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Payment from dss


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Hi Rich,

All NEW tenancies created with DSS tenants AFTER 6th April 2008 will be paid using the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and this is paid, by default, directly to the tenant. Existing Housing Benefit claims will not be affected until the tenant changes address.

Lots of people have negative views on LHA although it should be remembered that the benefit belongs to the TENANT and not the landlord and the tenant must decide how their benefit is spent (ie: either pay the landlord or buy a flat screen TV).

If the tenant doesn't pay the landlord rent then they will get evicted. If the tenant doesn't pay the flat screen TV company then the TV will get repossessed. The tenant decides how they want to live their lives.

At the end of the day, a working tenant may not pay the landlord their rent (deciding to use their salary to buy that flat screen TV instead) and there is no difference with a DSS tenant.

Expect lots of negative publicity and hot air over the coming months about this. The fact remains though - if your tenant decides not to pay the landlord rent ... there is little that any of us can do (other than evict them). This is a problem whether HB or the LHA is used to pay the rent.

PS: Any tenant - right now - can go into the Benefit Office, sign a form, and stop their landlord getting paid the benefit directly from the benefit office because - as I said before - the benefit belongs to the tenant not the landlord.

I'm not worried about any of this ... you get good and bad tenants in all walks of life ......


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This may be fact - but it is wrong. If a tenant is applying for housing benefit then the money paid is for that purpose - for housing themselves - a salary is a multi purpose payment. What I feel is wrong is that the DSS don't care if the money is used to pay for a plasma TV - afterall where is the money coming from to pay these benefits in the first place - US!!!

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Yes I agree with you Julie, the bright spark(s) who came up with this idea, are plain idiotic.

It's bad enough that the council pay two months in arrears, but now many landlords wont take on DSS, including myself, as the risk of getting knocked is much greater now.

After recently evicting a troublesome housing benefit tenant, my new game plan is:

1. no DSS

2. charge slightly under the going rate of rent per month (making void period less frequent)

3. make sure tenant's salary is 3 times the annual rent

4. try and get a guarantor (if there's two people that can be held to account, you have less chance of getting knocked if the tenant does a runner

5. take a holding deposit of £150 + £30 non-returnable fee for credit agency check

6. arrange a standing order to come out 3 days before the rent due date (to allow for bank delays)

7. ask for 5-6 weeks deposit, (explaining their deposit will be protected in a TDS Scheme), if prospective tenants are not happy with that, there's a chance that they have a previous record of leaving a month early, therefore taking all of their deposit (regardless of any possible damages, losses etc).

Any more ideas to make my game plan better, are welcome

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Hi All,

The is a lot of incorrect "fact" stated on this forum regarding DSS tenants and benefits.

The LHA (Local Housing Allowance) replaces HB on 7th April 2008. BY DEFAULT - the benefit will be paid to the tenant as it is THEIR benefit. It is irrelevant that the money comes from our taxes. It is THEIR benefit for THEM to do with as they please. It is their salary (from the Council). It is for them to decide whether having a roof over their head is more important than owning a plasma TV. If they opt for a TV then we evict them - just the same as a working tenant.

A lot of tenants do not understand that the contract for the payment of rent is between the T and the L. A lot of DSS tenants think that the contract is between the Council and the L. This is why, if there is a problem with payment, a T will always claim "it is not my fault - I have submitted everything to the Council and they are useless".

LHA makes it clear that the contract is between T and L and that it is the T's responsibility to pay.

If a tenant is deemed "vulnerable" then the benefit can still be paid directly to the landlord. A vulnerable tenant would definitely be a tenant with a previously poor credit history or a tenant who is not capable of managing their own financial affairs.

If the benefit is being paid to the tenant and the tenant is not paying the money to the landlord then the landlord can ask the Council to start paying the benefit directly to him. The maximum amount of time before the Council will divert the benefit is 8 weeks (not 2 weeks Rodent) BUT the landlord should notify the Council as soon as the problem has occured.

There is no point credit checking HB tenants. They haven't got ANY money. That's why they are entitled to HB.

The Council pay MARKET RENT as currently assessed by the Rent Officer. If the RO undervalues a property then the tenant must top-up the shortfall from other benefits (such as Income Support, Child Tax Credits etc etc).

When LHA is introduced then there will be a PUBLISHED rent that the Council will pay for a specific type of property. eg: 2 bedroom house, SA post code region, 2 adults + 2 children = £500pcm LHA.

The T then can decide whether to live in a smaller house (eg 1 bed) and keep upto £15/week in benefit for themselves (legitimately) or they could decide to live in a 3 bed house and pay (for example) an extra £15 week from other benefits.

The LHA will be updated, monthly I think, so that everyone knows the current rates being paid. This is a really good system as there will be no doubt - from landlord or tenant - on how much benefit is going to be paid for what type of property.

It doesn't take the Council 2 months to pay the benefit if you make sure the tenant submits all of the evidence to the HB office on the day that they move in. Every Council has a maximum Service Level of 28 days - most of my claims are assessed within 5 days. If the claim isn't being assessed it is because the tenant (or the landlord or both) haven't provided the necessary documents (like a copy of the tenancy agreement that must accompany the claim).

Hope this helps .... I currently have around 100 "DSS tenants" ... most of them live in high quality properties of less than 10 years old and NONE of them are in rent arrears and none of them have trashed my properties.


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Always credit check any applicant for your property whether on HB or otherwise and get a guarantor if on low or no income. They may not be working but you're making an assessment of their ability to respect a legally binding contract and a letting based check takes this in to account and should include previous landlord references etc if applicable. There is a distinction between HB & DSS. HB is paid by the local council to the individual and DSS (unemployment/job seeker etc) benefits paid by the DWP. HB is sometimes paid when someone is on low income, as well as no income, to support their ability to find a home. It's the can't-work won't-work portion of DSS occupants that attracts higher risks, expecting something for nothing and no respect for other's property. Not all of them, probably not most of them, but comparatively more than other sectors.

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I totally agree with your comment re: the something for nothing attitude of _some_ DSS tenants and them having no respect for your property. These should be avoided at all cost.

However, as you say, this is not representative of all of them. I am careful who I rent to, always visit them where they currently live (to ensure they have not damaged their previous landlords property), find out as much background information as possible about them ..... and then decide whether to offer them a property or not.

My point is that discriminating against ALL DSS tenants - just because they are DSS and are claiming benefits - is not logical. There are some great DSS tenants who simply want help from a kind hearted landlord.

My 100 DSS tenants have not let me down .....


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This thread needs to be read in conunction with:



Yep they still retain the mandatory payment to LL if 8 weeks in arrears but this should not happen as they pay 2weekly.

If after two weeks the tenant has not paid if I contact the council they suspend future payments and ask the tenant for proof of rent payment.

After investigation they try again to send a chq to tenant in landlords name to get back to sys. They appear to have a policy if the payment exceeds a certain amount I think about £300 they put landlord name on chq. After first payment they send direct transfer to tenant bank account.

Most of these tenants have simply set up standing orders to me which is great esp with online banking.


Also re:The Council pay MARKET RENT

Really ??? Not in my experience ....

1.Any one else reckon they are getting full rent from council ?

2.If you rented these "privately" would you get a higher rent ?

It doesn't take the Council 2 months to pay the benefit if you make sure the tenant submits all of the evidence to the HB office on the day that they move in.

You must have an exremely efficient council dept in your area Mark !!Because this is absolutely NOT the case in my area .....losing froms (we never received them ..not once but 3-4 times...this is the norm..) Benefits stopped for no apparent reason ...for months on end 9 months last time for me then T left refusing to sort caim out ...

and the "why are you bothering me with this ?" , "go ring the council they pay the rent not me ! " attitude.......Not all but considerably inherent: higher risks, hassles and all round grief when operating in this sector.

A1 Diamond properly referenced Guarantor or "On yer bike !".

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