself and the person upstairs are very thin, just normal floor boards and no sound proofing or anything. I can hear the person above me blowing his nose, coughing, talking and even snoring. I've lived here for 2.5 years and hate it. It sounds like that temporary house is the same sort of thing. Please do thing carefully before accepting it.
  • TeddyB22
    TeddyB22 Member Posts: 178 Courageous
    Thanks again for your reply Poppy. I was thinking the same thing. My last apartment had v thin floorboards and I could hear my neighbour downstairs coughing and snoring but it was nothing compared to what he had to put up with. The creaking, tv, dog jumping about etc. However instead of telling me he put up with it for 1 & 1/2 years and became resentful and violent towards the end. I dunt know what he wanted me to do, hover above the floorboards. I've been back since to get mail and he asked me how I was. I told him that his campaign of Harrassment worked and I was now homeless but I left him with the knowledge that karma will come knock g one day. 

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