Mandy Thomson

Registered with
Wednesday 13th November 2013

Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 1129

Mandy Thomson

16:44 PM, 3rd April 2021, About A year ago

Can landlord claim back a COVID rent discount?

Reply to the comment left by Edwin Cowper at 03/04/2021 - 15:12
Thanks for that, Edwin - that's very helpful.... Read More

Mandy Thomson

8:47 AM, 1st April 2021, About A year ago

Can landlord claim back a COVID rent discount?

Thanks for the comments to date. Yes, where my own tenants are concerned I was careful to stipulate the exact terms of the concessions I was giving (using the NRLA COVID rent concession template helped) however, it seems many landlords have acted first then only considered the legal niceties afterwards, once they realise their tenants aren't in any hurry to pay back the discount...... Read More

Mandy Thomson

9:47 AM, 31st March 2021, About A year ago

Problems with Right To Manage companies and paying for works?

If those leaseholders have mortgages you could write to their lenders but if the lenders agree to pay this is likely to have a negative impact on the leaseholders' credit files so should only be done as a last resort.
I would suggest offering the LHs payment plans so they can pay the additional costs by instalment.
If the leaseholders are on low incomes, it might be worth seeing if the local authority might provide a grant or loan, if the works will have a direct impact on the LHs' living accommodation.... Read More

Mandy Thomson

10:53 AM, 7th November 2020, About 2 years ago

Evicted lodger belongings?

Reply to the comment left by Kris at 07/11/2020 - 09:53If you've already given your former lodger written notice, with a clear deadline, and that notice stated what would happen to the items if the lodger doesn't comply, then you are entitled to dispose of anything of no value, sell anything that is of value, or simply remove the items to be stored elsewhere.
Bear in mind though, if you sell, the lodger is entitled to the sale proceeds, minus any expenses you've incurred (for storage, packing, transport, sale etc) unless you have a prior written agreement for you to keep items left after the tenancy or to the proceeds of sale.
If there is nothing to say you, the landlord, are entitled to keep the goods or the monetary value, unfortunately your lodger is still entitled to sale proceeds even if they owe you money (for example, arrears or repair costs).
Provided you've done as above, then it goes without saying you can insist she takes all or nothing, as she's had more than ample warning as required by law.
There's a good solicitor's article here Read More

Mandy Thomson

10:11 AM, 24th September 2020, About 2 years ago

Shelter help disabled tenant win second 'No DSS' case

Dare I comment here from both sides of this argument?

As a small private landlord myself, I have to confess I am nervous about letting to housing benefit claimants even though I agree the vast majority of them make decent tenants who pay their rent and look after their homes. However, I also feel that refusing housing benefit claimants carte blanche is completely unfair.

Why I have reservations about HB tenants

There is no denying that rogue tenants are more likely to claim housing benefit (though I accept that non benefit claimants can be lousy tenants too, even those on high salaries).

When considering HB tenancy applicants, I find they often expect more changes to my properties and sometimes these are unreasonable. For example, wanting a newly painted flat painted again in a different colour. However, this is because they are trying to make do with a property they wouldn’t otherwise have considered because their choice is so limited. One applicant (who was in work but didn’t earn enough so needed housing benefit to top up) initially rejected my property then came back a week later asking to be reconsidered but brought a bucket list of desired changes with her.

There are vagaries to the housing benefit system, but again, much of this is caused by claimants with “chaotic lifestyles” not complying with the requirements of setting up and maintaining the claim.

Mostly, housing benefit is capped at a much lower rate than real market rents (as we know only too well) but there are a small number of claimants who will get their full, or near their full rent, paid (for example, pensioners on guaranteed pension credit or a disabled tenant awarded a discretionary housing payment).

Why I nevertheless think blanket bans are unfair

I believe nevertheless landlords should look at an applicant's individual situation and properly assess their affordability based on an accurate projection of the housing benefit they would expect to get if they were renting the property they're applying for.

I have a friend who is trying to move his elderly disabled mother to his area. The lady has rented in the social sector for many years, and has always been a good tenant. She lives in a retired housing scheme and that is what she looking for in both the private and social sectors in her son’s area. She currently gets guaranteed pension credit and has tried to impress upon the letting agents that this would likely cover her full rent, less utilities and service charges that she could afford.

After previously helping to move another elderly relative, this time to a specialist private retirement housing provider who know how to reference housing benefit claimants, my friend suggested the agents use one of the government approved benefit assessment tools. This landlord accepts housing benefit because they understand that elderly tenants are more likely to require it and are not in much position to change their economic position. Unfortunately, neither this landlord nor another specialist retirement landlord currently has anything available in the area.

My friend wants to move his mother before winter and another lockdown – this more or less rules out the social sector, hence why they're looking on the open market. However, my friend was told he would need to stand as guarantor (which he is happy to do) but as his income has been affected by COVID, he is not currently earning enough. In my opinion, this is not necessary as with his mother on guaranteed pension credit I would say he need only guarantee a third of her rent, but they are expecting him to guarantee 3 – 3.5 times rent.

I believe this is lack of knowledge of the retirement market and how to assess a housing benefit tenant for affordability, compounded by a "computer says no" approach on the part of the agents.

To finish, yes, it would be nice if Shelter would offer guarantees for housing benefit tenants, and moreover, provide information and guidance to the private sector on how to reference such tenants, instead of alienating us private landlords and letting agents.... Read More