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rent deposit scheme, housing benefit, letting a property

(7 Posts)
HerHonesty Thu 22-Oct-09 10:04:29


trying to rent our flat out in london, have had a call from someone who is in a rent deposit scheme with richmond council and housing benefit.

I am making no judgement whatsoever about beign on this type of scheme, but having no experience whatsoever with payment I was hoping someone could explain to me what the deposit scheme means/how it works and how housing benefit would work with regards to my primary concern - security of payment - does the money get paid to me directly from the council, or from the tenant, what happens if the benefits stop etc etc.

Tocky Thu 22-Oct-09 13:03:11

Housing benefit is always paid direct to the tenant, unless the tenant is considered unable to handle money because e.g. mental health issues, alcohol problems - (the council makes the decision on this based on GP/hospital letters etc)

If the tenant falls into arrears because they are not managing their money, you can ask the council to direct hb payments to you but they will normally only do this if the arrears are large, and they will revert to paying the tenant as soon as the arrears are paid off. If they have a long history of non-payment, you may be able to get all payments to you but it's at the council's discretion.

There is a maximum amount of hb payable (the council can tell you what it is) based on the on the tenant's family and circumstances - NOT on the amount of rent you charge - so it may be that even the max hb will not cover the rent in which case it is up to you to get this from the tenant.

If benefits stop it is up to you to chase the tenant for rent. Ask the tenant to let you have permission to discuss the claim with the council - they will need to put this in writing. The council won't discuss personal details but if there are any hold ups with the claim at least you can ring the council directly and find out what's happening.

lou031205 Thu 22-Oct-09 13:18:07

Link here

freyasyummymummy Thu 22-Oct-09 13:18:27

We rent out a flat and the current and previous tenant both claim housing benefit to cover the rent.
The previous tenant had her payments paid by the council directly to us (this was before the change ie paying the money to the tenants occured) and we had no problems at all..
The current tenant moved in February this year and we've had lots of problems with his rent being paid
We talked it over with him at the start of the tenancy and suggested opening a separate account into which the council pay his HB and then we asked him to set up a standing order so that the money comes straight back out again into our account, he pays fortnightly and 9 months on STILL hasn't done this!! He simply spends the money and pays us what is left, some weeks we get the full amount, some weeks nothing at all and sometimes half etc.
I would advise you to think very carefully about who you rent your property to.
There will be some sort of housing officer responsible for each tenant - make sure you get their details and ring them as soon as you have any problems, after all if you evict the tenant it becomes a nightmare for them and it's in their interest to sort out any problems. IMO HB should be paid directly to the landlord in all cases, makes everyones lives easier.

Tocky Thu 22-Oct-09 13:23:12

I agree with freya, if you take on this tenant and then have problems, make them known to the council straight away - after all this tenant may have had problems with previous landlords and the council will have the history there - they might be able to make payments to you

freyasyummymummy Thu 22-Oct-09 14:35:00

this is interesting

lou031205 Thu 22-Oct-09 18:16:38

"IMO HB should be paid directly to the landlord in all cases, makes everyones lives easier. "

Why? All sorts of people claim HB. We claim HB. DH works full-time, but we have 3 children under 4 years old, so it is financially impossible for us to afford childcare so I can work. HB pays just over half of our rent. But it pays 4 weekly, and our rent is monthly. We paid our rent on October 10th, and our HB will be paid tomorrow.

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