Through the Keyhole

Through the Keyhole

I have now become another victim of the economic downturn. I’ve been evicted. Evicted by my absent, overseas landlord after 10 years of being the perfect tenant. We’ve been told he wants to sell, but as property sales are actually very slow unlike renting we think perhaps a quick lick of paint and bob’s yer uncle rented out to someone who doesn’t rely on housing benefit and has a job for an extra £100 per month. I guess I’m not the only one this is happening to as in preparation for the roll out of the new Universal Credit, which will be paid monthly and will mean the tenants will receive the housing benefit element themselves many private landlords up and down the country have been sending out eviction notices.

Naturally our eviction notice letter has been seen by various people, my CPN (Community psychiatric nurse), and advisor at the Citizen’s Advice Beureux, who looked over it and informed us that it’s perfectly legal and finally the local council. We have until the 8th August to move out. For those that have a job and savings this wouldn’t be so difficult but if you’re on Housing Benefit you have to firstly work within a budget (for us what we would receive would be £91.60 per week) and also find a landlord willing to let their property to a HB recipient.

Emotionally I feel as though the rug has been pulled from beneath me, when I received my eviction notice I cried, where I live my home, I have lived there for 10 years, we have loved and lost 2 cats during that time and they are buried in the garden, had I had the funds when I was working I would have bought this house myself. Definitely your home is where your heart is. It’s not just the house, it’s the people nearby, I feel part of the community, and I feel safe. I now don’t, I have been feeling suicidal, my Flupentixol dose has been increased, my tics have gone through the roof, I have a mouth full of ulcers and my appetitive is erratic, as is my sleep. Thricotillomania is back with vengeance and the hair is coming out in small clumps as are my eyebrows and lashes. My arm is full of teeth marks from biting tics and I’m close to tears.

Let me take you back to our visit to the council. We had a meeting with a housing officer who has now put us on the waiting list for a one bedroom flat; I have accepted that this is what we would be allocated and also all we can afford. I am now able to bid on one bedroom flats in Bedworth and Nuneaton, unfortunately there are only 12 one bedroom flats in Keresley End and they are all occupied so sadly we’ll have to leave our friends and neighbors and move elsewhere. I have placed bids on 3 flats so far throughout the borough, which is all that’s been available. The purpose of the meeting from the housing officer’s perspective was (this didn’t surprise me after reading this news article ) to see how “vulnerable you’d be living on the streets” luckily for me she came to the conclusion that I probably wouldn’t last very long at all, I’d either upset a stranger unintentionally via tics and come to a sticky end or commit suicide. However, my partner being a healthy male would if no suitable accommodation be it a hostel or B&B would be sleeping rough. Quite scary. Due to my vulnerability we’ve been put into band 2, so not as urgent as band 1, but more urgent than bands 3 or 4 who basically have no chance.

We’re not pinning all our hopes onto the council we have been looking for a privately rented place. We checked out the list of private landlords given to us by the housing officer, “list” it was just one person who had two properties (I hate that word, it goes through me) which were over our budget. We have been ploughing through the internet looking for a suitable home-to-be, a landlord that accepts Housing benefit and pets and not on a busy main road. (Call me fussy but I’d like my cat to live and have access to the great outdoors). We have 3 potential viewings tomorrow, I am hopeful yet worried, they are all very close to each other and are in a part of Nuneaton that is currently being developed, this area’s reputation has had such a hammering that the council thought it best to bulldoze the whole estate and rebuild it. These viewings are in the older part that’s still left, concrete ex coal board houses, it looks bleak, steel window covers are de rigueur . This is why these landlords are happy to accept anybody, smoking cats on the dole included. Within 2 years these houses are going to be raised to the ground. I have thought what the minus points could be, as the house will be bulldozed he will probably have a laizes faire attitude towards such things as gas safety certificates, leaking roofs and the such like and having to move again. I wonder what spin Phil Spencer and Kirsty Allsopp would put on it. “You could save on your fuel bills as some local youths will be using renewable fuels in nearby properties which will have an impact”” You’ll save money on cat food” (you’ll be getting little presents on the doorstep daily) “You won’t need to worry about on-street parking”. I think I better make sure that my contents insurance is up to date.

Well, we’ll see how it goes. I’m not relishing having to move, even worse to a place that I don’t really know. I shouldn’t be such a snob and get on with it.

3 Replies

  • This is the flat I've bidded on and the info underneath "stockingford,Nuneaton-1 bedroom 1st floor flat,near to local shops.‘PRIORITY WILL BE GIVEN TO THOSE AFFECTED BY WELFARE REFORM BENEFIT CHANGES WHO HAVE BEEN AWARDED PRIORITY BANDING BY THE COUNCIL.PLEASE ENSURE AN UP TO DATE TELEPHONE NUMBER OR CONTACT NAME AND NUMBER IS PROVIDED.IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO PROVIDE THIS PLEASE CONTACT THE UCHOOSE TEAM ON . A local connection policy will be used. Applicants with a connection to Nuneaton and Bedworth will have priority on the shortlists."

    41 people have bidded on this flat.

  • I'm sorry you're going through so much bad stuff right now. I do hope you find something soon. As a suggestion but I don't know whether it would be suitable in your case but wondered if you'd considered mobile home renting? I don't know any of the technicalities with Universal credit but I throw the suggestion in, in case you hadn't thought of it. Good Luck hun. Hope you find something soon.x

  • I have, there was one available in a village nearby for £450 pcm which is over my budget. I have often considered buying a retired one from a holiday park and renting a plot of land on a farm to put it (water and electric if possible also). I would ideally like to buy an old railway carriage and turn it into a house (still retaining it's train like qualities). There is a caravan park down the road but the mobile homes (as they call them) tend to get sold rather than let. Beleive you me I have had lots of creative ideas about my housing problem including renting from the dodgiest , laziest landlord in Brum who obviously can't be bothered to come to Nuneaton and do some kind of deal on the lines of ...."I'll rent the worst house in Camphill (that isn't boarded up yet) clear the garden of the 3 tonnes of rubble and flytipping and general chaos and ensure the toilet flushes and see a legit gas certificate..I'm not signing anything or parting with cash until then and my friend down the road will have a look over the fench and send me a picture everyday until it's clear...then I will pay £400 pcm (rather than £425pcm and Pete will do DIY rather than the blind cowboys who have done the work for you" That house and street did give off good vibes apart from the lack of carpets, clenliness and "squat chic" but given some bleach, paint, lino, carpet and foor sander it would be ok.