It seems Private Housing is going to be hard to find. I would say impossible really given my situation.
So what next?
My section 21 notice ends on the 21st August so where do I go from here?
Firstly, I make an application for social housing. I’m under no illusions. I will not get any of the properties I’m bidding on. People are on the list for years before they are successful. This process will not see me housed.
Next step is to talk to the Local Council. I am repeatedly told “call back when you get the Eviction Order from the court” The first time I hear those words my blood runs cold. I ask if I can be put through to my housing officer but I have not yet been allocated one. And when I am, they can’t really talk to me until the court order. I put the phone down, lock myself in the bathroom and sob as quietly as I can so the kids don’t hear me.
What do I do? What happens with a court eviction? Will the bailiffs be banging down my door? The uncertainty does not sit well with me. I am a list maker. I am a plans – however loose they may be – kinda girl.
I don’t think I have ever felt so scared in all my life. I feel utterly alone and a failed useless mother. I feel like I am failing to provide a home for my children. They will suffer and it will be my fault.
To me, the section 21 seems final. It’s my landlord saying I have to leave. And it’s his flat, his choice as far as I’m concerned. How can this piece of paper not be enough?
The next step was to contact the homelessness charity Shelter: http://england.shelter.org.uk/home. This was one of the best things that I did. They explained the process. They calmed my fears about bailiffs (they come at the very end and never without an appointment) and set me straight. But it wasn’t all good news. They explained that the council would probably make me wait beyond the section 21. I would have to wait until my Landlord had filed for a Possession Order. Once that Order had been granted by the court I would have a set amount of time to vacate my home. Sometimes councils will house you at this point. Sometimes they won’t. The next step is to then wait until the time is up and then the landlord can go back to court to apply for a bailiffs warrant. This is the very last point for the council to intervene and most Local Authorities have an unofficial policy to wait until then to help. I’ve been told different timescales for this process but most people seem to think it will take at least 6 weeks from the end of the section 21.
I have been assured that the Housing Benefit will continue to be paid to my landlord so luckily he won’t be out of pocket. The court costs from this process will be mine to bare so he shouldn’t be liable for these extra costs either (in the hundreds of pounds mark). I am sympathetic to the trouble this is causing him. He wants his property back and he has every right to it but I can’t move my children onto the streets can I?
So that was me up to date with the process. But not thanks to my local council!
Exactly where I will be remains to be seen. I’ve be told to expect Bed and Breakfast and temporary accommodation. I understand there is a shortage of housing. I’m just incredibly concerned about the debt I’ll be landed in and the lack of support I have been given. They can’t magic up a house for me I know. But they could spend 10 minutes explaining the process instead of leaving me to have a full blown panic attack at the thought of bailiffs!