Tenancy for a problem son

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    Tenancy for a problem son

    Hi ,

    I have a son living with me who has a suspended prison sentence ,no job and a problem with alcohol and drugs.I have tried every avenue for him to live elsewhere but it has become impossible and too stressful for both of us for him to carry on living here - I have discovered that it will take too long for him to get on the list for council housing even with his problems.

    I have decided the only option is to buy a small flat for him ( cash ) and after advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau it seems that he could get local housing allowance added to his Universal Credit and that at least could offset some of my costs if it were paid directly to me.I am not looking to make money ,just lose as little as possible.

    Citizens Advice told me that it would need to be a `commercial tenancy` and he wouldn`t be guaranteed to receive the housing allowance .I have 2 main questions.

    1.Is it correct that it would need to be a `commercial tenancy`
    2.Would this need to be done through a letting agency or could it be done directly between me and him provided it is a legal tenancy.

    I am completely new to this and need to learn fast ,any help and advice would be very welcome



    Originally posted by hughejoh View Post
    1.Is it correct that it would need to be a `commercial tenancy`
    2.Would this need to be done through a letting agency or could it be done directly between me and him provided it is a legal tenancy.
    1. Almost certainly. For the tax man and for benefits. BUT it might be seen as being a way to get benefits from the tax payer, so the money may not be forthcoming or need a long fight to get.
    2. There is no requirement to use a letting agent.
    • If you use a letting agent, then the legal buck stops with you, so you need to know the law so you can ensure that your chosen agent is acting correctly and is unlikely to deep legal doodoo.
    • Letting to relatives is fraught with problems, and it is generally recommended not to do so.
    It may sound harsh, but your best approach may be to give him notice and kick him out (and if necessary change the locks).


      I sympathise and it's an awkward situation, but you can't expect the benefit system to sort it out for you.
      (Citizens Advice were being quite diplomatic, probably didn't want to get involved in what is a domestic problem).

      If you are willing to buy him his own flat, and let him live there free, then good for you.

      If you want to be his landlord and get his UC housing element paid directly to you then you will have to convince the DWP that this is a commercial tenacy - and that you would evict him if he doesn't pay the rent.

      But you will have an impossible job doing that if you have bought the flat specifically so that he can live there to get him from under your feet.
      They wont believe you and will (rightly) assume that you have only done this to get the benefit system to cut your costs. (That's called benefit fraud).

      So you have 2 choices -
      1. Buy the flat and put him in there, then accept that you are not going to get rent from him, and will have problems with unpaid utillity bills, complaints from the neighbours about his boozing and drug activities, etc., etc.
      2. Kick him out of your house and make him fend for himself.
      Fair enough that second option may sound harsh.
      But you have to face the reality of your situation, if it's currentely unbearable then you have to change it.
      The fledglings have to leave the nest. and make their own way, whatever that may be.


        Thank you both for your help and advice , I appreciate it.


          I agree with Nukecad - throw him out. I don't mean that nastily although it sounds it. Tell the housing solutions team at your council that you are finding his behaviour stressful and can no longer cope with him at home as it's affecting your relationship and your mental health (or whatever you want to say) and that on (date) you will be evicting him and changing the locks. The council will then be responsible for housing him which might well be in a hostel, B&B, YMCA, or homeless shelter none of which might be very nice but eventually he will be found a place of his own.


            I’m so sorry to hear of your situation, you must feel totally desperate. I can’t add to the helpful advice others have given re UC but I can give some feedback as a landlord and a person who has had experience of alcoholism & addiction with close family as well as the unintended consequences of “fixing it” for people with those problems.

            As a landlord - think twice about your plan, then think twice again- especially if you intend to use money you cannot afford to lose. If your son or any of his friends / associates / visitors to the property cause any problems for the neighbours (police being called, complaints of anti social behaviour and so on) you are legally obliged to disclose any disputes these when you sell it. That makes a sell difficult. If you lie on the sellers form you could be sued.

            Similarly if your son as your tenant causes any problems to his neighbours and they come to you how are you going to deal with that? It will be much harder; leaving aside the legalities he will have great leverage over you because he is in situ in a different property to the one he is in now.

            As a landlord I’d say don’t do it.
            It won’t address the fundamental problem you have and may in fact cause you lots of new ones involving all sorts of third parties who don’t don't view your son sympathetically. And possibly other drug users / sellers who will find a nice flat owned by somebody’s mum who is never going to kick him out very handy for all sorts of reasons.

            As a human being, I’d say please please don’t do it. It won’t achieve its objective and is the wrong message for a (presumably) legal adult who is addicted to legal and illegal substances.

            The advice to kick him out and change the locks is right; you cannot solve this for him and trying to do so lets him off the hook forever for being responsible for his own life.

            Apologies for such a long post, but I promise I speak from experience. I wish you well and your son the same.


              A relative of mine was in a similar situation. They ended up buying the son a property to live in. The first thing he did was to sell most of the furniture they'd bought to buy drugs. Some time later it became a crack-house and after Police involvement it was sold for a much smaller sum than it cost and the Son burned through the proceeds over the next year or so. I would have to agree with the comments about kicking him out.


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