Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Private renting & HB

I'm new to this trying to rent thing. I'm coming up against a lot of letting agencies/landlords that won't rent to people on benefits, even when I say its health related and I've got a guarantor. Yesterday a letting agent said something about a 'joint and several tenancy', although it would only be me living in the property and am I right in thinking I need the lease to just be in my name if I'm to claim HB?

Any tips and suggestions welcome, I have done an application for council housing.

:)

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI,

    Yes trying to find a landlord that will accept those claiming benefits is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It may take you quite some time to find something but i hope you are successful.

    Unfortunately, social housing (council) have extremely long waiting lists and it's like this across most of the country. In fact it's so long you may never be successful here.

    I think the letting agency you spoke to may have been talking about living with other people, so a shared house.

    Yes the tenancy agreement needs to be in your name for you to be able to claim for help with any rent, whether it's housing element (part of UC) or housing benefit. When privately renting you'll need the tenancy agreement as proof to be able to claim either of those.

    Don't forget also that there's a maximum amount of local housing allowance that you'll be entitled to depending on your circumstances. Very often when privately renting the LHA doesn't cover all of your rent and you may have to top it up using your own money.

    Hope this helps, good luck with your search.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,253 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    This has been the case for a long while sadly, though it's hardly surprising with the way benefits tenants are often portrayed in the media.  The irony is, those of us on benefits have far more financial security over the next few months than many working people!  :#

    I know it's not possible for everyone, but I put down 6 months rent upfront when I first moved out and didn't have any income.  A relative did the same with their own property so it may not be uncommon.

    You can get housing benefit with a joint tenancy, but it counts as shared accommodation so will be capped at a lower rate.
  • sky982sky982 Member Posts: 23 Listener
    thanks poppy, needle in a haystack is exactly what it is! & yes I have heard that about council housing! I guess I have only really just started looking so hopefully something will come along eventually.

    overlyanxious - when putting 6 months rent down in advance did you then wait 6 months to claim housing benefit so it was backdated?
    yes I want to avoid a shared tenancy, it doesn't make sense since it would be just me living there! A guarantor is surely enough because it's saying that the rent will be paid regardless. 
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,253 Disability Gamechanger
    sky982 said:

    overlyanxious - when putting 6 months rent down in advance did you then wait 6 months to claim housing benefit so it was backdated?
    yes I want to avoid a shared tenancy, it doesn't make sense since it would be just me living there! A guarantor is surely enough because it's saying that the rent will be paid regardless. 
    I wasn't on benefits at the time and didn't think I was entitled to them.  I genuinely thought I'd be able to work at least part time if I lived alone and close to many businesses...  I started claiming ESA and then housing benefit towards the end of that 6 months when I had to admit defeat and realise that I wouldn't be able to work with the conditions I have.  There was no backdated pay due to my circumstances.

    I don't actually know if you could get HB once in a 'paid up' tenancy or not.  That's an interesting question.  I'd guess not but maybe Poppy can confirm. 

    Oddly, I had to get a guarantor even though I'd put down the 6 months in advance...so what was the purpose of the guarantor!?  In fairness, my tenants agency are absolutely useless, and got several things wrong on the paperwork, so it wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't actually necessary and was an error on their part.  I was just desperate to get out of the situation I was in at the time so didn't question anything and didn't have anyone to ask for advice.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    If you 6 months rent upfront makes no difference to a housing benefit/housing element claim and you can still claim for help with the rent.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger


    You can get housing benefit with a joint tenancy, but it counts as shared accommodation so will be capped at a lower rate.
    Yes this applies for housing benefit, even if the person is over 35. However, if you're claiming the housing element of UC then the rules are different. If you're sharing then you'll receive the 1 bedroom rate of LHA. See link. https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/benefits/benefits_for_under_35s_in_shared_housing


    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • sky982sky982 Member Posts: 23 Listener
    I'm now emailing letting agents before even attempting a viewing, just to see if they accept housing benefit! 

    is there a way I can phrase it that will make them more receptive?! I tend to lead to 'its health related' and 'i've got a guarantor'. 
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,253 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2020
    Could you more specific about the health conditions maybe?  I have contamination/perfectionism OCD & social anxiety so keep the place spotless and don't have any pets, kids or visitors!  That's got to be appealing to a landlord surely!  :D

    Seriously though, I'm looking to move again at the moment and places are going so quickly they really don't 'need' the hassle & risk of a benefits tenant.  I'm sure you see the same but places are literally going within 2 or 3 days of being listed, good for the landlords, not so good for us!

    Have you got a good credit rating?  That may help a bit. 
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