Checks needed for DSS / LHA tenant?

by Readers Question

13:53 PM, 19th January 2015
About 6 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


Joel Herne



21:26 PM, 19th January 2015
About 6 years ago

I rent to HB and generally it works ok. When it goes wrong it goes wrong. Last April i had a family who were put in a house of mine by social services. Turns out they were very anti social and had been evicted from their previous property. I had a very tough time dealing with all the crap, but the council scheme did pay out for all damages.

I am hands on and do all my own building work so think carefully about renting to families who have been made homeless.

Hb tenants do lie and it is only from experience do you know when the truth is being glossed over. AVOID single women just separated, family relocating from a different area, family complaining of previous landlord (poor repairs etc).

In London why would you need to take HB. The demand is massive, so i would stick to working tenants.

Ian Ringrose

22:00 PM, 19th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Unless you can get a home owning guarantor that always has a good job and that the tenant cares about, don’t touch.

Outside of London, landlords can sometimes get MORE rent letting to a LHA tenant, this additional rent makes up for the additional risk. Without this additional rent, I don’t think the risk is worth it….

If they are paying market rent with a home owning guarantor, they could be the best tenants you ever head, as they will find it very hard to leave you.

Ian Ringrose

22:02 PM, 19th January 2015
About 6 years ago

I just had a LHA tenant move, but take 4 weeks to empty the property and return the keys to me, there is no possibility of me every recovering this lost rent. (This tenant come with the property.)

Another LHA tenant that I chose myself with a home owning guarantor, is one of the bests tenants I have ever had….

Jerry Jones

5:55 AM, 20th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Remember, we are all only one P45 away from having an LHA tenant.

Mark Alexander

9:42 AM, 20th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jerry Jones" at "20/01/2015 - 05:55":

Indeed, and that's why guarantors, RGI and a good property manager are so important. With Letting Supermarket now offering this service at 4% plus £10 a month for the RGI I can't understand why landlords take chances. See >>>

Joel Hearne

10:01 AM, 20th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "john " at "19/01/2015 - 21:26":

The reason I like HB tenants is that I am trying to find a tenant who will stay in my house for many years, the private sector will suffer some voids as no one really wants to rent a bed house for really long periods, families that is I am referring to. I could do single sharers but HMO licensing is hassle coupled with more time involved managing.

I am however pleased to hear that HB does generally work for you! Hear that Alan, he said it generally works so hopefully I might not get burnt!

Alan Loughlin

10:04 AM, 20th January 2015
About 6 years ago

yes I hear it, your choice, your funeral.


10:28 AM, 20th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Yes they do stay for longer and it is a good market to be in, but it is specialised and you need to have your wits about you.

Roanch 21

12:16 PM, 20th January 2015
About 6 years ago

Just an idea here. If they are in urgent housing need through no fault of their own they may well (depending on your council policy) qualify for a guarantee and / or rent in advance from the council. Worth asking. The council might refuse and in doing so shed some more light on their suitability, or if they approve it you shouldsqueeze as much protection out of them for WHEN things go wrong. Notice I didn't say IF because I too think you're taking a risk.

From what I hear more and more Landlords are refusing HB purely as a result of their own personal experiences. There's a market out there but it's not for me (used to be but not any longer).

You takes your chance.

Joel Hearne

16:55 PM, 20th January 2015
About 6 years ago

The council is prepared to give me 1 months rent in advance and 1 months deposit. Surely HB can not be that bad, there are some big daddy landlords out there with serious portfolios and practically all HB. Mick Roberts is one such landlord so it would be good to hear the views of some who like HB departments.

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