Left in the lurch
About a year ago I moved in to my boyfriend's house that he's been privately renting for about three years. The relationship has come to an end and now we're not together he's decided to move out and has given his notice to the landlord. I have a child from a previous relationship and desperately want to find a new home for us as soon as possible but I'm struggling to get the deposit together for a new house and I'm running out of time. Is there anything I can do? Do I have any rights to housing?
I have a child from a previous relationship and desperately want to find a new home for us as soon as possible but I'm struggling to get the deposit together for a new house and I'm running out of time. Is there anything I can do? Do I have any rights to housing?
It can be a really stressful time when a relationship ends, especially if it means sorting out your housing.
As the tenancy on the house you've been living in was in your partner's name you do not have a right to stay in the home unless the landlord says you can. The landlord is likely to ask you to leave and, if you don't leave, s/he can take possession action against you.
One option open to you is to make a homeless application to the council. You don't literally have to be on the streets to be considered legally homeless. As you have no legal rights to remain in your boyfriend's house, you should be considered homeless. The council would also consider you to have a priority need as you have children. If the council accepts you are homeless and in priority need then it has to find housing for you at least temporarily. This temporary accommodation may be in a B+B or hostel.
The council then looks at whether or not you did something that led to your homelessness. This is called intentional homelessness. If you are NOT found intentionally homeless then the council has to continue to provide temporary accommodation until it can provide somewhere suitable to live permanently (i.e. a council or housing association home).
If you ARE found intentionally homeless then you have 21 days to challenge that decision so it would be a good idea to get advice from a local advice agency.
It can be worth making a homeless application even if you are not in a priority need group. Although the council wouldn't have to provide you with emergency housing, you may move up the waiting list, or get more points, because you are homeless.
To make a homeless application phone the council's main switchboard number and ask where you should go to do this.
You could also apply to go on the housing register (or waiting list). On the register you may have to wait some time to be housed. The housing register may be run by the council or a housing association. You can find out where to apply from the council or a local advice agency. Some housing associations let you apply individually and have their own application form. For details of housing associations in your area see the Tenant Services Authority's website.
Alternatively, if you are interested in buying a house you could look into Shared Ownership. This is where you part buy and part rent your house from a housing association.
Alternatively, you could try to find a privately rented house. The rent in the private sector will be more expensive than housing association or council rent. Landlords usually require money up front for a deposit and a month's rent in advance. If you are on a low income you may be eligible for housing benefit. You can find privately rented homes through newspaper adverts, shop windows, asking friends and accommodation agencies.
Question answered by Shelter