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Landlord question

(18 Posts)
allwornout0 Wed 24-May-17 12:15:58

I have a friend who is about to let out a property for the first time with a lettings agency.
The agents have found a tenant, but contract they want her to sign has a couple of things she would like changed but the agent is saying that they won't change anything, is this normal?

Also, she has a BTL mortgage says she cannot rent to anyone receiving housing benefit, the agency said that they do not let to people receiving it and that the tenant must earn 3 times the rent. The contract just says that if the tenant needs to receive housing benefit then they must get the council to pay it directly to the landlord which of course is very unlikely to happen.
She asked for it to say in the contract that the tenant must not be receiving housing benefit but they won't change it and are saying they try to ensure that all their tenant are employed and pass referencing on affordability. If circumstances change they can't do anything.

All seems wrong to me, and am worried that she is going to end up with problems if she agrees to this contract.
Do any landlords think these things are right?

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Wed 24-May-17 12:20:01

I think the problem for your friend is that if a tenant's circumstances change and they need HB but there are no other problems then a landlord can't lawfully evict anyway. The best she could do is not renew the tenancy at the end of the term.

It's something that should be taken up with the mortgage company I think.

specialsubject Wed 24-May-17 12:21:12

No. The agent works for her and does as they are told within the law.

She needs to change agent now. And get better informed about her business.

specialsubject Wed 24-May-17 12:27:44

To go further - your pal needs to understand that contracts do not override common law and that contract terms can be unenforceable.

Has she confirmed that tenant money will be ring fenced ? Which deposit scheme will be used? How does the agent record that the tenant has all the right documents?

Yes, if a tenant does go on to benefits there is nothing to be done except evict at end of fixed term if it becomes a mortgage breach. Has she confirmed the mechanism for this and her legal cover?

allwornout0 Wed 24-May-17 12:35:45

They have said that their terms and conditions have been checked and approved by solicitors and that they are unable to amend them.

I find it very odd that they said that they check that a tenant must be employed and earn 3 times the rent but now just it's just "we try to ensure that they are employed and pass referencing". To me it's either your employed or your not, no trying about it.

They are being very pushy about the contract being signed for the tenant to move in, my friend thinks it's too late to change agents now.

Agree, def needs to be more on the ball with this.

specialsubject Wed 24-May-17 12:44:17

It is not too late - your friend may lose this tenant and money but that may be the lesser evil.

She should have looked into all this before choosing the agent. That term about getting the HB paid direct is unenforceable.

CuddledUpWithMyCat Wed 24-May-17 12:47:19

As a landlord, I would strongly advise your friend to get a different and better agency now before the tenant moves in.

allwornout0 Wed 24-May-17 12:51:59

Thanks specialsubject, I totally agree.

Thought it all sounded very wrong what the agents were saying, just didn't know if I was right or not and it this was all totally normal practice amongst lettings agents. I'll pass also info onto her and will have to leave it up to her to make to decide what she wants to do.

Wtfdoipick Wed 24-May-17 12:57:11

The contract just says that if the tenant needs to receive housing benefit then they must get the council to pay it directly to the landlord

I wonder if your friend is misunderstanding what the agency are saying. They can do all the checks possible but the person could move in then lose their income for some reason. They can not evict in that situation so the request that HB is paid directly to them is a reasonable compromise. What she is asking them to put sounds unenforceable so completely pointless.

beardymcbeardy Wed 24-May-17 13:20:53

What wtf has said. The letting agents has said that they will only rent out initially to tenants who earn 3x the rent. But if the tenants lost their job whilst in the property and have to claim hb then they insist that it has to be paid direct to them rather than tenants (not sure how enforceable that is but that is beside the point). I don't think you can evict previously working tenants just because they have lost their job. Your friend is essentially wanting the tenants to sign a contract stating that the tenants will not lose their job (and have to claim HB) which is unreasonable as who could predict or control that?

allwornout0 Wed 24-May-17 13:27:15

I'll show her all the reply's thanks everyone.

CowParsleyNettle Wed 24-May-17 13:28:19

Yes, better letting agent required.

OlennasWimple Wed 24-May-17 13:36:24

I suspect they are saying that they can't change the contract because they want everyone to be on the same, standard contract in order to make managing the property easier for them

allwornout0 Wed 24-May-17 13:38:36

I totally agree OlennasWinple

Nowwhatsthis Wed 24-May-17 17:03:08

It's very unlikely the tenants would tell the agents or your friend if they started claiming HB anyway.

CuddledUpWithMyCat Wed 24-May-17 17:18:58

If the tenant lost their job, you can evict them. You just need to do it properly and give them the required two months' notice.

beardymcbeardy Wed 24-May-17 20:50:44

Also just checking that you are in England, because Scotland will begin implementing the new tenancy legislation at the end of 2017 and landlords wont be able to just get rid of tenants with two months notice unless it is for one of the prescribed reasons. Im pretty sure because the tenant is no longer working is not one of them.

specialsubject Thu 25-May-17 12:51:37

Existing tenancies won't be affected.

But yes, this will mean that a landlord won't be able to evict a tenant breaching the mortgage terms by going on HB. Ideally this will mean that such mortgage terms will no longer be allowed. I wonder if that will happen, or if there will just be more repossessions?

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