Bill irvine

Registered with Property118.com
Wednesday 7th August 2013


Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 79

Bill irvine

18:01 PM, 26th June 2020
About a month ago

Benefit Cap - lifted for 9 months?

Hi

Nothing has changed as far as the Benefits Cap is concerned. However, as David mentions, there is a 9 months ‘grace period’ applied to new claimants, who were working in the 12 months, prior to claiming, and during that time we’re earning £604 pcm or more. If they meet the criteria, the BC doesn’t apply for 9 consecutive Benefit Assessment Periods (BAP).

I suspect that’s what the DWP staff member is referring to.

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Bill irvine

11:58 AM, 23rd June 2020
About 2 months ago

Adult child needs to apply for ESA - UC shift?

Hi Raj

It appears from what you've said, the young lady (20) qualifies for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and has, most probably, always been incapable of work, so has never paid national insurance. Consequently, it's unlikely she'll qualify for ESA (contribution based). More likely, she'll claim Universal Credit but due to her limited capability for work will be excused from having to make a "claimant commitment"and will probably fall into what is referred to as the ESA "support group" attracting a higher rate of UC.

Her mother doesn't need to claim Universal Credit as this "change in circumstances" relates purely to the daughter. And, as the daughter is only 20, receiving PIP and UC, there should be no Non-dependent deduction made. If it has already been applied incorrectly, simply ask the Council to revise its mistake.

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Bill irvine

12:45 PM, 20th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Local Housing Allowance and rent increase?

Reply to the comment left by Prakash Tanna at 20/06/2020 - 08:51Hi Prakash
It makes no difference whether you're dealing with Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. In both cases the tenant's "eligible rent" is determined by comparing the appropriate LHA rate with the "contractual rent". Ordinarily, before making an award, the Council or DWP will wish to see confirmation of the contractual rent by examining an AST.
By law, you can't increase the rent during the 6 or 12 month contractual period. However, you can increase the rent after that period. One way is to have a "contractual periodic" tenancy which provides some formula/% for that or if it's a statutory periodic you serve a Section 13 notice, otherwise the rent remains as was stated on the AST, does it not?
You suggest the process is much simpler and what's stated above is unnecessary. In fact you state: "I spoke to my tenants and explained why the rents were going up and that it would be covered by their HB/UC payments unless they were on a benefit cap, in which case I would reverse the increase. They agreed and I notified the tenant/LA by way of a letter which the tenant accepted."
Just last week I dealt with a situation where a large landlord's attempt to secure the higher LHA rate was rejected because he hadn't served the section 13 notice correctly with 65 of their tenants. A few weeks earlier, I was referred a case of a landlord who had received a large overpayment demand, going back 3 years, on the basis the Council had simply accepted the landlord's assurance the contractual rent had increased, so paid HB at the higher rate, only to find out latterly, the landlord, in question, had followed a course similar to what you propose. Not a good idea!
Furthermore, I dealt with a case in Manchester a few years ago, where my client, a Letting Agent, had, over many years, been securing high levels of Housing Benefit, using joint tenancies involving the "common household" approach. For example, 2 brothers sharing a 2 bed property, each qualifying for the 2 bedroom rate. The Council had carried out a routine check with a number of the joint tenancies and discovered that where HB only paid part of the "contractual rent" the landlord was not making any attempt to cover the shortfall; effectively writing it off, as you suggest. The Council having established this with the tenants, then asked the LA if this was correct or not. The LA's owner confirmed it was and also confirmed it charged higher rents where it considered it could secure HB as market rents in the area where much lower than the yield offered by "common household".
The Council subsequently reviewed all of its HB cases, on the basis the AST agreements were simply a "sham" designed to maximise HB and the LA was abusing the scheme by singling out HB recipients in order to charge much higher rents. The resulting Overpayments were so large they put the agency out of business.
So, in your case, and many others, I'm aware of, the landlord's approach, whilst flawed, has produced the desired result i.e. increased award of HB, and in doing so, created a mistaken belief, like the one you hold. However, if, at some point, the Council concerned realises it's mistake of believing you had raised the rent correctly, it could quite easily pursue you for the overpayments.
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Bill irvine

16:08 PM, 16th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Local Housing Allowance and rent increase?

WP

If you’re a member of the NRLA speak to its Advice Line staff who can fully explain how to complete the section 13 notice when you’re planning to increase your tenant’s rent outwith the contractual period.

You need to give no less than 1 month’s notice. Separately, your tenant(s) needs to advise the Council or DWP of the revised rent liability to allow a “supersession” to be made.

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Bill irvine

15:46 PM, 16th June 2020
About 2 months ago

Local Housing Allowance and rent increase?

Hi WP

If the Council or DWP are already paying the latest LHA rate then that's hunky dory. However, councils should expect to see proof of the section 13 notice having been issued, in advance of the new rent charge becoming effective.

Coincidentally, Ive just dealt with a situation where the landlord incorrectly completed section 3 of the notice and was asked to re-issue with the corrected dates before the Council would implement the new rental charge.

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