Housing benefit or private...

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  • Housing benefit or private...

    Hi everyone

    I've just received this email from my Agent:

    <The tenant from the above property has been in touch as they are going through the process of applying to the housing benefit as she is having problems meeting the monthly demand.
    The council unit has requested your address as they will need it for their records to allow them to process the claim. Is it ok if pass this on to them?>

    Any advice appreciated... My first thought was, i'm sure i remember reading somewhere that my mortgage doesn't allow HB payers to be tenants.

    Second thought was, could this be a good thing... Full rent, every month forever, no worries.

    Third thought was to give them notice.

    Any advice much appreciated, first time I've found myself in this situation.

    Thanks for reading, hope to hear from you, kind regards

  • #2
    Give the council your details and trust your tenant to sort out her rent payments to you. You don’t yet have a problem.


    • #3
      Hi Poppy, thanks for your post. Can you elaborate..? Any experiences? You make me sound like I'm worrying for nothing. Who would the rent be paid to, tenant or agent?
      kind regards


      • #4
        I'm a tenant of Housing Benefit. I get only a porportion of my rent paid because I'm consdered to be in a property that is too large for my needs. The remainder I have funded myself from my other benefits.

        What you need to establish is whether the tenant going on HB will be getting the entire rent paid or not, although it sounds to me she is applying for HB as a top up, and not as her main source of income for rent.

        If you have never had anyone on benefits in your property before, it may be the HB department will need to establish what is a fair rent for the property itself, by getting the local Rent Office to visit. But they may not !! They will then decide whether the property is too large for the tenants needs or not e.g. if its a 2 bedroomed and she is a single person they may only pay her the equivalent (or propertion thereof) of a one bedroomed property in the area.

        If this is the case, you need to find out from the tenant how she would pay the shortfall.

        HB payable to Landlords is paid 4 weekly in arrears so you would need to find out also whether the tenant will be able to pay the "missing month" although if she left you would get the one month "arrears" paid to you, so you wouldn't necessarily lose out. I believe payments direct to LL have to be paid to the LL and not the Agent but I may be wrong! Give the Council a call, (you don't have to even give your name) and they will clarify this for you.

        If the HB propertion of the rent is the largest propertion, if I were you I would certainly get the HB paid direct to you and not to the tenant, if the tenant is agreeable to this.

        If it is the smallest proportion and she is paying the bulk of the rent herself from other sources, then leave her to pay you the full amount as she is now.

        As far as your mortgage is concerned, I think this would probably mean that you should not knowingly start a tenancy with a tenant already on HB .. I can't see they can invoke any restriction due to a change of crcumstances throughout the duration of a tenancy.

        It sounds to me your tenant is being responsible by applying for HB rather than just allowing herself to get into arrears, so in my book, that counts for something.

        I don't think you have a problem at the moment either, and if she has been a good tenant so far, I think your best bet is open up channels of cummunication with her to establish the facts and take it from there (on the basis that you are trying to assist her in resolving her predicament).

        You could get your agent to ask all the relevant questions but in my experience its best done between tenant and LL, so as to avoid any misunderstanding due to the "Chinese Whisper Syndrome".

        So go ahead and give your details to HB department and review the situation once you know whether she will be getting HB paid or not.

        I hope all turns out OK.
        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


        • #5

          Thanks Pippay for your post it's very kind of you to take the time.
          I'll take on board what you've said and speak to the agent and see what happens.


          • #6
            Great answer, pippay!


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