Tips on handling DSS payments direct to the tenant

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    Tips on handling DSS payments direct to the tenant

    I guess this is a problem that a lot of us are facing at the moment. (how to handle the change in policy of councils to pay tenants directly).
    I would like to ask if any other landlords have tips on how to make sure that rent is paid on time and in our accounts not down the local bookies or pub!

    #2
    My tenant (who is my Sis-In-Law) gets payments fortnightly. Now even with the best will in the World and the fact that we are related she had problems that charges would be made on her account that would eat into one of those fortnightly payments. I have now asked that she sends payments as soon as cheques arrive, and that’s what she prefers. People on benefit are not necessarily out to cheat you, but are typically not the best at hanging on to cash until a payment due date, and if something does eat into their account they have great difficulty recovering from that. We also provided her with envelopes and stamps to send the payments to us.

    I don’t know if it’s still possible for someone to countersign a cheque so that it doesn’t need to go through their account, i.e. the benefit cheque is countersigned and you pay it directly into your account?
    I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

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      #3
      You need to exercise ultra rigid credit control - if the money is not paid on time, you chase it at the close of business that day if its not in the bank, or early evening if its due to be paid by any other method (i.e. cheque to you).

      You notify the LHA department immediately a payment is not made and ask them to send future payments to you as landlord - they are obligated to do this once the unpaid rent amounts to 8 weeks.

      As soon as arrears (or rather as I am usually corrected, 8 weeks UNPAID rent) reach 8 weeks as well as again notifying the LHAS dept. you need to serve a S8 notice and if appropriate, a S21 as well as backup.

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        #4
        Anyone have any ideas about a "ring fenced account" one person mentioned this the other day, but I didn't understand what it meant in these circumstances.Thanks for replies so far....it all helps.

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          #5
          Re: I spoke to the council and they said it is not an issue....This makes me laugh out loud, I'm sure you know what I mean, If this is the case why aren't they paying council house tenant's money directly to them, one rule for one.........................

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            #6
            I have set up a direct debit mandate with my council tenant. The rent is then paid in from his account direct into my account. This has worked for me so far.

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              #7
              Originally posted by FRESH View Post
              I have set up a direct debit mandate with my council tenant
              No, you haven't. At most, you have a Standing Order mandate- not the same thing at all.
              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
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                #8
                Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                No, you haven't. At most, you have a Standing Order mandate- not the same thing at all.
                It amazes me that the majority of tenants (and many landlords) have no appreciation of the difference between direct debits and standing orders.

                Whenever a tenant is due to vacate a property, we send them a letter telling them the procedures we use. Also in bold print is the instruction to remember to cancel their standing order.

                At least monthly we find a payment into our client account where a standing order has not been cancelled. We then often then get an irate phone call: "Why are you still taking money from our account?". Err. We haven't. We can't take money from your account. We can't even stop the payment.
                On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Because of the number of posts I have done, I am now a Senior Member. However, read anything I write with the above in mind.

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                  #9
                  any more ideas anyone,

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                    #10
                    I worked in a tenancy support role until recently. Most of my clients were on housing benefit and most of them intended to set up a separate bank account just for the HB to go in and the rent to go out, but there is still the problem of how helpful the banks are in letting people on a low income have more than one account and of landlords wanting rent monthly when HB is paid weekly or fortnightly.
                    If the tenant has any history of arrears or trouble managing their money, they can ask themselves for the payments to go direct to the landlord. Unfortunately councils have targets to meet so won't always agree to it without strong evidence.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by caroline7758 View Post
                      IUnfortunately councils have targets to meet so won't always agree to it without strong evidence.
                      What sort of targets?
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                        #12
                        THANK YOU FOR THE CORRECTION

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                          #13
                          Targets for e.g. 90% of HB to be paid direct to tenants.Each council will have their own target.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by caroline7758 View Post
                            Ithere is still the problem of how helpful the banks are in letting people on a low income have more than one account.

                            Can they not just set up a bank account with a different bank/post office/building society, from which a standing order can be set up direct to LL? Why would their 'normal bank' object to that?
                            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                              #15
                              The bank would see little value in operating an account which only holds money for a couple of days each month.
                              I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

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