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impossible to find a home when on housing benefits

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impossible to find a home when on housing benefits

edited 8 December 2012 at 8:16PM in Housing benefit help
7 replies 37.7K views
shazm.69shazm.69 Forumite
88 posts
edited 8 December 2012 at 8:16PM in Housing benefit help
Its virtually impossible for my daughter to find a home that is paid for by housing benefit.
There is just 1 that is available in a different town to where she wanted. Its a flat and its a dump. Every room is full of mould and damp. It smells of cigarrette smoke in the foyer. The kitchen is very tired and basic.
She has 2 children under 3. She is thinking of taking this property as she is desperate now. The agent said it would be sorted before she took it on. But im not so sure it will probably just be cleaned and the damp will just come back.
Its so frustrating that most landlords and agents think that people on benefits are dirty scumbags and they look down their noses at them. I feel like writing to the newspapers or watchdog ITS NOT FAIR!
The agents tell us its to do with the insurance companies. Apparently the premiums double if someone is renting thats on Hb i really dont understand why or is that just an excuse???

Replies

  • It's not an excuse - our insurance has certain exclusions which mean we would need a more expensive policy (or go elsewhere) if we want a HB tenant.

    Where abouts are you? I didn't realise there was such a problem. The best thing to do is to make a fuss at/with the council - the squeaky wheel gets the oil. With 2 kids very young I can imagine she would be a relatively high priority especially if she starts making a fuss.

    Good luck!
    Thinking critically since 1996....
  • edited 8 December 2012 at 9:18PM
    shazm.69shazm.69 Forumite
    88 posts
    edited 8 December 2012 at 9:18PM
    Thanks i will tell her to talk to the council. Dont understand why the insurance is high or maybe its like the young drivers insurance most are penalised because of a few baddens???
    We are in cambridgeshire :)
  • ILWILW
    18.3K posts
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    I am beginning to think this is a wind up.
  • As a private landlord I have to say it may sound harsh but it has nothing to do with fair. It is a business. I have a very expensive asset that I am entrusting to a complete stranger. I am aware that not all people on benefits are scumbags - just as not all people with jobs are fine up standing individuals. However from purely a financial position I would choose someone with a steady employment history every time. This is because if they choose to not pay rent or damage the property I can get an attachment of earnings and stand a better chance of getting my money back. It is supply and demand. I have a very nice well kept property and my rent is actually lower than other comparable properties. There were dozens of applicants the last time it became empty. I chose the applicant with the best references, affordability score and work history. That is the bottom line for me. They are tenants - not friends. Are you a homeowner? If so can you be a guarantor for your daughter? There are landlords out there who will accept a tenant on benefits if they have a homeowning guarantor. I do feel for your daughter's predicament - I would not want a child of mine living in slum accomodation and it disgusts me how some rogue landlords give private landlords a bad name.
  • AnniseleAnnisele Forumite
    4.4K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
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    I think you should try to separate the cosmetic issues from the health ones.

    The kitchen is "tired and basic"? Well, yes - housing benefit isn't enough to pay for showroom stuff.

    "Every room is full of mould and damp" is indeed a problem. How severe a problem it is depends on how the mould and damp was caused. If it's "previous tenants dried washing everywhere and never turned the heating on", then an application of bleach might be a permanent fix. If it's something else, not so much.

    But I think the real problem is that you can't find anywhere in the town you want to live in. Where are you looking? Sometimes you find that the agents with glossy brochures and a large internet presence aren't the agents with the cheaper properties.
  • CAB_Wyre_Forest_representativeCAB_Wyre_Forest_representative Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    117 posts
    shazm.69 wrote: »
    Its virtually impossible for my daughter to find a home that is paid for by housing benefit.
    There is just 1 that is available in a different town to where she wanted. Its a flat and its a dump. Every room is full of mould and damp. It smells of cigarrette smoke in the foyer. The kitchen is very tired and basic.
    She has 2 children under 3. She is thinking of taking this property as she is desperate now. The agent said it would be sorted before she took it on. But im not so sure it will probably just be cleaned and the damp will just come back.
    Its so frustrating that most landlords and agents think that people on benefits are dirty scumbags and they look down their noses at them. I feel like writing to the newspapers or watchdog ITS NOT FAIR!
    The agents tell us its to do with the insurance companies. Apparently the premiums double if someone is renting thats on Hb i really dont understand why or is that just an excuse???

    As others have already said, your daughter has to distinguish between those features that make the property not particularly attractive and outright disrepair. I would advise her not take a property until items of disrepair are fixed - her negotiating power is much less once she is a tenant. Disrepair would include damp and any other features that could affect the safety or health of the family.
    Your local authority housing dept should be able to give your daughter the names of agents who should have properties suitable for tenants on HB as part of their homelessness service.
    Official CAB Representative
    I am an official representative of CAB. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to questions on the CAB Board. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. If you believe I’ve broken any rules please report my post to [email protected] as usual"
  • Thanks all. Shes now took the flat as there was absolutely nothing else for her. The agent has promised the problems will be sorted so fingers crossed. :)
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