private landlord problem

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  • private landlord problem

    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!

  • #2
    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.


    • #3
      how long?

      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!


      • #4
        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.


        • #5
          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.


          • #6
            dont feel quite so alone now

            jinny i hope things work out for you let me know how you get on!


            • #7

              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?


              • #8
                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.


                • #9
                  council said no help

                  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.


                  • #10
                    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.


                    • #11
                      spoke to enviromental health- no help

                      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.


                      • #12
                        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.


                        • #13
                          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!!


                          • #14
                            Have you tried your councillor (s)?

                            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'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)
                            Whilst I hope you find the contents of this posting interesting and informative, the contents are without prejudice or liability and are for general information purposes only


                            • #15
                              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.


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