Social Services let me down!

by Readers Question

4 years ago

Social Services let me down!

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Social Services let me down!

Last autumn I put up my property to rent and used my local authorities approved rental list to advertise the house for the first time. I was contacted that day by social services who had a large family for the property.

I met them a few days later and was told the father was taking on the responsibility for bringing up 6 children as the mother had gotten into problems with drugs and alcohol. The guy seemed a nice bloke and I only had reservations about housing 6 children in a 3 bed semi. They said they used bunk beds and had lived in a much smaller house so I thought all was OK.

They moved in and everything was normal until this March when I received complaints from the neighbours about the family. I also started to have to visit the house more to make small repairs (broken quarter window in door, bath light blown out, radiator leaking).

At the same time the family was benefit capped as they were now receiving over £500 per week and so the rent was cut in half. They secured the discretionary rent top up and all was to be OK until July. So I decided to issue a section 21, because the tenant and social services said he could not afford to pay the £78 a week rent top up out of his £432 free cash flow (benefit money).

The council were working with the family in order to find them new more affordable accommodation (council the only option as PRS too expensive now benefit capped).

Two weeks ago the family moved out claiming they were being targeted by gypsies. It turns out this was a false story as they just wanted to get out of the area as they had upset so many local people. They have now been rehoused some where in the locality again.

I am happy they have gone. I am not owed any rent and have been told the damages will be repaid under the council scheme – new carpets in lounge and full repaint of the house internally, plus other bits and bobs. However, the tenancy has been very stressful and I feel social services misled me. I have found eviction documents in the house which I think relate to their previous property which is 3 miles away. I intend to go there and ask if this family used to live in the property.

If social services had told me they had been evicted for antisocial behavior I would never have rented to them.

1) Does anyone know who I could write to at social services detailing this story (with a little more depth obviously). Do they have an ombudsman type body overseeing their work ?

2) This family is a problem and they have not been helped by social services at all. They have been pushed out of 2 properties now and will probably be forced out of their next one. Why don’t social services invest more time to help educate this family to behave within societies norms? Just passing them around and keeping them off the books is not really tacking the long term problems which are being stored up in all of the individuals involved – low self esteem, poor attainment at school, slipping into criminality etc.

3) I am also going to write a full account and send it off to Ian Duncan Smith. The father has never worked, he has no control over money management and I think his family is a generational one which lives off benefits. Why our society lets individuals live as they want to without any form of punishment and provide them with a free income is madness.

John100xproblem



Comments

My honest opinion? Social services didn't let you down, and frankly you were naive if you thought the family with six kids and a mother with a drug problem were misunderstood people who had fallen on hard times and just needed a helping hand back up.

You're not a social worker, you're a landlord. You rented your property out on a commercial basis to what we might colloquially call a "problem family".

You've got your house back, no great harm done by the sounds of things.

if you want what we might colloquially call a "nice" family next time, pay a reputable agent to find you one.

If you want to help people like the family you let your house to, sell your house, resign from your job, and re-train as a social worker.

Neil Patterson

4 years ago

Hi John,

I understand you feel aggrieved, but I really do think making a complaint will only serve to prolong your agony.

We all go through learning experiences and I know you will be more cautious about researching and referencing your tenants next time.

John MacAlevey

4 years ago

Local authorities just want to get `problem families` off their books. If a PRS landlord has the balls to take them on, he/she should do it with enforceable safeguards. Don't expect LA to bail you out, they`ll ONLY act if the law requires them to.

r01

4 years ago

Social Services didn't let you down, you made the wrong choice of tenant type to let to. Living in the real world, it should be no surprise to you that social services put a problem family in - these are the people they work with, not nice, fully employed non-smoking, sober, drug-free professionals. You also probably got a better rent through this than you would have achieved renting to non-benefit tenants, so I agree with others that you should simply move on.

Running any business (and being a landlord is just that), involves risk. You simply assess the risks and weigh them up against the returns. Then you either rent to certain types of people or you do not - the choice is entirely yours and no-one else's.

I never accept tenants claiming benefits unless they are an existing tenant who unfortunately and temporarily loses their job but many other landlords take lifelong benefit tenants (I take my hat off to them as they are essential and many probably deserve an OBE for housing many of our problem tenants), and make much, much more financial return than I do as a result and they deserve to. They are prepared to put up with the hassle from these tenants but I'm not, it's as simple as that. Thankfully, no government so far has decided to legislate to force landlords to take the underclass. Of course it will probably come........ and that's when I'll sell up and retire.

For your next let perhaps you should consider carefully the type of tenant you want but don't blame Social Services as they have an horrendous job to do and if you stop to think for just a few minutes about it you might just understand what they have to contend with. I wouldn't do their job for all the tea in China - hands up please all those that would !

Ian Ringrose

4 years ago

Firstly please register with http://www.landlordreferencing.co.uk/ and upload their details as it may save anther landlord from them.

Then use http://www.landlordreferencing.co.uk/ to check out all tenant you get offered.

Unless someone has a physical disability, I would assume that if they come var social services that they are a problem tenant by definition. Overall you come off well, given that often councils will do whatever they can to avoid paying out under their schemes.

The only real way I can see to help children in the type of family is for social services to take the children out of the dysfunctional family and place them with a functional family – but this is not often done.

4 years ago

John,

I agree with Neil, just let it go. I don't think that anything will come of your complaints, you'll just be prolonging your grief and anger.

I also agree with John that LA just want to get their "problem tenants" out of their own properties and into private rentals. I have heard much the same story as yours a number of times which is why I would be reluctant to let to ANY Local Authority.

Put it down to experience and let your property to somebody who can afford to pay the rent without govt. help.

Gordon Edwards

9 months ago

Hi John,

Very sorry to read your story. My name is Gordon Edwards and I am a free-lance complaints advocate. I have experience in submitting complaints against Social Care and I would be interested in possibly taking your case as your advocate and submitting a complaint on your behalf.

I would need a statement from you along with any documentation that Social Care gave you or any documentation you have but I would be willing to speak to you, establish grounds for complaint and submit it on your behalf, all the way to the ombudsman if needed.


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