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mole
24-11-2005, 21:54 PM
my husband,2 children and i rent a house and we are on benefits as my husband is disabled.we pay 450 per month but we have a tenancy agreement for 399.88 ,which is the amount of housing benefit we recieve, our landlord still demands we pay 52 a month top up.I spoke to him about it and he said that the money is to be payed but it is not on the agreement because they do not put it through the books!!!
The house needs some repairs and has done for over 7 months.The roof needs repair ,there is a hole in my sons bedroom wall and his door will not close.The other bedroom door falls off its hinges.We have been to see a solicitor who told us that we can refuse rent but we will be evicted.
i have never had a good landlord that fixes repairs or is not a psycho(true).can anyone help us find a landlord that takes hb and fixes repairs with a 3 bed house (pref not much top up).We are good people who just want a nice secure house to live in!

RichieP
24-11-2005, 22:23 PM
As you have already been advised, you don't have to pay the extra rent, but your landlord is likely to evict you. It will take some time though, if he does it the correct legal way.
Unfortunately for you, you have the stigma of being on benefits, and the majority of landlords don't take people on benefits. It's not just the stigma of people on benefits, most landlords don't want the hassle of waiting ages for Housing Benefit to be paid.

mole
24-11-2005, 22:44 PM
do you know how long it will take them to evict me ? and do you know if this will be classed as making myself homeless volentarily as the council will not rehouse me if so!

RichieP
24-11-2005, 22:49 PM
Seeing as the rent you may decide to withold is not on the tenancy, they can't evict you for rent arrears. It is likely to be the Section 21 route, which needs no reason.
This must be issued with at least 2 months notice. They then apply to the court. If they go by the accelerated possession route, you can appeal and ask for a hearing, which delays it by another few weeks. At the hearing you plead poverty and explain it may take time for you and your family to find alternative accommodation. The judge will probably grant possession in 28 days. Depending on who your council is, they may not do anything until the landlord applies to the bailiffs to remove you, which can be at least another 4 weeks.

Basically you can buy yourself 4 months at least. The council won't see it as making yourself intentionally homeless if it's a Section 21.

jinny
24-11-2005, 23:12 PM
Hi there Mole,

I too rent private, and i'm on HB, i have had to wait 4 months for my landlord to come and get my shower fixed, we couldn't use it as the tray had split and everytime i phoned up, the workman always seemed to be out on emergencies! I withheld my rent from the back end of August, and i rang my local council up and spoke to the housing conditions dept, the man i spoke to told me that under the circumstances i have reasonable grounds to with hold my rent, as my prob was classed as sanitation, which he could declare the house unfit to live in. specially with 2 children. The shower is the only means of bathing we have in our house.
Finally, today after4 months of being fobbed off, they came to put me a new shower tray in, but i can't use it until weekend.
What you have said about the top up rent is quite interesting, as we should pay £25-00 per week, but i don't think it is on my agreement to pay any top up money, as the HB pay £380-00 per month direct to the landlord.
I must admit, the company who own our house seem quite dodgy, but for the time being i will have to make the best of a bad decision when we sold the house to them, as we had arrears on the mortgage, so instead of being repo'd we got out quick, and seemed a good idea at the time, ie; sell it to them, so we could rent it back of them.
Rather a complex situation to explain, but i will post on her tomorrow as i need advice too!
You should get intouch with your local council and ask to speak to the housing condition dept, they will tell you where you stand. Jinny.

mole
24-11-2005, 23:17 PM
jinny i hope things work out for you let me know how you get on!

mole
24-11-2005, 23:21 PM
does anyone know what happens to possesions if put in temporary accomodation when evicted?.I am worried about losing the few things i have.It has taken me a long time to get things and i would be heartbroken to lose my kids things.The council have told me i would be put in a hostel if they agree to rehouse me but this is out of the area and very small. do the council have a duty to help with storage of possesions?

jinny
24-11-2005, 23:31 PM
Yeh, you to Mole, ring the council up asap, as your roof is knackered, and your son has a hole in his bedroom wall, i am sure you will be told the same as me, it's unfit to live in, they offered to take my case on board, whereby they contact the landlord, and give them 24 hrs or so to get it done, and if they don't, they can get fined for not complying with the order.
When we sold our house in May 05 to this company, they told us they would come out and look at what needs doing within 3 weeks of the completion, that was 6 months ago! i have never set eyes on the landlord before or since! some woman came round to look at the house, never went upstairs, just said to me " the rooms are nice and big" i told her what needs doing, and they bought the house "bought as seen" so to speak, myback door doesn't even shut properly, the glass has fell out, the back gate came off the other week, so i had to tie it up with wire, and i told them about all this, and they haven't done nothing about it!
I will pay this weeks rent, and then ask them to get someone round to look at the gate and the door, as it is their responsibility to make sure all windows/doors lock securely, if you search on the website for housing act it will tell you a landlords duty/responsiblity to the tennents.
Let me know how you get on! Jinny.

mole
24-11-2005, 23:43 PM
until they could see rain coming in and said the hole was not a big enough problem.I spoke to the housing dept today and they said that we were at fault for not wanting to move away from our town! this is impossible for us as my husband and i are at college and son is settled at nursery.they think we should give up our chance of getting back into work to move into an area that is rough and violent. we would be totaly alone isolated from friends and family and probably will become victims of abuse in the area they want us to move to.

jinny
24-11-2005, 23:59 PM
Did you speak to housing conditions dept? or you could try the Enviromental health dept.
I live in Stockport, just outside Manchester, and the criteria for housing points etc includes things like disrepair, AND abuse from people in the neighbourhood, if you are on the local housing list, it maybe worth while contacting your gp, to see if they could help you ie; filling medical forms in etc, depression because of the conditions of the house. Is your landlord registered? if so, i would be tempted to try and contact the ombudsman and explain everything, I hope other people reading this don't think i am digging too deep or anything, but this is advice i have been given over the last weeks due to my dilemma, and i was advised to go to the local media! but obviously i didn't want to go that far at the time, but i might have done if my shower hadn't been fixed.
Is the hole big in the roof, has anyone been out to look at it? i think it's disgusting that some private landlords expect you to carry on paying rent when things like this happen, surely they are insured for things like structual things like roofs and walls? i think some are only in it for the money if you ask me.
Keep us updated! and don't worry, i know it must be hard not to in these circumstances, but i am sure there is someone out there who will be able to help you. speak to you soon, jane. ;)

mole
25-11-2005, 00:07 AM
i live in southport not that far from you.they want to send us to bootle (dont know if you know that it is very rough)
the roof leaks in the kitchen,but it all started 8 months ago with a leak in the bedroom,which was patched but the roofer said the roof need replacing at the back.the hole in the bedroom is about 1ft diameter.doestn go all the way through just 3/4 of the way. The MP is supposed to ring me tommorow if not i am thinking of going to the papers.

jinny
25-11-2005, 00:27 AM
Yes, i know Southport, it's about an hours drive away or so.
I have heard of Bootle, yeh, it is a bit rough isn't it? Good on you for getting your MP involved, it's a shame when it has to come to contacting people like that though isn't it?
The next area from us is quite rough, drugs etc, and i know if we were to get evicted, they would stick us in the local "halfway" house, which is horrible, even though they say it's only tempory like 6 weeks, i know people who end up there for 12 months or more, it's not a place i would want my kids to be in, temp or otherwise!
There are quite a few housing associations i could register with, but some of them want to know everything, even knicker size LOL!
I really hope your MP can do whatever he can do for you, let us know what happens.
Just an afterthought, if your landlord tried to get you out, and you went to court to try and stop the eviction, i'm sure the judge would take into account the fact that your landlord hasn't done the work in the house he's sposed to have done. Some judges side with the tennent/mortgagee, i went to court about 5 times in as many years to stop the repo going through, and they give me time to catch up with the arrears etc, but in my case, hubby lost his job and i think they were fed up of seeing me in the local county court!
It was a shame really, cos 3 weeks after the order was granted for the repo, hubby got a new job! if he had got it 3 weeks before, we wouldn't have had to sell the house.
Speak to you tomorrow, and don't worry! ;) Jane.

mole
25-11-2005, 00:40 AM
that is sad about your house,doesnt life **** on you some times! i know what you mean about housing associations wanting all details i have found that too,some ask for a referance from your current landlord i dont think that mine will give us one then wait for us to be rehoused.I have seen some of the houses in bootle and they are so manky with rats and everything yuk!!!!
Dont think the mp will be much help southport is really bad for housing the private landlords charge around 525 for a two bed house but the housing only give 400. i dont understand how they work that out!

thanks for the chat hope to speak soon!!

Patois
25-11-2005, 08:07 AM
Have you considered contacting your local councillor to raise the issue -

Have Environmental Health been to see the house?

The Housing Act 1985 fitness standard still applies (despite the new Housing Act 2004 - which should come into force 6 April 06) and the house should be free from serious disrepair, free from damp etc..

Even if the house is not unfit (and if the Environmental Health dept know it is they are under a duty to serve notice) it may be in 'such a state of disrepair that .........it's condition is such as to interfere materially with the personal comfort of the occupying tenant'
Either way notice can be served
This is not a speedy process

I suggest you write to Environmental Health with a copy to the ward councillors (usually 3 of them - info in library or town hall - give them a ring)

Poj McDodge
25-11-2005, 10:19 AM
Going back to the start of the post reguarding the top up you pay to the landlord is it recorded in any way, you should have a rent book to prove what you are paying.

Poj McDodge
25-11-2005, 10:29 AM
Jinney, you stated in one post that most landlords are only in it for the money. I would say we all are, I wouldn't do this for fun :)

islandgirl
25-11-2005, 10:50 AM
Mole - we rent out a really nice 3 bed house in a lovely area (fields all round) about 10/15 miles from you - we are really nice people, live close by, go round immediately if there is ever a problem, do all repairs right away and are not (and never have been) psychos!
We have however just got rid of terrible tenants who did not pay us anything at all for 4 months, did not pay anyone else (were about to get the electricity cut off) and were abusive to us, using foul language and being aggressive to us for no reason.
We are currently having to fit a new kitchen and decorate thanks to the damage they caused before we can rent out the property again.
You sound like great tenants and we would love people like you to take our now empty property - however to cover our costs and outgoings we need a rent higher than HB would pay.
It is sad that good landlords and good tenants can't be matched up!

jinny
25-11-2005, 12:26 PM
In reply to the post about landlords being in it only for money;
I know there are geniune landlords out there who look after their houses, ie; get the jobs done within a couple of days or so, what i meant to say was, some landlords do not seem to bother about repairs that need doing if they can get away with it.
My neighbour had to contact the local council as her soil pipe had cracked, and as you can imagine, it wasn't very pleasant for her, as she's got 2 little boys, she couldn't let them in the garden to play etc, and her landlord kept fobbing her off, the council gave him him notice to get it done within 24 hrs or he would've been fined, she thinks if she hadn't have got them on the case, it wouldn't have been fixed even now!
Plus, her front door didn't lock for 12 months, the key had snapped in the lock, and she ended up putiing the sofa behind the door at night, it was only when she told them she was going to be away for a week that they came out to put a new lock on it. Isn't it the landlords responsibility to ensure all doors and windows lock securely? she hasn't had an inspection for 18 months either!

Poj McDodge
25-11-2005, 13:09 PM
I see your point, some are in it for easy money and not considering thier tennants welfare.

mole
25-11-2005, 21:59 PM
well i spoke to the MP today and he said there are lots of people wanting to be rehoused and there is nothing he can do to help.the only hope i was given is that they are looking into how much hb people are being given because the rates are too low,but he said it will take time!!

island girl is there any possibility of us talking about rent prices maybe with the MP,s help we could afford it. i would love another bedroom i am fed up of sleeping on the living room floor.you sound like a nice landlady and your house sounds lovely! We just want a place where we can feel at home.i would love to decorate ,my house is all cream and i would love my children to have a nice bedroom.do you allow your tennants to decorate?

thanks to everyone for your replies ,i will keep you all updated.

mole
25-11-2005, 22:30 PM
i mentioned this because our previous landlady and her son,who lived above us, were schizophrenics.We lived in a damp basement flat. On the first day we moved in i noted the kitchen sink was leaking and she gave us a bowl and left.this was our first sign something was wrong,only later did we realise the true extent of her problem.One day her son climbed onto the roof of the extension(our bedrooms)and shouted i dont want to be a pigeon any more .then he proceeded to remove his clothes and chuck them into the back garden.
They also seemed to like moving furniture around at 2 o clock in the morning and playing the piano (badly ).She also stole our mail only returning it months later with notes to her son scribbled on the back.The last straw was when the fridge and cooker(brand new) which she allowed us to store in the unused flat next door was taken away by the council ,with no warning to us ,and crushed!!!

islandgirl
26-11-2005, 18:02 PM
Mole - I will PM you re our location and the ideas in your last post etc - I am so sorry that you have got so many problems - you sound like a lovely family. Have you tried West Lancs council? They may have something just over the border? Sorry the MP did not work out for you today. Things are bound to get worse over on this side of the boundary as the council is as I write asking tenants to vote on selling the housing stock to a private housing association. So sad.

mole
26-11-2005, 22:17 PM
i have decided not to pay the top up rent as i have been told i do not have to legally. oly problem is that now i am probably facing eviction.I have also found out that my belongings should be safe as the council will have to help to store them( information provided by shelter).i reccommend that if anyone is having landlord probs to ring them for free on 0808 8004444.
i am still sad to be facing this but i cannot see any other way out,i cannot trust my landlord now so i will be better out of here.
only worry left now is my sons pet cats dont suppose anyone knows what happens to animals in that situation?
better brace myself for a long hard new year .i hope that everyone else has better luck!