Question about letting to DSS tenants

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    #16
    Yeah sorry I know - that post wasn't to anyone in particular. Maybe I worded it a bit poorly.

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      #17
      Originally posted by Hoppimike View Post
      Also... what about this?

      "It states that an overpayment which was not caused by a misrepresentation, failure to disclose information or an official error is recoverable from both the claimant and the person to whom it was paid (landlord/agent)"

      https://www.gov.uk/government/public...f-overpayments
      The way that the benefits system has been changed is that the tenant receives a sum of money (calculated to be based on their needs) and then they are free to do what they want with it.

      There's a component of the benefits that someone is eligible for that arises from their need to afford somewhere to live.
      But the overall amount that someone receives isn't broken down into its components (and is all subject to an absolute cap for example).

      When some of the tenant's money is sent to a landlord, that's simply for convenience. It's still just part of the tenant's benefits.
      And, fundamentally, as part of the landlord's agreement to receive the direct payment, they also have to agree to return it if required to do so.

      So, if the DWP (or, to a lesser extent nowadays, the LA) decide that the tenant wasn't entitled to all or some of the housing element they have received, they demand it back.
      If it was paid to the tenant, they simply reduce the benefits being paid to them until the overpayment is repaid.
      If it was paid to the landlord, they demand it back from the landlord.

      It doesn't matter what the landlord did or knew.

      It isn't complicated, it's just part of how the system works.
      Lots of tenants on benefits are great tenants, wanting or needing the rent to be paid by the state direct is usually a serious red flag.
      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).

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        #18
        Hi sorry I didn't see this before.

        I do think all reclaiming of money is unreasonable as I don't see the difference between this and if an employer decided to do it because someone had been slacking off at work.

        That being said though, your post implies that if I refuse direct payments then I should be OK

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          #19
          Originally posted by Hoppimike View Post
          That being said though, your post implies that if I refuse direct payments then I should be OK
          If you accept direct payments you should probably put it to one side on the basis that it isn't secure income - so you're only accepting it as it's (slightly) better than getting nothing at all.

          Now things are returning to normal post plague, if a tenant went into arrears, I'd suggest that repossession is a better option than a direct payment from the DWP.
          During the pandemic, the direct payment was pretty much the only option available.
          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).

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            #20
            Ah interesting. I can always refuse it though right? If so then it seems like I'm safe

            And yeah it would be bad to get income that was so uncertain, especially if this is what you need to live on.

            They act as if the landlord has as much money to play with as they do.

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              #21
              i think the reality is that it may not matter which direction the money comes from when things return to normality, at least not in the area i live.

              i had an issue a couple of years ago when a tenant didnt pay for a month, i initiated a S21 and started a MCoL - tenant ignored responding to the MCoL for a couple of weeks, but then i got the call from housing ....... they acknowledged everything i did was correct and legal and had told the tenants it was ...

              after a meeting at the property i was asked to reconsider the S21 - the LA paid up all outstanding debts direct to me within 2 days and 'liaised' with the tenant to get the property back to an acceptable condition, which they did. i stated throughout that the S21 had nothing to do with rent arrears and told them any reason i had eviction was not a matter for them and i didnt have to disclose it to them. to be fair on them they accepted my position without question (and i suspect a lot of sympathy)

              the truth of the matter is in my area, that if the tenant has children, it will cost them more to rehouse or provide temp accommodation than it would for the LA to pay off the debt - whoever they apportion that debt to ..

              so if you are pushed to repay, look to evict, issue a MCoL and see what happens, rather then roll over and accept a bottom slap !

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                #22
                Interesting! I know nothing about MCoLs so it sounds like I should learn about that.

                I googled them just a second ago and will continue learning.

                I'm glad it worked out well for you in the end, and thanks for the advice!

                The conclusion I eventually came to is that it all depends on the benefit and really I should look at them individually and see what the law says, as and when they come up.

                It's all pretty complicated when you're new and it's hard to know where the worst pitfalls are so it's easy to become overly cautious!

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                  #23
                  dont worry about being over cautious initially - the biggest pitfall imho, is in tenant selection, then selecting the correct tenants and then getting the right tenants selected ....... - you may notice a pattern emerging ... LOL

                  as an aside to the example i quoted, that particular tenant also agreed to have payments made to me direct and they topped up the difference ( we always set rates higher than the LHA housing rate), however, when they recently left, they stopped the payment and gave me no notice of leaving, they just left and told me via text that they had left.

                  so we then had a couple of options, pursue them for the 1 months notice rent or get them to surrender the tenancy in writing and move on .... we chose to accept their 'surrender' and told them we would pursue them for the final months rent, which they had stopped prior to payment. They agreed to pay in full (in writing) in two instalments, which they honoured. we were glad to see them go, spent a few weeks redecorating, new carpets etc and advertised and showed during the refurb to cut down on a void period (which was just over one month). we took the opportunity to raise the rent by £50 per month (and were offered more by a couple of people !!) - so it all worked out in the end - i like to think that because we previously used the MCoL process, which was outside of having to go to court and seemed an easier process for us, they were under no illusion we would do the same thing, of course it might have been because deep down they were decent people ......

                  most of our tenants are on one form of benefit or another and throughout covid, we have had 100% payments from all our (6) properties, so we consider ourselves thankful that we now have a quite thorough tenant selection process and dont just accept the first tenant to view (which is what some agencies work on ..)

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                    #24
                    Hoppimike - PLEASE take on your benefits tenant.

                    Within a year or so, you can increase the rent by 10% (NOT) like the rest of us will be doing to cover extra Gov burdens. You can then (NOT) do it the next year too when those burdens hit once more.

                    The main BENEFIT in you taking on your benefits claimant (I'm not talking top-up claimant here) is that WE WON'T HAVE TO WORRY about it being any of us.
                    My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol

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