Housing Benefit tenant stops paying - money claim still possible?

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    Housing Benefit tenant stops paying - money claim still possible?

    Hi all,

    Hope you are all well and safe in this crazy world!

    I have a tenancy with a tenant who is on housing benefit and has a guarantor. The rent payments as of late were all hit and miss and have since March stopped altogether. A s21 was served and possession proceedings ready to go out but obvs this won't happen now... Even though it has nothing to do with covid. No answers from either party after many attempts.

    My question - can I still bring a money claim against tenant and more importantly the guarantor for the rent arrears? I don't think I should let this mount up...

    The CCBC is still open and functioning isn't this?

    Any thoughts or advice very welcome.

    #2
    Have you asked DWP to pay the rent directly to you?

    Comment


      #3
      Yes thanks the UC47 has also just been sent out but that won't deal with existing arrears I guess...

      Comment


        #4
        Yes, you can make a money claim.

        Ideally, you'd wait until the debt was fixed, because otherwise there's a risk that the courts will start awarding costs against you for making a series of claims for what's effectively the same debt.

        But times are a bit odd at the moment, so it might be a sensible prompt to the tenant and guarantor.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks jpkeates

          On the UC47 does anyone know what happens after submission? I've yet to hear back from them...

          Comment


            #6
            So I just had the following back from DWP on the request to pay housing benefit directly to the landlord:

            "Dear Sirs

            Not Applying Third Party Deductions

            Thank you for your attached request to apply deductions to a claimant’s benefit. Unfortunately, we are not able to apply these deductions at the current time.

            In response to the COVID-19 crisis a review of DWP deployment has meant that the resource normally in place to do this work has been redirected to more critical areas of our business.

            What this means to you

            We will hold a copy of your request for deductions and process it at such time when DWP priorities return back to normal.

            On behalf of the DWP, we wish to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

            Yours Faithfully

            Third Party Deduction Team
            Barnsley Service Centre"

            So this means they're allowing housing benefit tenants to misuse housing benefit for the foreseeable future? Awesome!

            Comment


              #7
              Anyone still think this lot are Conservatives?

              Comment


                #8
                Why did you not ask for the rent element to be paid directly to you?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by mariner View Post
                  Why did you not ask for the rent element to be paid directly to you?
                  Isn't this what I just did? You left me confused. Or do you mean something else?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Just to note here that whilst you can still apply for ongoing rent payments to be paid direct to landlord (once they get round to processing them again that is) applications for deductions for arrears will not be processed at the moment.

                    New applications for collection of third party debts from benefits has been put on hold for the duration of the crisis.

                    Indeed I have seen reports that existing decuctions for arrears have also been stopped in some cases, ongoing rent is still being paid in those cases.

                    It's not just rents, direct deduction from benefits for all arrears (utilities, benefit overpayments, even court fines) have been temporarilly suspended.
                    Direct deductions for ongoing costs are still being taken.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Well I did apply for rent to be paid to the landlord. Not for existing arrears to be deducted. This is what the UC47 is for isn't it? Also the letter refers to deductions which I don't think is specific to arrears?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        The UC47 is used for both deductions for ongoing rent and deductions for arrears.

                        Here's the link for the application if others want/need it: https://www.gov.uk/government/public...ears-deduction

                        I was just pointing out that although the ongoing rent will be sorted once they have got staff back from processing the 2 million or so new UC claims that have been made, arrears deductions will be on hold for longer.
                        (And you may even have to apply again for any arrears once deductions for arrears restart, that's not clear yet).

                        PS. There is a new online application that is to replace the UC47 and takes hours to process instead of weeks.
                        It has been sucessfully piloted last year but it's not been rolled out yet. (They wanted to get monthly/4-weekly payment dates sorted out first).
                        https://www.property118.com/new-onli...om-uc-tenants/
                        We may see that introduced soon, there have been a few new electronic systems for benefits introduced in the last month that were already on the back burner but have suddenly become a bigger priority.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          OK thanks for clarifying. Although this form to me doesn't look like you can also use it for arrears, only for future rent payments. Anyways, it's all on hold for now which means benefits tenants can misuse public funds unscathed. Great situation.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I don’t know where you are in the country, but I’ve had the same problem with my tenants. I emailed my local council, Bournemouth, who had specific information on their site re help for landlords. I email, said I believed my tenants were in receipt of housing benefit, said they were 8 weeks in arrears with rent and provided an arrears statement. They have awarded direct payment of HA. Doesn’t help with arrears and isn’t anywhere near full amount but better than nothing. I’m now looking at info to do a money claim online for arrears.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              This is in North Somerset but the letter came from Universal Credit so not from the local council anymore...

                              Comment

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