HOUSING Allocations and Notices
25/07/2012 12:37 pm
I have recently come across an issue and would like to see whether any of you are experiencing the same problems in regards to accesing Council Housing.
1. Housing Needs Officers are stating that Notice of Seeking Possesion on any ground is not enough for clients to be seen as Potentionaly Homeless. They ask clients to remain in the properties until Court Order and Bailiffs starts knocking on their door.
To me this seems unlawful as clients will incur further charges through the courts and we are looking at the most vulnerable people picking up this costs.
Do you think that what the Housing is advicing is within the law and if not how would you challenge that?
2. Within the Housing allocations as we know there is the Local Connection. Is there a way of using discreation about the use of it?
For example: I have a client who does have 2 children ages 1yo and 3 weeks old. The second child is unwell and tests are currently on the way to determine whether the child will ever be able to walk etc. Client suffered DV and also received a notice of seeking possesion as Landlord is moving back in.
Took the client above to Housing and was told that her Notice was not enough to look at Homelesness. But on the other hand the DV will put her in priority need. The HO then stated that as the client broke her local connection and has been living in the Borough for 2 years she will not be banded higher then band 4.
My argument was that:
1. Seeking Posession Order was one of the Mandatory so no point of waiting for the Courts as we know what the outcome would be;
2. Local Connection- client lived in the Borough most of her life and had lived elsewhere for 4 years before returning to the Borough. She does have close relative in the area who is her main support in regards to the children. Therefore if she is ti be moved out of Borough she will be in hardship.
Do you think that I am missing something and Do you think we have any chance?
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25/07/2012 4:18 pm
I am not able to assist with the first point although it does appear that waiting until at least an evistion date is given tends to be the advice of many Councils.
On the second point I would suggest obtaining a copy of the Council's local connection criteria as in my experience this can chage from Council to Council. Many Councils will accept living within an area close to a member of family to either give or receive support (for a defined need) as a local connection.
Best of luck
25/07/2012 6:37 pm
1 - yes they are right, no its not unlawful, no you cant contest it.
2 - yes they are right, she chose to move out of borough therefore will be lower priority, why cant she stay with family as you say she has one in borough, oh no, its easier to let the council and taxpayer foot the bill, bloody family ethics gone again. sad days.
bottom line, yeah she'll probably get housed in a 2 bed, she can wait in line like everyone else.
26/07/2012 8:30 am
Hello Anonymos -second post anonymos,
1st points thank you and you are wrong.
I have now had confirmation that there are different notices and if the notice falls within certain grounds it will be in the Mandatory section therefore Council is making a mistake.
Secondly you can not just judge people which you dont know and this forum certantly is not about doing so. I have worked for many years in the field and can tell you that Not ONE OF my clients has WANTED to be ABUSED by their husband or partner and NOT ONE of them has ever WANTED to receive the news THAT THEIR CHILD will HAVE Celebral Palsy.
So there was no need to talk about Family ethics at all.
26/07/2012 12:47 pm
Was wondering if this is any help as it is an incredibly easy to read document:
its guidance only, unlike the housing acts but could be very useful. it states in regards to eviction that:
In anycase where a housing authority decides that it would be reasonable for an applicant to
continue to occupy their accommodation after a valid notice has expired – and
therefore decides that he or she is not yet homeless or threatened with homelessness –
that decision will need to be based on sound reasons which should be made clear to
the applicant in writing (see Chapter 6 for guidance on housing authorities’ duties to
inform applicants of their decisions). The Secretary of State considers that where a
person applies for accommodation or assistance in obtaining accommodation,
(a) the person is an assured shorthold tenant who has received proper notice in
accordance with s.21 of the Housing Act 1988;
(b) the housing authority is satisfied that the landlord intends to seek possession;
(c) there would be no defence to an application for a possession order;
then it is unlikely to be reasonable for the applicant to continue to occupy the
accommodation beyond the date given in the s.21 notice, unless the housing
authority is taking steps to persuade the landlord to withdraw the notice or allow
the tenant to continue to occupy the accommodation for a reasonable period to
provide an opportunity for alternative accommodation to be found.
In regards to DV I’m not sure I understand the question. I understand it to be the case that you can present anywhere if you are fleeing threats of violence so would have thought the person can present to any other borough but is it the case that they are “fleeing” violence as well as being evicted? By that I mean, if they weren’t being evicted would they have still left the property as any threats were made close to the property?
26/07/2012 9:38 pm
1 - no, you are wrong. you stated that an NSP on any grounds is not sufficient. it isnt. a court order for posession would be, but is totally different - see? i wont hold my breath.
2 - get a grip, and off your high horse while youre at it. I was talking about the family member who lives in the borough who could, if they had any form of family ethics, allow their "in need" family member to stay at theirs.
seeing as you have worked in the field (literally??) for many years i would have thought your knowledge of such things would be sufficient. clearly not - perhaps time to reevaluate your career?
13/08/2012 6:30 pm
Question 1 the advise is perfectly correct because until a person is evicted they have a legal right to remain in property so they are not homeless although they would be regarded as threatened if likely to be made homeless in the next 28 days.
Question 2 Once the landlord regains possession, the client is likely to be unintentionally homeless and in priority need. If the person has lived in the area for 6 out of the last 12 months or 3 years out of the last 5 years then the person will have a local connection with the area. If the client is likely to suffer DV in that area she can apply to another area and she will have local connection with that area due to DV. Once a full housing duty is accepted the local authority is under a duty to secure that suitable accommodation is available for the applicant until such time as a permanent property can be allocated. That essentially is how the scheme works.
14/08/2012 1:31 pm
Taking your points in order, it is not usual for local authorities to take the view that the threat of homelessness is more likely if you are in receipt of a notice confirming the date of the eviction from the Court, however there is often gap of several weeks between the date of the Hearing for Possession and the date of the actual eviction. I take your point about the mandatory grounds, but the landlord still has to prove to the Court that he has at some time used the property as his main home or that the house is needed for use as his or his spouse's main home.
On the local connection point, if an applicant is unintentionally homeless, or threatened with homelessness, and in priority need, the local authority will consider whether they have a local connection, defined as;having residence in the area for six out of the last 12 months or three out of the last five years, immediate family members resident in the area for the last five years or employment in the area – full or part time.On the face of it your client may have a case to argue as she may be able to argue a local connection on residence, and also a family connection in the area.
15/08/2012 4:07 pm
In this case it might appear that commonsense and humanity would mean once you have notification of eviction you should be able to get help with accommodation rather than wait till you and your possession are on the street but you are not homeless until you are homeless.
As to the links with the locality well moving away breaks the link but moving back and having family in the area establishes a link so is the link strong enough to give you a higher priority? Depends what the rules say and how they are being interpreted. We don't so much live by the rules as in the scope for maneuver within the rules so the best advice is present your circumstances accordingly.