Rent up front and benefits/Contents Insurance Question

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    Rent up front and benefits/Contents Insurance Question

    How would it work if we paid a large portion of rent up front, as I am on UC/HB/ESA, and if say my mum was to pay six months in advance on the rent (this seems to be one way I will be able to get a tenancy at the moment), how would that work because I would still be getting HB monthly?. We discussed my mum paying the rent for that period, then setting up some kind of agreement where by I would have to pay her back as the benefits I receive are for rent, so I would only want to be paying rent with it. In our eyes that works out the same as me paying the rent to the LL monthly. Then I'd just set up a standing order after the six month period to continue paying the rent that way.

    Is there any way of making this a legally binding agreement which would satisfy the DWP that my housing benefit had paid the rent?

    Also while I am here, do any of you ask that all prospective tenants take out contents insurance for your contents before signing for the tenancy?

    I just came across some tenancies clearly stating that all tenants must take out an insurance policy to cover the LL's 'fixtures and fittings'. Now what I would like to know is, does that cover things like carpets, doors, windows, glass etc, or does it extend to fitted appliances? Would this include boilers? If so that is not right, as it is the LL's legal responsibility to ensure tenants have heating and hot water, not an insurer. Would it cover accidental damage or wear and tear as well?. I am a bit unsure of it as it is the first time I have ever encountered it. Also if a deposit is taken, would this not cover some basic damages if there were any? Not that I am in the habit of damaging LL's property lol, I take great care of where I live.

    It may be worth taking it out in the light I have the dog, but she's never broken a thing in her life!. I don't mind paying some extra deposit for her for end of tenancy cleaning etc if asked, but I don't know if this would effect insurance?.

    I think I'll also have a chat with CAB as well. You guys here are so helpful, it's good to be able to speak to people on both sides of the rental market, because when you speak only to tenants, you tend to get a quite one sided view of landlords and the business as a whole. (No I don't see all landlords as scrooges either, I think it is a very complex job, specially with the housing crisis being SO bad right now. Most landlords do their best to provide for people whilst making a living for themselves, and the overall majority are very good at what they do).

    Thanks everyone x

    #2
    I can't help with the DWP/advance payment issue.
    I think it will depend on whether the advance payment is referenced in the contract or not.

    It's not legal for a landlord or agent to insist that the tenant take out insurance to cover the landlord's fixtures and fittings.
    Or anything else - Tenant Fees Act s1(3)b.

    You can't pay an extra deposit for your dog (they're limited to 5 week's rent). You should expect to pay extra rent to have a dog and for the supply of properties to be very limited - many landlords won't accept pets at all.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Chez86 View Post
      Also while I am here, do any of you ask that all prospective tenants take out contents insurance for your contents before signing for the tenancy?

      I just came across some tenancies clearly stating that all tenants must take out an insurance policy to cover the LL's 'fixtures and fittings'. Now what I would like to know is, does that cover things like carpets, doors, windows, glass etc, or does it extend to fitted appliances? Would this include boilers? If so that is not right, as it is the LL's legal responsibility to ensure tenants have heating and hot water, not an insurer. Would it cover accidental damage or wear and tear as well?. I am a bit unsure of it as it is the first time I have ever encountered it. Also if a deposit is taken, would this not cover some basic damages if there were any? Not that I am in the habit of damaging LL's property lol, I take great care of where I live.
      I don't know enough about the benefits system to help with the first point, but with the contents insurance question, such a clause would be unlawful (assuming you're in an assured shorthold tenancy, which you most likely will be unless you're living in the same property as the landlord) under the tenant fees act. Some helpful guidance is here but you can only be asked to pay for the following:

      Originally posted by gov.uk
      • rent
      • a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than 5 weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is less than £50,000, or 6 weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
      • a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than 1 week’s rent
      • payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
      • payments capped at £50 (or reasonably incurred costs, if higher) for the variation, assignment or novation of a tenancy
      • payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council Tax
      • a default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device giving access to the housing, where required under a tenancy agreement
      If they do require this, they could be subject to a penalty.
      Guidance for tenants, landlords, letting agents and local authority enforcement officers explaining how the Act affects them.

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        #4
        Thanks, actually I have come across quite a few in my area who are ok with the dog, but this insurance thing I have not come across before, thanks x

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          #5
          A house with white goods in will be more expensive than one without. Up North we tend to let without white goods. And, no, you shouldn't be expected to insure the landlord's things.

          Comment


            #6
            I'm not sure how you can be on UC and HB?
            They are (normally) mutualy exclusive.
            (ESA can be paid as well as UC if it is CB ESA).

            I'd have to double check but my first reaction is that the DWP (or council if it is indeed HB) would not pay towards your rent in such a situation.

            To start with it looks too much like a contrived tenancy to claim benefits that are not realy needed. (Benefit fraud).

            Thinking it a bit further:
            For either UC-HE or HB to be paid to you then you have to have a 'liability' to pay the rent.
            If the rent has already been paid then you no longer have such a liability.

            (Instead you have a debt to your mum, which is not something you can claim benefits for).

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