Finding reliable LHA tenants

Finding reliable LHA tenants

9:51 AM, 14th March 2012, About 12 years ago 4

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LHA Top Tips for landlords. Article 3 in a series of 8
The longer you keep a tenant the less paperwork and voids you will experience. Start by finding a tenant you feel confident is right for your property and your management strategy and start as you mean to continue.

  1. Understand what LHA rate your property is entitled to. The more bedrooms you have the more rent you can charge. Visit DirectGov and search LHA rates. To maximise your investment it is imperative to have this knowledge when advertising for your tenant.
  2. Be aware that if you rent to a single person with children they will be entitled to the 2 or 3 bedroom rate if they are receiving the child benefit and this is most often the mother. This is handy to know when considering single fathers. Unfortunately they will not get the higher rates and will only be entitled to the single or even shared room rate. The shared room rate is currently set at 35, so any single person 34 and under will likely only receive housing benefit if living in shared housing.
  3. Not all LHA tenants have the internet, so advertising on property portals although a good start is not the only way to attract them. Put linage in the local free paper to always say “DSS or LHA accepted or welcome”. Advertise no admin fee or low bond as an incentive.
  4. Speak to the local council’s Housing Solutions team. Show that you want to work with them to offer good quality housing and that you are a professional landlord who understands the needs of the tenant. React quickly to requests for viewings and take this as an opportunity to build your relationship with the housing team.
  5. Speak to neighbours of the property you are renting. Ask if they have friends or family that may want the property. Ensure they know you are concerned for their enjoyment of the area and that you are happy for them to contact you with any concerns about your property.
  6. Put a simple poster in the property window outlining the main information about the tenancy and highlight items such as no admin fee, help with claim forms etc.
  7. Put up posters in local shops – it’s surprising how many people are looking for property. It’s all about building relationships with the community & being accepted.
  8. If you are considering offering housing to hard to reach groups find out if there are any charities in the area – women’s refuge, homeless shelters, ex-offender placement. Often these organisations will have housing specialists who will support your tenant and have a more thorough knowledge of making benefit claims. This will save you a lot of time but be sure to also check first with your lenders and insurers.
  9. When you arrange viewings always follow up with a phone call. Once you have prospective applicants arrange to meet them at their current residence. This will give you a good idea of how well they look after their home inside and out and also you can ask who will be living with them.
  10. Ask what notice they have to give their current landlord and state that you will help them apply for a Housing Benefit overlap if relevant. This will show a good tenant that you understand their needs and want to help.

Read Part One and Two of The LHA Expert
Introducing The LHA Expert for Landlords – @TheLHAexpert
Vital Contacts for LHA Landlords

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12:48 PM, 14th March 2012, About 12 years ago

Please can you explain how "Housing Benefit overlap" works.

18:40 PM, 14th March 2012, About 12 years ago

Hi Ian
A housing benefit overlap is great if a tenant need to leave quickly or you have a potential tenant but they have to put 1 months notice in with their current landlord. It's for a maximum of 28 days and for that period the tenant will qualify for 2 properties to have their benefit paid (both you and the other landlord)

There needs to be a good reason, such as the tenant needs to move quickly for certain reasons or it could be you have a property that fits the tenants needs better (more bedrooms or closer to schools etc) and you can't hold it for the months notice the tenant is required to put in with their current landlord.

There is no law or guidance to suggest the tenant has to apply for the overlap, however the council will ask certain questions that only the tenant can answer, so it's always best to keep communication channels open if the tenant needs to leave quickly. Hope that helps Ian

Jonathan Clarke

18:59 PM, 14th March 2012, About 12 years ago

Hi Ian 
Overlap  is where your tenant can apply in certain situations for HB on two properties.
Its a simple form to complete and can be paid for up to 4 weeks I believe
For instance
1) If a property is not quite ready as it needs say new carpets and redecoration and therefore is not condusive to being lived in  but they want to secure the tenancy on it they may qualify .One of my tenants got 2 weeksHB  on 2 properties. On my old one and also for the new one they were moving to. They took about a week to move staying sometimes in mine and sometimes in the new one 
2) If your tenant has to leave immediately because maybe they are say fleeing domestic violence they may qualify - I had a tenant who left Christmas Eve on advice of police and council . They paid me for 4 weeks for an empty property

Jonathan Clarke

7:46 AM, 15th March 2012, About 12 years ago

Sorry John I didnt see your reply to Ian before i went and stuck my nose in 🙂

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