Housing Q&A on 29th May

Our Specialist Adviser, Lee, answered questions on Housing during a live session on social media and kicked things off with a recent anonymised case study of how we can help people like you during this difficult time.

A client contacted us in a state of distress after they were put on furlough from work and was extremely worried about their finances. They privately rent and had never missed a payment before but were unable to pay their full monthly rent and other bills.

After taking full details from the client and their household, a benefits check was carried out to find out what they were eligible for and they were assisted in applying for Universal Credit that would cover a large part of their rent.

After our advice, the client also applied for Council Tax Reduction (outside of Universal Credit) to reduce their payments and requested their Council Tax was spread over the full 12 months, rather than the default 10 months, which reduced their expenditure.

The client was advised of the Covid-19 forbearance measures for their other bills, and we assisted them in obtaining 3-month holidays for their credit cards and an unsecured loan. We also helped the client apply for a social tariff for their water, to further reduce ongoing costs.

All of this provided more money to cover the rent, but there was still a small shortfall.

So we helped the client negotiate with the landlord to reduce the rent payments on a temporary basis during the Covid-19 crisis. As part of these negotiations, we brought attention to the support Buy-to-Let mortgages can obtain too with a three month holiday, with the hope that they would pass this on as there are not obliged to under the current rules.

After a series of emails, it was successfully agreed the rent payments would be reduced by 15% for a period of 3 months and this will be reviewed after this. This ensured the client was able to pay their rent in full and cover their essential bills during this difficult time.

As well as preventing possible court action and eviction for the client, we secured an extra £306 per month for them through all of the above and the client is now much more informed about their rights and what other support they can get if their circumstances change again.

The client was extremely thankful and we are continuing to advise and assist her at this time for housing and any other advice they require.

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