Your experience with DSS tenants

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    Your experience with DSS tenants

    Recently my old tenants moved out and I contacted an estate agent to help in finding new tenants. The estate agents suggested renting to DSS tenants where the rents are higher and the chances of getting a tenant are higher. Do you have experience on renting to DSS tenants and can you please share your experience on this?

    #2
    I don't know what the Agents is talking about when he states that Housing Benefit rents are higher !! (Its no longer DSS).

    All properties let to HB applicants have to be assessed by the Rent Office and the rent is determined in line with market rents for comparable properties. The assessment is carried out annually.

    Additionally, the size of accommodation is taken into account .. i.e. if it's one person in a 2 bed place, HB will only pay the equivalent market rent for a 1 x bed.

    So if, you rent is say £595 for a 2 x bed, but the market rent is only £525, the lower figure will be paid. Then if its just one person, and the market rent for a 1 x bed is £425, only that amount will be paid.

    The balance (top up) will have to be paid by the tenant out of their income / benefits.

    I'm a HB tenant myself but it's like everything else - you get good and bad with private or HB tenants and the only way of minimising your risk is by thorough referencing. You may also wish to consider getting a guarantor for an HB tenant.

    Hope this helps.
    Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

    Comment


      #3
      The difficulty in this is that it's a judgement call, and posters will give different opinions. If the property only attracts HB tenants then you are a bit restricted. It's a myth to say you will get a higher rent as it usually isn't true. You also have more control with an employed/working tenant.

      The main problem with housing benefit claimants (the DSS was obsolete years ago) is that you will usually have to go to court to get possession and instruct bailiffs as well, otherwise the tenant might be making themselves voluntarily homeless if they move beforehand (especially if children 16 or under are involved). This will cost you about an extra £240 (at today's prices) overall and trying to recover costs from tenants who might have little or no money can be difficult if not impossible. A good agent will have explained this! Many don't and I would expect a good agent to know these pitfalls and pass them on to you. It's no good finding out later. There are too many mediocre or poor agents. Are they NAEA,ARLA or RICS members? No! - then leave them be!
      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.

      Comment


        #4
        Poster - please make sure that whoever you get, you reference thoroughly !!!

        Originally posted by Paul_f
        The main problem with housing benefit claimants (the DSS was obsolete years ago) is that you will have to go to court to get possession and instruct bailiffs as well. That's a very broad statement, Paul, and is not necessarily true in all cases. Some people work and are able to get HB because they are on a low wage!! It doesn't mean that every HB applicant who is evicited will automatically get re-housed by the LA (which I think is what you are suggesting) and then has to stay until bailliffs arrive - nor does it mean that working tenants won't do the same !! This will cost you about an extra £240 (at today's prices) overall and trying to recover costs from tenants who might have little or no money can be difficult if not impossible. The same can be said for some working tenants !
        Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you so much for the information below.

          Paul you mentioned that about ARLA etc - can you please explain what are the advantages compared to those estate agents that are not registered as ARLA?

          Comment


            #6
            Read ARLA - information for landlords
            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.

            Comment


              #7
              Casey

              My personal experience thus far has been a good one.

              I have a lady with a child who has been a great HB tenant, for the last 12 months. You cant just look at someone and say they will be good or bad.

              My thoughts are this, if you are going down that route, if you advertise you will more than likely get a large response.

              See everyone and make a judgement call.

              A friend of my offered his house to HB tenants and he had 25 calls about it. he saw everyone and he chose the person he wanted in his house.

              So far so good, but it is a bit of a gamble isnt it, the whole business of being a landlord, the object is to minimise the risks, you can't cant get rid of them all.

              You will have the same fears and worries if you rent to someone who wears a collar and tie.

              Fairy Fuschia

              Good luck with finding a new tenant

              Comment


                #8
                Our personal experience of HB tenants is generally OK, with good and bad points.

                Advantages:

                Well, only one advantage really, but it is a biggy. If the assessment on the tenant and the property provides a benefit payment of the amount or close to the amount that you are wanting, then you have a virtually guaranteed monthly rent payment, without generally the hassle of chasing up late payments etc.

                Disadvantages:

                - The circumstances of the tenant change, and the benefit payment drops. And in this situation, the tenants may not always inform yourselves and the housing officers of the changes, leading to potentially a costly repayment from the landlord to the council!

                - If there is a top up to be paid, even if a small one, HB tenants are probably more likely overall(without meaning to stereotype, there are many good HB tenants out there) to miss these payments. If the top up is small, it can take some time to build up the amount required for two months arrears, allowing Section 8 eviction.

                - As Paul says, it is more often neccessary to proceed to court with HB tenants than non HB tenants. And also rightly stated, it is nigh on impossible to reclaim this money.

                - Again without stereotyping, but we have had more problems with HB tenants not looking after the property properly than non-HB tenants.

                What I say above is based only on our personal experiences, and not on general stereotyping...I am not meaning to say that all HB tenants are bad, far from it.
                Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                Comment


                  #9
                  It might be worth contacting your local council direct, as many councils are introducing incentives and schemes of various kinds because they are desperate to meet government targets on reducing homelessness figures and so are very keen to attract private landlords. This would also save you agent's fees and/or advertising fees.Our local council (York) has a scheme where you hand over your property to the council for a minimum of 2 years, they find a tenant and manage the tenancy and pay the landlord a golden handshake of £500.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    In response to carolines good point, Karongo some time ago posted about his experiences and views on these schemes...may be worth searching that post out!
                    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      It's good to see some positives on the subject of HB tenants but like everyone, including myself, has stated, it is a judgement call and to minimise your risks with ANY prospective tenant, referencing is all important.



                      [QUOTE=MrShed]Disadvantages:

                      - The circumstances of the tenant change, and the benefit payment drops. And in this situation, the tenants may not always inform yourselves and the housing officers of the changes, leading to potentially a costly repayment from the landlord to the council! Actually not quite true .. the LA can only reclaim overpaid Hb from the LL if it was reasonable that the LL knew there was an overpayment e.g. the tenant left and the LL delayed telling the LA for a couple of weeks. But if the tenant did a runner, the LL would not necessarily be aware of this (as he's not allowed to call round all the time!) and, in your example Mr Shed, if the tenants circumstances changed and were no longer entitled then it would not be a reasonable assumption for the LL to have known about it .. hence no claim back

                      QUOTE]
                      Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

                      Comment


                        #12
                        A good point, well taken. However, "reasonable that the LL knew" and the LL actually knowing are two very seperate things, and all too often falls on the interpretation of the council. A recent case with a property we were dealing with involved a tenant who had his kids with him at the property. The kids went back to the mother, but the tenant did not notify HB for three months. When they eventually found out, HB claimed the money back from the landlord saying that he should have known that the kids were no longer about. But first of all, why should he when he isn't really supposed to be at the property much. And also at what point does the landlord "know" that the kids are no longer resident, and are not just staying out a lot? As I say, all too often these interpretations fall on the side of the council, and ignorance is not always an excuse, as they will find a way around it!
                        Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Mr Shed - I understand what you're saying .. that's when I think a letter to
                          the LA Ombudsmen is very appropriate!.
                          Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Pippay I don't think a letter is acceptable - you must complete a complaint form.

                            See here:- How to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman
                            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.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              The principle is the same .. form .. letter .. whatever
                              Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

                              Comment

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