Bedroom tax causing havoc in Leicester

Originally posted on Benefit tales:

The hated bedroom tax is making its mark on the people of Leicester.

Council and housing association tenants are having to choose between “heating and eating.” A large number are experiencing poverty, anxiety, debt and health problems. Food banks are becoming essential.

As yet, no-one has lost their home because of the tax but as rent arrears increase because tenants cannot pay the £14 to £25 per week from their benefit of £70 to £100, the council and housing associations will have to start evicting.

Locally, there are more than 3,000 households affected by the tax. How many will be evicted? How will the council cope with the extra demand for housing? How much will it cost to house those in temporary accommodation?

So why will all these people be evicted? Is it because of anti-social behaviour or because they won’t pay their rent? Or because they chose to rent…

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No pets allowed

When you’re renting a new home and are told that your pets are not a problem, check out the rent agreement you are asked to sign.

catIf the rent agreement says that you are not allowed to keep pets, strike out the “no pets allowed” bit and use a pen to write in the margin of the agreement that you do have pets.

Then put your signature right under the words that you’ve just written. Have the landlord or letting agent put their signature there too. Do this with both copies of the agreement (the one you will have and the one that your landlord or letting agent will have).

If you do do this and there are problems of any kind later, you can prove that the landlord or letting agent allowed you to have pets (because it was put down in writing and signed by both parties) if you need to.

When I rented my first home in the UK and flew in to sign the rent agreement, the letting agents didn’t like it when I scribbled in the margin that I had pets. Hey, otherwise, I would have signed something that I knew to be untrue! I assumed that the agents had trouble finding a new renter and didn’t want the landlord to know that they’d allowed a tenant to have pets. That wasn’t the case, as I later heard and it made me think.

A little honesty can go a long way.

If you approach another person with honesty, the chance that you’ll get honesty in return is much greater.


Housing crisis hitting the UK

Last Friday, Metro reported that record numbers of tenant evictions are taking place. 47,220 eviction proceedings were started in the first three months of this year, Metro mentioned.

homeWhile rents continue to go up, mortgages are down, on the other hand, and an average monthly mortgage payment amount is currently lower than an average month of rent. Also, the number of repossessions because of mortgage arrears appears to have hit a low, by contrast.

There is another difference. Housing charity Shelter said that tenants can be faced with revenge evictions after they contact their landlord, their letting agent or their council about problems such as leaking roofs and mouldy walls. That’s abuse. If this is happening to you, contact your council’s tenancy relationships officer as well as Shelter for advice.

When you’re living in deplorable housing conditions, it becomes harder and harder to make a living and stay on your feet. Not only do housing problems have practical consequences that can take up a lot of time, they can also eat away at your health and peace of mind. Good landlords know that it is also in their interest to keep their property – your home – as well as you in good shape.

Letting agent receiving your housing benefits?

If your council is paying housing benefits to your letting agent, for example because you are in arrears, that makes it hard to keep track of the payments to your landlord.home

Make sure that the landlord is actually receiving your housing benefits.

There could be a hiccup in a postcode, address or a reference, which could lead to your landlord not receiving your housing benefits. If you are in arrears, this would mean that your arrears continue to grow, or become much higher than you are aware of.

Are you in such a situation? The first thing to do is simply to contact your letting agent in writing. Have the letting agent confirm to you in writing that they are receiving your housing benefits and are forwarding them to your landlord. Your local CAB may be able to guide you if you need help with this.

If the same applies to you but your landlord has meanwhile started eviction proceedings against you, do the same. Contact your letting agent in writing and have the letting agent confirm to you in writing how much housing benefits they have paid to your landlord, and when. It could help clear up errors before it’s too late.