Housing and independent living
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Help with housing for a wheelchair user in Southampton. Got a HOLD grant, mortgage seems impossible.

martin_nmartin_n Member Posts: 3 Listener
Hello everybody, hope you're all doing as well as can be during these times.

My partner and I have been looking for housing suitable for someone with a wheelchair in Southampton for about a year now, and gosh darn it is a task and then some.

Just a tiny bit of background:
My partner ended up in a wheelchair about a year and a half ago, due to overwhelming fatigue. The NHS has yet to start any kind of "treatment", but she has been slapped with the ever helpful "fibromyalgia". Regardless, she's in a wheelchair, and we managed to save up and get her a fancy one with power assisted wheels that really has given her some semblance of mobility back, but walking is utterly untennable.

To support her, I had to drop my regular work, and started my own company so I could dedicate hours to helping her when she needs it (which is basically everything from cleaning to cooking, help in the shower, accompanying her outside due to anxiety, and filing paperwork for NHS, complaints, housing, finances, the works). My business has been doing okay, especially for first year, but my income don't count for mortgage purposes until I've run for two accounting years.

My partner receives UC with all relevant components except for Carers Allowance seeing as I'm a bloody immigrant, and PIP, but not the higher rates. We have filed all the mandatory reconsiderations and complaints regarding PIP and have been waiting court date since before the lockdown.

Now to the issue at hand.

We bloody found the holy grail. A detached bungalow, already fully adjusted for a wheelchair user. Like ramp, wide doors, wet room, adjusted kitchen, the works. It's even close to shopping, a park (with a RAMP!) and a decent backyard that I'd need to spend a few summers turning from overgrown to useful, but there are some paths for the wheelchair there too!

We applied for the HOLD scheme and and went through all the paperwork, nice people there. I called a few mortgage brokers and ended up on the phone with a lady from Barclays (where my partner has been banking for her entire life). They noted the max they could lend HER was £101k, and that I can't borrow anything until two years as mentioned above, but we could always remortgage later. Great!

Barclays didn't want to provide a Mortgage in Principle due to us not having gotten the confirmation from HOLD yet.

Two days pass, and we get the go-ahead from HOLD, they got their funding, we've visited the property, and I call Barclays, only to speak to some gentleman from another branch who runs me through an hours questions, only to say "No, sorry, you don't meet affordability". Despite me having an e-mail from the other lady outlining the previous £101k, he mentions that recent COVID-19 fueled changes meant no, and no it was.

So yeah, that's it.. help? I've tried calling darn near every mortgage broker Google can think of, my partner is shattered as the past many years has been a fastball to hell for her, and seemingly finally getting a proper, well adjusted place to live, then having it taken away last minute is a real gut punch.

Not to mention the sad reality that whomever purchases the house are likely to remove the modifications.

Does anyone have any ideas what we can do here? Just to be clear we have enough (with the help of some family) to meet a deposit of a 85% product at the needed £115, or top up the promised £101 to meet the purchase price of the house.

And if all of this mortgage related stuff falls through.. what on earth do we do? We live in outrageously expensive student halls that are by no means conducive to her quality of life, and Southampton seems to be like so many other places in the UK; utterly devoid of adapted homes.

If you've read all this, know that I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to read a strangers ramblings, thank you.

Best regards
Martin

Replies

  • Han_Han_ Member Posts: 154 Pioneering
    Hi @martin_n, welcome to the community. Thank you for sharing with us and I am so sorry that you are in this situation. I do hope that someone will be able to give you some advice. 

    I would like to wish you and your partner all the best.

    Han
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 680 Pioneering
    One of my many soapboxes is that worldwide,  there shouldn't be planning consent for anything non- eco friendly  or non disabled-friendly, until such time as the lack of accessibility of the built environment  has been corrected. 

    Scope will have suggestions for this mortgage problem.  Plus, think of local organisations,  pro bono equality advice, any politicians or   publicity? You mention student halls, so student union, education authority,?   Or, would a family member guarantee the payments only for the remaining part of the two years? Your accounts for the first part will show you are that rare creature, a covid proof applicant.   

    Have a look at  contacting Habinteg, because if anyone knows about innovative work rounds, they should have heard.  One scheme was half rent half buy, which worked  well somewhere as a one off experiment  for a learning disabled  man to live in exactly the place he needed to be, for informal and family support networks.   They wanted to test the theory that Housing Benefit would be claimable on the rented half of the equity.

    Will you, in fact, be sure you can make the payments, even if house prices drop and one or both incomes do too?

    A circular thought is approaching council and / or housing association putting the point that they might stand guarantor for you, taking a charge on the property so in the event you fail to pay, they would have improved their housing stock permanently by aquiring an accessible property.   They are sure to have inadequate stock.   If someone on their list applies now, they will spend a lot on retrofitting,  with unsatisfactory results.  If, on the other hand, they take over ownership of your proposed property,  they get a  good house, plus a free ride on all the money  you have  already paid. ? ( I don't  know about how the Hold scheme works)
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,068 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @martin_n Welcome to the community great to have you on board. I just wanted to say Hi I don't have a wealth of knowledge relating to your issues.

    Have you tried to get specialist advice from a financial adviser, mortgage specialist or even solicitor

    Anyway good luck I hope someone can advise on here
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