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TOPIC: Housing

Housing 3 years 4 months ago #73933

Just to update my situation, I have now been given verbal eviction notice on my property by my landlord. They have used threats of violence rather than opting to go through the courts but I am staying here on my own anyway behind boarded and locked doors. I haven't contacted the police and don't wish to as I don't wish to exacerbate the situation. I will of course contact them if anything happens and the police have linked my phone number to this address so that should I call I wouldn't even have to speak and they would send help.
I have been in touch with the CAB, shelter and the civic legal service regarding housing. I contacted the CAB for help making a claim to the council for housing and at the time they said the council will have to give me a two bedroom place as my children need somewhere to sleep. Shelter put me in touch with the civic legal service who told me that they can only get involved if the council outright refuse to help me.
The council however phoned me today and are only offering me a one bedroom property even though I have fought for weeks/months to get equal access to my children.
Where are they supposed to sleep when they come to stay the night 3 times a week?
Can anyone please tell me what my legal position is? CAB were adamant they had to give me a property with sleeping room for my children and the council seem to be doing everything they can to be as unhelpful as possible. They were the same with my ex and it's almost as if their guidelines are to be as useless as they can be.

Incidentally for those of you who were following my posts I have now made a claim for benefits so hopefully should have some money soon. Yay!

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Housing 3 years 4 months ago #73944

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Good evening,
Do I remember from one of your previous posts that you don't have a contract with your landlord, hence you are a squatter? I'm wondering how you are managing to look after your children for nearly half their lives in a boarded up squat?
I'm not sure that your local authority is being unhelpful. It is rightly being careful in allocating housing that is subsidised by taxpayers. From what you say it would seem that your ex-wife has also thrown herself (and your children) on the mercy of the local authority, so I'm not sure you both have any legal claim on public housing simultaneously. It would appear that your ex-wife would be considered the resident parent, and you the non-resident parent, and therefore that the LA would only be obliged to house her with a 2 (or perhaps more) bedroom house. I think you would be hard pressed to convince the LA (or a court if you thought you had a legal case) that your circumstances required you to have more than a single bedroom.
Whilst it is a good thing that you are playing a strong role in your children's lives, I wonder whether you are doing what is in their best interests bringing them up whilst living on benefits, and at the moment in a squat.
O

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Housing 3 years 4 months ago #73952

Yes, you are right, my name wasn't on the tenancy agreement. And yes, technically, I am now squatting.
However you seem to be implying that I am somehow at fault here.
Can I first of all assure you that my children are my world, that I would do absolutely anything for them and love them with every moment that passes with all of my heart. When the threats were made I immediately called my ex partner and asked her to not bring the children as I feared for their safety. I will not, have never, and never will put my children in a position that harms them either mentally or physically. If you saw us together you would see that we are great together and there is a lot of love and fun between us and our relationship is fantastic. When our children were born my partner decided that she would not be able to cope bringing up children full time and we mutually agreed that I would give up work and she would take a job, for the first time in her life. I had previously worked consistently for nearly 30 years and paid taxes like everyone else. I am now claiming benefits (solely for the first time in my life), something I am not proud of but I am forced to because of health issues. The benefits I am claiming are ESA, on the basis of a medical note from my doctors, not jobseekers. At the point when I met my (now ex) partner I had previously worked for 482 days, without a single day off. I have worked harder than anyone I know or have ever known in a career that was dangerous and low paid. If I were a woman staying at home looking after children nobody would think twice about it. Our roles have simply been reversed due to circumstances.
When I say my property is boarded up, what I mean is that I have placed wood across the front door to prevent access to the property. No damage has been done as I respect that this is not my property. I am simply in fear of my safety and have taken precautions to ensure it.
I certainly do not enjoy the situation I am in and would change it in an instant if I could. If I had somewhere else to go, I would go there, without hesitation. I regret having to put my landlord in this situation however it does not justify their threats of violence. They own a lot of properties, have admitted that their mortgage bill runs into the tens of thousands every month, and can certainly afford to lose a few hundred pounds while I seek alternatives. If you saw the house they live in, you would understand the vast difference in wealth between us. They take cash instead of payments through the bank (from all their tenants from what I've been told) and from previous conversations with them they are almost certainly evading tax. The previous residents of this property apparently fled because of similar threats, something I later learned after living her for a while.
I am not the bad guy here. All I have ever done from the moment my children were born is love them, care for them, educate them and do everything I can for them to better their lives. I am not some low life "squatter" or scrounger. I am an educated man with problems outside of my control.

My children have a legal and moral right to spend as much time with their father as they do with their mother. I have fought long and hard for the past four months for them to have that right and to disprove the false allegations my partner made against me. If you would like physical evidence that I am innocent of these claims I would be more than willing to let you see everything. I have absolute proof that she has lied both to myself, to her family, friends, work colleagues and the council and slandered my name in order to keep our children to herself and gain a council property. She withdrew her application for housing and privately rented because of the evidence I later showed to her. She knew she was in the wrong and could get into a lot of trouble for her actions.
This is the very same council who have not seen this proof because unlike my ex I would not do something that would be damaging towards her, despite her recent actions. Ultimately this would hurt my children and I will protect them from ANY harm. The way the council are talking to me is as though I have already deemed guilty of the crimes I'm accused of. They are the same individuals that dealt with my ex. And yes, they are being unhelpful - I have asked them for help on many occasions in the past few weeks and they barely return my calls or respond to my queries (possibly one in five times). I have always been courteous and never rude or abnoxious in any way.

I am asking the people on this forum for help. The CAB seem to think the council are wrong and I was asking for a legal opinion and professional unbiased opinion from people who know better. You have mentioned before that you are a landlord and to be honest you seem biased and a little disdainful of anyone who has the need to claim benefits. Please accept that sometimes people end up in circumstances that they are not to blame for and even if they were, occasionally they need help. Isn't that what this site is for?
How dare you imply that because I am on benefits I am not doing what is right for them. My children have also not set foot in this property from the date the tenancy agreement ran out and was legally paid for in full, coincidentally the date that my landlord made threats of violence towards me.
As discussed in previous posts, we are now attending mediation to arrange equal residency of the children. The fact that she receives the benefits for them is simply the case because I have not (and will not) challenge it.
Please keep your biased assumptions to yourself and ascertain facts before commenting. If you can't do that then you have no place being on this forum! I did not come here for help only to be insulted.

I believe that my children have the right to stay overnight with me (my ex partner and I have agreed amicably that they will stay for three nights per week). Surely my circumstances are that my children need a room to themselves. The CAB seem to think so, as do shelter. Isn't another aim of this forum to stand for the rights of fathers in a society that is biased towards mothers?

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Housing 3 years 4 months ago #73953

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Good morning,

Well, that reply certainly cleared the air!

I am a strong advocate of fathers' rights, and even more so of fathers meeting their responsibilities.Achieving even a moderately good deal for a father is really hard work. You seem to have done that with the children's mother, which is commendable.

My opinion, which is quite valid, is that given rights of residence with their children, then fathers have a strong responsibility to look after them well. You have exposed the details of your circumstances on this public website of your own accord: you are currently a squatter (not just technically, physically) and you consider it okay to not pay rent to the owner of the house because you think he can afford to lose it because he is wealthier than are you (you are just plain wrong in this belief), and you are living on a disability allowance. You hope to have an arrangement order such that your children live with you half the time at some time in the future, and in the meantime you consider that the state should pick up the tab for providing you with a publicly funded house at no expense to you.

Sometimes it is difficult not to be judgmental, but you have come to this site asking for advice on how best to qualify for free housing from the state and in doing so you have exposed your financial and social circumstances. I'm sure you love your children (which is right) but they don't have any legal right to live with you half the time, and my opinion is that the life you are able to provide for them in a squat and living on a disability allowance (of £73.10/week) will not be a very good one.

I wish you well, and I hope that you are able to continue developing a good relationship with your children, but you have asked for comment, and mine is that what you are offering them does not meet your responsibilities as a father well.

O

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Last Edit: by othen. Reason: Grammar.

Housing 3 years 4 months ago #73961

Hi There,
.
I think the above has been getting out of hand, please be respectful of each other, I do agree with some aspect of Othens post, But I do believe that they could have been worded in a way that the above exchanges wouldn't have become heated.
.
From what you have said, I don't believe that CAB are right in what they have said, You wouldn't be eligable for a 2 bedroom property unless the children lived with you full time, as sad as that is, there are lots of resident parents that have children full time or 95% of it that would need that extra room and if they gave you that property, then they may end up living in a 1 bedroom property with children living there all the time, which wouldn't be right.
.
I think if the best you can get is 1 bed, then you need to take it and when the children come to stay you would need either a camp bed in the living room or to sleep on the sofa while they are there, not a great way to live but I think that it would be better then how you are living now which can't be doing you any good living in fear of the land lord.
.
GTTS
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Housing 3 years 4 months ago #73978

You are implying that people who work are better parents than those that don't - a generalised statement that is positively wrong. Whilst I may not be able to afford to pay for the latest gadgets and expensive holidays, I certainly make up for my responsibilities with more time spent with my children, more love and more care. My children will grow up knowing that dad was there for them, not that I didn't have time for them because of work commitments as some fathers do. Money is not the prerequisite of good parenting. Working sets a good example, but again I am not out of work through choice and it doesn't make me a bad parent or a worse one than someone who is working.
I am trying to fight for a position that my children can have a room for themselves to sleep in and to do their own thing. Is that really too much to ask? They are children! If the system is so biased towards mothers and fathers are left in the position that they are having to use camp beds or sleep on the sofa (something I will gladly do) then maybe the system is wrong.
You ARE being judgmental, You are assuming that I wish to claim benefits and housing through choice and that I think it's ok to not pay my landlord. I will say again I would change this situation in an instant if I could.
Your attitude is less than professional - I asked for an opinion about housing. Your opinions on whether or not parents out of work meet their responsibilities are ones that need not be voiced. Of course you have the right to express your opinions, but they are just that, opinions - and they were unasked for and unnecessary. Frankly they are insulting and perhaps you should consider your replies to posts before sending them. If you can't respond to posts with unbiased opinions and direct your attention to the questions that are asked perhaps you should consider taking a break from future comments. That's just my opinion.

To GTTS - thank you for your input. I wouldn't respond with disrespect had it not been given first. I appreciate your response and will attempt courtesy in future if courtesy is given first.

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Housing 3 years 4 months ago #73979

Hi there, I agree with gotthe tshirt. I would go to cab and see what is available to you. I was assaulted quite badly by my now ex husband, so much so that I could not work for over a year to to the injuries-something he still denies. I have two children, and was given a 2 bed house despite them being a girl and a boy, apparently they can share the same bedroom until a certain age. I chose a 3 bed property, housing allowance would only help pay for a 2 bed property. Some private rental is more favourable, but it is worth checking out references etc as to how good a landlord they actually are. Blow up beds are a fab suggestion too, hope all goes well with you're situation.
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Housing 3 years 4 months ago #73982

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Hi Paul

It might be worth speaking with your local MP to see if they can offer you any assistance or referral to any other local agencies, I don't think you will have much luck getting a two bed council property but some local authorities can help you deal with private landlords and you can claim Housing Benefit although you will only receive the LHA for a 1 bed entitlement.

I'm sorry you feel you have been judged here, we definitely are not a judgmental forum and will always do our best to assist our members.

Good luck
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I have several years experience supporting parents in family proceedings as a McKenzie Friend. I am, however, not a lawyer or barrister and my responses are based on my own opinions or experiences of the family court.

Housing 3 years 4 months ago #73991

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With regard to renting privately, some councils offer a bond scheme where they will help with the deposit and fees, it might be a good idea to ask about it.

Best of luck
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Housing 3 years 4 months ago #73996

Hello Paul_1166,

What a truly dreadful time for you.

I think all contributors who reply to a "cry for help" in a critical and judgemental way need to be more dispassionate and would do well to remember, there but for the grace of God go I.

When you have approached the council, has your conversation been with the person behind the desk, the "meet and greet" person. If so, I would suggest you request an appointment with one of the Housing Officers. Tell them your situation, ask about council housing availability, what funding is available for privately rented housing and any funds they may have to help for a deposit or furnishings, (these tend to be one off payments). Avoid making any comment regarding the prosperity of your landlord as this has absolutely no bearing on your present situation. What does need stating to the Housing Officer are the "threats and violence" made by the landlord. Enlist the help of a sympathetic District Councillor, preferably one who is on the Housing Committee.

If you are offered a one bedroom council dwelling, I would take it. It's the first rung on the ladder ("a foot in the door") and I am sure better would be offered at a later date. The children can sleep in the bedroom which you can make very comfortable and you can sleep in the living room. I have read on here a number of times fathers doing that successfully without it causing a problem.

A one bedroom dwelling may not be what you ideally want but your children need you and you them.

You can give your children a good life by giving them the two most precious things of all ..... your time and your love !!!
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Housing 3 years 4 months ago #74000

Update - I had an interview with the council. They tell me that first of all I have to go to a bed and breakfast for accomodation until my application for homelessness and housing are assessed. They say I must pay for the first night out of my own pocket (hopefully my benefits will be paid by then - I haven't a clue what to do if not) and that on the next day I can apply for housing benefit to pay the bed and breakfast thereafter.
What if the request for housing benefit is denied or delayed - am I then actually homeless and on the streets?
They also say that they would only consider paying for me, not for my children. I have struggled so hard to get overnight stays with them 3 nights a week and all for nothing because now I can't have them overnight while I'm in the B&B! I can't possibly explain how I feel - all this stress and being without them is enough to drive someone to the edge.
The CAB said that the council have an obligation to rehouse me, that they have 28 days to reply (I have until the 20th until I have to vacate this property). The council say they have no obligation and that 28 days is just a guideline - it could take longer!
On a legal note, the CAB said that if the council do not offer a two bedroom place I can appeal on the basis of the Localism Act. I didn't get more information as I needed to attend the interview with the council.

First of all thank you for the replies - I will try to follow up as many leads as possible.

I have several questions...
1) Does anyone know if it is usual for B&B's to accept housing benefit? Also would I have to leave the B&B in the daytime? I have little experience of them. Is it literally just bed and breakfast or more and would housing benefit pay for more if there is extra cost?
2) Does anyone have more specific information about which sections of the localism act are relevant to my situation? I need to be as prepared as possible and the more I know the better.
3) With regards to my belongings, I was told by CAB that the council had an obligation to store my things. The council refute this and have offered a garage where I can store them at £7.30 per week, something I don't have until my benefits are sorted. Does anyone know more with regard to the law in this respect?

I feel like I'm making one step forward and two steps back with every day that passes. Every victory or bit of good news is countered by different opinions and bad news. I just want this to be over, I just want a home for my children and I. Each day is a struggle that I don't know that I can meet. I can't find the strength to deal with the myriad of problems, the loneliness, the uncertainty of my future. I find moments in each day where I manage to focus and get things done but most of the time I have to distract myself from everything lest it bury me. This is so hard.

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Housing 3 years 4 months ago #74003

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I'm sorry I don't know anything about the Localism Act.

I think it's safe to say that different councils have different ways of dealing with housing issues. Have you contacted Shelter, they have a helpline and local offices and may be able to offer legal advice. They are more likely to be able to answer your questions.

england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/homele...gency_housing_advice

Best of luck

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

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