What happens next if Tenants now start to claim Housing Benefit?

by Readers Question

10:59 AM, 18th January 2017
About 3 years ago

What happens next if Tenants now start to claim Housing Benefit?

Make Text Bigger
What happens next if Tenants now start to claim Housing Benefit?

I’m currently experiencing a situation that is new to me and would appreciate some good advice. My tenants are expecting their first child and have recently lost their jobs. housing benefit

They told me in advance that they wouldn’t be able to pay this month’s rent and have made a claim for housing benefit.

While I am wholly sympathetic to their situation I am also highly leveraged against the property. I do not want to burden them with any more stress, but I do need some answers.

Could any experienced landlords give me some advice on what to do next or what procedures to follow?

Many thanks in advance

John



Comments

Gary Dully

9:33 AM, 19th January 2017
About 3 years ago

John,

You are now dealing with people that have overspent at Xmas and Easter is coming up fast.
Ask their kids what mum and dad bought them at Xmas and try not to burst into tears.

Arrears don't affect the issue of a section 21 notice, but dates and complaints of disrepair from a tenant can bar their issue.

If you can issue both, do it.... today!

Section 8 notices deal with breaches of tenancy agreement.
If you can prove to a judge that they qualify for 8weeks/ 2months arrears they should be evicted under a "Mandatory " grounds 8.

The problem is that you have to wait for this to happen, to allow it on your Section 8 notice, by which time they will have found out that not paying bears no pain to themselves.

You have discretionary grounds 10 and 11, it won't be easy to get a possession order, but you should at least get a suspended order, which they will breach.

However, judges also simply look for an excess of 8 weeks/ 2 months arrears to issue on mandatory grounds, it's up to you to fight your corner by proving that they are bankrupting you.

They will tell you their sob story, about their stress etc,

Try passing it onto your mortgage provider and ask them not to dismantle your credit score.

You are in deep poop and you had better get a grip.

You need to get heavy with the paperwork today, not in 8 weeks.
You are already sympathetic to them, listen to this very carefully I hope it sticks....

Google local cleaners jobs available in your area and see how many results you get.
I anticipate it will be a few thousand, it usually is.

That is the total number of people NOT looking for work in your area and your tenants are amongst them.

I may be wrong, but you are paying for this whatever the reason.

Stop sympathising, until they start Working for a living.

Just as another issue, after April 6th you will be taxed and possibly dragged into a higher tax bracket for paying their properties mortgage without any rent coming in, it's called Section 24!

It's fun being a landlord isn't it?

Gary Dully

9:54 AM, 19th January 2017
About 3 years ago

John, sorry I forgot to answer your question about the section 21 notice.
If my knowledge of them, which is admittedly flaky, is correct, they now can't be issued until month 10 on a 12 month agreement, but I haven't gone to court for over 7 years with a section 21, because I evict for breaching tenancy agreements, I hold on to paying tenants.

I issue them to startle the tenants into action.

Your tenants will obtain advice from the council to wait for a bailiff to evict them anyway, so you may as well go down the section 8 route, because you are unlikely to be paid.

A baby is on the way isn't it?

You've no chance my friend- get heavy today and issue those letters, followed by notices if possible.

Harry Chunk

10:00 AM, 19th January 2017
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "19/01/2017 - 02:33":

Hi Gary

I love your style. I always read your comments with glee. I have been a landlord for 20 years but could never be as hardnosed as you, it's just not my nature. However I can get close to it if the rent is paid late. If the rent is only two days late I start texting or telephoning to find out the excuses. Once rent gets behind it is almost impossible for the tenant to make up.

Keep up the comments.

Harry

john glynn

10:01 AM, 19th January 2017
About 3 years ago

Thanks Gary. You're confirming what my gut feelings are telling me anyway. I do need to get them out. Thanks for the good advice. J.

Mark Trenfield

10:11 AM, 19th January 2017
About 3 years ago

Hi John,
I have huge amount of experience of dealing with DSS tenants and many scars to prove it!

You have already been given some very good advice. If it was my tenant and they had missed a month's rent already and they hadn't immediately responded to my questions about what was happening - I would issue the Section 21 immediately (even though it will be another 4 months before it expires) and I would be preparing the Section 8 for when they miss next months'rent too.

Not to pay ANY rent is "having a laugh" in my opinion. Everyone can find £50 or £100 to keep a roof over their heads whilst they sort things out!

DSS tenants can be OK when THEY keep on top of everything and THEY always ensure you get your rents "at all cost" and THEY understand how the system works. It is THEIR responsibility to claim THEIR benefit from the Council to pay your rent.

Your tenants possibly have no experience of the DSS system (and they will be learning at your expense), have not paid you ANY rent this month and have not responded to your request for more information.

If they are not responding to your requests for more information they are almost certainly not responding to the Councils requests either. This means their DSS claim will not go into payment which means you won't see any rent.

And worse than that - the longer their benefit claim does not go into payment the more rent you are going to lose as Councils do not back date benefit claims for tenants who don't provide the information that the Council is requesting.

YOU NEED TO GET ON TOP OF THIS SITUATION NOW. Putting your head in the sand (or trusting what the tenant tells you) is not a financially viable option!

Solution: Issue the Sections 21 NOW .... see if that gets a response from the tenant - if it doesn't get ready to issue the Section 8 next month .... and if you do get a response then insist that the tenant organises a meeting at the Council Offices with you and them ..... and make it clear to them and the Council and anyone else who is listening ... if you don't get your rent every month on time and in full ... they are OUT.

Good luck because I have a feeling you are going to need it!

Mark

Michael Barnes

10:16 AM, 19th January 2017
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "19/01/2017 - 09:54":

'New' restrictions on S21 are:
1. cannot be issued in first FOUR months of tenancy.
2. Court proceedings must start within 6 months of issue of the notice.

Therefore issue S21 now (or any time that is more than 2 months before the end of the fixed term) seeking possession after the last day of the fixed term.

Issue S8 on mandatory rent arrears grounds as soon as they are 2 months in arrears (i.e. when second payment has not arrived).

I hope they sort things out and you don't have to evict.
I would explain to them that whilst you are sympathetic to their position, you also have to ensure that you don't become bankrupt due to their problems, and that is why you are issuing the notices. Then if they do sort thing out and stay on, they are more-likely not to harbour resentment toward you

Pru Counsell

10:24 AM, 19th January 2017
About 3 years ago

I am pretty disgusted at the language and tone used by Gary Dully.. I have had LA tenants for some years, always had good relations with local council and tenant, no problems, ever. As with other persons some tenants are good, some are bad, but as with landlords don't tar them or the council with the same brush.

My advice is to get a confirmation letter from your tenant to share information and then personally visit the council. I have always found this work best.
Pru

john glynn

10:56 AM, 19th January 2017
About 3 years ago

Thanks Michael

john glynn

10:56 AM, 19th January 2017
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Pru Counsell" at "19/01/2017 - 10:24":

Thanks Pru.

Luke P

10:57 AM, 19th January 2017
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Pru Counsell" at "19/01/2017 - 10:24":

I would suggest you don't have enough experience yet, Pru.

Try running several hundred HB tenanted properties and you will soon see patterns emerge that don't present in smaller numbers. Same stories from tenants, same lack of action from LAs, same end point no matter how prissy you are/try to be.

@John, Gary's advice is exactly as mine would be. In fact, you need to be extra hard-nosed as you are not experienced enough to know what areas you can possibly back down a little on. The idea that we're all lovely landlords, providing lovely homes for lovely tenants and a bit of common decency will make the world a lovely place is utter nonsense.

I'll let you into a little secret...tenants do not care about you. Not even the middle-class, high-earning, southern ones. They pay; you provide. If they can't pay, then it's not their fault. Got it?

1 2 3 6

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Does Multi occupancy/HMO affect property value?

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More