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LHA to Tenant


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Hi Guys,

Just had a text from one of my LHA tenants, the Council have sent her a cheque for the rent even though she hasn't got a bank account?

The benefits were being paid direct to me for over 12 months due to arrears, the tenant was happy with this and she's been chipping away at the arrears, no problems there.

The council wrote to me 3 weeks ago asking what the situation was, i explained that we were still in arrears but that efforts had been made to reduce the shortfall. I even enclosed a schedule of payments.

We are simply going to return to the problem we have 12 months ago when rental payments were not getting passed on to the Landlord. Rather than letting the healing process run its course they appear to be happy to open an old wound because of legislation.

Ive advised my tenant to put it in writing to the council (and return the cheque) requesting that payments revert back to the Landlord with immediate effect.

Is it just me who feels like im banging my head against a brick wall with the local authority staff. Common sense at appears is not in the job description these days and nobody is willing to take responsibility for these actions.

They blame cut backs?

I know im relatively new to this forum but i'd welcome any advice or reasoning as to why these ludicrous measures are in place and where will it end.

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Until the system gets reverted back to landlord receiving rent directly from council, there is no way I would take another DSS tenant. It's just too much agro, best get rid of the problem and get a new working tenant (take at least 5 weeks deposit next time, with a months rent in advance, to put off any potential scumbags)

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An interesting point Reg.

Sadly, its not as simple as that. I heard it from the Local Housing gaffer himself, the Government are encouraging more Private Housing be used for Local Authority tenants. Therefore, if i evict her it will cost money and put her back in the shop window as a potentially homeless person. With the shortage of housing stock, this will revert back to the private sector landlords and agents like myself.

Direct payments are a massive headache for people with difficult financial circumstances and i have been reading into our Local Housing Authority Safeguard Policy this afternoon.

It clearly states that a tenant can be deemed vulnerable under 3 circumstances - wont pay, cant pay or 8 weeks in arrears.

We're all aware of the 8 week rule but the 'can't pay' catergorie offers some scope for realistic optimism. A representation of vulnerability can be provided by the tenant, the tenants family, the landlord, a GP, a probation office, welfare groups, social services, department of work and pensions or an administrator of Deposit Bond Guarantee Scheme.

Once a decision has been made a review will be made every 6 months in 'wont pay' and '8 weeks' cases and 12 months in 'cant pay 'cases

Can we assume that these reviews will include corresponding with the person who provided the information in the first place? or simply an interview with the tenant.

One of my tenants openly admitted she was in the 'cant pay' catergory from Day 1. We forwarded a letter from the Local homelessness office clarifying this point, the benefits section 'overlooked' the letter and over £900 was paid to the tenant by mistake. where did that money go? Who knows.

An official complaint has been lodged - more info when i have it

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