Housing benefit, rent, getting paid directly to me.

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  • Housing benefit, rent, getting paid directly to me.

    I am a new landlord and am considering taking on a tenant receiving DSS housing benefit. Can I ask for the rent to be paid directly to me? Is there any other issues I should be aware of before taking on a person in reciept of housing benefit? Thanks

  • #2
    If you do not know the housing benefit system, I would not advise you to take on someone on housing benefit.
    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

    Comment


    • #3
      wbm

      If you examine the historic posts on this site you'll get an idea of the range of issues you might need to address when taking on tenants reliant on HB. Speak to experienced landlords in your area and get a flavour of how things work and what you need do when things don't go to plan. Don't take the plunge until you've done this research or until you've secured an agent who has the necessary know how!

      HBadvocacy
      www.hbadvice.co.uk

      Comment


      • #4
        I disagree with this to a certain extent.
        The key is not whether you accept HB clients or Working Tenants, it is the calibre of the tenant.
        You can have a working person who chooses to use his wages on things other than your rent.
        And you can have a HB client who pays you without fail and keeps your house spotless.
        Housing Benefit is paid direct to the tenant at the moment,(there are some loopholes), but you have got the chance to get it paid to you if they are struggling or are in arrears.
        Don't be put off getting a HB person, but just make sure you pick the right one, and then do your research on the legalities of HB.
        Believe it or not you can ask local councils for advice, and they will give it willingly, most areas also have a housing advice centre, which gives tenants and landlords help with HB clients (good if your having problems with a particular case).
        Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          You can make an offer to the tenant of a tenancy on the condition that LHA is paid directly to you. It is up to them to take that to the council and get a written confirmation that the council are willing to do so under section 96(3A)(b)(iv) of the 2006 Housing Benefit Regulations (as amended in 2007 & 2010).

          Do not allow the tenancy to commence (or the tenant to move in) until you have that in writing.

          May I suggest you read here: http://tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/index..._benefits/0-54

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          • #6
            Snorkez,

            I don't often disagree with you but have to say I don't think anyone could sign a tenancy agreement on the basis you've suggested. The question of whether LHA is paid direct, is as you know, a discretionary decision, for the council alone to make. Consequently, it is unrealistic for anyone to bind themselves in writing to something outwith their own control.

            HBadvocacy
            www.hbadvice.co.uk

            Comment


            • #7
              I have tried many times to get my local council to put in writing that a tenant will be allowed to get the rent paid directly to myself before signing a contract,but have never had any joy, I'm afraid.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by hbadvocacy View Post
                Snorkez,

                I don't often disagree with you but have to say I don't think anyone could sign a tenancy agreement on the basis you've suggested. The question of whether LHA is paid direct, is as you know, a discretionary decision, for the council alone to make. Consequently, it is unrealistic for anyone to bind themselves in writing to something outwith their own control.

                HBadvocacy
                www.hbadvice.co.uk
                Okay HBA, so how could the authority authorise direct payment to landlord in order to help the tenant obtain a tenancy if the tenancy has already been granted? No need for the LA to do anything once the tenancy is granted. You know the ways the authorities work far better than I, how can a landlord ensure he gets direct pament via 96(3A)(b)(iv)?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Snorkez,

                  Firstly, I sympathise with what you're trying to achieve. Secondly, I don't make the rules, just interpret them, invariably in favour of my landlord clients. However, one of the primary rules of Housing Benefit (Regulation 8) is there must be a liability before any award of Housing Benefit can even be considerwed never mind awarded. Because of the rule, most councils will demand to see evidence of the liability before they make a decision. Without evidence of the liability, no housing benefit should be awarded.

                  Consequently, applying your approach, if I was the Decision Maker I would refuse to consider your tenant's claim until I saw evidence of the liability. If I found that you've reduced the contractual to the LHA level in your area, applying the new rule 96(3A)(b)(iv), and the associated LHA guidance, I should award you the "direct payment" you seek. If I didn't make the award you could appeal the decision with every likelihood of success.

                  Finally, I've came across a number of landlords who have tried to trump the HB Regulations by creating inventive belt & braces provisions in their tenancy agreements only to find that both First-tier tribunals and UT Judges ensure that the HB legislation always prevails.

                  Hbadvocacy
                  www.hbadvice.co.uk

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I can't observe the 2007 amendments, but neither the 2006 or the 2010 acts put any requirement on the landlrd to lower rent to LHA level to get direct payment (well, not for reg 96). I don't think that was an issue in 2007 so I imagine that does not have the requirement either.

                    I am not arguing, just seeking clarity - you know how these guys work, in what circumstances could they
                    (pay direct to the landlord) to assist the claimant in securing . . . a tenancy (2010 amendments)? It does not seem possible to me. If it isn't possible, and it's a poorly thought out regulation, then I can accept that, but I want to be clear because I need to know that the advice I give is accurate and doesn't ignore opportunities for landlords or tenants.

                    Legislation that is not physically possible to perform can not always prevail!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Snorkez,

                      You appear to be looking for cast iron guarantee, based on a regulation (Reg 96) which is essentially dicretionary in nature. The provision was, as the accompanying HB/CTB circular suggested, introduced as a short term measure which will not be around when Universal Credit is introduced. It was designed to seduce landlords into reducing their contractual rent below the open market level to an "affordable rate" i.e. the LHA capped rate in most instances. In so doing, the Government was hoping to vastly reduce the LHA bill. Whether it will achieve its objective remains to be seen.

                      However, I go back to my original comments: a) there needs to be a liability before a decision can be made; b) it is unreasonable to ask someone to sign a tenancy agreement binding themselves to "direct payments" when this is something completely outwith their own control; and c)If following application under 96(3A)(b)(iv)this is refused, simply have the tenant appeal as his/her chances are exceptionally good.

                      HBadvocacy
                      www.hbadvice.co.uk

                      Comment

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