Checks needed for DSS / LHA tenant?

by Readers Question

3 years ago

Checks needed for DSS / LHA tenant?

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Checks needed for DSS / LHA tenant?

Hi everyone,

I have found a family that I want to rent my house to and they will be claiming the local LHA allowance for a 4 bedroom property in North London. Currently they are in temporary accommodation as they were made homeless due to previous landlord wishing to sell the property they were in. Checks needed for DSS LHA tenant

Now my question is; does anyone know the best procedure to safe guard myself when letting my property to them?

For example my understanding is that we will sign the AST but will not know for certain what rent the council will pay her untill they make a housing benefit claim and I am supposed to go with them when they do this. Is it right that any shortfall will be made up by the tenant as top up?

I understand they have a rough estimate of the claim but its not exact.

In my instance the 4 bed LHA rate is £1,667 per month which the family tell me they should get most of due to their circumstances. My worry was that if I get the AST signed and take their 1 month deposit (which I will safeguard), will I be up sh*t creek if there benefit claim backfires and they dont get it or get much less ???

I really like the family and I dont get any bad feeling from them but that can sometimes be a sign to take extra care!!

Any advice about safety checks or standard procedures when dealing in the DSS/LHA market would be greatly appreciated as I really could do without messing up!

Many thanks

Cheers

Joel Herne



Comments

Mark Alexander

3 years ago

Hi Joel

I have very little experience of letting to benefits tenants but the one question I would suggest you ask is what are the grounds that entitle them to the four bed rate. I would then check that.

Can they get a guarantor and if not why not?

The question that you need to ask yourself is this; if they do cause damage or fall into arrears what protection do YOU have? If the answer to that question is none, personally I would continue to look for a tenant that presents less risk, even that means a slight void period.
.

Monty Bodkin

3 years ago

Speak to their previous landlord (not just someone pretending to be).

Alan Loughlin

3 years ago

take my advice, do not rent to HB. this comes from experience, just steer clear, if you do not you will regret it.

Monty Bodkin

3 years ago

Speak to their previous landlord (not just someone pretending to be).

I'm guessing it will be quite revealing.

Watch out for excuses and do some digging of your own.

Graham Durkin

3 years ago

I generally take L.H.A. Tenants so here is my thoughts, firstly do some checking ,1, get there previous address and check Land Registry website for sales in that area,2,Do not give them an A.S.T. until you have it in writing what there entitlement is plus you should ask for DOUBLE the deposit ,if they are homeless the Housing Dept may advance that for them.3,Any shortfall in H/B is the tenants resonsibility to pay,remember ANY CHANGE in their circumstances will trigger a SUSPENSION OF THEIR CLAIM.4, You are getting too close when you say you LIKE the family.5,If they rely on BENEFITS where did they get £1667 from.6 As stated try and get a gaurantor.7. You have not mentioned a ENTRY DATE,if you cant get answers to all these questions, then walk away as there are plenty of people who want to rent..As you should know when the TENANCY is issued then you are COMMITTED.

Alan Loughlin

3 years ago

1667 I think not.

Graham Durkin

3 years ago

If this last comment was in reply to my original observation ,I made it on several points ,firstly if they are classed as homeless and in B&B most do not have the funds for a deposit, It has also been mentioned that this is a 4xBed House which I would believe is worth a fair amount in London,to reduce the overall risk to the Landlord regarding possible repairs, I dont think £1667 will go far when you may have to employ a tradesmen in london, These are just my observations .Also the council have strict government guidelines on how long people are supposed to be in B&B, so they may well adjust there guidelines to get these people the correct housing that they need..

Peter Johnson

3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "graham durkin" at "19/01/2015 - 17:29":

Hi,

Thanks so much for your comments, much appreciated. The £1667 is the 4 bedroom rate paid by the council as long as the family has an adult who works a minimum 16 hours a week and three children over 10 years of age or more children if under 10 years. Is it me or is Alan super negative on HB!!! Lol

Alan Loughlin

3 years ago

very good, but was not, experience has made me that way.

Peter Johnson

3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Monty Bodkin" at "19/01/2015 - 17:04":

Hi,

I have spoken with the previous landlord (hopefully it is him) and even met him in person. I have credit reference checked the tenant too and all looks clear, no negatives.

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