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to think that not considering renting to people on housing benefit is really unfair?

(173 Posts)
whattimestea Wed 27-Mar-13 10:20:58

If i am being unreasonable then fair enough-if people can explain why then that might help me see things with more perspective and stop me feeling so down and disheartened by everything at the minute.

Basically due to changes to my families circumstances and also to the benefits system as it stands we have no choice but to look for cheaper rental accommodation. That's ok, not disputing that. The problem is that although we're on our housing association list, local council list - of landlords that have registered with them - there is literally nothing that we are eligible for. With local housing agency's tho and estate agents there are about twenty properties in the area that are within the price and spec that we need. BUT we can't get within a sniff of these as they all say 'no housing benefit/DSS. Why is this that without so much as meeting a person you can be completely excluded from even enquiring about a property?

We have rented from our current landlord for 11 years-have never missed a weeks rent (have only claimed HB for previous 9 months). We can provide a guarantor if needed, a deposit, and as many references as required. But it makes no difference they just don't want to know.

I understand from others that certain mortgages and insurance that landlords have on rentals state that they cannot let to benefits claimants? How is this fair to state that the way a person receives their income can make them illegible for housing? You wouldn't be able to state on an advert for a house rental 'will not rent to members of the armed forces/plumbers/shopworkers etc would you? Or would you?!

If after reading replies i see how i am being unreasonable then so be it! Just feeling very demoralised at the moment - like Im banging my head against a brick wall with it all! For the record - my family would be lovely, reliable, trouble free tenants!

badguider Wed 27-Mar-13 10:24:53

I don't know and I agree it's unfair but when I married my husband and had to rent out my flat before I was able to sell it, my insurance would have been unaffordable if I'd paid the premium to allow DSS. I needed the income from the flat to cover the mortgage while I was living with DH and I think a lot of landlords are in the same situation - ie. just renting one property due to circumstances rather than 'running a business'.

Poppet48 Wed 27-Mar-13 10:26:18

YADNBU, I find it quite discriminating myself. Unfortunately there is not much you can do about it but I totally understand you feeling down heartened, It seems no one in my area excepts HB so I have no choice but to live with my parents which is a squeeze being in the house!

Oodsigma Wed 27-Mar-13 10:26:21

Lots of mortgage companies put that rule in rather than landlords.

fergoose Wed 27-Mar-13 10:27:11

lots of landlord's mortgage companies won't permit housing benefit claimants.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 10:28:44

Quite often, the terms of a buy to let mortgage will prohibit a landlord from renting to someone claiming HB/LHA. This is because people who claim are statistically higher to withhold payment of rent, or to leave the property damaged.

Also, as bad guider says, insurance costs are higher when you rent to people on HB.

The fact is that some claimants have ruined things for all claimants.

NatashaBee Wed 27-Mar-13 10:28:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Theicingontop Wed 27-Mar-13 10:29:37

We've faced this problem ourselves, even though we were only receiving less than 15% housing benefit costs towards our rent. Didn't matter, they said. It's still housing benefit.

We were 'lucky' and were able to find ourselves a nice slum landlord who'd take anyone, and lived in a hovel for a year until we were able to move somewhere nicer.

I do understand that statistically, your house is more likely to be fucked up by someone with no job and in full receipt of benefits. But I still don't understand how it's not discrimination.

Snowme Wed 27-Mar-13 10:30:03

I'm interested to know why the insurance is invalidated if a landlord lets his home to a benefit claimant.

After all, many buy to let properties in sink towns are on benefit tenancies.

Can anyone link to a statement clarifying the insurance clause? It just doesn't make sense.

Smuffy Wed 27-Mar-13 10:31:01

I hate to tar everyone with the same brush, but my experience living on the same road as a lot of people in receipt of these benefits would put me off renting to them in the future if I decided to rent out. And a LL I know has, after cleaning up the mess his 3rd lot of HB tenants has made, decided not to rent to them anymore. I dont blame him at all for feeling like his fingers have been burned one too many times.

WilsonFrickett Wed 27-Mar-13 10:31:10

YANBU but I think it's normally insurance/mortgage companies rather than LLs, I would consider HB for my rental property but there's a clause in one of them (I can't remember which) which would make it difficult for me.

TBF, with changes like the bedroom tax I also don't blame LL's for being cautious - if you have a tenant in, happily paying their rent through HB and then that HB is cut by circumstances out of their control, you're taking a risk that there will be a shortfall in rent and most small LL (contrary to MN popular opinion wink) wouldn't relish the thought of evicting a family in those circumstances.

But YANBU and I hope something works out for you soon.

We happily rent to HB recipients but our property is mortgage free so that removes one level of complication. We've rented to a family that have children in school in the area because that gives us a long term rental which is a lot less hassle.

kookymrs Wed 27-Mar-13 10:38:17

there is also the issue - if the LL were to need the property back they. for you to ensure the continuation of benefit you will need to be taken to court for eviction and then removed via a bayliff. otherwise the benefit will be stopped (this will take around a year). - that is the case where we live anyway!

Netguru Wed 27-Mar-13 10:40:11

I rent out three properties. Insurance precludes letting to HB claimants. I cannot afford not to have insurance.

A tenant who was already in property lost job and went on to claim benefit. They reduced the rent they were passing over which left me short paying the mortgage. I'd like to see them go into Tesco and insist on paying ten per cent less for their chosen groceries. They eventually left leaving property in poor order costing me £3000 to sort it out.

Not all HB claimants would be irresponsible and not all employed people will be good tenants - I realise that. But you can't know which would be which makes insurance necessary.

BernadetteRostenkowskiWolowitz Wed 27-Mar-13 10:42:23

it is. i was an excellent tennant when i was on benefits. agent said so. he said stay in touch when i left the house.
but some landlords have varioys rinkydinks goung on where they dont declare the rental income so it is a situation that speaks volumes about the landlord. now, when i see "no rent allowance" i know it is code for "tenant not declaring this income"

BernadetteRostenkowskiWolowitz Wed 27-Mar-13 10:43:13

sorry LANDLORD not declaring income

mum23girlys Wed 27-Mar-13 10:47:17

My mortgage company doesn't allow me to rent to dss. Also the landlord insurance premiums were sky high if I rent to dss.

The other problem is housing benefit is paid in arrears and many landlords are only landlords as they have been unable to sell and have to move so are left with no choice but to rent especially with the economy as it is so they are heavily relying on the rent being paid. Housing benefit can take weeks to set up so even though the do get paid eventually in the short term they are out of pocket and many like myself just can't afford to be.

So really it's the mortgage companies, insurance companies and the slowness of the benefits system that's at fault. So many empty properties and a lot of landlords struggling to rent even though there are plenty potential tenants out there but we are unable to rent to them

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 10:49:05

What a ridiculous assumption to make Bernadette. hmm

The reasons why landlords don't always rent to HB/LHA claimants have been given very clearly on this thread. It has nothing to do with landlords declaring their income.

You may have been an excellent tenant when you were on benefits, but unfortunately not all benefit claimants are the same. It's that simple.

whattimestea Wed 27-Mar-13 10:50:42

I understand that it isn't necessarily the landlords wishes so to speak. More that their hands are tied due to the restrictions placed on them by their mortgage/insurance etc. But it just seems like they're assuming that ALL housing benefit tenants are a risk. Why not base decisions on the facts in front of you, on an individual as opposed to a preconceived idea?

WeAreEternal Wed 27-Mar-13 10:55:30

I am a landlord.

Virtually all mortgage companies and insurance companies, especially in the case of buy to let mortgages, have a clear stipulation in the contracts that states that you are not permitted to let to DSS.

If you want to let to someone on benefits you have to pay substantially for that privilege.

When one of my tenants lost her job and started claiming benefits I didn't want to have to evict her, so I looked into changing my insurance. Most companies wouldn't even give me a quote, out of all of the companies I called only two would even consider giving me a quote and the quotes were more than four times the current insurance payments.
The only option I could give the tenant was to put up her rent to cover the extra insurance, but she couldn't afford that.
I had no choice but to evict her, as I couldn't leave my house uninsured, and despite all I tried to do the tenant left owing me money (she canceled the last two rent payments) and she caused thousands of pounds of intentional damage to the house as revenge for evicting her and her family.

I would happily let to families on benefits if they would be willing to pay for the additional insurance charges, but that's not likely to happen.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 10:57:17

Because that takes a lot of time and you have to make a personal judgement, which you could get wrong. Mortgage companies and insurance companies are not going to check out every individual without charging a lot more money to do so. Plus, as has been said, sometimes cock ups with benefit payments are beyond the potential tenants control, so it doesn't matter how brilliant a person they are.

BreakOutTheKaraoke Wed 27-Mar-13 10:58:08

Given that the majority of the threads on Universal Credit have said that the first thing to suffer will be rent/council tax benefit, i.e. people will use that money to buy food rather than pay their bills, I don't blame them at the minute- the owners may have mortgages and bills to pay themselves, would you risk not being able to pay in that situation?

hotcrosbum Wed 27-Mar-13 11:00:07

When I first moved to where I am now, I had to claim full (left abusive ex husband who I was still living in the same house as and moved area with ds to where dp (now dh) was living).

I couldn't find anywhere to live, it was so stressful. Thankfully a firnd of a friend was a landlord but it was a four bed house. I was claiming the full rate of HB for my area and circumstances while I was getting on my feet, but this house was £500 per month more than that, I had to top it up myself. It was all of the maintenance from ds father, which badically gave him more of a hold over me.

No letting agent would touch me, despite me being a well educated, neat, tidy woman in her 30's who had only ever lived in houses owned by ex h and myself. I was desperate.

Luckily when I had lived there a year, I went to some agents, I had glowing refs from my landlord and our neighbours and ds school. Thankfully, one landlord agreed.

Two weeks later, dh got a job (he had been a mature student finishing his degree), but due to high rents in the area, we still have to claim a small amount of HB. If we want to move, despite DH in a full time job, we will still have problems.

With regard to the insurance, what would happen if a private tennant was suddenly made redundant and had to clain HB? There is no need to let the agent or landlord know - money is paid direct to the claimant.

Buzzardbird Wed 27-Mar-13 11:02:16

Bernadette you are talking out of your backside.

The insurance that you take out doesn't allow HB claimants and asked for evidence that are working.

I don't give a rats ass personally if someone is claiming HB, I think times are hard enough as it is for people without being predudiced against (that includes Landlords)

I had to wait a month for my tenant to start a new job as I really liked her but she was on HB. No-one paid the mortgage for me whilst the property was empty and there would be no point in not declaring income when the rent only just covers the mortgage. Some Landlords are struggling just as much. We are not all Landlords by choice, sometimes we can't claim benefits as self-employed.

whattimestea Wed 27-Mar-13 11:04:45

If you are over and above the benefits cap then the reduction does come from your housing benefit award. Ours has been reduced by just under £90 per week. I don't want to detract from the thread tho so don't wish to make this a benefits entitlement topic, however one of the helpful tips given to us on the letter informing us of our reduction is 'find cheaper accommodation'. Like its as easy as that!

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