I’ve decided it’s not worth getting involved with DSS tenants because of the incompetence of the local council (or at least my local council). They are so stupid and unwilling to help landlords that they make me want to rip my beautiful eyes out with a blunt spoon every time I have to deal with them. I have no qualms with DSS tenants, but having the middleman (the council) makes some situations unbearable, to the point where I’ll happily discriminate against allowing DSS tenants take tenancy in one of my properties.
On various occasions throughout my involvement with DSS tenants I’ve had to contact the council in order to resolve some outstanding issues. It goes without saying that they have been less than helpful and added to my misery.
Council tax problem
I received a council tax bill through for £18.57 regarding a property. Not much, right? Right. But that wasn’t the point.
I knew I shouldn’t be liable because I’ve always had tenants occupy my properties so I wanted to know what period the bill accounted for so I could drill down the problem. I’m not entirely sure why they don’t have the dates on the actual notices. When I receive a bill, I want to know what period it accounts for. Talk about stating the obvious. I’m assuming they’re not liable to disclose that kind of information on the bill for some kind of stupid security reason. I can’t imagine what.
Anyways, I called the council to find out what the deal was. A woman on the other end said it accounted for the period 15th August – 20th August. I told her that my tenant (a tenant I evicted) was occupying the property until the 20th of August and my new tenant moved in on the 21st. The woman said that on their records it shows that my ex-tenant and the council had agreed for her to vacate on the 14th. I said I wasn’t aware of that arrangement, and asked why I wasn’t made aware of that agreement, and how I was meant to know my tenant and the council had made that kind of arrangement? Her response was, “it’s your property, you should know”.
I felt like saying, “no, you dickhead!!! I’m meant to know who is in my property, not what arrangement my tenant has with the council, especially if I’m not notified. If I was meant to be made aware of that information, why didn’t you inform me?”. I said something of sort, but without the “dickhead” part, unfortunately. So basically, if you take on a DSS tenant, you have to not only be in the loop with your tenant’s circumstances, but also keep tabs on your tenant to council relationship.
We basically kept aimlessly arguing for 20mins, we were both getting increasingly frustrated. To be honest, it’s not about the money (because it’s only £19), it’s the principle. I shouldn’t be made liable for my tenant’s council tax because my tenant and council had an arrangement that I wasn’t made aware of.
What made it more frustrating is that whenever I spoke to the council previously about my tenants late payments (which I had a few of), they couldn’t give me any information in regards to my tenants situation for data protection purposes. On so many occasions my tenant would delay payments, and I always wondered ‘why’. She was receiving benefit cheques from the Social Benefits, so there should be no problems in payment. They couldn’t even confirm or deny whether my tenant had received her benefit cheques. I was basically told NOTHING. So why on this occasion did the woman at the council tell me I should be aware of the arrangements between the tenant and social benefits when they’ve failed to tell me anything in the past? It made no sense.
She then went on about how I needed proof to clarify that my tenant moved out on the 20th, and I should send them my tenancy agreement. I said “that would make no sense. My tenant was evicted which you’re aware of, so why would eviction dates be mentioned in the tenancy agreement? There’s no proof in there”, she said, “yes, I understand, unless you can provide proof you’re liable because it’s your property”
At this point I had mental images of slamming a pencil through her spine. I then said, “what if you had a tenant and she had made an arrangement with the council that you weren’t made aware of which ended up costing you?”. She didn’t respond.
The conversation ended bitterly and we basically went around in circles. Urgh.
Benefit cheques received every 30 days
Benefit cheques are released every 30 days. That makes no sense to me, because it’s totally impractical for landlords.
99.9999% of landlord charge tenants on a per calendar month basis. So for example, I collect rent on the 1st of every month, consequently it would make sense for the council to release cheques on a per calender month basis, even if it’s not on the date you require, but just as long as it’s on the same date of every month. Releasing cheques every 30 days can get confusing, especially if your tenant has to pay a shortfall. So if I agree for my tenant to pay £100 on the 1st of every month, and the council pay every 30 days, I’m receiving cheques all over the place.
The Government has stopped sending money directly to landlords
Back in the day, the council would send the tenants rent allowance directly to landlord’s. It gave landlord’s security and a reason to take on DSS tenants.
Unfortunately, the Government were too dumb to hold onto a good thing. The Government have now stopped paying benefits directly to landlords. This is a complete piss-take as far as i’m concerned.
Anyways, to save myself from repeating myself, you can read more about this issue here, The Difference Between DSS Tenants on Housing Benefit (HB) And Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
Council didn’t give a shit when I told them the tenant they housed wasn’t paying rent
One of my tenant’s was receiving housing benefit cheques because she was an unemployed single mum.
She fell into arrears by 2 months, so I called the council and explained the dilemma. They didn’t seem to give a shit- the fact that someone was receiving housing benefits and failing to pay her housing costs didn’t seem to concern them in the slightest. More frustratingly, due to the data protection act, they couldn’t tell me anything useful, like if she had received her benefits or not.
I never ended up receiving the rent, so I was left wondering what happened to the money. Additionally, from what I’m told, she is now living happily in a council house. Where is the justice?
Why should I or anyone else even bother housing DSS tenants if that’s the kind of support landlord’s get? I’d rather let the government sit there scratching their balls wondering why there aren’t enough roofs to house the needy.
What a joke.
The Council advise rogue tenants to remain in the property
To add insult to injury, the council encourage rogue tenants to completely fuck the landlord over.
When my DSS tenant fell into arrears, she was actually advised by the council to remain in the property until she had received a Section 8 – eviction notice from me.
The tenant was receiving housing benefit, but failing to pass it onto the landlord, yet the council were still advising/helping her.
Councils have a duty to provide shelter and generally prevent homelessness, this is why they instruct tenants not to vacate the property even when they receive a notice, whether it be an eviction or repossession notice.
The Council often even go as far as forcing Landlords to waste money on Court fees and also on bailiffs, even for a simple repossession. That’s because as soon as the tenant needs a new roof over their head, they then become the local authorities problem, and in a society where there is a huge housing shortage, that’s literally their worst nightmare. They’ll literally do anything to prevent the problem from falling back onto their lap, even if it means supporting and helping tenants that are swindling their housing benefit down the shitter.
It’s beyond ridiculous. It’s an absolute joke.
As far as I’m concerned, the council are just trying to house as many people as possible without taking any responsibility of the aftercare which is required once a tenant has been housed. Providing shelter alone isn’t good enough.
Landlords get a real shitty deal when it comes to DSS tenants simply because they don’t always get the support they need from the council. In fact, they get zero support, on contrary. they usually end up getting shafted.
Like I said, this is nothing personal against DSS tenants; anyone can potentially be a tenant from hell, regardless of their financial circumstances. But I’d rather avoid supporting a broken system
On that note, I stand firm, I won’t accept DSS tenants again. Has anyone else had any problems with the council regarding DSS tenants