Earlier today, my one and only long-term faithful DSS tenant called me to explain how the council had suspended his benefits because the Tenancy Agreement fixed-term had ended.
I was left wondering, so what if the fixed-term has ended? Why would a tenancy agreement need to be renewed when the current one is still perfectly valid; only difference being that’s it’s rolled into a periodic tenancy. I’ve had a DSS tenant for 3 years in the past, and I only ever renewed the contract ONCE, consequently the fixed-term ended on two occasions, and I never had that problem before.
I was initially totally pissed off at the council, because I’ve had my fair share of shitty experiences with council and DSS tenants and something like this seemed “typical” of the council, so I assumed it was another one of their ridiculous policies taking action. However, it all still seemed rather odd that the council would just suspend benefits for the reason already stated, especially without notifying the tenant.
My tenant was on the phone to the council this afternoon, attempting to resolve this mess. He was informed that the best way to resolve this problem was by getting the Landlord to clarify to the Housing Benefit Department that the tenant is still in fact …..errr the Landlord’s tenant, either by getting a new tenancy agreement drawn up and signed or by writing a letter!
I wrote the following letter:
To: [insert local council] Council, Housing Benefit Department
My tenant [insert tenant name] ([insert property address]) has informed me that his benefits have been suspended due to the fact the fixed-term in our Tenancy Agreement has ended.
I would like to clarify that [insert tenant name] and his family have not surrendered their tenancy, nor have I terminated the tenancy agreement.
Once the fixed-term in tenancy agreements have ended the tenancy automatically becomes a periodic one, which is the case with all assured tenancy agreements, and no different in this case. There is no need for a new contract to be drawn or signed unless the terms and conditions of the existing agreement have changed. In this case, nothing has changed.
I’ve had a tenancy agreement in the past with a DSS tenant which lasted for 3 years without change, and this problem never occurred, so I’m not used to this formality of suspending benefits once the fixed-term in tenancy agreements have ended.
Please take this letter as confirmation that [insert tenant name] and his family are still tenants at [insert property address].
[insert landlord’s name]
I clarified what was needed to be clarified, but I couldn’t resist from informing them I had never had problems like this before.
I quickly wrote the letter, printed it out, and went to my tenant’s house to hand it to him. He’s going to see the Council tomorrow to try and resolve the misunderstanding, so I told him to take the letter of confirmation with him.
When I popped over to his house we were talking about the situation, and I said, “It’s so weird that they just randomly stopped your benefits without any notification. That doesn’t seem right.”
Then my tenant looked at me awkwardly, like a lost puppy, and pathetically muttered, “errrr…well, a letter came through last week, but I didn’t really read it. It was 5 pages long.”
Urgh! I slapped my head and said, “You idiot!!!”, and he had no choice but to agree. Basically, the letter was inquiring whether he planned on continuing to stay in the property because the fixed-term was due to end shortly. He wasn’t being clear about whether he ticked the wrong box, or just completely ignored the letter, but it was obvious he had been a complete tit!! He had somehow suspended his own benefits. Consequently, my letter seems pretty stupid now, because it seems as though I’m blaming them (which I was). I was too lazy to rewrite it, so I was like, “BAH, just give them that letter anyways, the main point is still there in black and white, even though I do come across as an arrogant, stupid dumb fuck”
Based on previous experiences with the council, I know they won’t be in any rush to resolve this problem. However, apparently they said they will backdate his allowances if this is a genuine mistake (which it is).
At the end of the day, my tenant is a straight up guy and has NEVER missed a payment, so I knew it was a genuine mistake. Granted, that doesn’t excuse the fact it was a pretty stupid and irresponsible mistake to make. Ideally, he should be whipped for his incompetence, just to ensure an important lesson was learned.
Ahh the life of a landlord. It really doesn’t get much better than this. Careless tenants and late rent.
Due to the fact I won’t be receiving my tenant’s rent on time this month, I’ll have to cover the mortgage out of my own pocket, which means I’ll have to be extremely resourceful with my outgoings this month. If you see an extremely charming and attractive man dressed in black, picking fruit and veg from your garden late at night, don’t be alarmed. Moreover, if you want to help get me through this tough period in my life, you’re all welcome to donate to the “Feed the landlord” campaign.
Every penny will help. Give me just £1 (but preferably £5) today, and it will allow me to buy the tools I need (e.g. fishing rod and spade) to feed myself and my family for a life time.
Anyways, what a royal penis my tenant is!!
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger; I'm not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information I share is my opinion based on my personal experiences as an active landlord, and should never be contrued as legal or professional advice. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.