Benefit Tenants - are ther any disadvantages

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    Benefit Tenants - are ther any disadvantages

    Can anyone tell me please are there any disadvantages in taking on a single a tenant (AST) the rent being paid by "Benefit Agency"

    The lady with 9 year old son has been with her present landlord over 5 years but he is selling the propery

    I understand that if I wanted to sell the property and give the required notice (S21) she could wait untill the eviction order is processed. This of course could be quite normal but I understand the Benefit Agency gives no support for her to leave and they are quite happy for her to stay on at the premises as long as she cares or able to do so.

    Any comments would be welcome

    Jacob Oliver

    #2
    Plenty of issues here!

    This question is posted periodically, but you appear to have the basic fundamental of how it works.

    I don't generally accept HB tenants on behalf of my landlords unless they are fully versed in the potential pitfalls of it, but that's not to say she won't be a good tenant. Her current landlord would be my first contact. You should also fully reference her (see the flash ad Tenant Verify at the top of the page) in any case.

    Remember, it's no good trying to rectify matters after the event, be pro-active, not reactive.
    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.

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      #3
      I have a small number of benefit tenants and with one exception they are excellent and, of course, most of the rent is guaranteed. Make sure that Housing Benefit is paid direct to you and give an initial AST of six months, if there are no problems carry on as normal. If you for any reason serve notice, the local authority will advise the tenant to stay put until a court order arrives but they will then take action. Your only real worry is that a minority of tenants see eviction as a route to a council house and so cause problems, councils are now wise to this and my local housing office want to know why a tenant has been given notice. If there have been problems they also ask if the tenancy would have continued if there had been no problems. If you answer 'yes' to this question the tenant is looking at being classed intentionally homeless and no help from the council. Its worth pointing this out to a prospective tenant. As Paul suggests, get a reference from the current landlord but treat it carefully, he might say anything to get rid, that said, use Tenant Verify or similar and make sure that a credit check is done.

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        #4
        Some HB tenants are excellent but there can be problems. Remember that if the circumstances of a tenant change i.e. they start earning money, then their HB stops. If it takes some time for the L.A. to catch up to this fact, then they may try and recover the overpaid HB from you if it is paid to you directly. Local authorities usually pay HB in arrear, so assume they discover that a tenant's circumstances have changed at the start of a rental period. Naturally they won't bother to tell you but just fail to pay the HB at the end of the period. You investigate, discover the truth and are already down by a month's rent before you start attempting to recover it. Also, L.A's usually insist on paying rent every four weeks ("our computers can't do it any other way"). If you base your rent on calendar months, you've got further sums to do and a changing day in the month when rent is due. Further confusion.

        I don't consider HB tenants unless they can: a) pay the required deposit b)pay their rent per calendar month, in advance and c) can resist the urge to spend the HB sent to them by the LA on other things than the next calendar month's rent.

        P.P.
        Last edited by P.Pilcher; 14-04-2005, 12:15 PM. Reason: typos
        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.

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          #5
          Benefit Tenants - are there any disadvantages

          Thanks to you all for the sound advice, especially making good researech before hand

          Just one more question, have any of you had the experience of HB trying to reduce rental after say one years (or even six months) knowing that you do not want to start all over again.

          Also how easy is it (if at all) to make contact with the HB to just get a feel of matters - thanks

          Jacob Oliver

          Comment


            #6
            The LA will not reduce their payment.In fact they usually increase it periodically as long as it is less than the full rent.

            Comment


              #7
              Answering your second point if the LA have agreed to direct payment you can ring them anytime quoting the reference given to you.They will restrict their replies to matters regarding the HB payment only as the tenant is covered by Data Protection legislation.

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