Registered with Property118.com
Tuesday 22nd May 2018

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Sole Owner

Insures properties through a broker recommended by Property118

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 32


16:16 PM, 19th June 2019
About A day ago


I just watched the webinar on evictions here


I watched the webinar, thought it was useful and thought provoking. I believe it is still available to view.

A couple of things stood out for me both were from the High Court Enforcment agent presenting part of the webinar.

I think one of the things he said was that the average amount of time to get your property back was about 42 weeks (that's because many people don't understand the process and follow it properly).

The other thing he said was that in his experience of recovering a property, you would often find that the tenants were waiting at the property with their bags packed. This is because they have taken advice from someone and the advice they have been given is that if they go to the council and say to the council "can you house me" the council will say yes and add them to the council house waiting list which generally incurs a wait of about 2-3 years.

But if they are waiting at the property with their bags packed and they claim that they have been "unintentionally made homeless" then the council has to house them immediately; so they get to jump that council house waiting list.

It wasn't the reason I watched the webinar; I watched it to try and understand the process just in case I ever have to do it. But this really struck me because I thought.

"...Quite apart from being fair to landlords, just how fair is this to people on the council house waiting list?"... Read More


15:47 PM, 19th June 2019
About A day ago

Subject to status and referencing

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 19/06/2019 - 04:58I regard Amelia's comments as useful.
I suspect she does genuinely run a business letting to people on benefits and it seems to me that in sharing her knowledge she is just sharing what it is that you need to do to let your property or properties to tenants on benefits: It seems to me to be less about being a " goody two shoes" as about choosing to operate a business in a certain way and either doing the work required to mitigate the risks, or taking the time to understand the risks.
Summarising her previous posts she requires:
- six months of bank statements
- copies of benefit statements including award letters
- for those who are disabled, copies of DLA awards including previous awards
She also looks in detail at the tenants' finances to see whether they can genuinely afford the property. In fact, if you look at her posts she appears to go into a great deal of detail in investigating the lives of her prospective tenants and looking at affordability: If I was renting and working I would find the level of detail that she requires an intrusion of my privacy; presumably she is not discriminating against the elderly, the disabled and others who are renting from her if she doesn't apply the same affordability criteria to those who are working, even if she doesn't require the same level of financial detail from people who are working, as she has a genuine need to decide whether the tenant can afford the property. Others will know the laws on discrimination better than I do though.
What her posts do suggest however is that tenants on benefits are a higher financial risk and incur a considerable amount of extra work. I let through an agent and I do not know whether the agent would actually be prepared to do the work that Amelia requires. I also do not know whether my insurance costs would be higher.
What is still missing for me though in assessing the risk is an understanding of whether the benefits agency paying the rent can really get the rent back off you if it subsequently transpires that the tenant was not eligible for benefits. A previous post suggested that claw back of benefits is a real risk, but for it to happen the landlord "should" have been aware of the circumstances giving rise to the disallowance of the benefit. I think that with the level of detail Amelia goes into in assessing whether her tenants can pay it would be difficult for her to argue that she should not have been aware of these circumstances as she seems to know her tenants' details intimately. You can get rid of a non-paying tenant in a few months if you follow the correct processes but what would your potential liability be if you had a tenant on benefits renting from you for perhaps five years? Would your potential liability be five years of back rent to be clawed back from you? My own experience of tenants on benefits is that they don't necessarily tell anybody the truth; they do whatever they need to do to get by and they take from whoever will give to them (admittedly, some working tenants are also like this). So what degree of confidence could you have that they are genuinely entitled to the benefits, even if they can present you with bits of paper? And how can you really check?
Hypothetically, if you had a tenant on benefits renting from you for perhaps three to five years (I believe Shelter wants indefinite tenancies) unless you were doing not only everything that Amelia does at the start of a tenancy but also asking for confirmation of benefits eligibility annually at the very least it seems to me that you would be running a very high risk. I don't have to ask for details of my working tenants' bank statements annually; provided they are paying the bills, not upsetting the neighbours and looking after the property I don't need to care. But how would I know they were still entitled to benefits if I was not checking regularly?
Perhaps you can insure against the risk of claw-back but I don't know what the costs are. And if a tenant on benefits is in the property, you ask the tenant for the confirmation that he or she is still entitled to benefits but the tenant does not provide these details, what do you then do? Do you kick them out? And if so, how? Under section what?... Read More


11:19 AM, 14th June 2019
About 6 days ago

Subject to status and referencing

Reply to the comment left by ameliahartman at 13/06/2019 - 19:38
Thanks Amelia, that's helpful information.

So when you are considering letting to a tenant do you apply exactly the same criteria to tenants who are in receipt of benefits as you do to those who are working?... Read More


11:42 AM, 13th June 2019
About A week ago

Subject to status and referencing

Reply to the comment left by ameliahartman at 13/06/2019 - 05:48
Amelia - thanks for that advice it's useful.

My experience of housing tenants on benefits is that some of them are probably illegal immigrants, some are claiming benefits they are not entitled to, some are moonlighting, some are obtaining credit under false pretences. You don't know this when they are in your property, you find out when they move out letters start landing on the mat and people come looking for them.

My view on tenants has always been if they pay the rent on time, look after the property, and don't upset the neighbours then their private business is their private business. I don't really see how I can check that they are entitled to the benefit that they are receiving if all that I can do is give them 24 hours notice to inspect the property. Wouldn't really work that well if the police had to give 24 hours notice of a drug's seizure would it? Or if the bailiffs said, "...we're just giving you 24 hours notice that we'll be around to collect your telly and your car tomorrow."

So I have housed tenants on benefits but always insisted they paid me directly because my understanding is that if it subsequently transpires they are not entitled to benefits, the agency paying the benefits can come and get the money back from you, the landlord. But as a landlord I do not see that you actually have the powers to check that they are entitled to them. Perhaps this is not much of a risk in your area, wherever that is.... Read More


17:45 PM, 12th June 2019
About A week ago

Subject to status and referencing

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 12/06/2019 - 16:43
So if the benefits paid to you can be claimed back from you if it transpires that the tenant wasn't entitled to them, but you have no rights at all to check on what the tenants are up to, then in business terms whoever is paying the benefit is transferring an outstanding liability to you *unless* you only accept payment direct from the tenant.... Read More