Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,00015:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago 36
With all the main focus on Universal Credit we almost forgot about the issues that we face with the well-established Housing Benefit administered by Local Government.
For most landlords after years of learning the system many managed to resolve issues that they faced and was finally starting to get the hang of it.
However, what would you do in this case?
A mother and her two adult sons were placed on the same tenancy agreement, therefore they were all liable for one third each of the rent, when the mother lost her job new to the whole benefit system sought advice from the Local Authorities benefit team.
The mother made her claim for Housing benefit and submitted the Tenancy Agreement confirming those on the Tenancy, which was herself and her two sons.
When her claim was assessed she noted that her two children were assessed on her Housing Benefit claim as non-dependents. This meant that non dependent deductions of £14.80 per week, per person was deducted from the claim.
The mother was working under 16 hours and was entitled to Housing Benefit however due to being granted overtime from her work and not being informed of the importance to provide her pay slips on a monthly basis she inherited a massive overpayment, along with the third party deductions and the overpayment the family had rapidly fell into rent arrears.
The tenant unsure as to why her sons were attached to her Housing Benefit claim spoke to her proactive landlord who advised her to attend the Local Authority for help and assistance. She attended the Local Authority on numerous occasions on some occasions with her landlord and was always wrongly advised and informed that her sons did not need to submit the a claim.
It appeared that the Local Authority did not want to address the error and both landlord and tenant were not getting anywhere, the landlady decided to contact Caridon Landlord Solutions.
We immediately identified that as a result of the Local Authorities error and that they had failed to take into account that all three named persons had been liable for rent and therefore entitled to Housing Benefit in their own right, this meant that the mother had been in fact underpaid and not overpaid.
Due to this error the family had lost out as a whole and had inherited an overpayment putting their tenancy at risk.
We assisted the tenant the two sons in applying for their own Benefit claim and highlighted the fact that they were joint tenants and have also disputed the overpayment and currently wait a response.
We will keep you up to date on this case which to date has been a long process but I am sure that we will get to the bottom of it and have a happy landlord!!!
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