Often people ask us for help when their own best efforts to sort something have come to nothing. Much too often we see someone whose situation shows how rigid rules can frustrate genuine efforts to do the right thing.
Our client and her partner had been unable to find accommodation for themselves and their baby aged 4 months. They were living with her parents in overcrowded conditions and finding it hard with the new arrival.
They had been on the housing register for some time but were unlikely to find accommodation from this source for at least 2 or 3 years.
They had been saving for some time in an Individual Savings Account for home purchase. Based on these savings, they applied to a housing company for a shared ownership property. Initially they were accepted for a 2-bedroom flat. They would pay £1000 per month covering 35% ownership, rent and service charge. Their only call on the state is for child benefit.
Then the problems began.
As the arrangements proceeded, they heard that they wouldn’t qualify while our client was on statutory maternity pay they wouldn’t qualify. If she returned to work full time on full pay the family would then be accepted. This is not possible because she has arranged a return-to-work date with her employer and they have a maternity cover staff member in place. She also wants to look after her baby herself during her maternity leave period and has no one she can leave him with.
Our client, who works as an accounts assistant, has calculated exactly how the household finances will work.
But unless they can persuade the company to be more flexible, their only alternative is to rent privately and claim housing benefit.