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housing benefit woes

(15 Posts)
Sleepyk Fri 24-Jan-14 20:47:51

Can anyone help?

My parents have been living in my brothers property and paying (rent)the mortgage but obviously without tenancy agreement etc. My dad is moving out (another story for another thread) and my mum (71) obviously wants to stay. She doesn't work and has no saving but does get pension credit.

I have asked the council if she can claim housing benefit and stay where she is but they have said that as family she cant. She would have to move out and rent somewhere else. The house has three bedrooms so obviously she would get hit for the bedroom tax but that doesn't matter as all she wants to do is to be able to cover the rent/mortgage that my brother would need to pay.

My mum is 71 years old and we just want her to be safe and happy. If she rented a 1 bedroom she would get full housing benefit so in fact it is saving the council money as she would only get a portion due to the aforementioned bedroom tax ...The council lady said it would prob be considered a " contrived tenancy" (whatever that is!) as it stands but she also hinted that there was a way round it.

help anyone...I don't want to have to move her sad

VelmaD Fri 24-Jan-14 20:54:31

There are rules about renting from direct family, and renting without a tenancy agreement.

To claim any kind of housing benefit you need a tenancy agreement first and foremost. They need evidence that the house is rented out as it would be on the open market, that if it weren't your parents renting it would be rented to other etc.

There are rules stating you are not allowed to claim housing benefit in a house which belongs to the father of your child for instance. I dont know about mother/son rules. You need to look into that on the councils website.

The Bedroom reduction would take 25% off. That's quite a chunk. But at 71 I think she may actually be exempt from this?

LIZS Fri 24-Jan-14 21:00:03

Is n't the issue not the size of the house but the fact it is owned by her son ie. that is the "contrived" part - to elicit money from council for family ? Even if that were argued against she would only get an HB allowance equivalent to the local market value of a 1 bed property but could stay put if she made up the difference. Is this a second property for your dbro or does he rent elsewhere ?

Noregrets78 Fri 24-Jan-14 21:32:03

The bedroom tax is only if living in council housing - she'd be claiming whatever the LHA is for a 1 bedroom property.

Sleepyk Sat 25-Jan-14 13:01:49

The thing is it doesn't matter about the shortfall as my brother only needs to cover his mortgage ( which the hb will cover plus £150 spare) ....and yes it's my brothers third property

dancemom Sat 25-Jan-14 13:07:38

She can apply and the council will make a decision to either award HB or decide its a "contrived" tenancy and not award it. The fact that there is no tenancy agreement in place for the past period will go against her but if she can provide bank statements showing rent was paid then this will help. There will be no bedroom tax as its a privately rented property. Does your brother have a buy to let mortgage? Has he rented the property out to other tenants previously?

LIZS Sat 25-Jan-14 14:39:45

If they have between them managed to pay the rent is your df going to be financially supporting her in any way ? Can she access a proportion of his pension for example.

Sleepyk Sun 26-Jan-14 08:28:00

She can't / won't ask for any of his pension. He doesn't get much anyway!

They split by mutual agreement and there is no animosity so she would never ask him for any of the little money he receives from his pension.

The spanner in the works is that the council said that my mum has to start paying rent first and then be insitu before applying .

I'm just so frustrated -if she wanted to rent the house next door she could do as she is not related to the landlord. She is really distressed about this all now as she just wants to stay in her house sad

RandomMess Sun 26-Jan-14 08:36:01

Unfotunately those are the rules otherwise could imagine the amount of people that would buy property through having relatives renting from them and getting housing benefit.

Sounds like you need to all pull together and help your Mum find somewhere suitable to rent? In the longer term it's probably better for her to move now than when she is older and can no longer cope in a 3 bed. Plus the running costs of a 3 bed versus a 1 bed - again if she has a low income that is something to consider.

Helpyourself Sun 26-Jan-14 08:41:10

I'm sorry, this sounds really disruptive for all of you.
But to be fair this is exactly the sort of thing you should sort it out within the family.

I get housing benefit for renting a house from my Mum. We got a proper tenancy agreement drawn up at an estate agents (about £200 I think) and Mum had to confirm to the council that if we stopped paying rent she would treat us like other tenants - ie kick us out. We also have to be paying close to the market rate rent - I think the council let us pay approx £100 less to account for the fact that Mum's not paying estate agent fees, but any less & they wouldn't have allowed it.

My sister was renting this house before us (without HB) so it was a legitimate rental, but then so were your parents before your Mum needed to claim so I think that'd be similar. Main issue I can see is that her rent sounds too low as if you're brother is doing her a favour by not charging real rent value - the LHA allowance shouldn't be enough for her rent + an extra £150, she would usually be expected to be paying more rent than the allowance covers, especially as she's actually renting a bigger property.

expatinscotland Sun 26-Jan-14 08:52:53

No bedroom tax for those age 61+.

Rockchick1984 Sun 26-Jan-14 13:23:54

There's no bedroom tax on private rental properties - the amount of housing benefit would be based on the number of bedrooms required so in your mums circumstances it would be 1 bed - where I live that's around £300 per month but that varies by local authority.

If she wants to continue to rent the house then she can however she needs a proper tenancy agreement in place, and she needs to be paying full market rental value not just enough to cover your DB's mortgage. Realistically if she can't afford to do this, then housing benefit isn't going to pay for her to live there. So it's up to her really - she can stay in the house, but she has got to do it properly.

Sleepyk Mon 27-Jan-14 06:51:44

Thanks .... So the upshot is we should get an estate agent to draw a tenancy agreement up and start crossing fingers! Thank you all for taking the time to post x

Rockchick1984 Mon 27-Jan-14 08:22:02

Can she afford to pay market value rent on the property? If not you're wasting your money having a tenancy agreement drawn up!

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