Tenants in arrears - waiting for benefits

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    Tenants in arrears - waiting for benefits

    Hello, would appreciate some help and advice with my issue.

    A male and female couple and their adult son have been renting my 3-bed property since December 2017.

    They have been ok tenants, late with rent here and there, but have been annoying at times when they started redecorating without even telling me let alone asking for my consent and not opening the door to me when I wanted to see what changes they were making and not letting trades people in for annual gas checks for example!

    At the start of the tenancy, the male was self-employed and the female and adult son were in full time employment, but about 10 months in, they informed me the female got cancer and inconsistency in rent payments began.

    Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the self-employed male had no work, the female was off work sick, and the adult son was working sporadically.
    They were constantly in arrears during 2020 and 2021 but made random lump sum payments towards the rent.

    Currently, there are rent arrears of 6 months amounting to £8,400.

    The self-employed male is saying he is getting work here and there and that they as a couple have tried claiming benefits, but they are not getting an answer with this. They say the adult son is no longer working.

    I understand that the nature of self-employment makes calculating benefits complicated, but I don’t see why none of them are getting help towards the rent.

    I know I could serve a section 8 and section 21 notice, but all the costs and hassle with that are putting me off as well as the costs in freshening up the property for new tenants.

    Of course, I want the rent owed but they assure me, they are due an answer on their benefits.
    I have no idea about the benefits system but know that Universal Credit is the benefit that is paid in my area, so should I wait for them to hear on their eligibility for this or are they not being truthful?

    I understand that I cannot enquire with DWP about whether they have made a claim or not, but what if they’re claiming Universal Credit and not passing the rent on to me?

    Sorry for rambling and hopefully I made enough sense for some help and advice which will be most appreciated.

    Many thanks

    #2
    S21 & s8g8,10&11 TODAY.

    Google "nearly legal section 21" and check s21 would be ok. £8k+ arrears? I would have by now served several SO's for arrears.

    Suggest you research "intentionally homeless"
    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
      I think you need to serve both those notices, and take action if nothing improves.
      To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you for the prompt replies.

        I checked the mentioned resource and Section 21 will be ok to serve

        I also researched "intentionally homeless" and I’m thinking of sending the tenants this info so that they can see the consequences of their actions (or inaction).
        Might make them rethink withholding the rent if that is what they’re doing

        I’ll definitely serve both notices now and maybe this will spur them into action of some sort.
        If not, I’ll just wait the required time and take action.

        theartfullodger - could you clarify what SO’s means please?


        Many thanks

        Comment


          #5
          They are taking the p*ss. They owe you over £8k and you are thinking of letting them stay?? In the current climate anyone can get a job if they want one so why are they 'waiting for benefits'?

          Comment


            #6
            .. what if they’re claiming Universal Credit and not passing the rent on to me?
            That is entirely their choice, it's their benefit entitlement not yours, and they can spend it on what they like.

            Of course that's exactly the same as with a working tenant, if you don't pay your rent then you'll get evicted.

            Ttheir benefits situation is a red herring here, they are not paying their rent so just like any other non-payer s8 and s21 eviction notices are needed.

            If they get their benefits sorted out and start paying the rent and arrears then fair enough, the eviction notice should give them all the incentive they need to get their fingers out and get things sorted.

            It's quite possible that they have claimed UC, and are getting paid a Housing Element but using it to live on instead of paying the rent because the rest is taking a long time to sort out.
            You can only ask them if that is what is happening, and reinforcet that if they don't pay the rent they are going to be out on the streets.

            As regards info on UC, and other benefits they may be able to claim:

            A new UC claim takes 5 weeks to get the first payment after making a claim, but you can get an 'advance' of up to a months UC payment as soon as your ID has been verified. (If you take an advance it has to be paid back over up to 2 years by deduction from your ongoing UC).

            Self employment can be a PITA with UC, there are all kinds of complicated rules about SE in UC.
            It just gets more complicated if the SE is intermittent as his seems to be, with self employment UC can treat you as earning a certain amount each month even though you are not earning anything.

            If her cancer is terminal then there is extra money in UC that she can get automatically with no need for an assessment, the LCWRA element. (Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity).
            She can also claim PIP automatically, with no need for an assessment.
            Not all cancers are terminal, to quailfy for the benefits automatically you have to be expected to live less than 12 months (6 for PIP but that will soon be changing to 12 as well).
            She could still qualify for the extra in UC, and for PIP, if not terminal but she'd need assessments for each which are currently taking 6 to 9 months for each.

            The Adult son needs to make his own benefits claim if he is not working.
            That could be for UC, of for Jobseekers Allowance if he has paid enough NI in the last 2 tax years. (It's posible to claim both UC and JSA at the same time, but the JSA payment gets deducted from the UC payment).


            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by louboutin100 View Post
              ,,...
              If not, I’ll just wait the required time and take action.

              theartfullodger - could you clarify what SO’s means please?


              Many thanks
              SO's is a typo for S8s... (age, stupidity...)

              Re.
              but what if they’re claiming Universal Credit and not passing the rent on to me?
              I spend my "Winter Fuel Allowance" on wine not utility bills, my £10 Xmas bonus on a pagan organisation etc etc etc...

              Is that wrong?
              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


                #8
                There is no way on earth that someone entitled to benefits isn't getting them.
                There may be a delay initially, and it's quite easy to be sanctioned having started to receive them.

                But anyone who claims that they're not getting them is either not entitled to them or lying.
                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


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                  There is no way on earth that someone entitled to benefits isn't getting them.
                  T..........
                  Tragically this ain't true.

                  A mixture of including....
                  - over-aggressive rejection of claims by those handling them (often commercial organisations) - particularly PiP, DLA etc ...
                  - people not claiming as they don't think they deserve them.. (I have a close relative in this category...)
                  - people not claiming as they are too busy with other crises in their lives.... (have another close relo in this box, too busy sorting out consequences of death of partner etc etc - she will get round to it..)
                  - people not claiming due to lack of access to advice, internet, awareness etc etc..

                  see...
                  https://www.entitledto.co.uk/blog/20...med-each-year/
                  Our annual review suggests about £15 billion of benefits remain unclaimed each year

                  February 25, 2022
                  Landlords can help tenants in various ways, including pointing them at gov.uk benefit calculators as many of us know...

                  https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

                  Best regards to all
                  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


                    #10
                    Originally posted by louboutin100 View Post
                    but what if they’re claiming Universal Credit and not passing the rent on to me?
                    The housing element of universal credit is for them to pay their rent, which is why there is provision for landlords to apply for direct rent payment if they are not doing;

                    https://directpayment.universal-credit.service.gov.uk/

                    (Worth trying even if you don't know for sure that they are claiming.)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Serve notice on your T's, T's on benefits face no penalties or consequences for their actions, if they don't pass on the rent and spend the money else where. Do not try to be helpful, be professional, and wait for their defence, I'm sure it wont be flattering towards you. S21 is your best bet before it is removed, act quickly.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I'm not sure how you classify them as ok tenants - decorating without consulting with you, refusing you access to the property, refusing to let the gas safety certificate man in, when by law you have to do that certificate. I assume you gave them the appropriate written notice to enter the property, pursuant to the lease.

                        By not letting in the gas safety certificate man, that means that you do not have an up to date gas safety certificate, and thus you cannot give them notice to leave, because if you fail to have an up to date gas safety certificate the notice is invalid.

                        I think they are playing you. I would start all the necessary proceedings to get rid of these tenants. Don't fall for the sob stories, the world is full of sob stories. Don't decide it's hassle - do you want them to live for free in your property for ever? Get rid of them!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Covent Garden Girl View Post
                          By not letting in the gas safety certificate man, that means that you do not have an up to date gas safety certificate, and thus you cannot give them notice to leave, because if you fail to have an up to date gas safety certificate the notice is invalid.
                          That isn't correct.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Covent Garden Girl View Post
                            ....

                            By not letting in the gas safety certificate man, that means that you do not have an up to date gas safety certificate, and thus you cannot give them notice to leave,.....!

                            AFAIK a "Notice to leave" only exists and covered by legislation in Scotland.
                            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


                              #15
                              Originally posted by boletus View Post

                              That isn't correct.
                              Ah well, Foxtons told me that I needed to supply them with a valid Gas Safety Certificate before they could serve the tenants with the section 21 two months notice to leave.

                              If that's not right, then they told me the wrong thing.

                              Comment

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