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Landlords/ tenants with experience of HB

(15 Posts)
Eatsleepwork Sat 03-Jan-15 08:44:18

I'm a very reluctant landlord atm and recently found new tenants.
I know she receives housing benefit, which wasn't an issue for me. However, the first rent payment date has passed and we've not received any rent from her- I finally got hold of her and she said she had two cheques from the council that add up to 2/3 of the rent required and she would cash them and send me the money. When I asked how and when I would receive the rest of it her response was 'I'm guessing with another cheque from them'. I've asked her to confirm with the council but she was a bit reluctant.
This is all new to me so can anyone tell me if this is normal? The rent is already nearly two weeks late and she doesn't seem bothered about making sure we receive it at all, let alone on time. I know she has had a really horrible year and haven't put any pressure on her but bottom line is we really need the money blush.
Tenant suggested we ask the council to pay us direct instead of through her but I believed it was her responsibility to arrange that.
If anyone can offer any advice on this Id be very very grateful

LornMowa Sat 03-Jan-15 10:11:11

Housing benefit is usually paid in arrears.

Depending on whether she is working or not the amount of HB she receives may not cover the whole of her rent and she may be expected to cover the shortfall from her wages.

I don't think the council will pay you direct unless she is already 8 weeks/2 months in arrears and you have started action to evict her from the property (although some councils may have different rules)

I suggest that you ask her to get some advice from CAB or Housing Aid. They will be able to identify whether she has any further entitlement to benefit, they can help her draw up a budget and can identify whether she is likely to be eligible for any discretionary housing payment.

a2011x Sat 03-Jan-15 10:31:28

The council can pay you directly if your tenant requests it . Never heard of a cheque from a council but it could happen I suppose ? My advice is to phone the council and they will give you information about what's going on . It personally seems as though your tenant may be a little naughty but might just be to early to tell. If she has the cheques are they for her to cash and send u the money or are they cheques for you? Either way cheque seems weird regardless

Bowlersarm Sat 03-Jan-15 10:58:56

Absolutely keep on top of the situation, don't let days slide into weeks before you see that the money will be coming in.

I have a depressing story. Our only experience with a housing benefit tenant was horrendous. Dh has a flat he rented out to a Hb tenant for about 3 years; I don't think he was paid even a third of the rent in that time. There was a short period when it was paid directly to him and then that stopped, and the tenant just pocketed the housing benefit money instead of passing it on as rent. Eventually after loads of hassle of going through the courts we managed to get the tenant evicted. The bastard trashed the flat before he went - literally smashed up the bathroom, kitchen, ceiling. We couldn't afford to do it up, so sold it last December to a builder and he completes on it this month.

Ours is a truly sorry tale, and I appreciate that there are more housing benefit tenants out there who are good guys rather than bad, but we would never let to a housing benefit tenant again because of our experience.

Just be careful, and be on top of things. Good luck, I'm sure you won't have an experience anything like ours.

Shizzy Sat 03-Jan-15 11:04:53

Another sorry tale here. My tenant is on HB. Wasn't when I let the property to her & her bf. She's now pregnant again and has decided the flat is too small for her so has stopped paying rent. I've got a section 21 eviction notice but she won't leave until she's evicted through the courts as the council (apparently) won't rehouse her if she leaves without a court eviction so I'll have to go through that process when her eviction date is up. I'm then cutting my losses and selling the damned flat. I will never be a landlord again. My MIL is helping me pay my mortgage in the interim, God love her.

OurMiracle1106 Sat 03-Jan-15 11:10:02

My housing benefit is paid direct to the agency. I have a short fall however of 34 per 4 weeks. I pay it into the agency account with my property ref every 4 weeks.

The last thing I want is to lose my home. I've been homeless. I was warned I may get a cheque to cover my initial rent whilst it was being processed but I never did. It got paid straight to them and I got a letter.

Ask how much she has been awarded. It may only cover two thirds and she may need to make up the short fall or apply for a discretionary housing payment.

EhricJinglingHisBallsOnHigh Sat 03-Jan-15 11:14:45

Why is she receiving cheques? That doesn't make sense. Presuming she has a bank account to pay rent to you?
Housing benefit pays 4 weekly in arrears, which is very annoying as it obviously doesn't match up with rent which is monthly in advance. However it's still her responsibility to get the rent to you on time.
You can't arrange for it to be paid to you directly, I doubt even she can as they don't tend to do it but it's worth a try.

EhricJinglingHisBallsOnHigh Sat 03-Jan-15 11:17:18

Just to say housing benefit tenants aren't more likely to default because they get HB, simply because they are going to be on lower incomes and have no savings buffer for when things go wrong. However if she carries on messing you about you should serve notice, how about contacting your local council emergency accommodation team and asking about supplying the home for long term temporary accommodation? That way rent goes directly to you.

madsadbad Sat 03-Jan-15 11:19:01

She should have a housing benefit decision letter, this will break down what she has been awarded, you will then see what she is receiving from HB and any top ups she may be paid.
HB is paid 4 weekly in arrears.
Under certain criteria a request can be made to pay direct to landlord I believe this needs to be requested by tenant and it will be looked at under safeguarding, I believe a landlord can request if the tenant owes 8weeks or more in rent.
I would ask if she gives consent for you also to receive copies of these letters and/or if you are able to independently contact HB.

SeattleGraceMercyDeath Sat 03-Jan-15 11:19:18

We've had a Tenant who relies solely on benefits for the last 5 years, we had a bit of a rocky time to begin with (although our useless letting agent contributed) and then an issue where he spent his rent on Christmas presents instead of paying, the rent. But we now get all payments direct to us via the council every 4 weeks, the tenant is happy as he doesn't have to think about budgeting and we're happy as we have a definite stream of income that barring a disaster will be paid on time. I can't recali f we or the tenant requested it. I think we did and the tenant had to give consent for it to be set up that way.

specialsubject Sat 03-Jan-15 11:41:23

usually the tenant needs to be 8 weeks in arrears before you can get HB paid directly. The idea is that it goes straight to the tenant to allow them to be responsible for their own finances.

you need to find out what is going on and get advice ASAP. As she wants it to be paid directly to you, see if you can get that done by the council.

I'd be very concerned about her budgeting and ability to pay. Were any checks done before she moved in? Do you have all the suitable insurances?

it helps no-one if you can't keep up with the mortgage and the place is repossessed.

specialsubject Sat 03-Jan-15 11:43:06

shizzy your tenant is making herself intentionally homeless by not paying the rent. That means that her dream of a council house may not materialise. Once the baby is born she'll end up in a hostel or b and b.

that information may or may not make her pay some rent.

Eatsleepwork Sat 03-Jan-15 12:00:30

Thanks all. I got good references for her from previous landlords and they never had any issues so I'm hoping its a temporary issue whilst her claim is processed. She definitely said they've sent her cheques that she will pay into her account then transfer to me. I'll talk to her again on Monday- she paid the first month in cash to the letting agent but they kept it as their finders fee. It's just fustrating that she isn't making much effort to resolve it herself. I will ask her to authorise my talking to the council.
I'm in the fortunate position whereby we don't have a mortgage on it but we still budget around receiving it so it would be good to receive it sooner rather than later!

beautyfades Sat 03-Jan-15 12:58:22

All she has to do is put it in writing that she cannot manage her finances and take it to a onestop. They do prefer to pay it direct to the tenant but if she requests it to you there should be no problem.

HonoraryOctonaut Sat 03-Jan-15 13:08:05

I used to get HB cheques a few years ago, I got one every 2 weeks in arrears.

Then I moved councils

And now my HB goes direct to the landlady automatically, I didn't request it. It's much easier for me though as I don't have to think about it.

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