Discretionary Housing payments – left high and dry by Dartford?

by Readers Question

14:20 PM, 30th January 2020
About 10 months ago

Discretionary Housing payments – left high and dry by Dartford?

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Discretionary Housing payments – left high and dry by Dartford?

I have just been left high and dry by Dartford Borough Council Housing department. In a nutshell I served a section 6a because a tenant was in two months rent arrears. I have done it before and the rent was paid no problem.

This time I was given assurances that the case will be looked into. Ok it took sometime and a lot of emails – you can only email it seems as they do not like using phones.

The arrears stood at £3850. Just before Xmas they made a payment of £1000 to me and said they will be looking at the case after the festive break. Now through out this whole 3 to 4 month period its always been positive and the emails have a flavour of ‘bear with us we will sort this out’ and ‘we appreciate your patience’ , our role is to keep the tenants housed.

Today (15/1/20 – same date of 6a expiry) is get an email (LOL) telling me that they are not going to pay the arrears, but re house the tenants instead. This leaves me £3150 out of pocket – as the tenant will not be paying it she is off with her 3 kids – not a care in the world.

Dartford Council has had 3 plus months rent free for their venerable tenant and appear to have no appeal procedure in place. Section calls themselves Housing solutions.

The only loser here is the private landlord who made the massive mistake of taking on a mother and 3 kids as tenants. They were not on benefits at the time.

I shall never be taking any benefit cases if this is the policy of Dartford Council.

First question – is there anything I can do about this?
Second – is this a practice you have heard of before?
Third – if so can you put me in touch with others to fight this deplorable business practice?

I have heard of two other cases and I am trying to make contact with them. One from Dartford an the other from Maidstone

I look forward to any comments or advice.

Graham


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Comments

Chris @ Possession Friend

10:41 AM, 31st January 2020
About 10 months ago

Graham, the first learning point for any Landlord who has a Tenant in receipt of benefits, is as soon as ANY rent is outstanding, to ask the Council, or U.C for Direct payment to the Landlord.
Certainly with the Council, they are obliged to ' consider ' the request and by doing such due consideration, they should be suspending the Tenants Housing Benefit [ HB ] for a short period whilst they ask them to come in for an interview to explain why the HB has not been passed onto the Landlord. You'll get some Councils trying to 'bat' Landlords of' by saying that until the Tenant owes at least 2 months worth of rent, there is nothing they can do. This is incorrect, and they have a duty to 'consider ' whether to make direct payment if less than 2 months ( although aren't obliged to . ) My company Possession Friend actually successfully got Dartford Council to back pay rent in these circumstances, where they mis-advised a Landlord and were 'at-fault'

George Harrison

11:36 AM, 31st January 2020
About 10 months ago

I have a tenant that is 2 - 3 months in arears who will not speak to me at all. He eventually went to Northumberland Council for discretionary payments towards his rent but this has now run out and the council are refusing to pay any more. This was not back dated but only paid from the date of his application and only for 3 months. The council will not discuss this situation with me due to data protection and will not force the tenant to talk to me

Michael Barnes

12:37 PM, 31st January 2020
About 10 months ago

What is a "section 6a", please?

Luke P

15:05 PM, 31st January 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 31/01/2020 - 12:37
The OP means Section 21, which is now completed on the Govt's 'Form 6a'.

BobG

21:44 PM, 31st January 2020
About 10 months ago

I have a similar situation in Stoke and the council have refused to pay me direct saying the tenant is not suffering mental health issues so needs to be empowered to deal with her own finances. She owes over £5000 and I am taking her to court for possession. This seems fraudulent to me as the tenant is getting money for the rent but is spending it on other things. How does this help anyone as the tenant becomes homeless and the council have to house them, and I am not going to take these tenants any more (I do have benefit tenants in some properties for over fifteen years so do not discriminate)
If they had simply paid me direct she would still have a place to live.

Luke P

16:37 PM, 1st February 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by BobG at 31/01/2020 - 21:44
Complete a UC47

dismayed landlord

15:53 PM, 2nd February 2020
About 10 months ago

yes I completed the UC47 4 months ago, and I have done on 2 others. Nothing from them at all. Tried calling them but I really want a life - not hours on phone. And yes I was told it had to be at least 2 months in arrears before discretionary housing payment would be considered. Not only on this case but on the other 2 as well.was already in a position of selling up, this just confirms my decision. I never thought of myself as greedy or a bad landlord. I have tenants of 19 years but this is not for me. I even went to meet the officer in charge of their (DBC) Help2Rent scheme in the hope of getting a working relationship with them but they wanted commitment from me with nothing being offered a secure guarantees in return. This case with the DHP has only convinced me I was correct. I also deal with Gravesham Council (as an area) and have had an eviction with them 2 years ago from one of their customers. That ended in tears and loss of revenue. They do not appear to have even the slightest idea of a business concept. Its so sad. I'll keep selling the portfolio.

dismayed landlord

17:52 PM, 2nd February 2020
About 10 months ago

hi Chris - who is this friend? I need help please.

Chris @ Possession Friend

19:58 PM, 2nd February 2020
About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by dismayed landlord at 02/02/2020 - 17:52
PossessionFriend.uk


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