Tenant choosing not to pay rent!

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  • FionaHI
    started a topic Tenant choosing not to pay rent!

    Tenant choosing not to pay rent!

    Hi

    I have issued my tenant with notice to leave the house as they did not pay rent. She lost her job and couldn't afford to live there and I was sympathetic to them re this. I have since found out that they had enough money in the bank to pay the rent but have chosen not too! They still have a few weeks in the flat and are deemed to have made themselves homeless through non payment of rent etc. Is there anyway that I can speed up their removal?. This seems grossly unfair, as I am in debt and no doubt they are saving their housing benefit etc for the next place. I am tempted to contact the whomever pays housing benefit and advise them what this couple are doing. I am also thinking that now may be the time to start court action to try and recover arrears. At least I know where they currently live. Any thoughts please? Thanks

  • nukecad
    replied
    Of course it's possible to ask the council to pay HB direct to the LL. My own HB is paid that way.

    Councils want to see 8 weeks arrears if it the LL on his own is asking for direct payments to be set up.
    Some councils will only do it in cases of arrears, others will do it if both the LL and tenant ask/agree together for direct payment to be set up before possible arrears arise.
    Check your own council website to see their policy on direct HB payments to LL's.

    However if it Universal Credit Housing Element that is being claimed, rather than HB, then that is paid by the DWP (not by the council) and has different rules which I gave a link to above.

    Very few people can now make a new claim for Housing Benefit from the council, almost all new benefit claims for help with rent have to be Universal Credit Housing Element which is administered by the DWP.
    Oddy though the councils are still responsible for all Discretionary Housing Payments. (UC lack of planning strikes again).

    Existing HB claims will eventually be 'Managed Migrated' to UC in the next few years, and so all 'help with rent' benefit will become UC-HE.
    (There will still be a few special cases of HB that are council responsibility, but these will be 'supported sheltered' housing and the like so not relevant to private rentals).

    Leave a comment:


  • blinko
    replied
    The really interesting replies here so to clarify are we saying that it is not possible to go to the council and ask for the housing benefit to be redirected to the landlord

    if it is the case that this is possible is there a minimum timeframe EG 2 months in arrears

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  • nukecad
    replied
    Just to clarify/correct something that I said above:

    "Once that benefit is paid it becomes the tenants money and there is no obligation in benefit law that the tenant actually passes it on to the LL."

    Obviously there is an obligation under a tenancy agreement for rent to be paid.

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    And even when the benefit is being paid directly to the landlord, it's being paid on behalf of the tenant.
    So if the tenant has their benefit(s) sanctioned the payments stop.

    If the local authority retrospectively decides that the tenant wasn't entitled to the benefit, they will recover the money paid from the landlord.

    Leave a comment:


  • nukecad
    replied
    Originally posted by Wainwright View Post
    So did I! On only a (albeit fairly strong) suspicion T was in receipt of LHA, I called the council and told them he had stopped paying rent! They suspended the claim from there on. Just knew he was planning on doing a runner (minus the rent, in this case!) and turned out again I was right. So yes, def worth a shot!
    The will have stopped paying him HB because he has left the property; not because he wasn't passing it on to you.

    The law is clear on this, as long as the tenant is living in the property then they are entitled to claim, and be paid, HB or UC-HE benefit. (If they meet the other qualifying conditions).

    Once that benefit is paid it becomes the tenants money and there is no obligation in law that the tenant actually passes it on to the LL.

    We frequently see LLs here who don't seem to understand that simple legal principle.
    It's the claimants right to claim and be paid benefit, not the LLs. Any benefit paid belongs to the claimant not the LL.
    What the claimant then does with that benefit income is then up to the claimant, just as what a working person does with their income is up to them.

    This is made clearer with UC-HE than it was with HB. (Although it was still aways the case with HB as well).
    Although a LL (or T) can apply to have rent benefit paid directly he does not have a right to insist on it. (Even if the T is in arrears).

    Leave a comment:


  • Wainwright
    replied
    Originally posted by islandgirl View Post
    Wainwright I was not sure if the rules had changed since I did this but may be worth a try!
    So did I! On only a (albeit fairly strong) suspicion T was in receipt of LHA, I called the council and told them he had stopped paying rent! They suspended the claim from there on. Just knew he was planning on doing a runner (minus the rent, in this case!) and turned out again I was right. So yes, def worth a shot!

    Leave a comment:


  • nukecad
    replied
    If they are getting HB or UC housing element then what they actually spend it on is their choice, if they don't pay their rent they will be evicted.
    The council/DWP will not be interested in that at all.

    If they are claiming benefit for their rent then you have to know which benefit it is.
    There are 2 different ones in force and people confuse things by using just Housing Benefit for them both.

    The rules for direct payment of Housing Benefit (from the council) to LLs are still the same as they always were.

    However with Universal Credit Housing Element (from the DWP) the rules are different.
    The qualifying rules for a LL to ask for direct payments are similar, but the 'Managed Payment to Landlord' itself is different.
    See Section 8 of this guide for landlords:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/public...-for-landlords

    Leave a comment:


  • islandgirl
    replied
    Wainwright I was not sure if the rules had changed since I did this but may be worth a try!

    Leave a comment:


  • Wainwright
    replied
    Originally posted by islandgirl View Post
    You used to be able to get the old Housing Benefit paid directly to you as LL if the tenant did not pay for 8 weeks. I did this once. The tenant was absolutely furious that I had taken away her spending money.....
    Isn't this still the case? OP I would just contact the council NOW and inform them of the rent arrears. Keep it brief and factual. You've a far better chance this way of getting the rent than going after them via the courts at a later point.

    Leave a comment:


  • jpkeates
    replied
    The two processes are completely separate.

    The issue with chasing for unpaid rent through the courts is that you're best advised to wait until you know the final amount owed.
    Courts don't like a series of connected claims for overdue rent.

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  • blinko
    replied
    Although I have a question is it possible if you issue an S21 cannot Chase a tenant for unpaid rent?

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  • blinko
    replied
    Originally posted by islandgirl View Post
    You used to be able to get the old Housing Benefit paid directly to you as LL if the tenant did not pay for 8 weeks. I did this once. The tenant was absolutely furious that I had taken away her spending money.....
    Nice one I would have loved to see their faces when it happened. Of course I'm sure they put the pressure on you by saying my children can't eat now or go to school

    Leave a comment:


  • blinko
    replied
    Fiona it sounds like you haven't adequately planned , how are you in debt ?

    I think its possible to have housing benefit paid directly to you to get them out you have to issue s21 , then claim from them unpaid rent .I would join RLA and use advice line . Its excellent .

    Leave a comment:


  • islandgirl
    replied
    You used to be able to get the old Housing Benefit paid directly to you as LL if the tenant did not pay for 8 weeks. I did this once. The tenant was absolutely furious that I had taken away her spending money.....

    Leave a comment:

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