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Staying with a friend

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
12 replies 1.3K views
SianG95SianG95 Forumite
1 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
Just looking for some advice really.

I currently live in a horrible flat, it has mice, mold, broken windows, my front door is broken and this list goes on and on and on. I have been in contact with my landlord nothing has been done, I have been in contact with the council and they came and assessed the flat and fixed a leak under the bath that I didnt know I had and told me they cant do anything else. I currently receive housing benefit, Income support, child tax credit and child benefit. But the state of the flat has caused my children's asthma to get worse and worse to the point where my son was hospitalized over it and Ia causing my mental health to deteriorate drastically. I stayed with my mum for a couple of weeks and their health drastically improved. However I can't stay there because there is just not enough room for me and the twins! My friend, who owns a 1 bedroom flat, said we could move in with him. The bedroom is big enough for a double bed and the twins two toddler beds and he will sleep on the sofa bed in the front room. But he said we would have to pay rent. I was wondering if HB would still cover me even if I moved in with a friend who owns their property. Also I don't want them to think I'm moving in with a partner (he's gay so I don't really see it going anywhere lol) I would just be staying there until I find somewhere more suitable for me and the kids. Because I really don't want to put my kids health on the line anymore and my mental health isnt helping anyone. I really cant live there anymore but I don't want to leave and put my kids in a financially unstable situation. Any support, advice or information would be so so greatly appreciated.



  • edited 19 May 2019 at 4:27PM
    Alice_HoltAlice_Holt Forumite
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    edited 19 May 2019 at 4:27PM
    My thoughts.

    I think it should be possible. I would suggest your friend draws up a "rental" agreement, and then you speak to the council (housing options, HB dept) to make sure this is sufficient for you to claim HB, Ask for confirmation in letter.
    See if housing options have any other suggestions as your current tenancy represents a health risk to your children.
    One thing to be aware of is that as a boarder you don't have the same legal rights as a tenant. If your friend decides that sleeping on the sofa isn't working, then he can ask you to vacant without the need for 2 months notice.

    I would fully explain the situation to Income Support & Tax Credits when you supply a change of address to head off any challenge that you may be living together as man and wife.
    See the criteria used by DWP / HMRC - you could address this when you notify a change of circumstances.

    Is PIP a possibility, given your mental health?

    I would strongly suggest you get advice from Shelter before deciding:

    Edit: The above assumes you will not be moving to a new council area. As poppy says below if this is the case than I'm afraid UC comes into play.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    If your friend lives in a different local council area to you then you won't be able to make a new claim for housing benefit, it will have to be Universal credit.
  • Afraid_of_KittensAfraid_of_Kittens Forumite
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    Housing Benefit will not be paid in the circumstances you have described.
    I enjoy flower arranging, kittens, devil worship, the study of serial killers and their methods and road kill jigsaws.
  • pmlindyloopmlindyloo Forumite
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    Housing Benefit will not be paid in the circumstances you have described.

    Can you elaborate on that statement please?

    Why not?
  • edited 19 May 2019 at 1:12PM
    Alice_HoltAlice_Holt Forumite
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    edited 19 May 2019 at 1:12PM
    Housing Benefit will not be paid in the circumstances you have described.

    Are you sure about this.

    The OP would not be able to claim HB if the flat owner was a close family member.

    But if a friend drew up a rental agreement for the OP as a boarder, then I thought it would be possible.
    "To get Housing Benefit you must pay rent. It does not matter if your landlord is the council, a housing association or private landlord. You can also claim Housing Benefit if you rent a room in a hostel, or are a boarder."
    The OP and her friend would need to show that the agreement was commercial and not a contrived agreement.
    I would have thought that the friend wanting payment of rent before moving in, would strengthen that case?

    Can you quote the regulations that would prevent HB being paid, please.

    Just to add - the OP should get accredited advice (Shelter, CAB) before moving.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
  • sherambersheramber Forumite
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    The OP and her family would be lodgers.
  • MarkN88MarkN88 Forumite
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    Ensure your friend, also checks with their mortgage provider, as per CAB advice:

    "If you're a homeowner
    If you have a mortgage, you may have to get the lender's permission before renting out part of your home. Also, if you are a leaseholder, or live in a shared ownership property, you may need to get the landlord's agreement first."

    This guide might also help:
  • tomtom256tomtom256 Forumite
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    It's a one bed property, they would probably not pay HB or any other benefits as highly likely they would decide you are LT owing to this.
  • LocoLocoLocoLoco Forumite
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    I'd be careful about giving up a tenancy to move in with a friend - if he wants you out again before you're ready to go what will happen? It sounds like a very cramped arrangement - two adults and two children in a one bed flat sounds very difficult. Could you instead contact Shelter or a similar organisation about ways to get the landlord to get repairs done (they do have legal responsibilities although it can be hard to make them abide by them sometimes) and are you on the housing list with your local authority and, if so, could you find out whether the children's health problems and the current poor state of the property push you higher up the list (again, seek advice from an organisation like Shelter as council's don't always give people the correct information). And whilst all of that is going on could you look for somewhere else and spend nights at your friend's and mum's place when you can? It is very hard to hold on in a horrible situation but it does sound as if you could end up with nowhere to live if you leave this place and then your situation with your friend changes quickly. As others have mentioned, if you're moving to a different area then your claim would be for UC instead of your current benefits which can mean up to six weeks without money, or taking an advance which then reduces your monthly payment until it's paid off. I'd be inclined to seek professional advice about getting the flat habitable, getting higher up the list with the council and looking for somewhere else, whilst staying at other places when possible. I know it's a lot of work and it's hard when you're struggling somewhere that's grim but perhaps your mum and friend could help you deal with some of that as well?

    Not wanting to sound like a negative ninny but we moved in with a friend when my son was small - I wanted to move from one part of the country to another but didn't have the deposit so my friend suggested I stayed with her until the deposit on my current property was returned and I'd saved up more to go with it (the idea being living with her was less for bills and so on). I won't go into details but there was a very unpleasant incident two days after we moved in which meant I didn't feel it was safe for my son to be there, so we left. Because I'd left my previous flat voluntarily the council wouldn't help and I couldn't go back there because it had already been re-let, I'd handed back the keys and the new people were moving in the following week. I still didn't have any deposit money and ended up sofa surfing with various friends until my sister took us in for a couple of months. Eventually we managed to get something else sorted out but it took months and it was so stressful and unpleasant (and the friendship never recovered). With hindsight I'd have been a lot better off staying where I was until I had the deposit sorted and had secured somewhere with a proper tenancy agreement (hindsight is always a wonderful thing). So I'd really recommend trying to see the bigger picture - I know it's hard when you're struggling but it could end up being even worse than the situation you're in now x
  • Matty36Matty36 Forumite
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    I think booking an appointment with a CAB advisor asap is your best option. If they say HB can be paid and that you would need a written agreement with your friend to give to the council, then this would be something CAB could help you draw up.
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