Dealing directly with Council Housing Benefits Office, Scotland

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    Dealing directly with Council Housing Benefits Office, Scotland

    Hi,

    My wife is in a difficult situation. She rents a property to her daughter via an agency and all she gets is the basic 1 person under-35 amount of LHA. However, Daughter now has a partner and baby so as we understand it, she is entitled to a helluva lot more. The problem is that mother and daughter have a stormy relationship mostly because daughter has a mental health condition that gets her angry with her own shadow. Daughter is refusing to tell council (Moray) that she now has more people in the house, just to spite mum. Mum can't/won't evict daughter with a newborn baby.

    Daughter pays on time (mostly) so my wife can't use that as grounds for appealing to the council for direct payment, of the correct amount.

    Any suggestions ?

    Thanks in anticipation,

    Peter

    #2
    Congratulations on new baby:

    Assuming this is a normal "commercial" rental arrangement and the place wasn't bought just to rent to daughter. Does council know landlord is close relative? Normally they'd investigate closely and be very cautious in paying anything (see...
    https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_..._family_member
    - if there is any doubt strongly suggest wife declares everything to council now to avoid possible painful investigations later. Apologies if that's too blunt.

    Does partner have any income (cash-in-claw or PAYE)?? If so her benefits might go down.

    Suggestions?
    a) Never rent to family or friends: This is a classic example of why not, sadly.
    b) Instruct agent to follow their normal process over rent arrears (Notice to quit G12 can be served if only 1p is underpaid for just 1 day) & inspections over who else is living there, get copies of reports.

    Difficult: Your wife either has on-going problems with that rental or loses contact with daughter & granddaughter.

    Is the most recent tenancy before 1/12/2017?

    Slàinte mhath!

    NB Is this 1-person place small & might it be overcrowded (legal definition)? That's a criminal offence for landlords, plus possible fines,
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you !

      We believe the council are aware, since her daughter says she told them. (But she's what they call an 'unreliable witness'). Nevertheless, it is set up with an agency, with a tenancy agreement drafted by them.

      Their finances are very murky as we can never get straight answers, but his benefits shouldn't impact LHA as I understand it.

      We had our hand forced by circumstances into letting property to her and otherwise would have kicked her out long ago.

      It's a 2 bedroom house, inspected regularly.

      Cheers,

      Comment


        #4
        So you expect to receive even more public largesse due to your daughter now having a partner and child?

        I think you can see why the council aren't happy to allow this, can't you?

        Comment


          #5
          Leaving aside that she's not my daughter, the council will support such arrangements when they are on a commercial basis. Indeed, there appears to be a fund to help bridge the gap between the housing benefit limit and a commercial rent. Those are not my rules.

          https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_..._family_member

          Turning it round, (leaving aside the moral difficulty) the alternative is that my wife chucks out her daughter and rents at a commercial level so she can cover her mortgage. That would cost the council a LOT more, not only in rent, but increased social work involvement.. So my wife is currently supporting the council to the tune of a couple of hundred per month at least.

          Comment


            #6
            Oh please, she's supporting daughter.
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              Yes, of course she is. At significant personal and financial cost. It's what parents do.

              If you have an accountant, let's say he couldn't be @rsed claiming some business expenses for you. At least you can change your accountant.

              Comment


                #8
                I don't want to be in the 'firing line' but a couple of commentators are being unduly harsh on the property owner. They wanted to help their daughter and one way or another found her a place to live in. Assuming this is a 'arms length' deal. Despite it being a 2 bed house, the LHA rate will only fund an under 35 year of age shared house rate, i.e. a single room in a shared house HMO. If daughter now has partner and child, the LHA rate will support the higher rent for the 2 bedroomed property. At a guess, like peterd1 says, the difference could be £200 a month. At no cost to the daughter as she is entitled to the extra benefit. By the way peterd1, if your stepdaughter has a genuine mental health issue, then she may qualify to be in what is known a 'support group' where the under 35 rule does not apply. Having witnessed other cases of mental health problems, I can see it is a moral dilemma and wish you luck resolving it.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Some parents "support" their kids by doing all they can to ensure they stand on their own 2 feet.

                  Artful, father of 3 hard-working sons (and thus very privileged etc etc)

                  Best wishes to all
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    An update, in case anyone finds themselves in a similar position. My wife and daughter went to the Housing Office to discuss the situation and the jobsworth there couldn’t have been more rude if she’d put her jackboot up my step-daughter’s ****. My wife was quite shocked. So she issued an NTQ and when my stepdaughter took it in, another woman had a completely different approach and that afternoon, to nobody’s surprise, contacted my stepdaughter with an offer to increase the rent to a commercial rate. Such a pity that the Council’s inflexible approach caused so much pain in the meantime.

                    Comment

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