Friday, 26 February 2010

Unfair Rental Market

Those close to me or know me well know that my partner lives on the other side of the country to me & that I have been looking to exchange my council property with another tenant where I want to live & who's looking to move where I am.

Well after some years it’s proving fruitless & with the current setup of Council housing stock, I can’t just transfer from one Council to another. That’s a whole issue in it own, something I can’t fully understand or know why it's like this.

So my other option is going into the private rental market & this is where it’s now getting messy. But first give you some background about me, I am on Incapacity Benefits & have been for almost 5 years. I have been receiving it without any problems & have full medical history as well as proof of all the benefits I have received. I have been living in my Council property for near on 9yrs, rent has been paid on time & never had problem with the rent whilst on benefits.

I have pets consisting just of cats & never once had a complaint about their treatment or condition of the property including garden from the Council or neighbours in the whole time I have lived in this property. The property is in great condition & I had pride in the property decor, just ask the Council. I keep them on their toes to keep the property in good condition when their contractors trash the place when they do work & I have to put it straight.

So as I said, I have been looking into private rental. Now 1st hurdle is some don’t want pets, now I can understand this. Some pets aren't trained / disciplined & therefore causes damaged. So a property with laminate flooring can sort this & a reference from previous landlord too.

But the main problem seems to be the fact I am on benefits, it seems that due to the fact I am on Incapacity Benefits I am unable to get a property on the private rental market. Now is it not bad enough I am on Incapacity Benefits in the 1st place, the fact I am not fit to work! I get ridiculed by the press, looked down on as a sponger in the general public due to those in the minority who do fiddle the system & the bad press.

Doesn’t my 5 years on these benefits actually prove I have a regular income & good rental history whist on them help me? Don’t I, being able to pay the deposit as well as the rent in advance help either? No! It doesn’t! I spoke to a estate agent about a property I am interested in today & was told “if I want a property whilst on Incapacity Benefits or any Benefits, I would have to have a financial guarantor who’s in full time employment”

Now to me this is discrimination, for am I am on Incapacity Benefits for a reason & this is a form of disability as I am unable to work at the moment. But the estate agent doesn’t see this! So right now, I don't know how I can overcome this discrimination. Other than vent it out for all of you to read, maybe someone can give me sound advice of how to stop this!

For now though, I have to wait to get fit, find a job, then find a place where I want to move as well as another job at the same time. Would it not be easier to find a place now whilst in Incapacity Benefits & when fit find a job? I have over 12 years of good payment history with Council & Housing Association as well as 5 yrs before that in private renting, which I was mostly unfit to work too during those 5 yrs. Don't any of this count anymore?

What ever happened to good references to help you get a place & why isn’t there laws to stop discrimination in the rental market? Love to hear your comments & any helpful advice.

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