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Tips and hints for council house bidding?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've just been given a bidding number, and hopfully will be upgraded to emergency or gold bands (the 2 highest) now that I have been given notice.

I used to bid for houses when I was on a list somewhere else, but I was so far down the list, I never used to do it that seriously because I knew I'd never get anywhere with it. But now we need somewhere ASAP, but I'm not sure whats the best way to go about it.

Most of the places available are either flats without lifts (which isn't suitable due to my mother's ill health), or out in the middle of nowhere, with very limited public transport (i'm talking 1 bus a week kind of places).

We need to find somewhere soon, because we're already a couple of weeks into our 2 months notice, but I don't want to get stuck somewhere without public transport or find somewhere thats not suitable for mum.

I get 3 bids a week, so has anyone got any suggestions on how to bid and what I could or should be looking for, and what to avoid? There are a lot of housing association places, but I don't know if thats a good thing to go for or not...
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    make sure you use your three bids if you're on the emergence housing list, otherwise they will bid on your behalf- most likely for the worst property, even if it's one you think is unsuitable, and they will take your status away if you don't accept the crap property once you win it (which you inevitably will as no one else will want it), taking you to bronze and pushing you to the bottom of the list.

    Good luck.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    :/

    So what do I do if pretty much everything I'm either not elligible for (because of the wrong area) or because of the housing associations requirements...

    ?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What do you mean by wrong area? If you get Gold Plus status for being homeless, you will have to bid for things even if they are nowhere near where you want to or currently live. The website link you get will show all the properties in the area you are expected to bid within, as far as I know from mine and other peoples experience you can't narrow down the search area, not eve for reasons like keeping your children in the same school they currently go to.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You might be lucky though, you might get something nice.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    All of the places say that you need a connection to that area to be eligible, but there are only 2 properties in my district...

    I don't know how we're going to get something because even if we are going to be top banded, we aren't going to be put very high up the list in another district...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If nothing comes up before you have to leave your current place, you will probably be offered bed and breakfast.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thats going to drive me crazy, I don't think I'll cope like that, I had to do it when I was younger, and I just spent the entire time crying because it was so awful, with people screaming and shouting all the time. I'd rather put my stuff into storage and sleep in the car...

    I know I'm just getting a bit anxious about all of this, but I watched channel 4 news tonight and their piece on homelessness really freaked me out.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey Miss_Riot,

    It's been a few days since you last posted; how is the bidding going? Got any further with developing a strategy to this?

    I would confirm katralla's advice though, in that if you don't use your bids this will go against you. So use your bids and even if you do get a property further out or unsuitable you can then apply for a transfer...

    Keep us posted. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi, just thought I would share my experiences on bidding for council housing. It's probably not totally the same as it's a different area but I get three bids aswell, and I would recommend bidding on at least 1-2 properties each time it comes around, it just makes sure that they keep you in mind for properties and don't forget about you. (In my council if you use no bids, they can lower priority or even remove you from the list).

    Also you say that some are not suitable due to your mothers health, if the council know this they should be able to give you extra priority on medical grounds (if they haven't already) just by explaining to them what's appropriate and what isn't and you would just need to fill a form and get a signature from a GP.

    Housing associations may also be a good idea in your situation, they probably do have waiting lists aswell, but it may just be that something suitable for you pops up from somewhere and it gives you more chance of finding accommodation as it gives you more options.
    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/Councilandhousingassociationhomes/Housingassociationhomes/index.htm
    This link has lots of information on housing assocations and may help.

    My advice would be to use your bids, even if you don't use all of them or you only find one property that's suitable for you. You don't necessarily need to use all your bids just make sure you keep bidding so they don't bid on your behalf or lose priority. Sometimes when my bidding comes around there's hardly anything at all to choose from and then other times there are loads! Just keep going, something will come up eventually, hope this helped a little.

    Good luck and I hope you get sorted soon :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    We're using the bids...not really getting anywhere.

    We have a meeting with the housing dept this week so hopefully they will be able to help some more...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey Miss_Riot,

    How did your meeting go? Any further progress?

    :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    We've been rebanded to the top band before emergency banding, so we're very close to the top of most places in the area, but again theres still nothing suitable (and the council have noted this), so they have said to keep looking privately fo the time being, but if anything comes up they will call us before it goes on the list, because they don't have anyone else thats got gold banding needing the kind of house we need on health grounds, in this district at least.

    Hopefully something will come up because there nothing much on the rental market right now :(
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Good luck.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Still not finding anything suitable...

    we're still looking privately, but anything that doesn't look and smell like its been squatted in is to expencive (i'm not being dramatic, we've seen some truely awful places). Everywhere on the council list is above ground floor, apart from 2 places, 1 of which we've bid for, the other i too far out in the sticks. Theres not a frequent bus route there. There are so few places on the rentals market right now as well...

    I'm not sure what we do...time is really running out. I think we might just have to find a not great rented place until something on the council list comes up.

    This is all so shit, and my anxiety is just going through the roof
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey there Miss_Riot,

    Sorry to hear about the struggle to find somewhere suitable to live; I think perseverance will ensure that you find the perfect place.

    In the meantime if you are finding your anxiety difficult to manage, you may want to consult your doctor about this and they should be able to recommend the best option for you.

    It's great that you post on here regularly about the situation and we are able to provide you with support as a result. But it may also help to have a conversation with someone on the telephone; maybe just getting things off your chest will help you manage your anxiety. You can call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. They offer confidential emotional support.

    I hope this helps and good luck with the house hunt.

    :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for that l1ttleone, i'm already on that, just waiting for referrals.

    Went to see a guy at shelter, who was really helpful in terms of letting us know what our rights are, but still no closer to finding anywhere. Hopefully something will come up on the council list within the next few weeks. Nothing is coming up on the lettings market locally.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Possibly a slight turn up for the books...

    2 places on the rental market, both are more than we wanted to afford, but I'm going to see if they'll accept a little less. We've started looking much further affield, even asking friends if they know of anyone with a caravan so we can stay out of B&B so we still have a choice with council properties. We've got 23 days to find something else before we are going down the possession order route...a bit scary!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The possible slight turn up has turned into the opposite. Our landlady has been harrassing us by phone further, wanting to come and use the garage as storage this time. Shelter have sent her a letter saying if she doesn't leave us alone she could be fined up to £5000 for harrassment. But we've also realised that if we keep looking down the private route, everything we can afford is unfurnished. In order to be able to afford the deposit (because the council will only provide a deposit on places up to £550 a month), we then will have no money for furniture. Not that theres anywhere much for us to look at (the 2 places we were going to look at, one of which the owner won't take HB, and the other was taken before we had a chance to get there and look at it), everywhere is no DSS still or out in the sticks.

    Running out of time here, the council seem to think that they'll have us housed by the end of the month, but we're still between 10-15 from the top of the list. We've literally done everything we can to get ourselves as high on list (both me & mum put in medical forms, letter from drs saying we need to continuity of care, they've got a copy of the notice to quit), bar getting myself pregnant (not going to happen), and I'm running out of straws. We're going through all our stuff and starting to put it into storage so that we can go stay with friends or something, so we can stay out of being put wherever the council see fit and having to put up with it if we go into B&B at their expence.

    Can anyone think of anything else? I've already looked at property guardians but you have to be in employment, and there aren't many house sits around here. We're going to go and talk with the council again next week, and get shelter to send them a letter about the harrassment, but I don't know if theres anything else we can do. I just don't understand how its ended up like this.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Furniture = freecycle.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah freecycle isn't reliable around here, plus we can't be sleeping on the floor for a couple of months until someone comes along with a bed. I've gotten desks, and bedside tables and bookcases, all the ancillary stuff, but I rarely see sofas, beds, tables and chairs, much in the way of soft furnishing. We even need to get crockery and cutlery and pans because practically everything here is the landlady's.

    I've got a matress, and an solid wood desk - which I'm going to sell. We've been looking at the local furniture recycling places for things a putting deposits down, we got a living room chair today, but even if we get a council place, we'll have to buy white goods.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You've got a mattress, so you'll not be sleeping on the floor. see if you can't find some pallets, then you can call it a futon.

    Ah, the fashions of the eighties....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well, I was seriously thinking about following the instructable to make a bed out of scaffolding... but I'd have to find an angle grinder, wrenches and scaffolding going spare.

    (I nearly wrote angel grinder and wenches going spare...now that would provide entirely different bedroom furnishings :p )
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    don't forget things like freeads and bargain pages papers too. and gumtree.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah, we've been keeping an eye, we're getting a 3m sq storage locker so we can put all our stuff from the garage in it and start emptying the house of everything asides the essentials. We've been seeing bits and bobs that we've been getting - like the chair and stuff. There doesn't seem to be a free ads or similar that I've seen but I'll keep looking. Theres often stuff on the supermarket notice boards, and gumtree I shall keep and eye on too.

    Thanks guys, it feels a lot better that I can just keep adding bits and keep you updated and get feedback, makes it feel less like I'm doing it all wrong!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey Miss_Riot,

    Good to read all these updates from you since I last logged on to the boards.

    Are there any local second hand furniture shops or charity shops? You can pick up great bargains if you're looking for furniture etc.

    Good luck!

    I will reply with any further ideas if I think of any.

    :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So, just today I've called up about 6 houses/flats, all have gone, or they won't accept housing benefit, and all of the agents have nothing else. One agent was horrific - I suggested I could provide proof of savings rather than a guarantor, and she suggested I was a benefits cheat (I have my ESA reduced because of the savings which I'm using to live on to top it up), and then asked what was wrong with both my mother and myself, and get very shirty with me when I politely said that was non of her business (yeah, telling potential landlords that I have mental health problems is really going to sell me to them!). Ended up in tears, made me feel a bit like I don't deserve a home because I'm on benefits and have mental health issues.

    7 away from the top of the list with the council this week for one place, which is the closest we've got to the top so far, so maybe next week it will be our week (which will be great because our notice is up next wednesday. Going to the council tomorrow with an advocate who will hopefully get us put into the emergency group because we are going to be imminently homeless...

    I'm doing what I can to keep myself up beat, but with things like have happened today (plus 2 more nasty emails from the landlady), I'm really struggling.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I get 3 bids a week, so has anyone got any suggestions on how to bid and what I could or should be looking for, and what to avoid? There are a lot of housing association places, but I don't know if thats a good thing to go for or not...

    Nothing wrong with housing associations,I know a few people who rent from HAs with no gripes at all, in fact they recommend it over taking a private let.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I didn't think it could get worse.

    We now need to move out by next Wednesday or we will have to pay the court costs for the landlady to get a possession order to get us out. I don't understand it really, but no one told us, not even shelter. We don't have that kind of money to throw away, and even if we did get legal aid, its the hassle and the harassment. I'm so close to walking out, its getting unbareable. We're putting our stuff into storage and unless we can find friends to crash with for a few weeks, we're going to have to go into B&B (hugely begrudingly, I'm worried its going to be a hell hole full of rowing couples and crying babies, i don't know if i'm going to be able to handle it).

    So, everything is getting packed, and I feel like I'm falling apart a bit... nothing more I can do right now though
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't know how things have got to this stage...

    The council changed their mind and were umming and arring about the legality of the notice to quit (again), but shelter confirmed with them that it is legal. But they are now saying that if we leave before the court baliffs chuck us out we could be seen as making ourselves intentionally homeless (WTF??), so they may not put us up in B&B. So we've put a lot of our stuff into storage, and we're waiting it out. Tomorrow is officially our eviction date, we and shelter have both sent our landlady letters asking her not to come her and telling her about our situation, but I don't put it past her to turn up and start shouting the odds. We've changed to locks just in case (which we checked that we were legally allowed to do), and my support worker is coming first thing to talk about our next moves and to provide some moral support.

    I've got nothing left now. we're not going to be offered anything this week, and because it'll take 2 weeks after we're offered something before we can move in, its looking unlikely we'll have anywhere for xmas. Mum has said that she's going to stay with a friend the otherside of the country rather than go into B&B, because it'll make her ill (she has ME), but that leaves me either staying in B&B on my own (going to make me v anxious), or staying on a sofa in cardiff (which will mean I'll be paying £50+ a week to commute back to college).

    I don't think I can do anymore...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Have you tried http://www.spareroom.co.uk/

    You may be able to find somewhere in your area on a short term let, some are as little as 3 months and some don't even require a deposit. You could also place an ad on there detailing what you need and where which I have done in the past and received responses even within hours of posting an ad.
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