Housing Benefit Tenant leaving TA early

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    Housing Benefit Tenant leaving TA early

    Housing Benefit Tenant signed TA 20th July 2010 and out of the blue at the Beginning of Nov told me she wanted to leave - gave me 1 months notice as she said thats all that was required.
    On rent day 20th Nov she had cancelled Direct Debit and gave me only 2 weeks rent.
    I did re-advertise immediately with a local agent and I asked the tenant if she would share the re-letting fee and she verbally agreed. She told me she was being offered a new property with a local housing association and would i give her a reference (which I did) and that she would be getting the keys before xmas. On 2nd Dec I had not re-let the property and I asked her for the rest of the months rent (assuming that she had had her Housing Benefit to cover this rent) reluctantly she gave it to me.
    On 3rd December she moved out and I asked her for a forwarding address, she did not give me one and said she was having all her mail re-directed by the post office and was moving in with a friend. Eventually she gave me the friends address.
    I dont know if she only starts paying the new rent when she actually moves in, as at
    today I dont think she has moved in.
    I did eventually get a new tenant to move in before xmas and have now signed him up on a new lease.
    She has contacted me to ask for 1 weeks rent back as no doubt her detective work has told her I have now re-let the property. She also now says she is not going to give me anything towards the re-letting fee. Should the Housing Benefit people get this 1 weeks rent ? She also says she is still entitled to come back to my house as I
    have not given her a note of the Lease being re-assigned.
    Mail is still coming to the house and there appears to be 3 different names on the
    envelopes. 1 I think is the name she gets her benefits in and the 2nd she says is her
    maiden name and the 3rd I have never heard of. Does she have to inform the Housing
    Benefit when she leaves a property? or can she still claim wherever she is living. PLEASE CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME URGENT ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO NEXT

    Forget Housing Benefit - it has no relevance to your situation, the key thing is the contract between you and your (ex)tenant.

    Do you have the tenants notice in writing?
    Do you think her comments about re-directing mail are true - I presume no mail has arrived in the name you have on the tenancy?
    Has she returned the keys to you?
    Has she asked for her deposit back?
    Do you have her agreement to pay half of the fees in writing?
    Did the tenancy agreement have any clauses in it regarding the tenant paying costs you incur because of their actions? An AST I have previously used included the clause "The tenant is responsible for any reasonable costs reasonably incurred required to compensate the landlord for any breach or failure to comply with any obligations on the tenant's part."

    oh, and also...

    Is the property in England/Wales and can you confirm she was a tenant, not a lodger?


      Although the council never even have the courtesy to inform landlords when they start paying out housing benefit tenants claim against your property...nonetheless..they consider it YOUR duty to inform them as soon as a tenant leaves...cheek....however...its best you give them a call and tell them exactly which date she decided to end her contract and left...they will immediatley suspend her HB and not start paying her again until they establish what she is upto and where she is....

      Its probably best you do this as this will stop her messing you about re coming back and forth to the property etc etc...as she is obviously keeping her HB claim going and wanting to pick her mail as HB letters dont get redirected.

      My advice is assuming you are in England and your council works in similar ways to mine (Wandsworth)
      Give them a call or drop them an email to tell them she has gone (give her HB ref or NI num)...i suspect this will stop her being a pain in the neck with you unless she is upto something else all together...

      Also...if u have a new tenant already...just get her to sign a release saying tenant has borken the contract of her own free will and has handed over possession of property back to you as of xyz date...you sign it too and give her a copy if she wants it. The prop will then be yours to do as you will...and by the way..you are doing her a favour by releasing her from the contract on her insistance ..make her aware of that to stop any further nonsense from her.

      All the best


        Someone said I need to inform Housing when tenant leaves, is this true?
        Notice was on scrap of paper and it had the wrong house no. on it so possibly not valid
        Not sure if she has re-directed but mail is still coming in the name on lease as well as 2 other names.
        She has asked for her deposit back and I am just going to ask to take £100 for repairs
        I dont have her agreement in writing to the Agents fee but I did her a reference to the housing association
        as an agreement for her to pay something towards the re-let fee.
        The Lease says the tenant is liable to pay all the rent for the whole of the agreed term Agreement may not be terminated unles break clause or written permission from Landlord and she has neither.
        The property is in England.
        Surely as she left and posted the keys back through my door on around 6/7 Dec she has gone of her own accord and without my permission.
        Where do I stand with the new lease. Agent says if Tenant left and given back keys it is considered that they have no more rights to the property especially as its now 15 days since the last rent day and she has not paid me Dec/Jan's rent, Obviously the new tenant has now paid me Dec/Jan rent. Is she entitled to any back at all....???
        Whats should be my next move ? MANY thanks


          You cannot receive rent for the same period of time twice.
          I'm a good tenant with great landlords
          I'm also a living, breathing, fully cooked female.


            Originally posted by Brb View Post
            You cannot receive rent for the same period of time twice.
            OK do I give her 1 weeks rent back ? and can you give me advice on rest of thread


              Well this confusion regarding surrender etc. Personally as you had marketed the property and got new T (T2) and T1 moved out I think you can safely say she gave notice in whatever form and you accepted it. Because if you didn't accept it (and you didn't have to as ast still with time to go) you would have needed to act as though property was not handed back (not marketed, not shown bods round, not cleaned etc) you accepted it.

              Personally I give her the week back and notify relevant bods in the council. If there is any overpayment then they already know you've paid it back to her. HB is paid 2 weeks in arrears so this could indeed be her money (albeit via taxpayer she will have had to have come up with the month in advance at the beginning of your tenancy no?).

              As T has asked for this back it shows she may know her rights. By all means claim that £100 but do have proof at the ready for whatever deposit protection scheme you used. That would be the signed (by T) inventory detailing condition of property, items included against a check out inventory (does not need to be signed by T though). I do hope you're successful though. I presume you know what is damage and what is fair wear and tear though ?
              I'm a good tenant with great landlords
              I'm also a living, breathing, fully cooked female.


                Check your AST and see if it has anything about leaving early and contribution towards getting new T. If you have that then I believe you could claim that from deposit. Others with more legal knowledge than will know with more certainty than I. It would sound reasonable to me.

                Worth noting for future reference. If you have a T on HB/LHA and they are nearing end of AST with you and they are given (rare) HA/Council house then work with T to see if they can claim HB/LHA in respect of 2 properties (it is possible when there is a few weeks overlap of tenancies), not certain on the maximum amount of weeks though). I would expect T though to be flexible on access for prospective Ts (T can refuse a LL entry to property at all times except emergencies regardless of any clause in your AST. It is called quiet enjoyment and a statutory right so cannot be signed away). Sorry if you know this but it does amaze me the amount of LLs and LAs that don't know this and fully expect to be able to charge into a property whenever they saw fit.
                I'm a good tenant with great landlords
                I'm also a living, breathing, fully cooked female.


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