Where do I start with unravelling this council approved mess?

by Readers Question

10:51 AM, 22nd March 2021
About 2 months ago

Where do I start with unravelling this council approved mess?

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Where do I start with unravelling this council approved mess?

I have just found out that a tenant has moved their two sons into my property. The tenant is on Housing Benefit, not Universal Credit, and I understand I am legally obliged to report this (I have no doubt there is a false claim/s as a result).

It now transpires that the Council have known all about it since December!

The sons are officially registered ‘homeless’ (as chucked out of their own accommodation), but they also have ‘issues’ so can’t apparently (according to the tenant) go into hostel/hotel etc, so he said they could stay with him and Council agreed!

I am livid. The tenant has never told me about this until now and I have NEVER been contacted by the Council (apparently tenant has a Housing Officer assigned to him), yet they have given ‘permission’ to allow 4 adults into a 2 bed flat with a clear AST naming only two tenants, and are clearly paying benefits/money and the sons now listed at my address!

Where the hell do I start with unravelling this?

When a ‘change of circumstance’ though is reported to UC by the Landlord, they immediately stop ALL benefits, so that means no rent is paid until it is sorted out. Is it the same though for Housing Benefit?

Many thanks

Reluctant Landlord

Comments

Ron H-W

11:40 AM, 22nd March 2021
About 2 months ago

If they have "issues", one cannot rule out the idea of causing problem/s with neighbours, and eventually maybe jeopardising your lease.

Nor, judging by some people's unfortunate experiences with local authorities, can one rule out the possibility of the L.A. taking action against YOU for "overcrowding".

Is this not "breach of some terms of the tenancy"? (specifically, no adults other than those named). Could try (or threaten) a Section 8 quoting ground 12 -- and the "issues" could end up being ground 14 (ASB). Both "discretionary", though.

David

11:49 AM, 22nd March 2021
About 2 months ago

what evidence do you have that the the Council gave 'permission' for the son's to move-in? What does giving permission mean exactly?

Freda Blogs

12:07 PM, 22nd March 2021
About 2 months ago

Maybe try an FOI enquiry to understand what has happened and what Council officers have/not done?

Might strengthen your hand in finding a solution and some cooperation from the council in future.

Kate Mellor

14:52 PM, 22nd March 2021
About 2 months ago

From what I can interpret these sons are unemployed if they are the council’s responsibility to put up in a hostel (presumably whilst they await permanent accommodation). This would suggest it wouldn’t be an issue for the tenant’s benefits, as, if all are on benefits at the same address the council already knows, (correct me if I’m making the wrong assumptions about the situation).

In the above scenario it would appear that your main concern is one of potential antisocial behaviour or damage to the property.

I would ask your tenant to put you in touch with their housing officer and for them to give permission to discuss the situation with you and to keep you informed, so you can find out exactly what is going on. Is this indeed temporary? Are the sons being rehoused by the council? Are they employed? What are the types of issues they have?

This allows you to be in full possession of the facts. It may be that the sons are autistic and become anxious around strangers and so a hostel would be distressing for them, but wouldn’t pose any issue for you as a landlord while they are living with their parents.

If they have genuine long term medical or mental health issues for which they are receiving treatment they will receive priority for rehousing, you do need to make it clear however that there is a definite time limit on their stay so that the council doesn’t become complacent and consider them to no longer be homeless.

Discuss this calmly with your tenants and explain that you may need to issue notice to them in order to ensure the council has a deadline to work to in regards to rehousing their sons.

Try not to be livid, they are parents doing what they can to help their sons out in a pinch. They have a spare bedroom and their sons are homeless. They probably didn’t even think they were doing anything wrong. Life is messy and being a landlord means dealing with other people’s messy lives sometimes. I’m sure you can get this resolved with a minimum of drama.


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