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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I collected the key for my new place this evening plus I got to meet the third housemate who I'd not met yet and she seems really nice. She gave me a copy of the contract I asked for which I'll need in order to claim housing benefit and pay the rent. Now I think I have a MAJOR problem. I paid £300 deposit and £365 rent in advance, but the contract only says that between three of us, the rent is £800 per month. It doesn't say anywhere what my exact share is, and if you divide it by three it's only £266.67. Assuming housing benefit will pay ALL of that £266 (which it probably won't - and it will probably pay nothing until I get a more detailed tenancy agreement (for which I'll be charged by the letting agency yet again no doubt)) it still leaves me a hundred pounds a month to pay, leaving me virtually nothing to live on.... If, like they told me, the rent was £365 and they had an agreement stating that everything would be fine. I guess it's my stupid fault for not asking for a tenancy agreement before paying up.... hmmm, what to do. I've got a mountain of sorting out to do and very little energy to do it with, and now I know I'm not going to sleep a wink till I'm in and it's all sorted...

What I think I'll have to do is move in anyway and see if I can get a more detailed tenancy agreement (I've already paid to live there for a month so I may as well go ahead). Hopefully I can get one which is detailed enough for the housing benefit office to actually give me the money I need. Then hopefully I should be able to claim council tax benefit which would go some way to cover the other £100 I'm liable for, leaving me enough to live on.

The other problem is that it being a joint contract (not three seperate agreements) if someone (or everyone) moves out I'm then responsible for paying their rent which could be £800 a month and obviously housing benefit is only going to pay my share. I think in that situation I'd just refuse to pay. In my opinion it's the letting agency who are responsible for finding tenants, not me....

even so, it's a complete nightmare. Maybe I'll just have to write off a months rent and look for somewhere else straight away which is definitely not with a shared tenancy agreement, but an uncomplicated affordable agreement for one person (not easy in Cambridge). Oh gawd what a mess....where's the southern comfort..... it's amazing how much you feel like blogging when things like this happen

(postscript) I just had an idea. I don't think my cheque for deposit and rent has been cashed yet. Maybe tomorrow I'll call the bank and ask about stopping it. I think it would onloy be fair seeing as I was told the rent was £365 when in fact it was (probably) only £266... oh gawd. I'm going to be awake all night thinking about this now and I need to sleeeeeep!

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