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how do i find landlords who accept housing benefit?

(25 Posts)
WelshCat Tue 17-May-11 19:24:56

i have been living with my mother and her husband since i had DS, but now I want to move into a house of my own, I have bond and first months rent available but I have no clue how to find a landlord that will accept housing benefit?
To my knowledge agencies don't generally accept it so looking online/at boards on houses is pretty much a waste of time.
Anyone know where I can find these elusive fellows?

Choufleur Tue 17-May-11 19:25:43

Try your local council they may have a list.

GypsyMoth Tue 17-May-11 19:27:12

you might also need a guarantor

another hoop to jump through!! i was considering giving up my housing assoiation house to rent privately,untill i found out nobody will let to those who claim hb!

WelshCat Tue 17-May-11 19:36:25

ah local council thats an idea.

i dont think i qualify for a housing association house, we have a spare room which my step-fathers 5 year old DS lives in on weekends, so im pretty sure they would tell me to eff off if i asked for a council house. and it takes forever, and i dont wanna live in the back end of my city where all the houses are they offer sad privately is prob the only way ill get to stay close to my familly!

i can get someone to guarantor for me i think. hmm. i dont understand why landlords think DSS are all scum?

NoCarbsBeforeMarbs Tue 17-May-11 19:48:28

Gumtree is a good place to try.

Also if you ring round letting agents, they sometimes have a few landlords on their books who will accept housing benefit.
Not many, unfortunately, so you may have to do a fair bit of ringing around.

A lot of landlords have clauses in their mortgage agreements that prevent them letting to housing benefit claimants, so please don't take it to heart.

Good luck smile

NoCarbsBeforeMarbs Tue 17-May-11 19:51:25

www.letmatch.co.uk/
Not sure what area you are looking for, but sometimes there are hb welcome houses on here.

Newbabynewmum Tue 17-May-11 19:57:32

I just rang agencies when I saw ads and asked. Took blummin age to find a half decent house that took hb but they r out there. Good luck! X

WelshCat Tue 17-May-11 20:01:05

thanks for the luck lol think i will need it!! its just such a pain in the ass isn't it. IMO mothers and people with children are far more likely to pay rent on time/look after houses for the sake of their kids than say, erm, students!! haha, nothing against them but i know who i would rather have as a tenant..

nocarbsbeforemarbs, i did not know that, i am less bitter to landlords now smile

pinkytheshrinky Tue 17-May-11 20:04:30

I am one of those landlords - i only let to people on benefits (because it is important that someone does)

I have to say the last two families have left huge debts and the last one did 4ks worth of damage to boot

BUT

It is important that someone lets good properties to families on benefits. My Landlord friend does this too son we cannot be the only ones. Ask the council as they do have a list of private lets.

Best of luck

WelshCat Tue 17-May-11 20:13:33

Thank you, you have given me hope! Lol you should start an alliance or something smile

Wish you were letting in Cardiff...

pinkytheshrinky Tue 17-May-11 20:36:17

One of the problems around here is that the tenant cannot choose to have their benefit paid direct to the landlord - even if they want to do it that way. One way of doing it is to put an advert on gumtree or something like that - a chatty friendly ad - if you have a guarantor who will pass a credit check mention this as then in theory you are the same as a private tenant.

WelshCat Tue 17-May-11 20:55:00

sweet, i was hoping the fact that my family will guarantor and that i have cash upfront might help smile

SoftKittyWarmKitty Wed 18-May-11 14:00:47

I worked full time when I found my house with a private landlord a few years back but moved to part time a year ago and now receive some HB, so I may have this issue if I want to move. However, I'd take exactly the same approach I did last time.

I put a friendly sounding ad on the wanted section of Gumtree and on my local city's forum on the wanted property section, asking for a 2 or 3 bed house in xx area with garden and parking (either drive or on road). I then listed all the positive things about me - that I worked, had paid a mortgage on my own house for 7 years with no missed payments and that I'd be willing to set up a direct debit for the rent. Your positive thing is that you have cash upfront and can offer a guarantor. I also said I was clean, tidy, responsible, houseproud and enjoyed gardening. I also mentioned that I had a DS and gave his age, plus a very old cat that sleeps all day, so the property had to be ok for children and pets. One thing I didn't do was mention a price I was willing to pay up to - I left it open. I think that sometimes if you say something like 'I can pay up to £500 pcm', a landlord that's out to make as much money as possible may then say their property costs £500pcm, even if they were only going to rent it for £450 until they saw your ad.

I had two people contact me off the back of that, both via Gumtree. One had a lovely house but wanted £700pcm, and although they said they'd be willing to accept £600 for the right person, it was too expensive for me. The other was my landlord. He initially wanted to let it for £585, but I negotiated down to £500pcm by comparing it with other rents for similar houses in the area (from Rightmove) and saying I was willing to take a longer contract than the standard 6 months. He's been a fab landlord, and was great when I moved to partial HB, mind you he had no reason for complaint because I ensured the direct debit was still paid even though it took the council 7 weeks to start my HB payments, which left me in loads of debt! But all sorted now.

Also don't give up on agencies - some have landlords that will accept HB. Best bet is to visit the ones in the area you want to live in and explain your situation, pointing out all your positives (see above!), and ask them to contact you when something comes up. Also ring them if there's something you like, because you never know.

Good luck.

WelshCat Wed 18-May-11 15:06:09

Thanks for that message! I always forget that landlords are actually people and might quite like someone taking the initiative to make the effort to sell themselves a little bit smile

Looks like it mightn't soooo much of a nightmare, Gumtree sounds like a cracking idea!

LittleMissFlustered Wed 18-May-11 20:44:14

Most council housing offices will have a list of letting agents and housing associations that you can grab. Much easier to tick them off as you ring through when some kind soul has already printed them out for you. Good luck.

Lovemelillady Wed 18-May-11 20:54:35

Doesnt the Housing benefit now get paid to you and not the landlord? So if you have a months rent and deposit, couldnt you rent somewhere and apply for housing benefit to pay for the rent, without LL knowing? Or is this frowned upon?

SoftKittyWarmKitty Wed 18-May-11 21:48:31

I get my HB paid direct to me, however when I applied I had to put my LL's full name and address on the form, so there's every chance the council may contact the LL. Not sure if they contacted mine or not.

plinkduet Fri 20-May-11 16:05:48

Local council list will have 'approved' landlords - but properties will be in the not nice areas.

My rented house stated clearly no Housing Benefit. But once I saw the letting agent in person, clearly outlined the HB application process giving them direct phone numbers to the council office that processes my claim, paid all money upfront and could provide a guarantor, they were happy.

Considering that HB claimants provide effectively guaranteed rent whereas employed tenants can lose their job and income at any time, you'd think there would be more HB lets available.

Is it social stigma? Is it because it can take up to 8 weeks to process a claim? (Better that than the property sat vacant on the market earning no income at all, surely?) Is it something to do with the landlord's mortgage and insurance disclaimers? I have heard all these reasons. View a house and have opportunity to reassure the landlord or letting agent in person about your financial situation, the HB claim procedure and your suitability as a long-term financial investment and like me you may sway them smile

ballstoit Fri 20-May-11 16:51:54

Our council has a scheme where they act as guarantor for people who can't normally find private rentals. I'd contact housing department at council as first port of call.

WelshCat Fri 20-May-11 19:42:52

Well, I posted an add on Gumtree and someone has emailed saying he has exactly what I'm looking for! Provided he isn't just a nutter trying to lure me to his house then score!

Thanks for the help everyone smile

littlemum007 Sun 29-May-11 11:07:52

I had a bad experience with GUMTREE!!! Some unscrupulous person posted pictures of a lovely house in the area I wanted much less than the rent I was prepared to pay - it was a fab place - he said I should meet him at the property and bring the deposit in cash if I wanted it......... of course it was a hoax, but I did nearly fall for it, so BEWARE.

Also, on the question of HB - you know, you can still find a private rental through an agent if you want, you don't have to tell them you're on HB. Its actually none of their business and agents should feel damn ashamed of themselves when they always ask a woman with children if they're on HB whereas they'd probably never ask a man! I have NEVER admitted to being on HB because if I did, we'd be living in the streets or housed is some far off place which would result in the children having to leave their schools.... oh, the consequences are endless.

That said, there are some local authorities housing departments who are very accommodating in the same way that there are some landlords but from my experience these are few and far between. Many more housing departments are also offering (well you have to ask) Rent Deposit Schemes by way of Rent Bond to help those on low incomes. Its well worth investigating if your that strapped financially.

gillybean2 Sun 29-May-11 15:48:13

I was shocked when a girl at work who was putting her flat out to rent said they woudn't take HB people.

I asked her why given that her own sister was on benefits and that lone parents, such as myself and her sister, were probably more likely to keep the place decent and be more reliable at paying the rent.

She said it was because their mortgage wouldn't allow it to be rented to HB claimants and it caused issues with the insuranace hmm

Not sure what happens if you simply don't tell them. I mean you have a right to privacy and so don't need to say you claim. But I guess if you lie if they ask you directly then that is different. Also I suppose they could question how you can afford the rent when they do their checks on you.

I know people who have found private rentals on HB. I think it comes down to a guarantor in same cases though.

CricketGirl Fri 03-Jun-11 15:06:39

I too am struggling to find a landlord that accepts housing benefit and what's worse is I am about to be evicted. I have tried everything and to be honest am running out of ideas.

Firstly I've put a personal ad on Gumtree and all that does is attract the people who aren't legal ie the ones that want thousands and thousands of pounds sent through Western Union - need I say more! Secondly the local authorities are no help at all. I have been told that they are not allowed to give out details of landlords because it is confidential under the Data Protection Act and my final problem is providing a guarantor. I have no family and would just not feel happy using my friends.

brazenhussy Fri 03-Jun-11 22:08:40

There is no reason why your landlord needs to know you are on HB
I have been in my rented house for 3 years and I knew when I applied that the landlord didint take HB so I didn't tell him.

CricketGirl Sat 04-Jun-11 12:01:35

A good idea in principle but what about when they ask questions about where you work and also want references. As I'm being evicted I won't be getting one from my landlady.

The other problem I seem to have been unfortunate to have had in the last 2 places I've rented, this one in particular, is my landlady comes round to the house every day and I mean every day apart from Xmas Day which is how she found out in the first place. When I first moved in I had regular temp work, then that started to dry up so was spending more and more time at home because I literally don't have any money so hardly go out. In the end as much as I tried to avoid her eventually I just started bumping into her and she would start asking questions. First of all I would say I was 'on leave', then 'off sick' but it was just starting to look too obvious.

Of course when I moved in I had no idea that she came round on such a regular basis because believe me if I did I wouldn't have moved in in the first place - trouble is it's not the sort of thing you can ask a potential new landlord/landlady - "By the way how many times a week do you visit the property"!

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