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Housing Benefit Policies & e-petition
17/02/2012
9:57 pm
Matthew
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Does anyone know how much is lost per year when Housing Benefit tenants don't pass on their rent to landlords?

I'm sure I read this to be something like £2 billion each year. If this is true this is a lot of wasted tax payers money spent by benefit claimants on anything they want and NOT rent!

I was going to start an e-petition to see if the Government would have a serious re-think about their policies on Housing Benefit, but I came across this one…. http://epetitions.direct.gov.u…..ions/16273 and surely its worth signing for every private landlord.

18/02/2012
12:34 am
PaulBarrett
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The only problem with direct payment is that if a claim turns out to be not valid the council will come to the LL for refund of those LHA payments.

Therefore if I had a a LHA claimant who failed to pass LHA payments onto me I would apply for direct payment; but commence eviction proceedings.

If more LL did this LHA claimants would not think they can get away with not paying 2 months LHA to the LL as the resultant effect would be they would be evicted.

They would then be deemed to have made themselves homeless and would not be able to recive LHA.

Therer are more than enough tenants out there; so if your LHA tenant wants to take the p–s out of you then they will know what will happen if they fail to pas the LHA onto the landlord.

I would always advise the LHA tenant at the outset as to what WILL happen should they fail to pass on any part of the LHA payment.

The ramifications of not passing on the LHA is something I don't think many claimants think about or are even aware of.

It could be they would be homeless all because of failing to pay 2 months LHA to the LL.

If LL adopted this tough stance the message would soon get through to LHA claimants.

Perhaps then the councils would stop pursuing LL for refunds of LHA just because a claimant no longer qualifies for LHA.

A LL cannot be expected to know the minuatie of LHA claimants' domestic circumstances which will affect claims.

To make the LL liable in the event the claim turns out to be invalid is ridiculous as the LL has provided the accommodation in good faith and should not be liable for  a claimants domestic circumstances which may render them disqualified from receiving LHA.

18/02/2012
9:24 am
Paul Routledge
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Hi All,

As you may know this topic is one of my biggest bug bears and is a contributor as to why I started this web site in the first place I alone lost £37.000 in 2009 from tenants not passing on their LHA.

I dont know how much is lost but as far as I am concerned if a tenant spends it on anything other than the rent they should be charged with fraud and/or deception because as far as I am concerned to claim for housing and then not pay it when you receive money for it falls squarly into those two catergories.

I will say though that since we started LandlordReferencing.co.uk and all the local Landlords & Agents network together by referencing and sending out tenant alerts etc:  the tenant cheats are down and my losses are down to nearly nothing.  The tenants know and are told that if they don't pay me their LHA they go on the system and don't get another property with another member so the consequences can be very bad for a tenant who constantly cheats.

You must remember that when a Landlord or Agent registers a tenant that spends his LHA on our system no other Landlord or Agent need ever take them and that is becoming quite a deterrent for some tenants who are now struggling to get a property because of their previous behaviour.

Dare I say! A protest is a great idea we tried it ourselves in the hope we could get the politicians to listen but truthfully if you want to really take pro-active action against this growing problem, the best remedy we have is to pass the word and get all of these cheats registered on this website and the message will get out very quickly – “Those tenants who do it cant do it again and those who may want to do it will think twice before doing it in the first place”.

 

So pass on the word email,tweet and facebook others with this link and let us show the Goverment that our petition is right here right now.

18/02/2012
10:16 am
PaulBarrett
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Yes I follow yor advices to the letter the only thing I haven't done is download all my tenants from the past 5 years!

The logistics of going through all my files is depressing me and then to input!

You are totally correct in your advices and the first thing a prospective tenant signs is your LRS data form which I thoroughly explain about.

I state if they chose NOT to sign the consent then I will termiate the interview as I don't want a tenant who doesn't want to be on LRS.

Of course if you succeed in your rental payment history project we may have tenants demanding to go on LRS. that would be a turn up for the books, wouldn't it!?

It would be very interesting if you could ever persuade some of them; that is to have tenants advise that their behaviour has now changed as a consequence of their knowledge of LRS and what it does.

It would be a direct vindication proof of how effective the LRS services are.

After all didn't Jesus commend sinners who repented!!!?

18/02/2012
11:06 am
Paul Routledge
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PaulBarrett said:

Yes I follow yor advices to the letter the only thing I haven't done is download all my tenants from the past 5 years!

The logistics of going through all my files is depressing me and then to input!

You are totally correct in your advices and the first thing a prospective tenant signs is your LRS data form which I thoroughly explain about.

I state if they chose NOT to sign the consent then I will termiate the interview as I don't want a tenant who doesn't want to be on LRS.

Of course if you succeed in your rental payment history project we may have tenants demanding to go on LRS. that would be a turn up for the books, wouldn't it!?

It would be very interesting if you could ever persuade some of them; that is to have tenants advise that their behaviour has now changed as a consequence of their knowledge of LRS and what it does.

It would be a direct vindication proof of how effective the LRS services are.

After all didn't Jesus commend sinners who repented!!!?

Hi Paul,

I think it will be a cold day in hell if a tenant posts on here that they have changed their way because of LandlordRferencing(LRS) but I don't need to hear that from a tenant to know it works because I truly believe the proof of the pudding is in the eating and since starting this web site my rent defaults and damages inc voids are down to 6% across the board and that is the proof I need.

We get members thanking us day in and day and leaving testimonials @/reviews-2/ and that is the icing on the cake for all of us here, all we need is time because every day more join and the more that join the stronger we get and the safer we all are!

18/02/2012
5:56 pm
Rigsby
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PaulBarrett said:

The only problem with direct payment is that if a claim turns out to be not valid the council will come to the LL for refund of those LHA payments.

 

But it doesnt mean you have to pay it. The council only do it because they think there is more chance of getting it back from the landlord than the tenant and the landlords who dont to read up on the council rules and regs roll over and pay without question. In a nutshell the person who has to repay is the person who has witheld a material fact. So if a tenant starts working and the landlord lives miles away he cant know and be held reponsible but that doesnt stop the council from asking him first.

But if a tenant moved out and the landlord kept recieving payment for dates after he vacated there is no defence and the landlord should return the funds but you can still appeal over a few days here and there.

I recieve over 20k a month in housing benefit and havent had to repay the council for years unless it is a dispute of moving out dates and then only amounts to a few quid and as the tenant paid their first months rent inadvance 9 times out of 10 there is funds to return to the tenant anyway.

I have many many tenants with some form of housing benifit (not all) and as long as you go in with your eyes open AND READ UP ON THE RULES AND REGS OF HB it isnt really a problem. Where a lot of landlords go wrong is they get a HB tenant apply for their property and believe everthing the persons says such as:

1 Its guaranteed

2 It wont stop

3 you will never have to worry about getting it.

Knowledge is everything and you never stop learning

19/02/2012
4:26 am
PaulBarrett
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I hear what you are saying Rigsby; however my concern would be that a council would apply for a CCJ and then a warrant of execution  and then an AOE and a questioning order and a garnishee order to obtain monies from a LL and if the LL doesn't pay a negative entry on the LL credit file.

It appears the LL has to prove that he didn't know of any material change rather than the council have to prove that the LL did  know of a material change.

This is the wrong way round.

But despite this possibility the risk to the LL is too much; so that if I ever took on a LHA claimant, my advice to a claimant who refused to pass on LHA would be that I would evict them.

Of course we also have the juggernaught of UC coming down the road, that will really upset the status quo!

19/02/2012
7:29 am
Rigsby
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Yes but you will get at least 2 letters from the council and a letter before action before any legal action started and if you bury your head in the sand and ignore them you deserve a ccj.

There is a appeal process with the council that has 3 stages I have only had to do the first one which is a reply explaining why it is the tenant responsible.   I have never had to prove anything.

 

I do acknowledge differant councils behave in differant ways and may be more rigerous in chasing overpayments but they still have to abide by the rules and regs which are all the same.

19/02/2012
2:10 pm
PaulBarrett
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Surely you should have never neeed to reply as to why the tenant was responsible as the LHA claim was granted on the basis of the claimant making the application.

Therefore the council know why you are not liable; so why do you have to prove a positive when the council already knows the reasons why it cannot be your liability.

Or are they just trying it on!?

It is not overpayments I am referring to but the council climing back LHA from a LL who is receipt of LHA following LHA payments not being made.

The LL is then exposed to any change or fraud in the LHA claim should there be any change in the domestic circumstances of the tenant.

I prefer to evict as any tenant of mine who thinks they can get away with not paying 2 months rent will be booted out by me, courtesy of bailiffs.

19/02/2012
4:16 pm
Rigsby
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I imagine there have been many landlords over the years who have had knowledge of a dodgy claim or had a scam going with the tenant. The council are obviously first going to request repayment from the person who recieved the LHA and if that is the landlord it is one of the pitfalls of taking on a benefit tenant and recieving the payments direct.

If I was in a area that had a bigger pool of tenants to choose from I guess I would take a lot less LHA or none at all. But I can honestly say it doesnt cause me many problems, it takes up more time  but can have its benefits. It isnt for the inexperienced landlord.

22/02/2012
8:24 pm
Rigsby
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Any one with tenants on housing benefit this may help.

http://www.hbadvice.co.uk/landlords

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