Byline: SUE BENT from Coventry Law Centre answers your legal questions
Q My partner left me and my two children aged six and eight about two months ago. We live in a housing association property. My partner was the tenant of the property.
I am now on income support. My former partner is not paying the rent and I have not claimed housing benefit because I have heard that only the tenant of a property can claim housing benefit.
I am worried that we will lose our home because I am not the tenant. What should I do?
A You should first explain the situation to the landlord and ask whether the tenancy can be transferred to you. Housing associations are usually sympathetic in these situations.
The landlord will require your ex partner to hand in his/her notice and when this has come to an end will put the tenancy in your name. If the landlord does not agree to this you should seek advice from a solicitor who specialises in family law with a view to obtaining a Court Order allowing you and your children to remain in the property.
If the landlord issues possession proceedings you should seek advice immediately from a housing law specialist. It is important that your former partner does not bring the tenancy to an end whilst you are trying to resolve matters. Therefore, if you are still in touch, ask him/her not to end the tenancy.
You can claim housing benefit even though you are not the tenant as you were formerly the partner of someone who was liable to pay the rent and have to make payments in order to continue to live in the property.
You should therefore make a claim for housing benefit immediately.
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