Mrs P suffers from an anxiety disorder and panic attacks and had been unable to work since 2018. When her landlady decided to sell the property, she urgently needed somewhere new. Finding new properties that worked for Mrs P's mental health needs was our top priority. 

Nearly 80% of renters we support report having mental health concerns, physical health conditions or both.

In 2018 she was signed off from work after a breakdown at her workplace, and in late 2020 attempted suicide. Thankfully, she already had support around her from the Southwark Wellbeing Hub and other mental health agencies. But she had been served a Section 21 when the landlady decided to sell the property and had built up a few hundred pounds of arrears after being signed off from work and her Universal Credit payments decreasing by £200
due to the benefit cap and repayments of a DWP loan with was accidentally paid to her. We started by speaking to the potential buyers of the landlord’s property to explain to current barriers in the borough to moving tenants on Universal Credit, allowing Mrs P more time and reassuring them that we would support her to move. Eventually, the landlord decided to pursue the Section 21 eviction.

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Even though I feel anxious about living in a shared place, I want to focus on the positives in that I will have company.

I am so relieved, and now I can focus on healing and making my mental health better.” 

Ms P’s anxiety disorder meant that going to viewing for properties was challenging, as was having to repeat her story to the various stakeholders involved in supporting her. Our Housing Link Worker found 20 possible new properties, but Mrs P was unable to view many of the options. She was self-conscious about how she was viewed, felt judged, and also simply found it difficult attend viewings due to her social anxiety. Still, she also continued to look for properties herself with our encouragement, and eventually found a property as a lodger with a landlord who she felt comfortable with. We supported her to apply for PIP and DHP payments; referred to her to debt charity Step Change to help tackle her previous arrears; and connected her to local foodbanks.

It was incredibly important that Mrs P found a home that was suitable for her. She told us she felt able to share a little about her mental health struggles with the new landlord and she had a good a supportive response, making her feel comfortable enough to want to settle in there. We worked with her to make sure she was receiving the income she was entitled to at her new address and encouraged her to keep up connections with the wellbeing hubs close to her.

*Name has been changed to protect client identity. 

To find out more about our support for renters in the private sector or if you have any questions about the above, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us to arrange an informal chat at: info@kineara.co.uk or call 020 3976 1450.