Possibly renting to a DSS tenant

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    Possibly renting to a DSS tenant

    Hi,

    I have a tenant whos a nice lady and been a tenant for 6 months. She's had her partner over at the weekends, so Ive met him a few times and he also seems very nice.

    Her AST is expiring next month. I will let it default to a periodic tenancy.

    She's asked if her partner can move in. She said he's on Housing Benefit and asked if he can be the renter. (Reading between the lines, I think shes thinking that it will financially help her out because his rent will be coming from benefits rather than her wage package!).

    As I say, theyre both nice people (in their late 50's) and I dont immediately begrudge anyone being on Benefits (there but for the grace of god go I... and all that!). BUT Ive never had a DSS tenant. What are the pros/cons? I assume theres a ceiling limit on housing benefit? Maybe insurance premiums will be a lot higher. Do they have more rights than a non-DSS tenant? Does the rent get paid directly to my account? Are they harder to evict?

    I presume there must be some benefits (I dont know like what!) to the Landlord that the councils makes because I know theres such a shortage of housing for DSS?

    Any guidance, advice or possibly best case/worst scenarios would be gratefully received!
    Thanks




    #2
    And you won’t be renting to a DSS tenant now either as that government department was dissolved in 2001.

    I wouldn’t be aiding and abetting with benefit fraud. Can the partner afford the rent on his own?

    Leave the tenancy as it is, joint tenancy with both of them, or tenancy in his sole name with her as a permitted occupier.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by jtufty View Post
      She's asked if her partner can move in. She said he's on Housing Benefit and asked if he can be the renter. (Reading between the lines, I think shes thinking that it will financially help her out because his rent will be coming from benefits rather than her wage package!).
      I'd suggest that she goes and checks to see how housing benefit is worked out and works in practice and she might reconsider.


      It sounds like they're planning to try and defraud the benefits system to me, which is pretty much designed to stop people doing exactly what they seem to be planning on doing.
      And the result of her proposal is that she would have no right to live in the property, which would then be her partner's home not hers.

      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


        #4
        As said above, given the attempt to defraud the tax payer i would view with suspicion anything they say. I like tenants i can trust.

        Comment


          #5
          Ah I see! I want no part in benefit fraud! I really dont think theyve thought about that in 'that way'. I think they just want to live together, and so share the expenses (with the added benefit that her monthly outgoings reduces.).

          Given the situation, how can this be managed without benefit fraud?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by DoricPixie View Post
            And you won’t be renting to a DSS tenant now either as that government department was dissolved in 2001.

            I wouldn’t be aiding and abetting with benefit fraud. Can the partner afford the rent on his own?

            Leave the tenancy as it is, joint tenancy with both of them, or tenancy in his sole name with her as a permitted occupier.
            Yes, I thought that the term 'DSS' was outdated, but all the links Ive read online seem to say that - even though the DSS closed years ago, it is still a term used by renters and landlords. Perhaps I should start saying 'DWP tenant' instead.

            No, he wont be able to afford the rent on his own.

            Sorry, are you saying the best way to do this is to have them sign a new AST in both of their names?

            Thanks guys.

            Comment


              #7
              I think that unless his name is on the tenancy agreement, he won't be able to claim housing benefit.

              But when her wages are taken into account by the DWP, will he still get the same amount of housing benefit that he receives now?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jtufty View Post

                Yes, I thought that the term 'DSS' was outdated, but all the links Ive read online seem to say that - even though the DSS closed years ago, it is still a term used by renters and landlords. Perhaps I should start saying 'DWP tenant' instead.

                No, he wont be able to afford the rent on his own.

                Sorry, are you saying the best way to do this is to have them sign a new AST in both of their names?

                Thanks guys.
                Yes, joint tenancy with both of them and if they don’t agree to that just leave the tenancy as it is now.

                Mrs Mug is right and the pair of them should see how his benefits will change once they start living together as her income will be taken into account.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jtufty View Post
                  Ah I see! I want no part in benefit fraud! I really dont think theyve thought about that in 'that way'. I think they just want to live together, and so share the expenses (with the added benefit that her monthly outgoings reduces.).
                  It's quite possible that they're not trying anything clever, just innocently asking the wrong question.
                  Hence my suggestion that they check the consequences of their different options before asking you to do anything which might actually work out to their detriment.

                  My concern is that the current tenant is, essentially, proposing to give her home to her partner - which is an odd thing to do.

                  Even sharing the ownership is one thing (and does make the current tenant vulnerable If they do split, because her partner can end her tenancy without her consent) and it's possible that the tenant doesn't appreciate this.
                  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


                    #10
                    jpkeates,

                    Indeed, I dont think they purposefully intend to commit fraud! They are not malicious like that. They just havnt thought of the ramifications. (Much like me before I posted this thread!)

                    In fact, I can understand their rational: If he gets £500pm in housing benefits; and shes paying rent from her wage; it makes sense they both cohabitate and he pays the first £500pm and she makes up the shortfall.

                    But - as has been said - the government has probably closed that loophole as it would so easily be taken advantage of!

                    I think the first step is that HE needs to speak to his 'Benefits person' and find out what housing benefit he's entitled to once they factor in HER income. Do you agree?

                    Then she can decide whether to share the ownership; or whether shed be more comfortable just to have him as an 'occupier'.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You could direct the tenant and her partner to the Turn 2 Us benefits calculator.

                      https://benefits-calculator-2.turn2u...1-a5f750cc178f

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by DoricPixie View Post
                        You could direct the tenant and her partner to the Turn 2 Us benefits calculator.

                        https://benefits-calculator-2.turn2u...1-a5f750cc178f
                        Thankyou! I will do that!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Just to note that if they move in to live together as a couple then his Housing Benefit (and any other Income Related benefit he gets, as well as any Working Tax Credit that she gets) will stop anyway and they will be required to claim Universal Credit as a couple if they want to claim benefits.

                          As said they should take a look at one or more of the benefit calculators to see what they might be entitled to as a couple living together.
                          (Personally I prefer the Entitledto calculator, but the Turn2us calculator is also fine).
                          https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Hi guys. This is just a follow-up corollary question: Are there any Government heating grants available for DSS tenants? Ive found a few articles about the subject, but theyre all really old or look outdated, for example: https://www.propertyinvestmentprojec...ficient-grant/ and http://www.warmfront.co.uk/

                            Comment


                              #15
                              The Warm Front Grant is now the Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO) .

                              This is more up to date on ECO (warmfront) grants: https://warmfront.uk/
                              Look at 'Landlord Grants'.

                              Also: https://www.gov.uk/energy-company-obligation

                              For your tenants themselves the Warm Home Discount scheme is still running, although they may be too late to apply for this winter they should check with the electricity supplier if the can pre-apply for next year. (I got my £140 for this winter paid into my electricty account last month):
                              https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme

                              Comment

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