Readers advice for landlords letting to single tenants on Housing Benefit

by Robert Mellors

15:13 PM, 6th January 2014
About 6 years ago

Readers advice for landlords letting to single tenants on Housing Benefit

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Readers advice for landlords letting to single tenants on Housing Benefit

Just wanted to post a note on here for those landlords who let properties to single people claiming Housing Benefit.

For people age between 25 and 35 there is an exception to the Local Housing Allowance restrictions if they have spent a total of over 3 months in a homeless hostel, at any time (even if decades ago, and not all at once, and in different LA areas). The exception also applies for those that have been in domestic violence refuges, or in residential drug rehabilitation.

This is sometimes not asked on Housing Benefit claim forms, or tenants don’t give these details as they don’t realise why it would be relevant, but it can make a huge difference to the amount of Housing Benefit a person may be entitled to, e.g. I have just obtained a backdated HB payment for one of my residents of over £1200.

When I first raised this with the Housing Benefit Dept they were not even aware of these exceptions, so I had to send them proof of the LHA exception criteria, but once accepted it has resulted in quite a few increased HB entitlements for my residents. I now specifically ask about past hostel occupancies on my housing application forms so that I can ensure the resident receives the correct entitlement.

Obtaining this for residents can make a big difference to tenancy sustainment, and reduction of rent arrears, leading to greater stability for both landlords and tenants, and the consequential reduction in void times and costs.



Comments

Jerry Jones

15:27 PM, 6th January 2014
About 6 years ago

Very useful - thanks for sharing it!

Industry Observer

15:46 PM, 6th January 2014
About 6 years ago

Agree - so what is the link to find the detail that doubtless will need to be given to reluctant LHA offices?

Jim Parsler

16:00 PM, 6th January 2014
About 6 years ago

Robert can you clarify what the LHA exceptoipn criteria you are referrring to are? Is it in the HB regs or somewhere else?

Thanks

Natasha Chambers

16:06 PM, 6th January 2014
About 6 years ago

Brilliant information. I've just interviewed two LHA recipients for my property. One did mention that he'd been in a hostel but i thought nothing of it. Shall probe a bit more on that one now!
Thanks for sharing that.

John

17:39 PM, 6th January 2014
About 6 years ago

Could anyone explain if this may impact my situation. I currently have a tenant who was homeless (sofa surfing) with a young daughter. Prior to this she had been in a hostel for domestic violence (but was evicted from there, not her fault i should add). I thought she would make a good tenant, but she is always behind with her top up payment.

I have now issued her section 21, but wondered if she could get more from HB. She qualifies for the 2 room allowance, but the house is nice and so i charge £12 extra per week.

Are there any links we can follow ?

Robert Mellors

19:25 PM, 6th January 2014
About 6 years ago

Hi everyone, this is the link to the relevant information on the Shelter website so I put this link in the letters sent to the HB Depts,

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/housing_benefit_and_local_housing_allowance/what_is_housing_benefit/housing_benefit_if_you_are_under_35

However, there could also be information on the council's own website if you can find it, and in Sheffield I quote guidance from their own website as well.

As far as I can tell it only applies to single person households, not one parent families - sorry John!

It's also worth noting the other exceptions as well, e.g. single people under 22 who have been in local authority care as a child, and single people who get middle or high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance.

Jeremy Smith

20:29 PM, 6th January 2014
About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "john " at "06/01/2014 - 17:39":

I appreciate your predicament John, I initially thought you are milking this situation for as much as you can get, an extra £12 per week, but if you've got a good tenant?, is it worth evicting them, then having a void period, just for reducing the rent by £12 pw ?

..But how much has the £12pw has accumulated up to, over the months ?

But if you have a nice place, depending how much £12 is as % of rent, you have to decide for yourself !
...Who will be the next tenant?...Good!.. or Bad..? . it's the devil you know John !!

Best Wishes and Good Luck.


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