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Letting to housing benefit claimant

(33 Posts)
Spillage21 Thu 25-Aug-11 22:38:28

DH and I own a lovely, 4-bed house in a village in Kent and, due to work commitments, we cannot live in it. We decided to rent it out. It has a quirky layout and having been on the market for two months it appears it's not suitable for the rich and picky clientele the village attracts ('It's not big enough for our furniture'). I have spoken to the local council's housing department and they have told me that they have a woman with children who would love the property. They have said that HB would be paid direct to me (for very specific reasons). We always pay for watertight referencing, rent guarantee insurance, and, in this case, will have an AST drawn up by a solicitor with some specific inclusions (clawback issues etc). I would love to help this woman, but my sensible head says I should really think very carefully about this. What do you think?

QuintessentialShadow Thu 25-Aug-11 22:40:19

If you do go ahead, insist on a 3 months deposit rather than the standard 6 weeks....

Tortington Thu 25-Aug-11 22:49:30

How it's paid
If you are a council tenant, your council will pay any Housing Benefit straight into your rent account.
If you're not a council tenant, your Housing Benefit will be paid:
to you by cheque
by Direct Payment into your bank or building society account
Contact your council if you're worried about how Housing Benefit is paid.

www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/On_a_low_income/DG_10018926

lubeybooby Thu 25-Aug-11 22:51:03

I get a small amount of housing benefit and I'm a great tenant. Don't assume terrible things!

Tortington Thu 25-Aug-11 22:51:25

no one on hb can afford a 3 month deposit unless there is a deposit scheme at that council

best ask the council if there is a deposit scheme for the potential tenant to access if needed

MJHASLEFTTHEBUILDING Thu 25-Aug-11 22:55:00

Message withdrawn

Spillage21 Thu 25-Aug-11 22:55:38

There is a deposit scheme, and the council will recommend that HB is paid direct to me (for specific reasons that I shan't disclose, but it's not from arrears!).

I'm not assuming terrible things about HB claimants (there by the grace of God and so on...). But clawback rules, being what they are, can easily lead to massive financial losses for the landlord...am not in it for money, just to keep the house until we can move in, in 2-3 years.

MJHASLEFTTHEBUILDING Thu 25-Aug-11 22:56:35

Message withdrawn

youarekidding Thu 25-Aug-11 22:57:13

I also am on HB - it's a very small amount % wise compared to rent. I get it direct and rent is paid DD monthly.

It's the 'specific reasons' bit I would be wary of. IF the HB covers all rent then no problems, if it covers only a small part and the family have history of missing payments I may be wary.

But agree - 3 months deposit is never going to happen - how is someone who can't afford a full month (hence HB) going to magic 3?

Spillage21 Thu 25-Aug-11 22:57:27

MJ, crossed posts...

Tortington Thu 25-Aug-11 22:57:41

im your they will recommend it....to the tenant

it is the tenants choice not theirs and not yours.

just making you aware

Spillage21 Thu 25-Aug-11 22:58:14

HB covers all the rent.

youarekidding Thu 25-Aug-11 22:58:46

x posts re specific reasons.

Spillage21 Thu 25-Aug-11 23:01:03

It will be a condition that rent is paid to us...the vast majority of issues with renting to HB are to do with arrears when HB paid direct to tenant. We cannot afford to be a charity if claimant cannot/will not pay.

youarekidding Thu 25-Aug-11 23:01:34

Sorry x posts again.

RE claw back rules. If council are 'recommending' this tenent and paying you the rent I would perhaps get them to take responsibility for fraudulent claims. Maybe some clause in your contract with them?

minsmum Thu 25-Aug-11 23:01:40

There is probably a local landlords forum that the council can put you in touch with we have one in my area and you might find some good advice through them. If you had the pro's and cons you could make a balanced decision

Spillage21 Thu 25-Aug-11 23:03:45

YAK, yes, that was what I was talking about with AST drawn up by a solicitor. We'll also have solicitor talk to council too.

MJHASLEFTTHEBUILDING Thu 25-Aug-11 23:06:20

Message withdrawn

Spillage21 Thu 25-Aug-11 23:13:20

MJ, so what can you do? Is it just luck?

MJHASLEFTTHEBUILDING Thu 25-Aug-11 23:16:41

Message withdrawn

Fatshionista Thu 25-Aug-11 23:30:00

I am a HB tenant and I'm good. I have two small DD's and a dog and apart from some minor paint touch ups where DD1 got creative there is nothing wrong at all.

Vet them by all means but if HB covers the full amount there shouldn't be a problem.

Justfeckinggoogleit Fri 26-Aug-11 08:42:11

Hmm, I'd be very wary.

I'd want to know why the HB was being paid direct to the LL, that's not usual.

I'd also, cynically, think, well yeah, a woman on benefits with kids will love a (I'm assuming) extremely expensive 4 bed house in an expensive village.
Why hasn't she been housed already? And ( contraversially) I never rented my ( also beautiful and expensive) house out to benefit claiments because I don't believe that those who don't work should be housed in homes those that do can't afford.

So, no, I wouldn't rent it to them. You'll have no problem getting working tenants.

gettingeasier Fri 26-Aug-11 10:47:41

Justfecking what vile generalisations <<shudders>> you sound utterly charmless not cynical

QuintessentialShadow Fri 26-Aug-11 10:53:15

I have only once let to a hb claimant. (unknowingly) And I do realize that not everybody are the same. She, and her two kids (and her mum, brother and husband that she had claimed did not exist), left the house with 2 months of arrears, stolen ALL the content of the fully furnished let (3 bed end of terrace), and had caused damage worth over 20k. This is not counting replacing furniture. The agony of it all, the problems, the hassle, the redecorations, it is just not worth it.
In the future I will only let to people who work, who cover their own rent, and is responsible for their own deposit. As otherwise they have no incentive to care.

QuintessentialShadow Fri 26-Aug-11 10:55:20

Or students, who have their parents as guarantors.

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