Increasing rent on a Periodic Tenancy

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    Increasing rent on a Periodic Tenancy

    I have a tenant in a flat paying the same rent since he moved in during 2010. He is getting close to retirement and has lost his job and is now on benefits. I am happy for him to remain in the flat and we discussed, now he receives Housing Benefit (or Universal Credit, not sure which) increasing his rent up to the LHA figure. He has agreed to that and went to the Council to inform them. They have requested documentation as proof.
    I have researched this and assume I need to give him a S13 notice of increase. Is that right, or is simply a letter from me (He has no email address) enough ? The S13 notice almost suggests this only needs to be served if the tenant disagrees with the increase.
    I'm happy enough serving the S13, but wonder if that approach is a bit over the top in the circumstances and don't wish to cause my tenant undue stress. I also want to make sure the increase happens without lots of toing and froing with the Council. Any advices gratefully received.

    #2
    I'd use the s13 as it's formal.
    You can reassure the tenant that the form is only to make things easier for him with the benefits people.
    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
      I understand what you are doing and I would probably do the same, however I am concerned that you have just colluded with the tenant in order to get more benefits!

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the responses.
        To recap, the rent hasn't increased in 11 years. The new rent will remain below market rent in the area that it is. I have looked at Rightmove today and the cheapest 1 bed flat available in my city is 10% higher than my proposed new rent. It's time the rent went up and the tenant agrees that that is reasonable.

        Comment


          #5
          A letter (signed by you both) or a s13, either will do.
          The difference for you is that with a letter you can agree to an immediate rent rise.
          With a s13 it has to be, at least, a months notice of the rise and the new rent must begin on the beginning of a rental period

          The DWP/council aren't really bothered as long as the rise is documented, and your tenant already knows that you want to put up the rent so it shouldn't realy stress them if you do use s13.
          (PS. I suspect it's the DWP not the council, if he has only recently claimed it will be UC Housing Element).

          I would double check what level of LHA he is entitled to - especially as you say he 'went to the council'.
          For a single person, over 35 years of age:
          With UC Housing Element from the DWP it will be One Bed Rate LHA.
          However if it is Housing Benefit from the council, and if he shares facilities in the property, then it will only be Shared Rate LHA.
          (If he doesn't share facilities then HB will also be One Bed Rate).

          https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/Shared-Room
          If you live in shared accommodation, renting one room in shared property and sharing some or all of the facilities in the property with someone other than your partner, the Local Housing Allowance shared accommodation rate will always apply in Housing Benefit even if you are not under 35 year's old. This isn't the case in Universal Credit, if you are 35 or older you will get the 1 bed rate of LHA even if you live in shared accommodation.
          As for the suggestion of 'collusion' it's not an issue.
          There is nothing wrong with what you are proposing whatsoever.
          A benefit claimant who qualifies for help with housing costs, and who is a private tenant, is entitled to those costs up to LHA, which is set at the lower end of the market rent anyway.
          (LHA rates were introduced primarily to prevent unscrupulous landlords over-inflating rents simply to profit from benefits).

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you; I appreciate the time you have taken explaining that.
            I have already checked the LHA for a 1 bed flat in my area and have set the rent at that level. I have no intention of charging my tenant more than that; he is struggling, I am not and he has been a good tenant. However, I also don't see a problem in receiving a rent nearer to a market rent - if my tenant left for whatever reason the flat would be marketed at a rent higher than that proposed.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by nukecad View Post
              As for the suggestion of 'collusion' it's not an issue.
              There is nothing wrong with what you are proposing whatsoever.
              A benefit claimant who qualifies for help with housing costs, and who is a private tenant, is entitled to those costs up to LHA, which is set at the lower end of the market rent anyway.
              (LHA rates were introduced primarily to prevent unscrupulous landlords over-inflating rents simply to profit from benefits).
              I certainly don't think he will be locked up for it, but it is an issue! Would he increase the rent to that level if tenant wasn't on benefits? I think OP has indicated that he would not therefore he has colluded with the tenant to increase the rent above what he would normally accept because the tenant is on benefits! I'm simply making an observation not a judgement.

              Comment


                #8
                If he wasn't on benefits I would increase his rent to a higher level than the LHA. No increase in 11 years rather justifies a reasonable increase, don't you think ? 25% perhaps ? The median level in this area would certainly justify that, if not more. I have suggested a 7% increase - pretty reasonable after 11 years, methinks.
                Oh - and he's been out of work for over a year, so go figure.

                Comment


                  #9
                  You could look at it the other way and say that the claimant should be given LHA rate even if their rent is lower.

                  Most benefit rates are set rates, if you qualify then you get that amount of money in benefits.
                  (Then there may be deductions for other income, sanctions, etc.).

                  It's only LHA in HB and UC-HE that says 'we'll give you so much as the maximum; or less'.

                  Private landlords charging tenants on benefits less than LHA are doing the DWP/Public Purse a favour (a favour that they don't have to).

                  Comment

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