Posts Tagged ‘housing benefit’

HOW ESTATE AGENTS HAVE POISONED THE PROPERTY RENTAL MARKET

September 28, 2011

Some of my correspondence   with the local council showing how impossible it is obtaining privately rented accommodation when you have to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops created by estate agents and the local Council and the ludicrously rotten benefits system.

28th September 2011 –  1500 hrs

Dear Social Services,

Thank you for your email sent at 1036 hrs  this morning in which you tell me you can pay the estate agent fees and first month’s rent and deposit and act as guarantor.

The estate agent is ……

The telephone number is … and the person dealing with this is….. Her email is ……

The property is at …..

I have just spoken to the agent a moment ago and informed her of the fact you will be organising the  financing of this rental.

The second I mentioned that this was being paid for by you she immediately said the landlord ‘would have to know’ and it was unlikely he would accept me as a tenant because the funding would not be coming directly from me. She ignored my explanation that you would be acting as guarantor as though this would be meaningless when in fact it would be a legal guarantee the rent would be paid.

She focussed on the fact the only arrangement that would be workable would be six months rent in advance. She said that without that it would not be possible to proceed.

You couldn’t get a clearer indication that this whole poisonous difficulty of benefit claimants and other less ‘credit worthy’ individuals being unable to rent accommodation has been brought into being by the way estate agents choose to function.

She was immediately ‘obstructive’ in our conversation and quite determined to strip out of it any sensible and positive discussion and she made it clear to me her thinking was to disregard me as a prospective tenant and advise the landlord accordingly, quite regardless of the security of the rent being paid and guaranteed.

Estate agents actively encourage landlords to ‘fear’ benefit claimants etc, and they also insist on using rapacious ‘referencing’ agencies that charge extortionate fees to produce referencing reports which are based on highly dubious financial credit referencing agencies like Experian and barely worth the paper they are written on and certainly are no real indication of likely tenant reliability.

The simple reason for this is that it benefits the estate agents. Even an individual with a blameless record finds the system completely obnoxious and basically just a rip off as I have found when I have spoken to many other tenants affected by this.

I also need to let you know that the fierce ‘standardisation’ of rental levels set by estate agents means that  essentially all two bedroomed properties are virtually the same rental levels starting at £795. I have accepted the fact that I will have to fund the shortfall between the housing benefit level set by the government and what I actually have to pay.

I know I am able to do this because I am currently paying £117 monthly for storage of household goods and also setting aside £100 monthly as a temporary  ISA savings despite a a huge shortfall in the income I should be receiving under the benefits system. In addition to this I am not being paid any child tax credits at all which would amount to about £40 per week (£160 monthly) , and there are certain deductions also taken from my pension credit which are incorrect and should not only stop when the issue is sorted out, but substantial sums should, presumably, be legally refundable.

A simple understanding of what I am talking about is that you might say I am being well and truly ‘ripped off’ by not being correctly treated by the benefits system which can behave very erratically. I have not previously been in a position to do anything about sorting  all this out until now.

The other relevant facts concerning the property I am trying to rent are that the rent is £850 per month and if I was paying hard cash out of my own pocket with six months up front I know it would come down to £800 per month. With this in mind it might be worth your while telling the agent the rent will be only £800 per month in return for paying the rent six months in advance, if you so choose.

The deposit is also stated as being six weeks worth of the rental figure instead of the one month that used to be the norm. All the other estate agents I have spoken to have also upped the deposit levels to six weeks too.

The bottom line about all this is that the estate agents are in control and they have both you and all prospective tenants over a barrel. It is the estate agents who also influence and ultimately control  the landlords too into believing the correct way to go about renting their property is in the manner the estate agents dictate.

Again, all this means that, as the primary objective is for my son and me to get into acceptable accommodation, the speediest and  most cost effective way of doing this is to simply work within this wickedly rapacious estate agents lettings system  and be forced to pay the six months rent in advance.

This is because the only way of getting around the joke of ‘referencing’ which,  if it finds even the slightest glitch in a credit record etc or lack of employment even if pensions or benefits are being paid, will result in outright rejection of a tenant.

By paying the whole of the six months length of the rental contract in advance it cuts the legs completely off the referencing issue as the landlord’s receipt of rental payments  can no longer  exist as a ‘risk’. It does also offer both the logic and bargaining tool for reducing the rent down to at least £800 per month on the basis that the landlord is effectively receiving more rent than the agreed figure if it is all paid six months in advance. A landlord would find it difficult to refuse reducing the rent in this manner if it was paid in advance.

I had to struggle somewhat with the estate agent  and be very persistent that this deal could still go ahead as really, she seemed to be automatically just dismissing me out of hand because I didn’t ‘tick all the standard boxes’ the estate agents like. These people are very blinkered and have completely one track minds as they are really just jumped up and mobile versions of call centre robots – with the same total lack of individual initiative.

I have actually done an enormous amount of research – speaking to many, many estate agents and other tenants too. I have looked at hundreds of properties all over the South of England.

It is clear from all this that there is no immediate way out of the vice like grip the estate agents hold over the entire market, making it almost impossible for anyone on benefits to be accepted for any normal rented property without paying the rent up front. There is effectively no possibility of a benefits claimant on housing benefit commencing any brand new rental. Which only throws  any benefit claimant straight  back into social housing as the only possible means of finding any accommodation at all.

Every other conversation I have had with estate agents has arrived at this same conclusion that without paying the rent up front, it will be impossible to enter into any rental agreement.

The estate agent  asked me to request that you speak to her or email her  about this to see if any progress might be made and she put unreasonable pressure on  all this by telling me she will be immediately proceeding with other tenants meanwhile.

A simple display of the venality of these predatory people.

Yours Sincerely,

Single Dad

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SOCIAL SERVICES BEING UNHELPFUL – DETERMINED TO TURN ME AND SON OUT ONTO STREET

September 28, 2011

Dear Social Services,

I looked at about ten two bedroomed properties today via estate agents in town. I found two that  might  be suitable for me to rent and were offered to me.

Both want me to pay the usual £250 fee for the privilege of being ‘referenced’ as well as some weasil agents fee of about a hundred pounds. I will not pass that test as I was evicted from my house with mortgage arrears and I have been unable to pay utility bills yet as communications with creditors has not been possible. I will also fail that referencing process because I have no previous landlord – ever – and I am not currently employed.

The web site of one agent specifically states ‘no housing benefit’ claimants on every property it is renting.

If social services are prepared to genuinely assist me in obtaining privately rented accommodation I need to be  able to actually be in a position to instantly provide payment of a ‘holding deposit’ which is the amount of the referencing fee. I also need to be able to offer the estate agent the bargaining chip of six months rent (please see my previous email) in advance to compensate for their imaginary perceived problems with ‘housing benefit’.

This is the only way I might be able to pursue the rental of either of these properties, (or any other property anywhere)  and I have to get on with it immediately on Wednesday September 28 otherwise another prospective tenant will take the property instead.

I have not yet told either of the agents I am in receipt of ‘benefits’ yet and one agent has chosen me as a preferred potential tenant over another tenant wanting the same property. The other tenant competing for this property will replace me instantly if I am not able to conclude a successful negotiation immediately with the cash clout needed.

All the other estate agents that I have explained my circumstances of being on benefits to, have not even bothered to have any further dealings with me, as they clearly are uninterested in tenants on benefits.

If it is not possible for me to be assisted to bypass this obscene renting system which outlaws housing benefit recipients etc, then it is clear searching through estate agents is pointless and waiting to see the rare and random privately advertised property might mean spending years before discovering a rentable property.

Effectively, this means it is impossible for me to obtain privately rented accommodation anywhere.

If it is not possible to meaningfully assist me in obtaining one of the above rentals, or any other similar rental, then the only possible route to me and my son finding accommodation is through social housing – which the Council have (wrongfully in my opinion) refused to apply, despite the very clear intentions of housing law.

I still intend to bring this issue before the County Court and take it to whatever higher court is required if necessary but this will take a very long time.

The only other alternative would appear to be that I must currently expect to be street homeless with my son who must then be taken into care at a greater cost than simple accommodation would cost.

I would respectfully point out there is absolutely nothing whatever I can do to alter the facts as I have outlined them in my emails to you. I am perfectly able to search and find suitable accommodation – which I have done.

But if it is not possible to bypass the outlandish barriers which have been erected to prevent disadvantaged tenants from renting property, I cannot see how this issue can be solved, except by means of social housing. I would be quite happy to rent privately if I was able to, but it is no good anyone constantly telling me to do so if it has been made impossible by the parasites who have brought this ludicrous system of renting into being.

Meanwhile, the owner of the B&B my son and I am is expecting me to leave on Wednesday September 28th, and I have no other accommodation for my son and I to go to.

I would be grateful if you would email me and or telephone me to inform me of what you expect me to do in the circumstances.

I cannot telephone you as I have no money at present to buy further credit in order to use my mobile phone.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely,

Single Dad

JUST SURVIVING AS A SEMI-VAGRANT IS A FULL TIME JOB !

September 18, 2011

September 18th 2011

It is Sunday today, so I can let the boy stay asleep as long as he wants to –  or at least up until midday as he wants to meet a friend at the skate park in the next town seven miles away at one p.m. because there is what he calls a Skateboard ‘Jam’ going on there.

Jam ? Jam ? I thought jam was something you spread on bread. I suppose it is another ‘import’ from American culture.

As we both went to sleep diabolically late – about 3 a.m. – I slept late too. I woke up first at 8 a.m. because of noisy breakfast goings on in the next room.

I was wide awake and slightly cold despite having gone to bed fully clothed. The thin, cheap and nastily shoddy duvet the skinflint B&B owner supplies is useless at keeping  me warm, and it’s only early autumn, not even winter yet !

The room is a bit like an underground prison cell too; small, poky and cold, dark, dank and airless and with only a small, narrow window high up under the ceiling of the room which hardly lets in any light. It is really a ghastly place to live.

My thirteen year year old son and I have been living here three months now, forced to live almost like vagrants thanks to the vindictive nastiness of the benefits system which has systematically persecuted us ever since I became a lone father over ten years ago, bringing up my son entirely by myself. (more…)

HELP ! – LEGAL AID IS A GOVERNMENT LIE

July 14, 2011

A BARE FACED LIE BY THE GOVERNMENT TO CON EVERYONE BUT IT DOESN’T REALLY EXIST FOR MOST LEGAL PROBLEMS PEOPLE NEED TO SORT OUT

I desperately need ‘help’. Despite being relatively intelligent & well educated, of the profession & middle classes, I need ‘help’ from someone or somewhere because I am completely flummoxed by the tidal wave of incomprehensible and malign bureaucracy which is assaulting me from all sides.

“Flummoxed’ is a rather too polite & diplomatic way of describing the problem really. Persecuted and driven to despair by having every attempt to live a normal life thwarted by small minded fools employed by various organisations, mostly government ones, who have invented weirdly convoluted Kafka-esque ‘rules’ to force me to spend my entire time every day battling with, would be more appropriate.

Trying to deal with the demented demands of these Alice in Wonderland ‘rules’ which govern all of my everyday life at the moment, is quite impossible.

I just do not know how to deal with it; what the ‘rules’ are and so on; what ‘forms’ to fill in; what ‘applications’ to make etc. And there is no-one to explain how to go about complying with this time-wasting nonsense.

For some things, I need a lawyer to advise me on how to use legal procedures and law to force malign people to stop behaving illegally or with a blatant disregard of the everyday rule of law, who are wrecking my life and my child’s life.

That is what lawyers are for. They know the law and how to use it; the ordinary citizen does not, which is why they employ the specialist knowledge of the lawyer who will know how to deal with legal problems the ordinary person does not.

But lawyers are (more…)

LOCAL COUNCIL STEALS ALL MY POSSESSIONS

July 12, 2011

I have just learned the local council is planning to steal the entire contents of my house.

My twelve year old son and I were evicted from our home by the evil, grasping sub-prime mortgage lender Southern Pacific Mortgages Limited or SPML for short.

This bunch of thieves was a subsidiary of the dishonest bank Lehmanns Bros which caused the Worldwide financial disaster which we are still struggling with today, with rapidly increasing job losses and poverty everywhere.

So, the council sent me a letter telling me why they have a legal obligation to re-house my son and I, then announced (more…)

HOUSING BENEFIT – THE TRUTH, A TISSUE OF DHSS & GOVERNMENT LIES

December 16, 2010

It is right suddenly unemployed/ill people should receive housing support to prevent the nasty minded lenders throwing them out on the street within a few months – which is what they generally try and do.

But the housing benefit system is utterly, utterly poisonous because it costs the taxpayer a fortune, lines the pockets of the lenders & completely fails most people falling on hard times. I know this because (more…)

HOW HARINGEY AND NORTH WALES SOCIAL SERVICES WICKEDNESS DESTROYED MY FAMILY

November 29, 2010

And reduced me to complete poverty as a single father, forced into bringing up my son without his mother.

Its all done and dusted and I have custody now and have done for ages.

Briefly what happened was: (more…)

State Benefits System – The Curse of Our Age

October 29, 2010

Every day of my life at present is completely poisoned by the necessity of me being forced to drag myself into my ‘office’ ; a bedroom filled with all the usual office rubbish, in particular thousands of bits of aggressive paper from all sorts of busybody, interfering, jobsworth prats forcing themselves uninvited into my life.

They demand I spend my time dealing with their entirely worthless, mostly pointless, intrusions and if I don’t and I neglect them, they punish me by (more…)