I Received An Email Of Complaint From A DSS Tenant

Rightly or wrongly so, I found this email rather quite amusing. I always welcome constructive criticism because it usually makes a good read, but most importantly, it gives me a little something different to blog about, which is cool.

Ok, so, I was advertising a vacant property available for rent on Gumtree. Gumtree worked a charm- I eventually Found A Tenant Through Gumtree.

I never removed the advert from Gumtree, even after I found a tenant. The property was still generating a few enquiries. I intentionally left the advert live because I didn’t want to remove it until the tenant had signed the Assured Shorthold Tenant Agreement and paid the deposit.

Part of the description I put in the advert was as follows:

Gumtree Advert, Description

Take note of the “NO DSS” part. In response, I received this email of complaint from J.K.Rowling:

NO DSS WHY IS THAT THEN ? MONEY IS MONEY AND HB IS MORE SECURE THEN SOMEONE WHO IS WORKING AND MAY LOOSE THERE JOB OR BECOME ILL OR DO YOU FEEL PEOPLE ON HB DONT DESERVE TO BE IN A HOUSE LIKE THAT IM IN WALTHAM ABBEY A LOVELY HOME LIKE YOURS AND YES IM ON HOUSING BENEFIT MY MONEY GOES DIRECT TO MY LANDLORD AND I HAVE BEEN HERE 4 YEARS NOW AND MY LANLORD HAS NEVER CONTACTED ME REGARDING PROBLEMS WITH RENT -IM SORRY BUT IM TRYING TO STOP PEOPLE LIKE YOU HAVING THIS BAD VIEW ABOUT PEOPLE ON HOUSING BENEFIT(HB).IM LOOKING TO MOVE BECAUSE I WANT A GARDEN BUT THE BIASED OPINIONS PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT HB IS SO UN FAIR .. IM FINDING IT REALLY HARD TO FIND ANYONE WHO WILL ACCEPT HOUSING BENEFIT ..

My thoughts…

  • 1) lol @ the grammar, constant caps-lock, and ignorance of punctuation (would I be a ignorant shit if I said, “typical DSS”? Ok, fine, I won’t say it then)
  • 2) From my experience, HB isn’t actually more secure than a working tenant. Housing Benefit can alter (usually lower) or even completely cease your allowance just as easily as someone can lose their job.
  • 3) Your money goes direct to your landlord because you’re on “Housing Benefit”, which no longer exists, from April 2007. As soon as you move property and sign a new tenancy agreement, you’ll be put on Local Housing Allowance (LHA), and your allowance will go direct to YOU, and not the Landlord. More details: The Difference Between DSS Tenants on Housing Benefit (HB) And DSS Tenants On Local Housing Allowance (LHA).
  • 4) I don’t accept DSS tenants based on my personal bad experiences. So it’s not just a random idea I’ve conjured up without any basis.
  • 5) I wonder what this individual actually hopes to achieve by sending out emails like that. To change my mind? That’s what it actually seems like.

Final Thoughts

I hear this story a lot, and I actually sympathise with ALL the genuine, hard-working, unfortunate DSS tenants out there. They DO have a hard time. Not being able to seek appropriate accommodation because of personal circumstances, through no fault of their own, is extremely sad. But in order for things to be right, I don’t think it’s a case of landlords simply being more “open-minded”, I think it’s a case of the system needing to be improved.

I’ve written a lot about DSS Tenants in the past, and I’ve dealt with my fare share of them. I know what the system is like, and frankly, it sucks dog shit.

I’m not saying DSS tenants are scumbags (I’ve had GREAT DSS tenants in the past), I’m saying the system is dog shit. More explained here: DSS Tenants And The Shitty Council.

As I’ve always maintained, a DSS Tenant is just like a regular tenant- you get the good and the bad. However, they do, unfortunate as it may be, have a grey cloud following them because of the bad press they receive. I personally think one issue is undeniable though- DSS tenants are way more complicated than the average employed tenant. Some of the complications are explained, along with tips for anyone considering providing tenancy to a DSS tenant, right over there: Tips For Taking On DSS Tenants

The bottom line is, Landlords want security, especially in this uncertain climate. EVERY Landlord wants to be sure that they’re going to receive their rent on time, throughout the entire tenancy. So, now that tenants directly receive their allowances, I don’t feel secure with a DSS Tenant. Perhaps that’s just me being a pompous, ignorant ass.

If it came down to a working professional Vs DSS, a working professional would win EVERY TIME. It’s a no-brainer, and I don’t think I need to explain my reasons…or do I? In order to even consider a DSS tenant, I’d need some kind of incentive, but the council removed the most convincing advantage for landlords when the LHA was introduced, and removed the “direct payment to landlord” policy. That was a HUGE blow. Since the change, a lot of Landlords have felt the burn, research has shown many tenants are failing to pass on these payments to landlords.

The research* shows that 52 per cent of landlords surveyed have decided they would not let, or be ‘less likely’ to let, to LHA tenants. A further 43 per cent of those landlords who have already tried the new system said they would now be leaving this failing market because of increased uncertainty about rent payments.

So, do Landlords have a good reason not to accept DSS tenants? Yes. Why? There’s no fucking incentive to consider them anymore.

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35 Comments- join the conversation...

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Jools 24th April, 2009 @ 10:45

JK Rowling eh - blimey she scrubs up well for telly. I have seen the original Harry Potter books written in her own hand in green crayon before she got the laptop on benefit!

Jools

PS only joking Dr Nogood! I have seen her on telly though but without the Burberry cap, large hoop ear-rings, the 16 year old Ford Scorpio and big fuck off dog.

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Paul 27th April, 2009 @ 14:12

"1) lol @ the grammar, caps-lock being caught, and ignorance of punctuation (would I be a ignorant shit if I said, “typical DSS”? Ok, fine, I won’t say it then) "

"a" ignorant shit?? Maybe you did that on purpose, but I doubt it.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 27th April, 2009 @ 14:31

Paul,
I didn't do it on purpose =/
Regardless, there's a difference between a few mistakes and complete ignorance of basic grammar, innit :)

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flexi-properties 18th June, 2009 @ 13:45

The system has recently changed and housing benefit is now paid direct to tenats. I've lost about 4 months rent on 3 properties as a result. I'm based in stoke on trent and i've told the council i wont take another dss tenat. It's their own fault. Most will pay but unfortunately the selfish minority spoil it for the reasonable majority.

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Jools 18th June, 2009 @ 14:51

Some one I know makes the DSS tenants sign a waiver essentially stating that they are far too stupid to manage their own finances and could they possibly pay the landlord directly pretty please!

Yes I know it's stereotyping and not ALL DSS are stupid - BUT is does seem to have worked for them.

Would suggest a more suitable content fo rthe letter though!

Jools

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Me 9th July, 2009 @ 21:59

Advice on accepting DSS tenants:
1. Remember that DSS will always pay less housing benefit (HB) than the tenant expects or tells you he will get. The tenant will have to make up the difference from his own pocket. Check whether he can afford it (usually not).
2. Always get the tenant to tick the box that gives permission for landlord to enquire about the HB. Alternatively, get the tenant to sign the form. This way you can chase up any problems without relying on the tenant. Do not let a tenant move in without this permission granted!
3. The only way to get HB paid direct to landlord these days is for the tenant to get a doctors letter, saying that he can not manage his finances. Consider asking the tenant to make up a problem to tell his doctor.
4. I don't see why we should take DSS tenants without landlord direct, if we don't have to. The only way to get the government to change is to boycott DSS tenants completely.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 9th July, 2009 @ 23:03

Hey Me,

Some great tips there, many thanks.
I've added them to my Tips for taking on DSS tenants section.

I'm not entirely sure about point number 2, though. Can you provide more details on the box that should be ticked? E.g which form is the box on, and what rights does it give to the Landlord?

Many thanks

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Danny 15th July, 2009 @ 23:12

Firstly, I'm responding as someone who is going to have to, and has had to pay rent from housing benefit claims. I have been researching this issue quite a bit, because of my present circumstances, and I studied it while I was at University. Unfortunately, e-mails, such as the one you received, do not do any justice to those of us who are responsible, reliable tenants, who do occassionally have to make HB claims. And I do agree with some of the issues landlords have concerning claimants. It is always the few that make it very difficult for the rest of us.

I think the idea behind the shift from direct payments to landlords, to the tenant, is the idea that the tenant becomes much more responsible for their own lives, rather than the state interfering too much. Although obviously it doesn't seem to be working like that. Secondly, the issues concerning landlords and the state is a very big political one, where landlords are not considered an important part of of the democratic system. What I mean is, landlords votes, are not seen as important votes in elections. This is well known in academic circles concerning housing. So the state makes their lives very difficult, and always puts the tenant before the property owner. This puts those of us who are responsible, in a difficult situation. But having said this, the state in the process is doing the same thing to the tenant as well.

I have had my own issues with landlords who have not been fair to me, but I have landlords who have been absolutely brilliant, and patient. So it's six of one and half dozen of the other.

My solution? Well I think the system has to change drastically. More social housing needs to be built. A dialogue opened up between tenant, the state, and the landlords, and some sort of incentive for landlords to consider claimants again. I think there is a serious political issue here as well, as I've said, and the state/government needs to acknowledge the idea of democracy for everyone, not just key voters. And private landlords, after all, do play a key role in the economy and in housing, so why aren't you given that acknowledgment.

As for me, I always make sure that it is me who is in charge of paying the rent (wherever that comes from). I get the rent paid to me and then straight on to the landlord. This means I don't have to disclose my occupation, and that I can find a home, without being stereotyped, or made to feel inferior when having to claim HB. And unfortunately, this is one of my problems with some landlords. Having HB paid directly to me and then to the landlord works well, and I have never defaulted on my rent. Ever.

So that's my pound of flesh. And it's merely an opinion that doesn't reflect my political leanings or any other bias. It's just how I observe the situation. And at least I can spell, and my grammar is reasonable :D

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Sarah 4th August, 2009 @ 19:37

LHA being paid directly to tenants is no different from a tenants wages - you don't expect a working tenants employer to pay direct to your account, so why should a dss tenant? Also the council actually recomended to be NOT disclosing being on benefits to landlords if I could possible get away with it because no one will give someone like me a break. I have never been in debt to anyone, with the exception of student loans and am a responsible, clean, tidy person. People say things like 'it may be stereo typing but...' but it's always distasteful to laugh at the poor and I have noticed where some landlords do accept DSS, they are only too happy to hike up the cost of the rent to obtain the full LHA rate and happily take much needed money from the public purse - it's not just the unemployed who are sponging off the state then....

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sam 29th September, 2009 @ 15:44

DSS and HB is fucking shit. i have had enough. the fuckers dont pay the rent when its payed driectly to them. they cant even get blacklisted for it. they have to do it like 5 different times before council consider banning them from borough list. all wankers, working cash in hand, benefit fraudsters. stupid government, cant wait till tories come in power, they dont give a shit about anyone i think, no more benefits for sure.

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Ronnie 30th September, 2009 @ 14:20

I am in receipt of Housing Benefit. I have not been in receipt of it for long, perhaps about 4 months now. Prior to this I have always paid my own rent. Due to having a baby, and my partner deciding to leave, I had no choice. I have never ever defaulted on paying my rent, even though the Council pay the money directly to me. In reference to: "sam wrote this on 2009-09-29 15:44:31
DSS and HB is fucking shit. i have had enough. the fuckers dont pay the rent when its payed driectly to them. they cant even get blacklisted for it. they have to do it like 5 different times before council consider banning them from borough list. all wankers, working cash in hand, benefit fraudsters. stupid government, cant wait till tories come in power, they dont give a shit about anyone i think, no more benefits for sure"
I think this is an assumption that has been made very a very very small minded individual. In certain circumstances, yes, people do take the proverbial when it comes to benefits, but that is a very small box to put a whole bunch of people in.
I do not consider myself as scummy or whatever it is that people on DSS get labelled as. I consider myself somebody who has paid tax since I was 18 years old, and now that I am in a bit of hot water, I am merely getting money back from the Government that I have paid. My neighbour is a Hairdresser, who is employed with Tony And Guy would you believe, and hasn't paid her rent in nearly 3 months now. I am on HB and have not missed a payment yet. Ironic much????

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Coleen Hanlin 6th February, 2010 @ 23:31

u make me sick u totally arrogant prick. who do u think u are ???? i lost my 11 yr old son and couldnt go to work for over 2 years so had to get housing benefit for the flat i rented for me and my other 2 sons. does that make me a thieving dirty messy scummy hb fraudster!!!!! people like u are truly sad and it shows in the way people treat each other in this day and age. why not interview all tenants im sure u can tell what someone is like in the flesh instead of tarring all hb claimants with the same brush and instead of shouting ur ugly mouth off about the poorer of society why not try to grow up. Its attitudes like yours that keep people predjudiced and while theres people like you around there will ALWAYS be someone judging someone else wether theyve met them or not. ur a sad selfish probably spoiled rotten little wanker with a bank balance bigger than ur brain. i honestly CANNOT stand people like you

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 7th February, 2010 @ 00:50

Coleen, I actually have no idea what you're talking about. You've just jumped into a debate arms swinging, without even digesting what has been said.

My entire argument was about how DSS tenants have it tough, and you get both good and bad DSS tenants, just like with normal employed tenants.

Either way, you sound like a complete dick/psycho/dumb fuck. And I don't sympathise with people like you because of your irrational behavior.

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Twattybollocks 7th February, 2010 @ 08:59

Hey Coleen - wasn't I married to you once?

Thing is, you can dress a turd up in a Chanel suit and Jimmy Choos but at the end of the day - it's still a turd!

If you want fairness try communism - I hear it's all rosy in China.

TB

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Flexi_Properties 9th February, 2010 @ 21:59

I've only picked this thread up from comments that have come through to my email so I'm not fully up to speed on the debate but. I get the gist to be that LHA tenants and on one side of the debate and landlords are on the other.

When I first heard of the stupidity of paying LHA direct to tenants I attended a number of meeting and wrote to my MP. I was told that the initiative to to help empower people. It's been my recent experience that temptation has been placed in the way of a number of people who are unable to resist it. Strangely enough Christmas and the week before secondary schools went back were both months I received no rent from LHA tenants that were paid directly. It also strikes me as odd that the legislation does not apply to ALMO's and Housing Associations. So it's fine for struggling private landlords not to get paid but completely unacceptable for local government quangos or their feather bed mates.

I manage a number of properties for people who are just normal common all garden working folk who thought that buying a rental property would be a good pension for them. How wrong some have been. What with banks repossessing like property is going out of fashion forcing prices down all over the country, lenders not lending and tenants not paying it's far from a good pension at the moment.

I have every sympathy with LHA tenants but I'm now in the unfortunate position, as are many agents, where all my landlords are saying absolutely no LHA's. That's not the tenants fault nor is it prejudice against the individuals it's people being sick and tires of a government that scorned private landlords as the scum of the earth but couldn't provide accommodation without them.

I'll finish with an anecdote. The worst paying tenant i had was regional sales manager for a major media company earning in excess of £30k pa and didn't pay for 8 months. The best tenant I've had is DSS has had her own money since before this stupid system was introduced and hasn't missed a day in 3 years.

Giggs

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lEBASI 27th February, 2010 @ 19:55

There is a guy living with us receiving DSS and he hasn't paid any bills for months!
The landlord says he can't do anything!! We just have to wait 2 more months for his contract to end and then pray for him to be evicted!
DSS should be paid directly to landlord at all times!

This is so annoying! Honest people have to pay for everything and these guys receive money for food, rent, etc.. and still don't pay! That's a joke, what a bunch of losers and the worst is: WE ARE THE ONES PAYING FOR THEM TO WATCH TV ALL DAY!!

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adam 24th March, 2010 @ 12:01

YES all about housing allowance .... its rather terrible to see how senseless and greedy people get and one day all your property will be left behind and you will be judged by God of your honesty -do u realise how hard it is getting a flat or even a Deposit together..id hate to use rude language but its mad when i see so many of your types of people out there thinking money money but dont worry one day you will have to feel what it may be like.

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Coleen Hanlin 30th April, 2010 @ 14:18

get over yourself mate eh ?? you've said real nasty things about dss tenants and yes there are arseholes out there but because of them you've now tarred us all with the same brush take your dick/psycho/dumb fuck comment and point it straight back at yourselves and as for twattybollocks well wot can i say name def suits ya !!!

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Twattybollocks 30th April, 2010 @ 14:48

OOOOOOOOOOOOhhhh you bitch! Don't get your gusset in a twist.

How about a well structured and informed argument Coleen? I agree with the Landlord - you have no idea what you are on about!

Spent a lot of time picking a name so I appreciate your comment. Makes me feel all warm and cosy inside.

TB

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Aisling O 31st January, 2011 @ 15:25

'1) lol @ the grammar, constant caps-lock, and ignorance of punctuation (would I be a ignorant shit if I said, “typical DSS”? Ok, fine, I won’t say it then)'

Don't be so arrogant - get over yourself.

'I’ve dealt with my fare share of them.' - lol @ the spelling.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 31st January, 2011 @ 16:30

Actually, the spelling is correct; I just used the incorrect word! Apologies.

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Aisling O 31st January, 2011 @ 19:46

'fare' should be 'fair'

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Matthew Dickinson 31st January, 2011 @ 20:13

I'm aware, hence why I said I used the incorrect word. "fare" in itself is not a spelling error :)

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damian 19th April, 2011 @ 07:39

Wtf!? DSS tenants have e-mail!? DSS tenants have computers!?

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Pissed off landlord 5th November, 2011 @ 20:15

i am pissed off because i was an unexperienced landlord and burnt my fingers with a rogue dss tenant.
never take reference from the current landlord because its bullshit,
make sure they give you full authority with the HB/LHA
beware the housing benefit team treat landlords like shit and side up with the tenants.
Ensure they have the utilitiy bills in correct names
and don't wait in serving section 21 notice as soon as they delay rent.I fu**ing hate DSS shitty scum bas***s because they fu**in done me over...MAkes my blood boil, thanks to the Government for the flexible rules and for giving these scums too much authority, pissed offffff

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Chris 23rd November, 2011 @ 13:35

Whats bad about the LHA and HB is that since 2006 it cannot be paid too family members.
So if you live in a relatives property and they cant live with out your financial contribution to the house hold then your probably going to be out and looking for a rental property.

It creates this idiotic situation where non payers on LHA or HB are someone else's problem...

Rubbish situation.

Roll on 2021 when the recession/depression will be over.

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Condalesie 16th April, 2012 @ 23:19

I am currently a landlord who previously had students and professional tenants. Unfortunately, since the last 2 tenants left a few weeks ago and me being made redundant, I now find it more cost effective to rent the flat to a DSS tenant. I initially considered staying at the flat and taking in 2 DSS tenants, but am worried that they may not be proactive about jobseeking, and just sit around usung the utilities, broadband TV etc to entertain theirselves, at my expense as their rent includes utilities. So I am grateful for all your comments on taking in the tenant, although there is an agency involved who want 5% but will ensure that the rents are paid, and look after the flat and all the issues with the tenant, so it sounds like a fair enough deal to me. I will also call up the social directly and see if I can get one from them and save the 5% too. I am a bit concerned, due to the prejudice that some people have about DSS, that I may have a problem finding a decent room in a nice house. I am very house proud, and am always cleaning etc, pay all my bills on time etc, so it would be nice to change some of the stereotypes as I venture out to seek a property. I just hope there are decent ones out there, and also decent flatmates too.

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stacey 23rd September, 2012 @ 14:06

I work (have a small beauty business, which hasn't been as straight forward as I would have liked)
The same goes for my partner (builder, with his own construction business) who has gotten himself into money struggles, so we get housing benefit.
It makes it very hard for people to believe that we aren't scummy people, but we have always done all the first fix problems on the house when they have needed doing.
We've paid our rent when housing benefit have suspended payments, even paid a month more in advance.
We are the type of people who don't mind giving money etc to landlords so they feel secure.
I've figured that you can get your rent paid direct to landlord if you have any disability/ money issues, which is what I did.
Most people on benefits have a bad credit history, so they COULD get it paid direct. Also worth saving a little to give to the landlord.
I think I will aim to get two months in advance- through past relations with HB they sometimes take up to two months. That way aarrears are far less likely,
Even in the case that they do not have the money to pay their rent top up one month.
I just guess there's a way for us HB claimants that we can make the system workable so landlords don't miss out for having us.

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Kate 23rd February, 2013 @ 01:12

I have a DSS tenant who is now in arrears and from this experience i will never never let my property be taken by a DSS....and yes it is the govt fault ...my tenant never take the bus nor walk she hires a taxi all the time shes busy shopping all the time and yet on benefits ...me the landlord has to suffer.....i bet she doesn't give a damn. Grrrrrr!!!!

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Stucklandlord 19th April, 2013 @ 04:04

According to the government websites, the HB can go direct to the landlord after 8week rent arrears! Yet when I asked stoke on trent council! They said no! Wtf?
Anyone know what I can do?
This is the first time I have had a dss tennant. Big mistake!
My advice to all landlords! Do not take on dss.

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Stucklandlord 19th April, 2013 @ 04:28

Lol @ J.K.Rowling..
Why has he been on HB for over four years? Sounds like he is on it by choice as "HB is more secure than someone who is working as they may lose there job or become ill"!!!!!!!

Grrrrr

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Chariot 21st October, 2014 @ 03:12

If so many council properties had not been sold off during the Thatcher days then there might be a few more homes for the DSS claimants to live in. That being said the council would then know the difficulties that both sides endure and so may very well be more sympothetic to the private landlords.
I am almost sure direct payment would not be given to a council tennant on HB !!
I am lucky i own two properties, one we have our elderly Aunt live there fro free as she cant get a coucil property to rent as there arnt any the local council say and she cant afford a private landlord as the rents are that high by the time she paid out her capped housing allowance and made up the rest out of her pension she would have little left to live on.
With our Aunt being related she is not allowed to claim housing benifit which is totaly bonkers and so we look after her best we can and at 83 with dementia setting in and again no warden operated bungalows available for her if it wernt for us where and what would she do ??

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kipper 16th January, 2015 @ 07:19

I read the comments on here with interest as I claim LHA, or at least some as I do not qualify for the full amount because of the level of my pension, if you disregard both the tenants and landlords who resort to foul language (I suppose they think it makes the argument sound more forceful it actually makes them sound more ignorant), there are some good arguments both ways but to ban all LHA because of one or two bad experiences seems a bit extreme would you ban all working tenants because of one or two bad experiences (and there are as many bad working tenants as LHA ones), LHA can be paid direct to the landlord the tenant simply needs to ask the council to do it. I feel that letting agents are quite often to blame for bad relationships, they seem to regard all tenants as lower than pond life and all landlords as magnanimous philanthropists providing luxury housing for the needy poor at vastly deflated rents (They do work for the landlord after all) it just is not so, there are good and bad on both sides.

By the way I pay my rent annually n advance and save my LHA and my contribution for next years rent which in good years used to earn me a nice little bit of interest, I also do all the small maintenance jobs that the landlord would have to pay for like minor plumbing, decorating etc unfortunately not gas and electric as I am no longer licensed and he pays me some but it saves him a lot in the long rung and he is happy with the quality of the work, I mention this only to show that you can have a good landlord/tenant relationship even if the tenant is on LHA but you both need to work at it.

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BethK 5th June, 2015 @ 18:44

I'm disappointed to see some of the comments here bashing all HB recipients. I understand that whilst a fair few can cause problems there are those like myself who receive housing benefit and pay on time every time and keep the house in very good condition.

I began claiming HB just after I graduated from my biomedical science degree because of a relationship ending (domestic violence) and being unemployed with both a 1 year old and a 5 month old baby. I searched high and low for a home for me and my children to move into and being on benefits meant that the only people willing to consider me were those who owned dirty hovels in run down crime ridden areas.

I refused to accept that my situation should force me into raising my children surrounded by filth and poverty and so I simply found a listing for a house I wanted (which stated no DSS) and went ahead and contacted them anyway, explaining my situation, my plans to return to work once my children were a little older, inviting them to do an interview of sorts and I provided them with a homeowner guarantor (my step father). They agreed straightaway and I've now been living happily for almost a year in a beautiful spotlessly clean home with my baby girls and my rent is always paid without fail on the day before it is due.

I plan to move again eventually as though this house is lovely there is no garden space to speak of and I really would like that for my girls. It worries me no end that I will again be subjected to instant exclusion by the majority of landlords and that I may not be so lucky in persuading them otherwise a second time. I am a model tenant and I dont believe myself or my daughters should be penalised because of circumstance that for us was unavoidable.

Landlords are missing out on good tenants by automatically excluding DSS. All it takes is speaking to prospective tenants and getting to know them a little before making your decision rather than just ticking boxes and throwing keys at whoever has the most money. Surely its good practice to be doing that sort thing anyway.

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ehoward 16th July, 2015 @ 17:19

I do realise that there are a certain group of LHA claimants who keep the money to themselves. I am not one of these people. I have always paid my rent on time, I prefer it going to me so I can top up the rent and send it off from my own account. It means I can prove that I have paid the landlord if anything goes wrong. All money from the council goes to my Landlord. And if my LHA has been cut, we have always made sure that we pay the rent before anything else.

My current Landlord doesn't mind, and I wish I could rent from him forever. However, due to carer responsibilities, I have to move to London. This is causing impossible due to a stigma against all benefit claimants. I have been proved a reliable tenant by 2 separate Landlords, but this counts for nothing, for as soon as I mention 'DSS', I am told that my 'type' of tenant is not welcome.

I will be a student in September, I based my Uni choice around my carer responsibilities. My partner is looking for full-time work in London, but considering the job market is very competitive, we have accepted that we will need LHA to top up our rent as my £10k student loans won't cover rent, food and travel anywhere near London.

We are not irresponsible, rude or illiterate 'DSS' tenants. We are actually very polite, and if we were given half a chance, we would make great long-term tenants. Yet we are never given the chance, and offered squalid properties with over-inflated prices.

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