My boyfriend's mother has been given notice to move out of her house, she has contacted the council for help but she doesn't qualify as priority need and she's low down the points on the housing register. She's also contacted the local housing associations but the same applies there. She hasn't got enough money to pay for a deposit with a private landlord and she has to leave her home in the next two weeks. Her general health is poor and she's got a history of depression so she's on income support. We're really running out of options, what should we do.
She hasn't got enough money to pay for a deposit with a private landlord and she has to leave her home in the next two weeks. Her general health is poor and she's got a history of depression so she's on income support. We're really running out of options, what should we do.
It's understandable you're all upset by this distressing situation but there are a number of options open to your boyfriend's mum.
If she's currently in rented accommodation you can check whether there is a way to prevent eviction altogether. For most types of tenancy her landlord would need a court order to evict her and in some cases these court orders can be defended. You can read about eviction of private tenants on the Shelter website. The section about going to court has a lot of information that is also relevant to council and housing association tenants. Even if it's not possible to prevent eviction, it may be possible to delay it while other options are explored.
If there is no way to prevent the eviction and your boyfriend's mum is going to be homeless she can make a homeless application to the council. From what you say, is sounds like she's already done this and the council may have said she is not priority need. This means the council doesn't have a duty to provide her with any accommodation.
It's worth checking whether the council carried out its enquiries properly. The council must give its decision in writing, explaining the reasons why she is not in a priority need category, she then has 21 days to seek a review of this decision. Did she give the council information about her health problems before they came to a decision? If not, it could be useful to get letters of support from her doctor showing why she would be particularly vulnerable if she were homeless. If you feel she has grounds to challenge the council's decision then get advice from a housing aid centre or Citizens Advice Bureau.
To help your boyfriend's mum get into privately rented accommodation you can try to find out if there's a bond guarantee scheme in her area, these organisations may be able to guarantee a deposit instead of someone having to pay the deposit themselves. You can look at Crisis SmartMove for bond schemes in your area. As they don't list all the schemes you can also ask your local council or advice centre for other schemes in your area. As your boyfriend's mum is on income support she may be able to apply for a budgeting loan to pay rent in advance on a private rented property.
It's possible she may need to look for a hostel she can stay in. Hostels include emergency hostel accommodation such as night shelters or short stay hostels. These will usually admit people when they have a vacancy, but there is often a shortage of vacancies. There may also be long stay hostels or supported housing available which may have shorter waiting lists. To find a hostel in your area you can contact a local advice agency or call Shelterline on 0808 800 4444.
This advice has been written on the understanding that your boyfriend's mum is currently renting her home. However, if she is an owner-occupier she may have other options and should seek further advice from one of the agencies mentioned above.
Question answered by Shelter