I’ve heard a lot of people claiming that rent is guaranteed when Housing Benefit (HB) pay rent directly to the landlord on behalf of DSS tenants. It was actually the other day that someone on my blog made that statement, and it’s definitely a popular claim I’ve heard many times. For the record, the lady that made the comment was nice, and this is definitely not a personal attack on her.
From my experience, it’s usually tenants on Housing Benefit (HB) that make the claim to either a) sway landlords into thinking DSS tenants do have their perks b) don’t have enough experience with HB allowance to know any better. Either way, the assumption is completely inaccurate.
I agree, taking on DSS tenants do have their perks, however, saying that “rent is guaranteed” is total bullshit, so people really need to stop thinking/saying it is.
Rent is NEVER guaranteed, and most landlords that have respectable experience with DSS tenants will know that.
Initially, I also thought that it was guaranteed rent. I was one of those suckers. But after a little ‘real-life’ experience, I quickly discovered the realities of receiving payment from the Council and how it’s far from ‘guaranteed rent’
This blog post isn’t an intended witch hunt for those receiving HB, this blog post is just a reality check for the unknowing.
The short fall
Firstly, most DSS tenants have a shortfall to cover each month, which the tenant is expected to cover on time every month. That shortfall is NOT guaranteed. I’ve had a tenant in the past that had to pay £100 each month to cover her shortfall. It was often late, and frequently required constant chasing. She wasn’t a bad tenant, so eventually always coughed up the doe. But I know of landlords that weren’t even fortunate enough to receive the shortfall at all. The tenants just didn’t care about paying.
Yes, the majority of the rent is paid by Housing Benefit, but I don’t expect to let my house out at a 10% discount each month, otherwise I would have marketed the property with a lower monthly rate.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a perk to have the majority of rent paid by the council, but it’s definitely not entirely “guaranteed”, which is my point.
Landlords are at the mercy of the council
Secondly, and most importantly, the council have the ability to seize/alter anyone’s benefits at the snap of a finger, and there’s nothing a landlord can do about it.
One day your tenant might be entitled to £700 per month, the next day their circumstances may change and they’ll be entitled to £500 per month, consequently the tenant will have a larger shortfall to cover. This of course brings me back to my first point- there’s no guarantee the tenant will cover that shortfall on time every month.
And then, naturally, the tenant will say, “there’s been some kind of mistake. Give me a few weeks, I will sort it out with the council”. Soon enough, weeks has passed, and nothing has changed, and your tenant has now fallen into arrears.
The council won’t move quickly to resolve anything (believe me) and they sure as hell won’t talk to the Landlord to explain what is going on, because the personal finances of the tenant has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Landlord. Apparently the data protection act means the landlord isn’t entitled to a single piece of useful information.
I’ve even seen cases where tenants were claiming HB fraudulently and as a result their allowance was completely terminated. Where does the landlord stand then?
So no, regardless of whatever agreement/setup you have with your DSS tenant and the Housing Benefits Department, rent is NEVER guaranteed, and you’d be a fool to think otherwise.
Right, that’s my little rant over. Love and peace all, love and peace!!