Prospective Tenants - Too Good to be true??

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    Prospective Tenants - Too Good to be true??

    Hi All

    I have a 2 bed flat and some prospective tenants, a Gentleman and a young lady (studentish), came to view it today, they liked it although they said its for their Father and he is receipt of Housing Benefit but he'd like on the contract, for me to state its a one bed flat and a study room and the Gentleman will not only act as a Guarantor but also fit the extra couple hundred required for the rent.

    I said doesn't he want to come and see it and the guy spoke in a foreign language and said he'll call him and then he got another phonecall and said he's fine with it.

    I am very concerned as I've never dealt with people in receipt of housing benefit before, let alone, lie on the contract, I mean what if they don't pay up, won't the judge say why do you have a 1 bed on the contract? Is this legal at all? Sounds a bit fishy to me.

    Also the young girl said she'd like extra cupbards in the kitchen as she'll be cooking for her Dad. Is this place for her or for her Dad?

    They've already paid a deposit with the estate agent and said yes on the spot, is this too good to be true? Is there any legal way to get around it?
    Or is it just a scam that people do? Please let me know. I haven't signed any contracts yet. Do uni students get a grant for housing and it must state its a one bedroom place?

    Many Thanks

    Is your agent a member of a reputable professional body?

    On what basis have you engaged the agent - is it merely to provide you with a potential tenant or are other services involved. What are the agent's views on this? Write a letter and get a written response in return.

    Someone needs to take up references. Who is doing this yourself or the agent? Use the above link to TenantVERIFY for more information.

    Be very guarded with dealing with dishonest people. They are up to no good in asking for a misdescription of the property.

    If the flat is intended to Dad you want to see him at the property. You could put the cat amongst the pigeons by stating that you want the Housing Benefit paid directly to yourself. The proposed rent will have to be assessed and it will be based on Dad's room needs and so the full amount of rent for a two bedroom house will not be paid.

    The shortfall will have to be met by Dad or his family.

    Take care.
    Vic - wicked landlord
    Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
    Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.


      Here I go reading between the lines. If the father is going to claim HB then they will not pay for a 2 bed place just for him, hence the need to state that it is 1 bed. The man and woman will be living there also and hopefully making up the rent on top of the swindled HB. If the rent is not topped up by them then any legal case against them would also bring to light the HB swindle that all four of you are involved in. Chances are, dad will never set foot in the place just the 2 that you have met.


        Re: Not Prospective Tenants Now - Thanks to Landlordzone!


        Many thanks, Worldlife and Tweedle Dum!

        Firstly, the agent is just a bog standard agent, however I did notice, he didnt give me any literature, regarding himself or his company.

        I did get his contact from an ad in the local paper and we only met him yesterday at 2pm and by 3.30 pm he had already phoned me back, to say that he has a client, whose father will be living at my property (if rented), the Father recieves HB and the son will make up the shortfall. In the agents word were "the son is loaded and has agreed to be the guarantor of the rent" and came in a new C Class Mercedes with all the mod cons.

        Goes to show how some people live off the state and us hard working people who live by the law have to scrape through...

        Thanks for all your help,


          Unless the 2 bedrooms are the only rooms in the flat apart from bathroom & kitchen, it won't make any difference whether you say it's 1 or 2 bedrooms, since HB look at the total no. of rooms.


            Re: Carolines Reply

            Hi Caroline

            There is a big living room also. Does this make a difference?
            I've read man posts with HB tenants and seems more hassle than its

            Any views much appreciated for next time.



              Be suspicious. Trust your instincts.

              I would not take these people at all. Find people with simpler circumstances.

              Why would you want to rent out your property to the Dad, with his name solely on the agreement and yet never meet him beforehand?

              The agent sounds completely crappy too!


                I agree with Poppy. As an experienced landlord of 20 years if these people came to me with this suggestion I would show them the door without hesitating. It screams to me of the sort of problems you do not want to be involved in. I know it seems hard but avoid HB tenants if you can. There are good ones of course, but these I would say are not. Best of luck.


                  There's only one possible answer to this and it's a big NO

                  Most prosters will know that when I give such advice you follow it, or suffer the consequences. From what you have posted it's fraught with danger, and you're more than likely to cock it up if you let the old man take a tenancy!
                  The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


                    Thank You!

                    Hi Poppy, Susan, Paul

                    I guess its definately a no, even if tomorrow morning the estate agent says well he's paid the deposit now. I'll say sorry but I've done some research and am looking for a new tenant.
                    Have a good evening, thanks so much for your advice,
                    back to work tomorrow...


                      I'd also stay clear of that agent as well. Sounds like they don't do a lot of vetting before pushing them your way.


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