So, update: house sold for £240,000. Next door were also given notice within a week of ours being sold and their sign went up yesterday so we’re both in the same boat now: just shows you, it’s hell to rent!
I’m not concerned though, why? I had an unpleasant call from the sales agent the other week. He asked me how the house hunting was going, I didn’t lie that is wasn’t looking promising – what’s the point? I want out of here asap and keeping them in the loop means they’re more inclined to help us find somewhere else. At least that was my thought.
He proceeded to spin horror story upon horror story about what happens to tenants who don’t move out before the section 21 notice period expires – followed by faux concern over the possibility of the buyers and our landlord suing us for any accrued costs caused by us still being here; you get the picture.
Afterwards I spent about 5 minutes furiously bawling my eyes out and totally stressing before getting angry – how DARE he call me up and make me feel like that, using such crappy scare tactics to try and coerce us into uprooting and becoming ‘intentionally homeless’ as the council put it. So I did what I always do when something stresses me out – I conducted research and made a list: something the internet and a university education makes a lot easier I might add!
You know what? The oily creep did me a favour; I wish I’d known YEARS ago what that research told me because I could have saved myself several stressful stints of couch surfing over the past 2 decades.
We do not have to leave the property by the date noted in the section 21 notice; all that bit of paper is designed to do is to inform the tenant that after the date specified, the landlord will be applying to the courts for an order of possession (which could take months depending on the court schedule) at THAT point we will get a letter stating a legal departure date; but if we haven’t found anywhere we still do not have to leave until the landlord has once again applied to the courts for a bailiff to evict us – yes, we will likely have to pay those court costs for him but I’d rather that than go live in a tent or rely on friends/ family for the next few months while we save up for a deposit.
The truth of the matter is, we’ve been priced out of the area in which we live: despite being a double income family, we’re still a low-income family (at least we are in a place where rents are £950- £1700pcm for a 2-bed property) I refuse to move elf from her school seeing as she’s settled and happy and doing well: SATs are coming up – I may disagree with testing kids of her age but I still want her to do well in them for her sake; self-esteem is a tricky beast and she needs a foundation of confidence because she takes failure hard already.
Which is why we’re having to go down the social housing route. There are benefits to it so I keep being told: we would stand more of a chance of finally owning our own home once we’ve been housed for a certain length of time than we would staying with the private sector – this speaks to my long-held dream of never having to move again. But before that can happen we may have to deal with a couple of years of less than ideal accommodation – though even there it’s not all bad; public sector housing is maintained to a far higher standard than most of the places I’ve lived in the private sector, repairs are usually finished within a month of the request being made plus you have more control over the living space. More importantly though that living space is about half the cost of the private sector which would allow us to start saving again for something better.
I was tempted for a quick move yesterday when I saw our old flat had come back on the market then common sense kicked in: elf would no longer fit in the tiny room her toddler bed dominated back then, the winters were terrible and we’d essentially live in the front room because it was too cold to stay in any other room. But yeah, for a second it was tempting: just walk half the furniture back down the road and store the rest in a garage until we could move somewhere more suitable… Except we’d never be able to move because the rent is now too high. Add in the cost of renting a second garage and …Nope. Not feasible.
There is a part of me that thinks we’re being a bit precious: plenty of 1-bed places are around in our price range; many people have to live like that the world over; but then I think why is not wanting that being precious? I’m not leaving this house through choice, I work bloody hard and so does my husband (yep, that still gets me… Husband!) Plus elf needs space, I need space since I do a lot of work at home and 1 bedroom for 2 adults and 1 child does not a happy marriage make. I don’t drive and my illness means excessive travelling is out because i’d wind up losing all 3 of my jobs due to the inevitable relapse, so we need to stay here near my work and I REFUSE to change elfs school so… Yeah, council it is. And they state that you have to be ‘officially homeless’ which means going through the aforementioned court process, otherwise we’re not classed as a housing need since if we leave before we get a court order we will have left ‘of our own accord’.
Stupid huh? Still, it gives us time to hope that something in our price range does come up – if it doesn’t we just have to wait til a council place opens up so nope, no longer concerned because we’ve done everything we can up to this point. We have a plan in place for packing and moving as and when something comes up so now we just wait – and save every penny we can.
Just sucks that it’s all happening the year I turn 40 (the exact weekend in fact) and they say that’s when life begins lol ahhh.. the adventure! Anybody want to buy me a house in Hatfield for my birthday..? Just a suggestion 😉