Tenant applying for Universal Credit sent to prison in arrears/council inept

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    Tenant applying for Universal Credit sent to prison in arrears/council inept

    Hi
    Joined today in the hope that someone can help me with a bit of a nightmare scenario
    My tenant was making a claim for HB and other benefits via Universal Credit after losing his job
    The claim was being processed when he was arrested and subsequently sent to prison
    Before this, I asked explicitly that any arrears owed be paid direct to me- it's money owed to me, and I know they are able to pay me direct as I have another tenant on HB, but in their infinite wisdom they paid it to him days AFTER he was sent prison, despite me informing them that he had been sentenced and was definitely going to be sent to prison
    They had time to stop the payment, but for some baffling reason they paid it anyway- complete ineptitude at best
    They are now telling me it is out of their hands and that I will have to make a civil court claim to recover the money from a man who may be banged up for years
    I am so frustrated that they have allowed this to happen, and it's put me in severe financial diffculty
    Any advice with regards to what I can do in relation to the council's diabolical mamagement of this situation, who I should complain to and whether a Freedom of Information request in regards to the phone calls between me and the Council will bear fruit (it potentially proves that they made assurances they shouldn't about payments and implied that letting him remain in the house until the arrears had been paid would be seen in a good light by the decisions makers
    Thanks in advance for all your help

    #2
    I trust you have served s8 arrears notices for each and every occurrence of missed or under-paid rent. Yes, s8g10 may be validly served if only 1p is underpaid for only 1 day. And copy to council housing dept.

    Just because he is in prison does not end tenancy: There is the classic case of Amoah v Barking and Dagenham LBC 2001: Prisoner serving long sentence had not ceased to reside.


    STRONGLY suggest you serve s8s & s21 TODAY if they would be valid and also try to arrange early surrender of the tenancy with tenant.

    If it is UC Housing Element then it's not the council it's central government's DWP: Run by that bunch of clowns who seem strangely diverted by Br*x****t. Surprised the council spoke to you about UC - or do I misunderstand something, please?
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      You are not the only one, most people don't have to get a grip with benefits and how they work (or not) until it affects them directly.

      Money paid as benefits is paid to the benefit claimant and is the benefit claimants money.

      It is the claimants legal entitlement to benefits - It is not your entitlement as a landlord, or anyone elses entitlement.

      What the benefit claimant does with that money is up to them, it is their money.
      It's exactly the same as how an an employed person can choose how to use their money.

      If they choose not to pay rent (or their electric bill, or their TV licence, or their car insurance, or .....) then that is not the DWP's(or councils) problem.

      The fact that you had asked for his (housing) benefits to be paid directly to you is of no consequence.
      Even if you were already getting some of his benefits paid directly to you for his rent that would be a benefit agreement and not your legal right under benefit legislation.
      (If you had a court order to 'attach' his benefits for rent directly to you then that would be a different matter).

      PS, As well as you seeming lack of general benefit knowledge -
      As a landlord you need to educate yourself about the difference between Universal Credit Housing Element from the DWP and the legacy Housing Benefit from the council.
      If you don't then you are going to come unstuck because the laws and rules are different.

      Comment

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