Given 2 hours to decide on a transfer
19/10/2010 0:26 am
Hi can anyone give me any advice on my situation. I have been waiting for a transfer for over 6 years. I live in a TINY box of a classed as a 1 bed flat with my six year old daughter. We finally ended up being 1st for a flat i bid on. The flat was advertised last Tuesday and the viewing was 4 days later on the Friday. We went along but couldn't view the flat as the guy from Peabody had the wrong key. We finally got to view the flat today (Monday) and were then told no 1 and 2 on the list didn't want it so it was ours if we did. The flat is on the other side of London - in Archway - we live in Battersea. We are desperate for more space but obviously this is a massive move for us in terms of any family support or social networks ( I am a single mum). Peabody gave me two hours to decide whether I want the property otherwise they would give it to someone else.
Obviously, asides from getting to terms with the fact that we will have to start a whole new life with regards to any support or friends, I have to find a new school for my daughter. I went to see the local school who told me they are hugely over subscribed and that anyway I would have to go through the council. In the 2 hours that they gave me to get home and try and make some calls to the council etc I could not get to speak to anyone to give me any advice on finding a school for my daughter.
I spoke to Peabody at 3pm - my 2 hour deadline for accepting/declining the flat - I explained my situation and begged for another 24 hours to decide a massive life changing decision for me and my daughter. They refused and said that I would be wasting their time. Eventually they agreed to give me until 5pm that day - a further 2 hours.
My question is - is it right for them to give me 2 hours - then 4 after much begging - to give them an answer as to whether I can move to the other side of London and find my daughter a school. These are huge huge decisions with many possible consequences and although I am desperate to move for some much needed extra space - can they tell me that I will lose my right to the flat if I don't reply in such a short time.
Any advice would be really appreciated. I am desperate to know where I stand.
Very many thanks if you have managed to read all of this...
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19/10/2010 8:28 am
You had more than 4 hours to decide in reality. When you bid on the flat you should have been considering if you would move to the area if the flat was ok. I know many people who have had to decide if the want a council flat on the day that they have viewed it. They are then normally told to sign a tenancy agreement there and then to start the following Monday.
With so many people chasing these flats they have no shortgage of takers and it is in their interest to have the flat vacant for the shortest period of time possible.
You asked 'can they tell me that I will lose my right to the flat if I don't reply in such a short time.' the short answer is 'yes they can'.
19/10/2010 10:24 am
Firstly, you do not have a "right" to the flat. you were placed 3rd on the shortlist of bidders for the property, as you were told 1st and 2nd turned it down, it then falls to you to decide if you want it or not, it would then pass to those below you on the shortlist if you say no. So, a short amount of time to decide is normal.
secondly, why were you bidding on a property without giving consideration to other factors, such as the location, fact you would have to move, change schools etc??
As anon above says: short answer is, yes they can expect you to decide and if you do not offer it to the next person on the list.
It may seem harsh but at the end of the day there are more people looking for these properties than those available, it would be irresponsible (and bad business) of the HA to allow everyone to procrastinate.
19/10/2010 10:45 am
I think social landlords are huge failures here in treating transfers the way they do - and I am not talking about housing officers turning up without a key, to property viewings with a bunch of residents - with probably a hell of a lot of other problems in their lives, waiting.
What happens here is that just to get a property some bidders will say yes to anything they are offered to make sure they get it. Only after to find out it is not the right place for them. This creates residents that will be unsatsifed with their situation for as long as they will reside there, which often might be for their lifetime... What social landlords do in this way is they create a customer base of very unsatisfgied residents at the very start of the tenancy. This will not improve the lives of these residents - probably ruin them - and will cost social landlords a hell of a lot more in terms of unstasifactio and complaints and even court cases and antisocial behaviourt etc, than if they had a more sesnible approach to make sure they customers were happy at the very start of theri tenancies.
19/10/2010 11:25 am
Kass: the landlords do not tell you where to bid for properties nor force people to accept them, if you do not like the area do not bid for it in the first place or say no thanks! there is this amazing thing called the internet on which sites such as upmystreet can give you an abundance of information about an area, or you can accept that as grown ups we take a degree of responsibility for ourselves and stop laying the blame for all your woes at landlords' feet.
i agree about turning up without the damned key though! the problem of sending the admin assistant out to conduct viewings!
19/10/2010 11:45 am
Ckare - choice based lettings were introduced to give tenants some sort of choice where they lived. Previously you received an offer through the post which could be anywhere and any type of property. You were then given a very short space of time to decide if you wanted the property. That led to tenants feeling they had to accept whatever they were offered as Kass suggested. However CBL changed that, it gives tenants the chance to research the area and decide if they want to live there before bidding on a property. You even usually get a photo so you can see the outside of the property and get info on the type of property it is and even whether it has central heating, double bedrooms etc. If it's not in an area or the type of property you want you don't bid on it, it's as simple as that.
This is the harsh reality of life, you made a choice to bid on the property, that bid should have only been made if you actually wanted to live in the property. It sounds to me like you were just bidding wildly without any thought to what you were bidding on. Two hours is a reasonable amount of time for you to digest the property once you have actually viewed it, you had all the other information beforehand. If you have chosen not to accept the property please bid more carefully in future.
19/10/2010 11:52 am
Surely, it is in the interest of social landlords to assist a resident is confident she gets a place she will want to stay in. Even taking your points that is the fault of theresident if she does this or she does that - it is in the interest of ther social landlord she get a place she is happy with.
After what is the point of achieving a result by transferring her and the next thing that happens as soon as she has moved in is to fill in a new transfer request?
Like this you are not going to help with the transfer system are you?
19/10/2010 12:23 pm
How are they supposed to do that Kass? The CBL system gives tenants the choice of what to bid on. The landlord can't be responsible for everything, the tenant has to take some responsibility, such as bidding only on properties they will be happy to live in. The CBL system is the method the landlords use of assisting tenants to find a property they are happy with. What else can they do? If they gave every tenant 24 hours or more to make a decision when they have already bid on a property then that is a days rent lost. If 6 or 7 people need 24 hours to make a decision on a property they chose to bid on in the first place then that's a weeks lost rent. Landlords simply can't afford to lose rent giving someone time to make a decision they should have made before bidding. After all we are talking about adults here, adults that make their own choices and chose what to bid on.
19/10/2010 12:47 pm
so you are saying the landlords have put the CBL system on place and that's it, their responsibility ends there?
I do not think so. whatever the system used, bidding or otherwise, social landlords are responsible for giving the right property to the right tenants who should be happy with accepting it in a satisfactory manner.
How they are supposed to do that - ?
if I were paid a salary close to half a million a year as some HAs ceos, I would have the resources to know how to do that 100%.
And if I could not, I would resign.
19/10/2010 1:34 pm
Again I ask why Kass? If you are renting privately or buying your own home you are responsible for deciding whether the property is suitable for you as only you will know that. The estate agent doesn't decide what's suitable. Why should landlords be any different? It is only the tenant who knows whether a property suits their needs, whether it is in the right location for them for accessing schools, friends and relatives. A landlord shouldn't and doesn't have that responsibility (unless their are medical needs etc). Yes they have responsibilities once that tenant is housed but the tenant is an adult and able to make the decision on the suitability of the property for themselves just as they would if they were housing themselves in any other way.
Being a tenant doesn't abdicate responsibility for decision making to the landlord. Tenants have minds of their own and should be using them to make those decisions that only they can. Of course those vulnerable tenants who are less able to make decisions have additional support but tenants like you and me are quite capable of making up their own mind on where they want to live and bid accordingly.
19/10/2010 2:02 pm
"...They cannot hang around waiting for a possible tenant to see if they like the look of the local coffe shop."
That's a clear anti-social resident attitude you have to talk like this.
A school for your child and closeness to support of one kind or another are part of basic necessities.
The landlords do not have to hang around, but they do for the wrong reasons. I haved seen properties left uninhabited for very long time for no apparent or logical reason... Yet again maximsing occupancy surely cannot be reached by having tenants transferredf soon filling up another transfer application. You are talking like a private landlord, but what does a social landlord gains by doing that ? It will have more and more residents on its transfer list showing 1) it's not giving residents properties they can be happy with; 2) increasing transfer applaications, which means more resoruces needed in staff, etc,to try to cope with them?
You lose on all sides.
19/10/2010 2:05 pm
Again, you seem to miss the point. Before you bid you should assess whether the house is suitable and whether it is a workable place to live - it is the tenant, or potential tenants, responsibility to do this - if I am trying to live in a place (which is what I am effectively doing by bidding), I should be happy that it meets my requirements around schooling, support networks etc...
19/10/2010 2:18 pm
bidding is competitive. This lady has been desperately waiting for 6 years in the cramped conditions she decribed... Residents are put at desperation points. It is not like her saying, ok, I'll forget bidding for this property because I am sure I can get another one next week...
1) Your residents should not have to wait decades for a transfer;
2) they should not reach desperation point where they will bid for antyhing that looks on paper slightly better than where they are, only to find it is not for them.
If you do not admit your organisation is failing yoru customers in a big way, how can residents hope anything from transfers?
19/10/2010 2:26 pm
Kass... Again - you don't get it - it is the tenants choice to bid - the debate here isn't about the lack of housing available, it is about the fact she said that she would like to live somewhere (the bid) and then had a choice as to whether she wanted that property when she was offered it... The tenant/prospective tenant should research where would be ok to live, what space they need/are eligible for and when they have that information available then choose to enter into the bidding process... In what way is it the landlords fault?
19/10/2010 2:36 pm
I disagree. it is about lack of housing avialable. If this property was in the area or close to the area the lady lives and knows well she would have needed only 10' to say yes... If she has been for 6 years bidding and doing all the reserach of areas, schools, etc. for each bid you suggest she should have done, I am amazed she has had time to raise a daughter at all or for her to be still mentally sane.
You would be right if we were talking about residents on trasfer list for let's say the maximum of a year. But most of the high bidders have all been for decades - how can you go on for decades doing reseraches for each area you bid for?
First bring down the transfer list waiting time to a decent level, and then I will agree with what you say.
19/10/2010 2:48 pm
Exactly Anon. Kass you can hardly blame the landlord for not having a plentiful supply of housing so everyone can live in the exact property they would wish to live in. Blame successive Governments but live in the real world. Housing is what it is, there is a limited supply and we all have to compromise if we are lucky enough to be one of the few that has a social housing property. In an ideal world I'd love to live in a house but I have to compromise on a ground floor flat with a garden and frankly I consider myself lucky to have that.
It's up to the tenant to decide which compromises they are willing to make and bid accordingly. Just like if Clare were buying a property she would need to make some sort of compromise unless she had an unlimited budget as the vast majority of people don't ever find exactly what they want, the property shows on TV show this every day. If Clare doesn't want to live in the area she doesn't bid, but waits for something else. Yes in an ideal world she would have lots of choice but we're not in an ideal world and social housing is limited. Again I can't stress enough that the lack of supply isn't the fault of the landlord but of Government and it's only going to get worse with the CSR budget cuts.
Clare please don't think we are being harsh with you, we are just being honest and answering your question as best we can. I know full well the stress of living in a cramped property trying to get out into a bigger one to provide a reasonable place to bring your child up. It's understandable if you came to the end of your tether and bid in desperation. If you haven't accepted the property there are a couple of things you can do if you aren't already to try and get somewhere bigger as quickly as possible.
If you haven't already, contact your landlord and ask what areas are the lowest in terms of demand. This will mean you will be more likely to come top of the bidding. When you have these areas look them up, go visit them even. Decide which areas you could possibly live in and which you simply can't bearing in mind schools, support network etc. Then concentrate your bidding on those areas. Hopefully that will assist you in getting somewhere in a reasonable amount of time. You could also try home swapper if you haven't already. It's a site for exchanging social housing. You never know you might find something via that route.
19/10/2010 2:55 pm
I do not blame the landlords for lack of properties - although as I said some of them have unhibated properties for some long time -
But because their customers have beend condemned to wait for decades for a transfer, to assist them more when such a transfer finally is possible, so they end up getting a property they would like to live in and not apply for another transfer as soon as they have put their first foot in.
19/10/2010 3:15 pm
Alternatively if their life's so miserable where they are they could perhaps try doing what millions of people around the UK do and try and find their own home privately.
Whilst it might sound harsh somebody's housing predicament is not always somebody else's fault/responsibility.