Prospective HB tenant with savings - advice?

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  • Prospective HB tenant with savings - advice?

    I'm considering letting a property to an applicant who I've just interviewed (who had ignored my usual "sorry no DSS" wording in the advert!) as she sounds potentially a good bet to me.

    This is a recently-divorced retired woman whose only income is her state pension plus capital from the sale of the marital home (I gather there was no mortgage so it may be a reasonable sum).

    She wants to pay me 6 months rent up front, which obviously can't be bad! She says she expects to get housing benefit, and believes she'll get help towards the 6 months-worth.

    Questions - how much savings is she allowed to have and still get housing benefit? I presume there's a sliding scale involved? And will the HB still kick in as she expects if she's already paid the rent in advance, or would she be shooting herself in the foot by doing that?

    The lady is a little bit 'vulnerable' I think and I don't know whether totally understands all the implications of all this; she does have a clued-up niece who originally contacted me and who I think would be helping her. However I'd just like to get my head round the whole thing before I take this any further.

    Anything else I should be thinking about and may have missed? Would it be necessary/appropriate to seek a guarantor (though I doubt one would be forthcoming).


  • #2
    According to this site,

    "Savings over £3,000 (£6,000 if you or your partner are aged 60 or over) affect how much Housing Benefit you can get. From 10 April 2006, this will increase to £6,000 for all."

    And here

    " If you have more than £16,000 in capital you will not get any Housing Benefit. "


    • #3
      Regrettably, HB tenants all get tarred by the same brush. Some rely on HB because they are financially inept and there is therefore much difficulty in getting rent paid. This is particularly as this government is hell bent on ensuring that moneys for rent are paid directly to the tenant to give them "financial responsibility" which they abuse. Other HB tenants however are as financially responsible as any tenant in work with a substantial income. It sounds as though your tenant is probably in the latter category and, taking your reservations into account is worthy of consideration. After all, if she pays six months rent up front, and agrees to do this again more than two months before the end of her six month AST in return for another similar agreement, how can you go wrong?

      Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


      • #4
        But is not the payment of more than two months rent up front a premium and thus illegal?

        Or does it have to be demanded rather than offered?


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies.
          Originally posted by davidjohnbutton View Post
          But is not the payment of more than two months rent up front a premium and thus illegal?
          Yes, I was wondering about this issue having read about it on this forum before. However having just been googling a bit for info on it, all I can come up with are the following:

          These seem to indicate no problem with the landlord charging any amount of rent he wants upfront, and describe a 'premium' as being 'key-money' or a non-refundable sum payable up front (and also being legal anyway!)

          Does anyone know anything to the contrary?


          • #6
            Personally I'd be getting an independant company to do a proper credit check. You already know the result wont be sparkling but it may hi-light other things which may help you make your decision e.g unsatisfied CCJ's. Have you got any other references from her?


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