LHA tenant calendar month v 4 weekly payments

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  • thesaint
    replied
    Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
    In Liverpool it is more like 35% - I did a rough calculation during a council meeting when I heard the figures, estimating the lost rent (based on 8 weeks arrears on an average 3 bed LHA rate) of around £14m. I asked the council rep "who will be repaying this (very likely conservative guess) £14m back to landlords"

    No answer was forthcoming...
    Would that information be likely to be given if a Freedom of Information Act request was submitted?

    Leave a comment:


  • Wickerman
    replied
    Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
    At a Slough LL forum Tuesday. (Probably about 40/50 attendees, including the avaricious "networkers" after someone-elses's money...) SBC gave a statistic - currently they pay 20%-ish of LHA direct to LL. Higher than I expected...
    In Liverpool it is more like 35% - I did a rough calculation during a council meeting when I heard the figures, estimating the lost rent (based on 8 weeks arrears on an average 3 bed LHA rate) of around £14m. I asked the council rep "who will be repaying this (very likely conservative guess) £14m back to landlords"

    No answer was forthcoming...

    Leave a comment:


  • Michael Clayton
    replied
    You are unlikely to encounter a situation in which LHA is paid in respect of a Housing Association property. LHA was created specifically for people living in accommodation owned by private landlords. Traditional 'HB' continues to be paid to housing association tenants and those who claimed prior to the LHA inception date (7/4/2008 I think it was).

    With LHA came a whole raft of legislation specific to tenants residing in 'private' dwellings. The most unfortunate consequence of which (from a disgruntled landlord's point of view) is the decision to pay tenants as far as possible.

    Leave a comment:


  • Esio Trot
    replied
    Originally posted by aprilnjune View Post
    I was informed today by an employee of a housing association that they and all other HA's always get their LHA money direct! Is this true?

    If it is true, its not fair.

    Mustn't grumble.
    Certainly is true.

    You have to cast your mind back and think New Labour.

    LHA was heralded as a watershed change to Housing Benefit, where all tenants would receive their rent money direct - whether private or social. It was all to do with the concept of Empowerment, where the government took the view that if tenants received their rent direct, it would assist them to be aware of costs and would help them when finding a job. This is because it would ease the 'transition' from benefits, as they would be used to paying the rent themselves anyway.

    A pilot scheme was trialled (where the areas piloted had extra help in administration etc) and it found that, despite fears raised by landlords and housing charities, that the rise in rent arrears due to direct payment although higher than before was 'not significant'. The scheme was then brought in nationally in April 2008 for privately rented accommodation, with social landlords expected to move to LHA the following year.

    Within months of the scheme coming in, local councils were finding that there was an increase in rent arrears. In response social landlords then embarked on a coordinated lobbying campaign to stop the impending change to direct payments.

    Now, in late Autumn 2008 I recall reading a parliament report where the housing minister announced that social landlords would not be subject to the requirements of direct payments. The reason given for this was that as social landlords were 'not-for-profit organisations', any increase in rent arrears would have significantly greater impact on them and would directly affect their sustainability.

    Since then I have often spent time (and it adds up to quite a few hours now) trying to find the above, searching through parliament records online - but have failed so far.

    The reason I wanted to find this is to pursue it through my MP because by making the above statement, it blew a big hole in the whole New Labour policy of empowering tenants. My biggest question was going to ask why private tenants can be empowered, but tenants of social landlords are not thought capable of this? Are the tenant of social landlords regarded as second class and unable to manage their affairs?

    It certainly means that, as is often the case, private landlords get the messy end of the stick. And yes, it's not fair.

    Leave a comment:


  • Trishc
    replied
    Thanks Artful. A little moment of win for us decent hard working Local Council Benefit officers out there. (honestly, it makes a difference!)This is not a good time to be in HB, we have no idea how things are going to pan out, and the quoted timescales are ambitious to say the least. Take into account the probable change of goverments during said timescale and add in the amazing amount of FOI requests regarding HB payments we've had over the last 2 weeks, and its amazing we manage to maintain regular service. But we do.

    This time next year, we'll look back and laugh. Manic mwuahahaha laughter with tears probably, but there you go.

    Leave a comment:


  • theartfullodger
    replied
    At a Slough LL forum Tuesday. (Probably about 40/50 attendees, including the avaricious "networkers" after someone-elses's money...) SBC gave a statistic - currently they pay 20%-ish of LHA direct to LL. Higher than I expected...

    I hesitate to defend local authorities but being told "your budgets will be cut 7% pa for 4 years" at the same time as being told "Oh, we are radically changing the rules, laws, regulations, approach to housing benefits" can't be comfortable for the good & decent hardworking council officers,... (there are others...). And hearing LLs speak as though HB/LHA was there for LL benefit .....


    Cheers!


    Artful

    Leave a comment:


  • jeffrey
    replied
    Originally posted by aprilnjune View Post
    throw a few fire extinguishers off roofs.
    A bit incendiary, that. Douse your fiery rhetoric.

    Leave a comment:


  • aprilnjune
    replied
    You are quite right, us private landlords Must Grumble, but having spent the last 7/8years going to meetings with the local council (who keep saying they are there to help) to express my concerns about such issues, have achieved nothing.
    While landlords have no united voice then we will be at the mercy of what ever silly ideas the Gov come up with next.
    Point of interest, there are about 3,000 landlords in the area, 4 turned up to Tuesdays meeting.
    Perhaps we all need to get together and throw a few fire extinguishers off roofs.

    Leave a comment:


  • jta
    replied
    Originally posted by aprilnjune View Post

    Mustn't grumble.
    Why not? If you just accept it the Guvmint will assume you don't have a problem with it.

    Leave a comment:


  • thesaint
    replied
    Originally posted by MrNiceGuy View Post

    My first tenant will be in receipt of LHA and though they've asked Council to pay me direct, there's no guarantee that's going to be approved at this stage. Am I ok with getting tenant to sign an AST that states rent is due calendar monthly in advance, but agreeing with them that they can pay 4 weekly in arrears, ie either direct from the Council or from their bank account the day after they receive the LHA?

    This is what I usually agree to.
    I make it clear that as long as they stick to the agreement, we will allow payment 4 weekly in arrears, as soon as they default, there rent is due monthly in advance.

    Originally posted by Solent Watcher View Post
    the fact that a person does not have a bank account is not grounds for direct payment under any circumstances.
    Even if they don't have one, and can't get one because of poor credit?

    Originally posted by aprilnjune View Post
    I was informed today by an employee of a housing association that they and all other HA's always get their LHA money direct! Is this true?

    If it is true, its not fair.

    Mustn't grumble.
    It's true.

    LHA was supposed to empower tenants to take control of their finances.

    For some reason, the government does not force this new age thinking on the local councils etc, just private landlords who are forced to deal with tenants who will not pay.

    Leave a comment:


  • jeffrey
    replied
    It probably is true. Most Governments bend rules to favour those who favour them. NewLabour liked Local Authorities and Housing Associations (but not private landlords all that much).

    Leave a comment:


  • aprilnjune
    replied
    I was informed today by an employee of a housing association that they and all other HA's always get their LHA money direct! Is this true?

    If it is true, its not fair.

    Mustn't grumble.

    Leave a comment:


  • Solent Watcher
    replied
    If I can add my five eggs!!! Have considerable experience of dealing with HB in my area and they (HB) do not apply the eight week rule. they look for two things firstly whether there are rent arrears when the HB claim kicks off (person with you but then loses job). Critically they do not wait 8 weeks they make an objective assessment. They then write to both to parties to provide claimant opportunity to challenge payment direct within 7 days if he/she does not challenge then the payment thread kicks off. My area HB used to be terrible but new man at the top and I find in all my dealing with them professional and v helpful. In summary 8 week does not seem to be mandatory but merely "guidance" if rent arrears exist at the beginning of a HB claim then providing it is £400 or so they can if they (HB) so wish pay LL direct. the fact that a person does not have a bank account is not grounds for direct payment under any circumstances. So probably ask the question of your area HB in what circumstances they do not follow the 8 week rule. re process time my area is 28 days maximum.

    Leave a comment:


  • the Optimist
    replied
    This is just my experience but it may be useful. I had an LHA tenant who, from the start, asked the council to pay his LHA directly to me, as he could not get a bank account (bad credit).
    The change of rules from HB to LHA make the circumstances for direct payment very specific- it is not enough for the tenant to just tick the box on the application (mine did to no avail).

    Despite both him and I being in agreement about the LHA paid to me, and despite the council agreeing verbally that his inability to get a bank account did constitute sufficient grounds for direct payment, this was never processed. We called, sent e-mails and wrote. Nothing happened for 9 months, at the end of which the tenant decided to surrender his tenancy regardless and left with rent arrears. I decided to cut my losses and move on.

    There is of course the 8 weeks in arears route- but remember by the time 8 weeks have passed you will be substantially out of pocket and that LHA is only paid once (i.e. if the tenant received it and not paid his rent, the council will not pay the landlord again, nor will they pursue the matter with the tenant- strange but true).

    So my word of warning: this may differ from place to place, but obtaining direct payment in any other circumstances other than 8 weeks arears is likely to be very difficult and possibly even discouraged in some quarters- proceed with caution.

    Leave a comment:


  • MrNiceGuy
    replied
    Thanks, I've taken your collective advice and gone for calendar monthly in advance. In response to your point Jeffrey, T says they cannot pay one month from their own money, but I have insisted on a deposit, which I will lodge with DPS.
    Thanks again for your help guys.

    Leave a comment:

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