Author Topic: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?  (Read 1877 times)

devine63

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anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« on: August 02, 2013, 12:02:15 AM »
Hi

I'd like to help a friend (and very grateful this is not me!).    She lives in private rented accomm, she has physical impairments and other issues too, the place she is in is barely adequate (plus damp) but is at least fairly close to her GP whom she needs to see very regularly.   She is unable to use public transport to get around.

 Everyone she has approached claims that there is nothing better available from social housing providers or other sources as she lives in a very rural county and could easily get sent to an inaccessible house / flat in a very rural location a long way from medical support.    She got into ESA support group.  Then the govt introduced the "bedroom tax" and she just cannot afford to pay the extra rent.   

Now she has heard from her landlord: they are increasing her rent, despite the bedroom tax, even though they are well aware that she cannot afford it.

I suggested asking for a fair rent assessment, but apparently that was stopped some time ago.

Any other ideas please?
regards, Deb
regards, Deb

[devine63]

Fiz

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Re: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 06:50:36 AM »
The bedroom tax (spare room subsidy) is only for those in social housing so as she rents privately that won't have affected her. So her HB whould have remained the same to date.

However if the landlord is now putting her rent up to above the LHA and therefore the available HB levels in her area she can either approach the LA about a DHP to top up or look to find new accommodation that is below the LHA so it is again fully covered.

I think her best bet would be to contact the LA to find out which floating support services they work with and ask for a referral to a floating support service. A floating support worker will work with her to secure suitable accommodation that is affordable and that meets her needs. The FS worker will ensure she applies for and is receiving all she is entitled to along the way. I gained a floating support worker the first time I was homeless and I would not be in the accommodation I am in now without her. I can't recommend the service highly enough, it is free.

devine63

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Re: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2013, 01:33:55 PM »
Hi

thanks Fiz.  It was my misunderstanding about the bedroom tax, so thanks for correcting that.   Until very recently she had a housing support worker - she did not seem to be much use as she had no useful suggestions for obtaining better housing.  She just told tenant that tenant is likely to only be offered a social housing placement in a very rural area, unlikely to be physically accessible and too far from GP and other support, especially as tenant cannot use what little public transport there is .... so not even offering any hope.

The landlord just said whatever the HSW wanted to hear (and told tenant when present without HSW that they would not comply and were just saying the right things to protect their reputation)  and then they cynically waited for HSW to "close the case" before taking this step.  HSW now claims she cannot re-open the case as it is "too soon" so looks like she cannot or will not help...

regards, Deb   
regards, Deb

[devine63]

bubble

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Re: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2013, 01:52:01 PM »
Friends of hubby's rent private and they said they're affected by bedroom tax

Monic1511

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Re: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2013, 07:24:52 PM »
Hi Deb

your friend would be best to give shelter a call as they know the housing laws best.  She could send the landlord a letter saying "the government has decreed that the local housing allowance for a property of this size is this, you are already charging extra and now wish to increase your profit.  I appreciate you are a business but would suggest you are trying to profit by discriminating against single disabled people"  I know thats not really what I mean but you might get an idea how to word this.

Fiz is correct bedroom tax (under occupancy charge) only applies to social housing.  private tenants are affected by the local housing allowance (LHA), the council will not pay above the LHA even if the landlord wants more than the LHA.   The onus is on the tenant to tell the landlord that the government has said that this is a reasonable rent in this area.   The other thing with private lets is that if you as a single person deceide to take on a 2 bed flat your local housing allowance will only pay the single person's rate.

In a way the LHA is the original bedroom tax but as it only applied to the private sector people were told if you rent that private flat & its too big for you then housing benefit will not be paid. Social housing was awarded based on need and availability so if you were single and the council only had a 2 bed flat they would give you that because the government gave housing departments a lump sum for housing benefit, government change the social sector rules to bring them in line with the LHA and the bedroom tax is born.  We all know where that is going but as many private tennants are already subject to these rules there is less demand across the whole of the UK.   This is why the bedroom tax is not the same as the poll tax. 

Monic

Fiz

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Re: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2013, 10:28:08 PM »
The spare room subsidy though is targetted at the poor. A single person in one area can be allowed 550 pcm for a one bedroom house under the LHA and they can find a 2 bed house for 530 pcm and they would get the whole 2 bedroom property paid by HB despite only needing one bedroom. The same person could rent a LA 2 bedroom property for 350 pcm but would only receive 294 pcm as they have had the spare room subsidy removed. So one person can live in a 2 bedroom property and have 550 paid in full but the one person in social housing is refused the full 350 and has to pay some themselves. This is solely targetting the poor.

devine63

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Re: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2013, 01:42:32 AM »
Thanks guys, I left Shelter a message Thursday night, to their credit they did respond on Friday morning and their response amounted to "tell her not to agree to anything and to call our helpline" - which I had already done the previous afternoon.   I haven't heard from her yet what they said when she called.

What I really want to know is what is supposed to happen in such cases?  WHat does the govt actually expect people to do?

There was a guy on the BBC news the other day, he can't move because his area has no suitably sized (smaller) adapted accom for him to move to and he has already had to start building up arrears because of the bedroom tax and his landlord has already started eviction proceedings.  What is the govt expecting to happen?  Where is he supposed to go?  Or are we to have large numbers of disabled people evicted and living on the streets because of this govt policy? 
regards, Deb
regards, Deb

[devine63]

Fiz

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Re: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2013, 06:35:58 AM »
It's atrocious. Rather than living on the streets, I think the most likely outcome is that people will be moved to accommodation miles from their friends/family/support/familiarsurroundings and the emotional and sometimes the physical impact of that will be huge.

gorbut

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Re: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2013, 08:07:40 AM »
 I don't expect the govt have thought about what happens next. They don't seemto understand a situation in wich people have no pot of savings or rich fathers in law to help them out.


Monic1511

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Re: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2013, 06:09:29 PM »
The spare room subsidy though is targetted at the poor. A single person in one area can be allowed 550 pcm for a one bedroom house under the LHA and they can find a 2 bed house for 530 pcm and they would get the whole 2 bedroom property paid by HB despite only needing one bedroom. The same person could rent a LA 2 bedroom property for 350 pcm but would only receive 294 pcm as they have had the spare room subsidy removed. So one person can live in a 2 bedroom property and have 550 paid in full but the one person in social housing is refused the full 350 and has to pay some themselves. This is solely targetting the poor.

Hi Fiz
that may be what happens in your area but in my area if you take on a 2 bed property in the private sector the housing benefit only pays the one bedroom rate and you have to make up the shortfall especially if you took on the tenancy after April 2012.   I see this when its single school leavers who took rents for 2 beds and its worse for them as they only get the single room rate which is less than the one bed rate,  Try negotiating rent arrears of several hundred pounds out of a under 25 income of 56.80.
Monic

Fiz

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Re: anyone with expertise on housing crisis please?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2013, 09:16:41 PM »
yes monic, that's right, in the examples I gave was of people who were finding larger properties than needed under the LHA for the bedrooms they were deemed to need. I know several people who are receiving full HB for properties with spare bedrooms in the private sector because they have found houses in less desirable areas and sacrificed the neighbourhood for the benefit of the larger property fully funded.

Yes, those who now are only getting shared room rate but previously got a 1 bed allowance due to the age restrictions are truly stuffed now.  :-(