Crisis? What Crisis? #LHA

Thought I should write about today.. Today we had our application for a Social Fund Crisis Loan turned down. It seems that as we are not “at serious risk” we do not qualify. Even if we had, they would have disallowed the rent deposit and referencing costs anyway, only paying removal expenses and one month’s rent in advance…

If you want to rent a house through a Letting agent, they always ask for referencing costs and 1.5 months rent to be held by a third party incase of damage to the property.  When you vacate, should there be damage they will take the repair costs from your deposit, returning the difference.

Letting Agents are reluctant to rent properties to Local Housing Allowance (formally known as Housing Benefit) recipients.  They blame the landlords and insurance companies for this. Although Letting Agents are prevented by law to discriminate against disibility, race, gender etc, there is no such law in place to protect other LHA claimants.  Nor does the current legislation go far enough, the onus is on the claimant to prove the discrimination is down to their personal status. This is very difficult to prove and the Agent can merely blame the landlord/insurance company anyway…

Another problem that was highlighted by the Agents I spoke to is that LHA is now paid to the tenant, not the landlord/agent – except in certain circumstances.  This has put a great deal of landlords off from renting to LHA tenants, the result of this change in policy having serious affects on the rental market.

So the problem is.. I have a large deposit tied up on my current house. I have no money, having been made redundant in November. We have overstayed our tenancy and our landlord has applied to the court for an eviciton order. Our local housing association have no vacant properties within 15 miles of my childrens schools. It is GCSE year for my eldest so moving out of the area is out of the question.  In three weeks time I will be physically incapable of moving house myself, following my foot operation.

I am not looking for sympathy nor help by writing this blog, I am writing it as a record of the problems faced by people in my situation.  It was suggested to me that I take this up with my MP. That is out of the question so I will ask another about a possible change to the law, preventing Letting Agents from discriminating against LHA recipients in this way.  Perhaps the Government could offer it’s own insurance for LHA claimants?  Also, I suggest an urgent return to LHA being paid directly to the agent/landlord, this policy (introduced in 2008) is NOT working and although the idea behind it was to give tenants more financial responsibility, it has served to create chaos within the housing market.

I’ll keep you posted.. in the meantime I am praying for a HA property to become available in our area.

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4 Comments

  1. […] since the LHA has been paid to the claimant not directly to the Landlord or Letting Agent.  I have personal experience of this, having “lost” several houses now due to being in receipt of LHA whilst awaiting for […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ivan and Elaine G-H. Elaine G-H said: RT @humphreycushion: Crisis? What Crisis? #LHA: http://t.co/659YcDx […]

  3. have you talked with your local council? has they have what’s called discretionary housing payments, although they are usually for help with rent or council tax they can be used to prevent people becoming homeless. They can use it to help you pay for a deposit for your new property. if not they may have other funds, or scheme to help – as if you become actually homeless, or threathen with homeless within 28 days and in priority need, ie you have kids, you have a disability, then they would have a statuary duty to offer you interim accommodation, investigate and even rehouse you. So helps them with their stats and further expense to stop you from becoming homeless.

    best wishes

    Shullie

    I


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