The client’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.
Ciaran approached us recently after receiving a Notice to Quit from his landlord. His leave date was drawing near, and he was concerned about becoming roofless.
Ciaran had moved to Scotland just before the pandemic struck. He had moved into a private rented property, which was expensive. His plan had originally been to stay there temporarily, until he could find something more suitable.
His disability had meant he had been shielding for the entire pandemic and was only able to get out and about in May of this year. He was then served a Notice to Quit by his landlord, as they were looking to sell the property.
Ciaran had been trying to get a homeless assessment for some time, but he had trouble contacting them, and kept having to start at square one.
He said, “It shocked me how appalling the entire communications have been… My dealing with the local authority had been shocking. It took me 12 weeks to get to talk to them. They were claiming they were calling me, and I didn’t answer which wasn’t true. I was desperate to talk to somebody.”
During this time Ciaran had been searching for another private rental.
“The rental market in the area was terrible. I had absolutely no idea where to turn. When I tried to get a rental property I had trouble getting them to accept me as I didn’t have a job. Landlords weren’t interested as I was on disability benefits.”
Eventually, Ciaran was able to speak to a homeless officer within his local authority.
“The council had advised me I didn’t have to leave the property for another three months after the date I was supposed to leave. I had a lot of anxiety about this. The landlord of the property was a bully.”
One night, feeling like he had nowhere to turn, he was researching housing advice online – and came across Housing Options Scotland.
“I found Housing Options Scotland online, in the middle of the night on a Saturday. I filled in the form and they called me at 9:30 on Monday morning.”
The broker advised Ciaran on a range of housing options, including ownership – which Ciaran didn’t think was an option for him, as his income was benefits based. They also advised him on the Scottish Government’s Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) – which offers to contribute to the purchase of a property by taking on some of the equity share.
“She was lovely, just laid it all on the line. Signposting me, laying out different options. She told me about the LIFT scheme and referred me to a mortgage advisor. Ten minutes later he phoned me, and the process started.”
Ciaran’s work with the mortgage advisor was successful and he was able to secure a mortgage in principle. In the week following this, he dedicated himself to finding a house to meet his needs and budget. He eventually found a property which was right for him. With the mortgage advisor’s help, he was able to put in an offer.
“I was eventually officially declared homeless by the local authority and by the afternoon the same day I had put an offer in on the new house.”
Ciaran is now looking forward to moving into his new property and is already feeling the benefits.
“My mental health during the pandemic was the worst it’s ever been. I didn’t feel like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. This has opened up an infinite number of new doors and opportunities. I think it will be good for my mental health and my physical health.”
Ciaran was especially pleased with how his broker supported him.
“My broker rocks. She is just a powerhouse. She knew her stuff, she knew where to go, she knew were to signpost. She has transformed everything. She has given me the information to alter my future path. She wasn’t patronising and she didn’t judge.”
To find out more about Homeless Housing Options click here: Homeless Housing Options service