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ATI
04-09-2006, 13:53 PM
Hi there

I am not sure if you are able to help.and I am sorry if this is not the right place.
I have been served with S21 from landlord and His bank has also issued him with a repossession hearing due on 26 september and they have also issued me with one notice. so far the landlord has not responded to them and may not go to court either he has 5 months mortgage arrears ( I am up to date with my rent).
Anyway

I made an application to council as we are entittled since we are facing homelessness. the problem is that the council has not written to us declaring us homesless but simply called us this morning and asked us to view a flat
3 bedroom rent is £340 a week and is ready for us to move in. the question is this
What if I do not want it? because the rent is too high
also it is furnished and i have a lot of furniture
the last bit what happen to our scoring? i was considered Overcrowded and was put in band C does that mean our band will go up to say B or A as priority now as i have 2 kids and one is coming out next week or the band shall remain the same?????

Sorry for too many questions
I have been pressured to take the place but no one wants to help

Kind Regards

pippay
04-09-2006, 15:55 PM
You absolutely have this wrong .. NO council rent will be £340 per week . .. it will be £340 per MONTH. Re-Check this with the Council but I am certain I am right - in which case its a very CHEAP rent.

I am very surprised that you have not been sent a letter (as required by law) from the local Authority accepting responsibility for you as homeless. Again re-check with the council as to why you haven't received one yet. It may well be that their decision has been made but it's taken a while to have it typed and posted, and they are merely being efficient at offering you somewhere.

It sounds to me like you are being offered temporary accommodation for the moment and that's why the property is furnished. Count yourself lucky that you are being offered somewhere before the bailiffs arrive .. most people have to wait until then !!

I would imagine your banding will change as your circumstances change. Once you are in temporary accommodation, you will probably go up to Band A. But even then, there are sub-categorires, so the longer you are in temporary accommodation the higher you will go until you are offered perrmanent accommodation.

You will only get ONE offer of accommodation which you must take (unless there are exceprtional circumstances) or their offer to provide accommodation will be withdrawn and they will have no further obligation to assist you. You will be on your own again back in the private rented sector. These exceptional circumstances DO NOT include the rent level or the fact that it is furnished. You may have to put your furniture into storage.

But being realistic, I cannot accept that you have not received anything in writing from the Council, or that no-one will explain to you how it works. They have a legal duty to do both.

Have you tried Shelter for advice? Their free telephone number is 0808 800 4444 and lines are open from 8AM till midnight. They should be able to advise you although I doubt it will be any different from what I've told you.

caroline7758
04-09-2006, 17:39 PM
I'd agree with everything Pippay has said. If you haven't got a Shelter office near you and would prefer to talk to someone face to face, go to your local CAB- they will be able to talk to the council for you, and to Shelter if they need to.
From what you have said, I'm guessing you would prefer to get permanent council housing rather than go back to private sector, in which case don't turn down anything the council offer you! It may not be ideal but hopefully you can get something better later, rather than nothing at all!

ATI
04-09-2006, 19:11 PM
Hi
thanks guys

Let me explain my post clearly. my case worker said that he passed my file to private section an das far as he is concerned he can't do anything till i get a court eviction date.
I have not been offered anything in written yet. i have checked my Locata.org and it still shows band C over crowded. so nothing has changed as far as legal is concerned. I had a call from the council and he did say to me that the offer is optional i do not have to accept it and the rent is indeed £340 a week not a month i am 100% sure double checked again. However he said that if i do not take it then No guarantee that we will be rehoused before eviction date it may take a week or more or the worst would be B&B.

I will go tomorrow and see my case worker as he was busy today and the guy who called me could not confirm anything other than saying it is a temporary place till council can offer us a permanent place.

pippay
04-09-2006, 20:19 PM
OK ..I THINK I'm a bit clearer .. it sounds like you've been put in touch with the Council Dept that liaises between potential council tenants and private Landlords;

It would certainly seems that the Case Worker (Homeless Officer) is towing the Local Authority line by not accepting responsibility for you until you are physically evicted, and as such it would also appear this is the reason they haven't written to you yet because they havent accepted you as homeless yet.

However, you say that the Council say it is temporary accommodation - so either you HAVE been accepted or you haven't ??!!!

Because you haven't been accepted as homeless, you are not yet street homeless or in priority need, yet, and this is why you remain a Band C. This will change once you're evicted.

I DO NOT accept for one moment that the rent for a 3 bedroomed house is £340 per week unless it is a mansion !!!!!!! Check again!!!

They are telling you correctly - there is no guarantee you will be re-housed before eviction - very few people are, and yes, it MAY be B & B BUT you have a baby due very shortly so this WILL positively affect your application and priority need, so B & B will be a very, very last resort (by law for pregnant mums or newborns).

I honestly believe that you are misunderstandng some of what is being said to you (perhaps something is being lost in translation?) and that you need some local help and advice, so I can only suggest you seek help from Shelter as a matter of urgency. If there is an office near you, they have drop in times - no appointment necessary.


Hi
thanks guys

Let me explain my post clearly. my case worker said that he passed my file to private section an das far as he is concerned he can't do anything till i get a court eviction date.
I have not been offered anything in written yet. i have checked my Locata.org and it still shows band C over crowded. so nothing has changed as far as legal is concerned. I had a call from the council and he did say to me that the offer is optional i do not have to accept it and the rent is indeed £340 a week not a month i am 100% sure double checked again. However he said that if i do not take it then No guarantee that we will be rehoused before eviction date it may take a week or more or the worst would be B&B.

I will go tomorrow and see my case worker as he was busy today and the guy who called me could not confirm anything other than saying it is a temporary place till council can offer us a permanent place.

ATI
05-09-2006, 10:39 AM
Hi

I went down to the council today and what I expected happened. I was told that because i am not physically homeless yet they have tried to help me by finding me a private place in the private sector and yes it was £340 a week £1458 a month a first floor flat with no street parking I 'd have to apply for a permit holder aswell.
I was told that they do not issue any letter to state that they are legally responsable for me yet because once i take the place i have no problem anymore.
So i refused that offer because if I could look harder and i am sure I may find better houses for that price.

pippay
05-09-2006, 10:52 AM
That sounds more like it from the Councils point of view .. but I think I already said that :confused:

I wouldn't be paying that sort of money for a flat .. no matter where it was or what it was like !! but it doesn't surprise me that the Council wanted you to take it .. if you had - then you wouldn't be their responsibility anymore !

It sounds as if your understanding of the situation has changed - not because the news you had today from the Council was what you expected all along - but more because you've had things explained to you in this forum ...



Hi

I went down to the council today and what I expected happened. I was told that because i am not physically homeless yet they have tried to help me by finding me a private place in the private sector and yes it was £340 a week £1458 a month a first floor flat with no street parking I 'd have to apply for a permit holder aswell.
I was told that they do not issue any letter to state that they are legally responsable for me yet because once i take the place i have no problem anymore.
So i refused that offer because if I could look harder and i am sure I may find better houses for that price.

pms
05-09-2006, 12:11 PM
:

I wouldn't be paying that sort of money for a flat .. no matter where it was or what it was like !! but it doesn't surprise me that the Council wanted you to take it .. if you had - then you wouldn't be their responsibility anymore !

Nor would I unless it had an 18caret gold bathroom suite.I have just checked what the procedure is with the council I work for and this is what the H.O has told me:

1) When a tenant is threatened with homelessness they are then asked to come to the Housing Office and bring with them I.D,a utility bill, the S21 NOTICE and the tenancy agreement.You then fill out lots of forms.

2) They then ask about your connection with the borough/district and how long you've lived there(the min is 6months).They will then explain to you what type of accomadation you can expect(temporary,HA,Private sector leasing) and that you only get one offer (If it's not taken then the LA are not obliged to house you).Provided the creitera is met they must inform you in writing of there decesion in 28 working days.

3) They will also tell you to sit tight until the bailiffs turn up but 9 times out of 10 that doesn't happen once you've got the order from the court this puts pressure on the council who usually house you within a couple of weeks.

I hope this puts things into perspective.No doubt the OP has filled out loads of forms if he hasn't I'd suggest a trip back down to the council.

pippay
05-09-2006, 12:35 PM
PMS, mostly the info you've got is correct .. but the bit about informing you within 28 days isn't .. there isn't actually ANY tme stipulation (it was recently changed) but the guidlelines state the LA should inform you of their decision within 30 but it may take longer ..... and if it does the only recourse is to the LA Ombudsman .. or the tenants advocate (in my case Shelter) ....


2) They then ask about your connection with the borough/district and how long you've lived there(the min is 6months). Agreed They will then explain to you what type of accomadation you can expect(temporary,HA,Private sector leasing) and that you only get one offer (If it's not taken then the LA are not obliged to house you). Lots of Councils state this but it isn't necessarily true .. it depends on the grounds for refusal .. e.g. I just turned down a bedsit property cos it wouldn't allow me to have a Carer stay overnight without booking in advance!! I've now been offered a bungalow. The law states that you CAN refuse but the grounds for refusal have to be because the property is not suitable for your proven social/medical needs ... Provided the creitera is met they must inform you in writing of their decision in 28 working days. Wrong .. see above!)

3) They will also tell you to sit tight until the bailiffs turn up but 9 times out of 10 that doesn't happen once you've got the order from the court this puts pressure on the council who usually house you within a couple of weeks.
Agreed

I hope this puts things into perspective.No doubt the OP has filled out loads of forms if he hasn't I'd suggest a trip back down to the council.

pms
05-09-2006, 12:59 PM
Thanks.2 points i'd like to pick up on.The one offer policy is now the norm for many of the London Boroughs and I know that this is being implemented in my own borough in south London.I agree that the property needs to meet the tenants needs and in your own case a bedsit would be no good when you need a carer(pleased you got a bungolow,my friend ended up with a 14th floor flat).My other point is informing people of the L.A decesion,im sure but I could be wrong that the timespan is in the 1996HA and that it is either 28 or 30 days and the letter is to inform you that you have been accepted as unintentionally homeless.

pippay
05-09-2006, 13:07 PM
Shelter have recently disputed the refusal issue .. with success but again, I must stipulate, because the property was misuited to social/medical needs .. but most LA's do write in their letters, as standard, that it is a one offer rule, without explaining there can be variances, depending on circumstances. It is because they are not explaining that there ARE grounds for refusal in certain cases that the one offer rule is being SEEN to be implemented .. not because any refusal on any grounds is not permitted .. if you get my drift !

As far as the 28 day rule is concerned, I believe this has recently been changed and whilst the 28 day rule is desirable and 30 days is given as a guidleline, is is NOT set in stone.

My letter took 35 days from interview to dating of the letter (never mind typing it it and posting it !! - that took another 10 days !!)


Thanks.2 points i'd like to pick up on.The one offer policy is now the norm for many of the London Boroughs and I know that this is being implemented in my own borough in south London.I agree that the property needs to meet the tenants needs and in your own case a bedsit would be no good when you need a carer(pleased you got a bungolow,my friend ended up with a 14th floor flat).My other point is informing people of the L.A decesion,im sure but I could be wrong that the timespan is in the 1996HA and that it is either 28 or 30 days and the letter is to inform you that you have been accepted as unintentionally homeless.

ATI
05-09-2006, 20:58 PM
Many thanks guys for clarifying things better.
You mentioned something important. which is confirmation in writing
When i went to the council i filled out the application and linked it to my previous one on the register. then i had to provide all IDS court letters S21 from Landlord etc.... I was told that my file would go to the private section for help. All i got was a phone call to go and view a property My reason for turning it down anyway was that I need an unfurnished place and the place i went to view was totally furnished. but anyway I was told that if i refused that offer nothing would happen to my application because the section i was dealing with only deals with private and not with homelessness and i was told that it is better than being on B&B. however when i went today to speak to the council i was told that the reason they do not offer anything in writing is because technically I am not homeless yet as there is no court eviction date and what they have done was simply prevent me from going homeless.

MY point is this
I have been on the register for quite a while now and i am on band C (2 kids and a third is due next week) current flat is a small 2 bedroom (room one 3*2 the second room is 3*3) which are below the legal limit hence why i was told that i am legally overcrowded. now that means that i would have to wait an average of 7 years before getting a permanent offer. now why on earth would i go and take this flat £340 a week which is worst than where i live now.and then would have to start all over again. this has happened to me before because I was on Harrow register and as soon as i moved to Brent I was completely taken off the register and I had to re-apply again and wait 7 weeks and now it seems that i was only been waiting since June2006.(that is not fair)
I prefer to sit tight and since they claim that I have no problem then I do not need their help yet and wait till i get evicted then B&B is what I may get and at least I would be put on band A or B
does that make sense?

pippay
05-09-2006, 21:36 PM
I agree you should wait but I really do wish you would seek help from Shelter sooner rather than later and here is why ..

I am suffering from long term ill health and I'm renting in the private sector. Because I now need a carer I can no longer afford the top up between Housing benefit and the rent. So I went to Shelter for advice in May.

They made application for homelessness (on the grounds of inaffordability) to the council for me. A month later, I was visited at home by the Homeless Officer and the Shelter representative also came to the meeting to act as my advocate. During the following 35 days Shelter kept on telephoning and faxing the Homeless Officer till he made his decision (in writing) that I was technically homeless - although I still have somewhere to live.

Today I have been offered permanent accommodation without the need to go into temporary accommodation !!

If you are going to be made homeless within the next 28 dyas ( i.e. the bailiffs are due within 28 days) the law states that the Coucil MUST consider your application for homelessness, put you on the Homeless Register and provide accommodation whilst they complete their enquiries and it is at this stage you will be sent a letter saying whether they have accepted your application.

Shelter can and will help you with that application, and all the paperwork and bring pressure to bear on the Council. They excel at doing it - and they do it every day of every week.

Please let them help you.

ATI
05-09-2006, 23:34 PM
Hi pippay

I am very pleased your situation have been resolved. thank God for that.
I am going to go to Shelter tomorrow or at least phone them. i heard they are excellent people and know what they are doing. you are right i must go.

many thanks again. I shall keep you updated.