I am a carer for my brother who has learning difficulties autism and some mental health problems. I have been looking after him since my mother died over 10 years ago. We found a lovely detached property in the countryside which is good for his sensory needs. All has been well until our landlord notified us that he wishes to sell this property. We have been really good tenants( 10years) and he hasn’t had a peep out of us, we’ve always paid our rent on time. I get carers allowance obviously and some other benefits and my brother is on lifetime benefits, we get housing benefit. Here lies the problem, I am finding it almost impossible to find any private landlords whether through a letting agent or not that will except housing benefit. It’s so demoralising. We both are extremely stressed regarding our situation. Our tenancy runs out in November but our landlord is ramping up the pressure by asking us if we could possibly leave by the end of June so he could sell his house in the summer and get the most amount of money for it. Not once has he said he is sorry about the situation. If anybody knows of a suitable property that a family member has to rent or even they have and they would like to meet us I’ll be so grateful. Obviously we are on the housing list, but the housing that maybe offered wouldn’t be suitable for my brothers needs, ie they don’t have any detached properties. I am really struggling to keep it all together.
Annie, thanks for your posting. That sounds incredibly stressful.
What district council area are you currently in?
We would be happy to post on the Facebook for LDOX and other forums to see if there are any private landlords out there who would be willing to consider your situation. We would of course post so that you are only identified by your forum name.
In the meantime, you may find the advice from Shelter helpful on private renting and what to do if you have to seek alternatives. The site mentions landlords willing to take on tenants on housing benefits.
Have you spoken with social care about this as it puts your brother in a very vulnerable situation if suitable accommodation not found, they hopefully offer some support and guidance.
Dear JColl, Thank you so much for your support and advice. I am living in Oxfordshire the Vale of Whitehorse district Council. I definitely would like you to post my situation in the areas you suggested, that would be much appreciated.
I have never felt stress like this before, all the help I can get would e amazing.
Hi Frannie, Yes they know, I told his social worker straight away. She just said she was sorry to hear it, but didn’t offer up anything. He is under my care, and wouldn’t go into any residential care, he’s very strong minded. I have had a very poor response estate agents in wantage. For instance I showed interest in a property, I explained my situation to the lettings manager. He said he would have to contact the owners of the property to see if they wished me to look round. He got back to me and said no. When they hear you would be covering the rent with housing benefit, you’re treated like your sub human, it’s Demoralising.
I’m really sorry to hear about the situation you find yourself in.
I note that the CAB state that:
If a landlord or letting agent has their own rule of not renting to people who get benefits, this could be discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010.
Their advice can be found here:
Here is a link to some advice from Shelter which may be helpful:
Have you spoken to a housing officer from the Vale of Whitehorse District Council? They might be able to give advice around their allocations policies and the specific needs of your brother’s and your situation.
An option you and your brother might like to consider is buying a place for yourselves through the Shared Ownership Scheme through Advance Housing and Support. If you follow this link you’ll find an introduction to the scheme:
A few years ago I supported a number of people with learning disabilities to buy their own homes through an earlier version of the scheme and many of them are still living in their own homes after 23 years. They all would have been on a similar income to the income your brother has.
Dave Abbey was the mortgage broker involved with arranging the mortgages for the purchases of the homes. He runs an organisation, My Safe Home, which specialises in helping people with disabilities to buy their own homes. You can find their website here:
I know there have been a number of people in Oxfordshire who have bought homes through the scheme.
Having seen the scheme work in action, it’s something I personally would recommend, if it works for you and your brother. If the deposit is an issue, don’t hesitate to ask if there are options to help with it. I am aware of situations where people have bought places without deposits.
Another organisation that may be able to help or give you support is Sibs, it’s an organisation that exists to support people who grow up with or have grown up with a disabled brother or sister.
Please keep writing about your ongoing experience here. As you search for your solutions, we might be able to help with other ideas/suggestions.
Hi Neil, Thank you so much for the advice, concerning my safe home I know about the scheme. I started looking into it at the end of last year, because I found it on an Internet search and it sounded interesting re long term. At that stage of course, I had no idea of what my landlord had planned for us.
Then when in January the landlord asked about are plans, and in the same breath telling me he is planning to sell here. I phoned up my safe home, but was concerned that we would not meet the criteria because I would be living in the house with Alex.
Do you think you would be able to support me and my brother Neil ? I know it’s a big ask but I literally have no family left, and very few close friends.
I certainly will do what I can to help/support you and your brother. I would encourage reaching out to as many people as possible who could help. What help would you like? How do you think I could help? Are there other people we could approach who might be able to help?
Oxfordshire Family Support Network might be another place where you can get support.
Advance Housing and Dave Abbey will know the criteria for the Shared Home Ownership Scheme. I’ll invite them to contribute to this thread so that we all could learn about it. Please contact them directly if you’re up to it. I would be surprised if your brother and yourself didn’t meet the criteria (if you don’t, then there is something wrong with the policy around it!).
There will be a way through!
Hi Annie2014, I wil post to see if there are any private landlords known to families who might be in a position to help.
Would you be able to consider other areas of Oxfordshire, if a private landlord is available elsewhere?
We’d be delighted to have the opportunity to more fully explore whether Alex would meet the qualifying criteria for HOLD (Home Ownership for people with Long-term Disabilities), given that you’d be living in the property with him. It may well be possible though. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a contact phone number and your availability over the next week and we’ll get in touch with you direct.
If anyone else reading this thread is interested in buying a home using HOLD please take a look at our website (www.mysafehome.info) for an overview of the model and the qualifying criteria and again get in touch with us via the email address above and we’ll contact you too.
Managing Director, MySafeHome Limited
Hello JColl, Thank you ever so much for your advice/help. Re the private landlords, we would like to stay in the vale of white horse area if poss. We are struggling again as Alex my brothers health isn’t good at the moment and all thisTurmoil isn’t helping. His doctor rang me yesterday morning, and I broke down telling her about last week email from the landlord. I woke up this morning to another email from him and I quote. “ have you found anywhere yet” This pressure is unbearable. We are on the social housing list but so are a lot of others. As I said it’s impossible approaching estate agents re how we were treated. I have had as you can see a lovely message from Neil which I will respond to later hopefully when I have more time. I am very grateful for the help you all are giving us. With no family around for support it’s very hard. Thank you will keep praying for some luck. Anne and Alex
Dear Neil, A big thank you for your message, I was contacted today by David Abbey, and I had a nice chat with him. He explained to me more about the scheme but we came to the conclusion that I we wouldn’t really be able to live in Oxfordshire because the house prices are too high, which is a shame, but probably realistic. He asked me to say hello to you and give him his best wishes. He explained to me that I need to get myself an advocate to help me in my search for a safe place to live. I told him about our situation so he knows that for the here and now I have to get somewhere and then concentrate on this. He also said which is interesting, that we need two applications at the moment I have one. It will give us something to focus on no. Just hope our application will be accepted when I send it out with all the relevant details they require. I have good days and bad myself, but will try hard to get this done as it’s so very important. Ideally I would have someone with me filling the form out, but due to the Covid restrictions it’s hard to get help, I don’t know who I ask anyway. I would be very grateful to accept any help from you Neil. Kind regards Anne
Dear Neil, I am filling out the my safe home form. Would you consider helping us as a advocate. Would you get rid of email me and I will give you my phone number. Hope you can help, Anne and Alex
I will be in touch with you by private message.