Backdated Housing Benefit decision over 4 years ago!

by Readers Question

11:59 AM, 30th November 2018
About A week ago

Backdated Housing Benefit decision over 4 years ago!

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Backdated Housing Benefit decision over 4 years ago!

I have just received a letter from the Council dated 21 November 2018, advising me that a tenant’s Housing Benefit claim has been terminated with effect from 25 April 2014 – Yes, that’s right, 4 years 7 months ago!!!!!

How can it possibly take the Council 4 years 7 months to make a decision?

Thankfully I evicted the tenant a long time ago, otherwise I guess the Council would want back 4 years 7 month’s worth of Housing Benefit to be repaid. – With Council actions like this, it is no wonder that very few landlords will even consider letter to tenants on benefits!

Still, looking on the bright side, they have given me the former tenants new address (in breach of GDPR, DPA 1998, confidentiality, and their own policies)!

Have any other landlords had backdated Housing Benefit decisions going back longer than this?

Robert



Comments

Neil Patterson

12:01 PM, 30th November 2018
About A week ago

OMG Robert, what if you hadn't evicted?

Annie Landlord

12:55 PM, 30th November 2018
About A week ago

That's ridiculous! If they're not trying to claw back from you, why did they contact you?

Freda Blogs

13:24 PM, 30th November 2018
About A week ago

That is astonishing!

Not only does it show the ineptitude of the Council, but also the risk that LLs letting to benefit tenants have to accept, with the potential for clawback through no fault or prior knowledge on the part of the LL.

Now let’s apply that principle to any other business or individual in the UK who has supplied goods or services to someone, whereby a 3rd party can require repayment for those goods or services, long after consumption of the goods or services and through no fault of the service provider.

Would anyone ever sign up for that? Of course not; it is simply not a sustainable business model nor could any individual risk such a proposition.

Perhaps those advocating that Landlords should be obliged to let to benefits tenants should have regard to this principle. I doubt very much that any of them would agree to such a regime. Why then is it a scenario that should be visited on landlords?

Alternatively, let’s look at the principle whereby risk is priced into a transaction – normally the higher the risk, the higher the unit price or premium, for example insurance or mortgages.

Should risk be priced in to rents payable? That would be an interesting debate.

AJ

9:00 AM, 1st December 2018
About A week ago

They are not trying to claim the money back from you, yet.............

Chris Daniel

10:12 AM, 1st December 2018
About A week ago

Sorry to hear that, .....but Great publicity post about DSS Tenants .

Robert Mellors

22:37 PM, 2nd December 2018
About 7 days ago

I've not received an invoice from the council relating to this, and if they do send one then I will appeal it. The tenant was evicted in 2015 for rent arrears and smashing up the flat. I presume that the Council will now be deducting the alleged overpayments from the tenant's ongoing Housing Benefit, so his current landlord will suffer the consequences of the Council's backdated decision. - Definitely not a great advert for landlords to accept Housing Benefit tenants!

MasterG

10:06 AM, 3rd December 2018
About 6 days ago

Wow! I didn't realise that councils could claw back these monies. That's ridiculous, and makes it even less likely that i'll ever let to HB claimants. I wonder if it has really taken them 4 years 7 months to make the decision or, as seems more likely, they have done their investigation more recently and discovered that the claimant ceased being eligible all those years ago.

Simon M

10:32 AM, 3rd December 2018
About 6 days ago

I understand the difficulty this causes for a landlord. Some comments misunderstand how housing benefit works - this isn't unknown and there's nothing here that says it's council incompetence.
Housing benefit is means-tested, so when the tenant's income changes - or if a partner moves in - they must tell the council, otherwise the council overpays the HB. So the tenant has defrauded both council and landlord.
When the council finds out they've been deceived, they should attempt to recover the money, even if it was 4 years ago. This is taxpayers' money.
All this is no consolation. Perhaps someone who knows the HB legislation can tell us if there's a provision for the council to reclaim from the tenant?

Mike

11:15 AM, 3rd December 2018
About 6 days ago

I am afraid Simon, what is tax payers money? tax payers have no say on how their money is to be spent, and will the tax payers also demand that any benefits awarded to culprit benefit claimants that they should now go to all the supermarkets where that tax payers money was spent to buy food, clothes, and other items, can they go to these places, restaurants and shops and ask them to repay the tenants money as it was the tax payers money.

There is no such thing as tax payers money, we all contribute a certain amount of our income into a pot that our Government decides how they will spend that money, does your employer dictate to you how you can spend your wages? Do you give your children pocket money and tell them how they can spend that money, once that money leaves your pocket it is no longer your money, same way once a Council awards any benefit from its pot, it is no longer their money or tax payers money, they cannot legally claw back, they should be challenged in the highest court in the universe and stopped from being pathetic, they should not be able to claw back anything what so ever, once any money they award anyone, even if in error that is their tough s***. Such a policy should be outlawed, until it is done, take no HB tenants. I would not pay back anything full stop. Do what they like. That is how common sense works. So forget about calling any such money tax payers money, once you have paid your taxes, it is no longer your money.

Mike

11:29 AM, 3rd December 2018
About 6 days ago

I forgot to add, why should the landlords be treated any different to supermarkets, shops, restaurants? in other words why should the council's have the right to claw back money from landlords only, it is a discriminatory law and should be outlawed. This law should be challenged. It is pathetic if anything.
If they awarded housing benefits to a tenant who did not qualify, then they should deal with that tenants and not the landlord.

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