Can the councilforce me to take a 2 bedroom flat if it means one of my two teenage children will end up sleeping in the living r
13/09/2010 3:14 pm
I am living in temporary accomodation with my two sons aged 13 and 16 (in 3 weeks). They are both taking GCSE's and hate sharing a room. I was offered a two bedroom flat and managed to get that offer withdrawn(because wecouldn't take our dog) but have just found out they have been bidding on my behalf on other two bedroom flats and I am getting close to the top of the list but I am concerned as none of these two bedroom flats have 2 double bedrooms. This means that one of my children will end up having to live in the living room? Surely this would be defined as overcrowding? My other worry is that these flats have been in other areas and I have read that the council should consider rehousing us closer to the school if my children are taking GCSE's.
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13/09/2010 4:32 pm
No, they can not force you to do anything, we live in a free country. You are therefore free to turn down the offer of accomodation and go and sort out your own arrangements in the private sector.
Unfortunately, because of the selling off of the stock and the failure to replace it, you are left with what remains, take it or leave it, based on your need for bedspaces not bedrooms. The vision of choice painted in the tabloids, of people getting wonderful treatment and housing of choice, does not exist.
Sorry to be so blunt, but its better than feeding you false expectation. If you have an offer of social housing the best advice is accept it then argue for rehousing. At least while you wait you will be in an affordable secure home.
13/09/2010 4:48 pm
Melissa please also consider if you have no choice but accept what is given. Ensure a letter on file signed by all. Your accepted - but you do not want to be told down line the that you accepted and you know you be in a overcrowed situation.
If you have to take what you are offered then asap put yourself on the Mutual Exchange list and transfer list and keep bidding for other property's. (depends what system you have in place and where you live) again talk all you option's out with the Officer assigned to your case.
I also suggest that you get advise from Shelter which is a free phone number but you may have to wait a long time for a answer.
13/09/2010 4:51 pm
p.s. do what I done for a few years change the living into one large bedroom and make the bedroom a small lounge/studio room - this both children have space and room to move - I hope.
13/09/2010 7:02 pm
The problem is that she WON'T be overcrowded. In a 2 bedroom flat, she will have enough bedspaces for the three of them. As the children are the same sex and relatively similar ages, they will be expected, for allocation purposes, to share a bedroom.
If she turns down a reasonable offer - ie: four walls, a roof and two bedrooms, then she may well find that the local authority discharge duty and serve her with notice to quit the temporary accommodation that she's in. She will then have to maker her own arrangements, as per PSR's post.
Unfortunately, as PSR said, there's not a lot of housing stock left. Yes, we'd all like a nice 3 bed semi with a large garden, but they got snapped up years ago under RTB.
13/09/2010 7:45 pm
Cherly yet your right. I presume that the Housing Officer had told you only get one offer.
Yes the will discharge if believe it was/is a reasonable offer.
I just didn't want to go on and on.
Unless she got a very good legal point they will discharge and put her on discharge notice.
That why I send her to Shelter so if the Housing Officer is not fully informing her. Yes get good advise for them.
On go along to the library and check out a book under the Housing Law
14/09/2010 8:39 am
You may want to ask the council about their room allocation policy as sometimes when a child turns 16 they will qualify for a seperate room allocation.
14/09/2010 8:56 am
Very difficult to enforce this policy and took me two years to get this part of the policy enforced and then they the Management with the power of the Board changed to 18 years old behind the Resident's back changed the age from 16 to 18 years and changed the Tenancy Agreement with this clause and if the Housing Association done this like income recovery rung and chase people to sign the new agreement without highlighting the changes. I wish they deal with issues and repair's at this speed. I took it up with the then Housing Coporation and the Housing Ombudsman "but words coming back saying can only give what got" suggesting Mutual Exchange or join the transfer list or bidding list in your area. Its very difficult getting Government office to enforce the law the policy and procedures. Our's is good at breaching code and maladministration. We ask the Board and Board Members to look into these matters and still awaiting a answer over a year later and can we get in to see them NO NO NO
14/09/2010 9:07 am
Junior, please be aware that we are discussing the situation for Melissa not yourself. Her Local councils policy may actually grant an extra room for her (soon to be) 16 year old.
14/09/2010 9:11 am
Junior / Eva Silva
Kindly proof read your posts prior to actually posting them. Those in the field will find them difficult to comprehend, let alone those who are here seeking help!
Melissa: the Local Authority cannot "force" you to accept a property, however as has already been pointed out in other posts above, they CAN discharge their duty to you if the property offered is deemed reasonable - this is the tricky part as what you deem reasonable and what will tick this box as per their allocations policy are often very different.
In a nutshell, a 2 bedroom property with seperate living room, kitchen and bathroom, be it 1 double or 2, will be deemed suitable for your bedspace need. you could always use the smaller bedroom and allow your sons to share the larger. additionally the living room is deemed habitable space, therefore you could use this as a 3rd bed if your sons would prefer.
No it would nt be deemed as overcrowding - see above
No, they do not have to consider proximity to school, this would be a bonus but they have no obligation to do this.
On a seperate note, if you refuse offers based purely on "couldnt take my dog" you will find it very difficult to appeal a notice to quit based on discharge of duty.
what matters more, a roof over your head or the family pet....
Sorry to be blunt also but there is no point sugar coating anything just to raise false hopes.
14/09/2010 9:12 am
Melvin do not give me a lecture. I put what I wish to put down. So that they are aware of the pit falls. Is also about other's people experience of system in place.
14/09/2010 9:25 am
anoy. at 09:11 if they have a Housing Officer worth they salt - they wouldn't be on this website asking these question's. Please all that have to put up themselves has Anonymously just to answer a question seems to me very strange to me. I could understand if about your organsation and fear that your be unable to take part in your organsation meeting's.
I sorry I cannot write like you or proof read like you.
14/09/2010 10:30 am
What you got no learning diabilities - what you no one whom has.
At least I am trying
Come on Anony 09:39 a.m. come out from behind the screen
14/09/2010 11:12 am
Out from behind the screen like you then "junior"?
FYI the Anon @ 9:11 is not the same as the one @ 9:38.
15/09/2010 12:15 pm
Thank you all for your input so far. I have been investigating the guidelines and law myself for sometime including contacting Shelter, Community Legal Advice and the local housing advice centre. The result is I have found irregularities in the local councils allocation policy and when I contact them they very abrubtly point out the same as you all have. Regarding my dog, I should point out that just over 3 years ago my eldest son and I suffered at the hands of violent man which left me with panic attacks and insomnia. Having my dog sleep with me is the only way I can rest at night even now and I even had a supporting letter from doctor for the council to consider when offering us a property. When they offered us the flat I rang the office and was told that up to two dogs were accepted in council properties but when I viewed the flat the block manager said this particular block did not allow pets. With help from the local housing advice centre we appealed and I received an apology and the offer was withdrawn. There were other issues regarding the property but the dog alone was enough.
Going back to this issue of bedrooms, I was assured by the loca lcounci lin a previous phone call that when my son turned 16 he would be entitled to his own room (and LHA will pay for an extra room). They have now gone back on their word. This is further complicated by the fact that they are now part of a County wide choice based system but keep their own allocation policy. In this they do not define when a child is considered an adult or at what age same sex syblings can share until. While in the adjacent council their policy states anyone over 16 is entitled to their own room and that only a second reception room can be used as a bedroom so there my son would get his own room and therefore a three bedroom house. I would argue that since my local council's policy does not define these points it is not valid?
My points about the dog and GCSE's I found in the Governments guidelines for homelessness and have not been argued so far. Another one I am currently looking at is the 'bid by proxy' and in these guidlines it specifies that these must not made to the detriment of the household. So this will be my next argument should I get an offer away from the boys school.
Lastly I would add that I do not have a housing officer (is there such a thing?). I have to call the housing department to find out what's happening and get passed around. They didn't even tell me about the 2 bids, I had ask them! I sometimes think they are difficult because I had the cheek to argue and complain and now they even know who I am! I did read in one of the government documents that I have a right to see my file... I wonder what comments they have put on it?
15/09/2010 12:39 pm
Good luck Melissa, it may not help but you are not alone in your plight, and sadly as housing supply to need reduces your situation is likely to become commonplace (despite whatever the Daily Mail may propagandarise).
You can ask to see the details held on you under the data protection act - have a look on the Information Commissioners Website, or ask the authority's data protection officer for guidance.
Lastword - if nothing else your experience shows the danger of telephone calls. Always confirm what you have understood from the conversation in writing with the authority. This way you have a written record, and they have a prompt to correct your understanding if it is viewed as wrong (and if they fail to do so then by implication it is right!)