Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Our House

We've moved about a lot in the last year or so. In June 2012 I moved out of my husband's house. The arguing was too intense and too horrible to cope with any more. We hadn't even been married two years. Undoubtedly some of that was down to my Asperger's, which we didn't know about when we married. But he has his own issues also.

I found a small house that would do as a bolt-hole for me and my girls, but it wasn't really suitable in many ways, and when the six-month initial lease ran out, I found us a much nicer house.

Unfortunately, the landlord and I did not see eye to eye on a number of issues, and five months after we moved in, he decided he had had enough of being a landlord with pesky tenants who ask for things to be fixed, such as ancient fuse boxes and non-opening downstairs windows, and put the house on the market. The first I heard of it was when as estate agent rang ME on MY mobile phone asking to arrange a viewing. I was surprised to say the least. I had already told the landlord we loved the house and assured him we were long-term tenants. Even the letting agents didn't know he had put it on the market, and they are a different branch of the same company.

Since then things have been a bit poo. I dug my heels in and refused to allow viewings. The estate agents responded by sending a couple of strange men (potential buyers) round to the house to try to arrange a viewing with me directly. I sent them away and fired off a VERY strongly worded email to the estate agents to the effect of how dare they send two strange men to my house, me, a single woman with two daughters.

The landlord responded by serving me with a Section 21 notice, giving me two months' notice. What he didn't realise, and probably still doesn't, is that the Section 21 was invalid! Ha ha! They have to be very careful with the dates and unfortunately his were out by about four days. So I didn't panic, as I knew I had plenty of time to find somewhere suitable.

I did find somewhere suitable and we were all set to move on September 20th - but the landlady pulled out! I was furious. But now I have found another house.

It is perfect, even more perfect than the other one (albeit a bit more expensive). But, looking on the agent website, it states in black no-nonsense sombre letters:

"Please note this company does not accept housing benefit applications."

Now this makes me so angry.

I have rented (except for my brief marriage) since I was twenty-two years old, so eighteen years. I have never missed a single payment. I ALWAYS, without exception, got 100% of my deposit back. I am a good tenant. I have never had any troubles with landlords - until this one.

I have Asperger's so I am not very good at getting jobs. I'm rubbish at interviews, and not good at getting on with people. So I am working as a writer and an editor for a publishing company. I can do it at home, and don't have to lay my eyes on another soul. I get paid in royalties, so I don't earn a great deal. I bump up my income with the benefits I am entitled to claim as a low-income worker - the key word there being WORKER. I do work. I work damned hard actually. But because the state allows me to top up my meagre income with Housing Benefit, I am penalised.

There are some people who do not work, who have no intention of working, and are happy to spend their entire lives living solely off benefits. I am not one of them, but I am treated as if I am, because I have to top up my income. Having to do that does not make me a bad person. If I went out to work 9-5 and left my kids in wraparound child care from 8-6, TEN hours a day, THAT would make me a bad person, in my view. Instead I have a job I can do from home, between 9 and 3, get the kids from school, work another hour between 4 and 5, and sometimes another hour later on when they are in bed.

People who make assumptions make me so angry.

Anyway, I am going to proceed as if I hadn't seen that on their website, play down the Housing Benefit and see what happens. If it is a problem, then I will explain the Asperger's situation. Who knows - maybe they will understand. Updates to come.

Our House - Madness

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