What Happens When A DSS Tenant Falls Into Arrears? Not Much!

DSS Tenant Rent Arrears

The other week, by coincidence, I happened to befriend a “Welfare rights officer”. Of all places, we met in a seedy local club located in Essex, where the crowd wafted of fake tan and looked like tangerines. It was a good night.

We’ve remained in contact; we primarily spend most of our time exchanging erotic pictures of ourselves, but we occasionally discuss her job. For her sins, a large portion of her professional role involves defending/handling legal cases involving DSS tenants that have fallen into rental arrears. It was only earlier today that she was “defending” a client [DSS/social tenant] that hasn’t paid rent since last November. Yes, that’s November 2009 (currently Dec 2010).

Do people like that really deserve the right to a “defence”? Apparently so. Before someone tries to rip my throat out with their crusty mitts, let me clarify that when I say “people like that”, I’m referring to someone that has gone by for so long without paying rent, not DSS tenants in general.

When I found out the specifics of her responsibilities, I immediately jumped onto the issue and laid my cards on the table, “Tenants get away with murder and have way too many rights, especially DSS tenants”

To my complete shock, she agreed and expressed how I’d be completely shocked and mortified by some of the cases she’s dealt with. Bearing in mind, this was coming from someone that defends DSS tenants in a professional capacity! As I started to flood her with questions, the details became unveiled…

Please note, the following is all GENERAL information.

What can landlords do when DSS Tenants fall into arrears?

The obvious answer is taking legal action by, firstly by getting a repossession order, and then going to a small claims court to recover the funds. However, the reality is, it’s not even worth going after the money. Generally, it’s a complete waste of time, and the rewards will probably make the landlord want to stab him/her self in the eye.

There’s little point trying to take legal action against DSS Tenants

It’s true, when a DSS tenant falls into arrears, there is very little a landlord can do to recoup the money in any reasonable time frame, unless they have a valid rental loss insurance policy.

The general message I’ve been told is that there’s no point in taking a DSS tenant to court after an eviction has taken place because they usually have no means to pay the owed money. If they have no money, where is the money going to come from?

The only slightly plausible reason to go through the legal avenue would be to try and enforce a CCJ later on, if the tenant’s circumstances happen to change i.e. if they return to work. However, that means keeping tabs on what your ex tenant is doing. Who is seriously going to do that?

Taking a DSS tenant to court costs money

For justice to prevail, the victim (the landlord) has to pay for the privilege. It seems so wrong, doesn’t it?

If the value of a case is £10,000 or less, it should be resolved in a small claims court, which costs approximately £100. What landlords must also remember is that after they have lodged the application and won their case, they would also then need to apply to the court to enforce the decision that the judge has made – this costs a further £35.00.

Assuming you win the case, the fees can be recouped by the losing party. But again, that means the tenant has to pay more money they don’t have. It’s pointless.

If the tenant is ordered to pay back the arrears, when will the landlord see the owed money?

When the tenant attends court (alone or with legal representatives), they will be asked to provide a full breakdown of their income and expenditure. The income will typically be extremely low (why else would they be on benefits?). The document is called a “financial statement”. This basically shows a Judge exactly what the defendant is able to offer as a repayment towards the debt owed.

A Judge will look at the document and determine whether there is any excessive expenditure, and then make a decision as to how much the client can reasonably afford to pay. “Reasonable” appears to be an extremely subjective meaning, because the Judge could easily, and often does, declare £10 per month to be “reasonable”

So, if the landlord is owed 2k in rent, and the ex tenant is ordered to pay £10 per month in order to clear the debt… Well, you do the maths. I’m getting a nose bleed just thinking about it.

Essentially, if a tenant is receiving benefits, and all they can reasonably afford to pay is £1 per week, then the Judge will order them to make the payment of £1.

Generally, tenants are unaware that the Judge is able to force a reasonable amount for them to pay, so they try and make a “reasonable” offer, of say, £5-£10 per month.

As long as the ex-tenant is maintaining those payments every month, then the claimant (ex landlord) will not be able to enforce the court order.

Does the court ever force the tenant to pay more than they declared as being their “limit”?

If a financial statement shows that the tenant has more available income than what they offered, then yes, the court may increase the amount. Unfortunately, this works both ways. If the tenant is offering more than what they can realistically afford, based on their financial statement, the judge may reduce the payable amount.

What if the tenant fails to respond to the court hearing notice?

If the tenant/defendant fails to reply to the claim form (including a nil or no offer of repayment) the creditor can request the court to enter judgement in default and ask that the whole debt be paid in full. The Defendant is then given one month to pay the balance in full.

Once a judgement has been entered it is the responsibility of the claimant to collect the payment. If the client fails to pay in accordance with the judgement, the creditor can attempt to enforcement payment (at a further cost of £35.00) to the claimant through the court by:

  • 1] a warrant of execution. This allows the County Court Bailiffs to attend the clients property to take and sell goods
  • 2] a charging order (if they own a property elsewhere)>
  • 3] an attachment of earnings, if and when they go to work

What must be remembered is that the claimant can recover all sums including arrears, costs of court applications, interest etc!

However, if the tenant doesn’t own any valuable items (which they probably won’t), and doesn’t get employment any time soon (in this climate, they probably won’t), then there’s little that can be done.

A lot of the time, even when a DSS tenant falls into arrears, they’re re-housed to a council house. True?

DSS is now and has been for a while called DWP (Department for Work and Pensions). If someone has failed to pay their rent and faces eviction, so long as they remain in the property and do not leave before being officially evicted, and the council do not consider that they have made themselves intentionally homeless, and they are classed as being “vulnerable”, the council have a duty to rehouse them.

So basically, YES!

There is no moral victory

Ok, so it’s apparent that there’s a strong possibility that the landlord will never get his/her money back, at least not any time soon. The next natural step would be to grab for a “moral” victory, as in trying to get the tenants benefits revoked or crippled, right? Unfortunately, Housing Benefit is completely based on income, and not personal merit. So even after falling into arrears, and being evicted, the tenant will continue receiving their benefits.

Do you feel slightly sick yet?


The system is fucked up!

It wasn’t so bad when landlords were able to receive the tenants benefits directly. However, ever since tenants started receiving their housing benefit directly, the entire system has been ridiculous.

If a DSS tenant falls into 2k worth of arrears, and they can only afford to pay back £5 per month, that’s exactly how much they’ll be forced to pay. And the odds are, that’s how much they’ll be able to afford! So you have to decide, is it worth going through the courts to potentially receive £5 per month? £5 will just about be enough to fill my arteries with a Big Mac meal.

It’s annoying because these people are receiving “housing benefit”- so where is that money going, if not it’s not paying for the roof over their head? Of course, the salt in the wound is really felt when the tenant is entitled to be rehoused.

Bottom line, it doesn’t even seem worthwhile taking a DSS tenant to court if they fall into arrears because at the end of it the landlord will most likely be left feeling hollow and abused, while wondering how the hell the legal system has failed at such epic proportions. Until the law reverts back to its former self, where landlords were able to receive the tenants benefits directly, it’s simply safer to accept employed tenants. That way, even if the tenant does fall into arrears, the court can force larger repayments. At least that way the payments can be recouped before the landlord is 6 feet under!

Anyways, that’s just my opinion, based on what my new friend the “Welfare rights officer” told me.

I have no problem with tenants in receivership of benefits, I purely have a problem with those that fall into excessive arrears without reason. But my major gripe is with the current law. I’m not saying I have a solution for the problem, I’m just saying what we have currently isn’t working.

Has anyone successfully claimed rent arrears from a DSS tenant?

Has anyone actually taken a DSS tenant to court for rent arrears? If so, what was the outcome?

I once had a DSS tenant fall 2 months in arrears. Fortunately, I had rental loss insurance, which paid out. After evicting my tenant, she was rehoused by the council!

Does anyone have any questions regarding this issue?

If anyone has any further questions regarding this issue, ask away. I will ask my friend for her professional opinion on the matter.

Nothing above should be perceived as legal advice

Just so we’re clear, I’m not a qualified legal bod. Any legal or financial crap I write about is based on my experience. Always seek the advice of a professional before acting on something that I might say :)

210 Join the Conversation...

Showing 160 - 210 comments (out of 210)
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Thunder Balls 24th July, 2014 @ 22:42

Nothing said here couldn't happen with someone that isn't "DSS"

Try tracking down young professionals that just moved to a different job in a different city ...

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workisenteverything 17th August, 2014 @ 19:05

why dose every one over here chase money so much its making the world fucked up it makes me sick to be part of the humen race stop chaseing money fair anough we all need some to live and no im not on dss im selfemployed but not all people on dss are that bad stop branding them who do most people think thay are judgeing people thinking there better because thay have better things one word shallow

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maz 4th October, 2014 @ 12:30

Right.. I totally see where landlords are coming from, as in they should get there money back in the way that compensation works... the courts pay victim and the tenat pays court! It isnt fair that landlords recieve nothing when there is a contract in place with a clear signature... and tenants must be pretty immature to damage a property just because they cant get their own way... that is immature! Childlike even.
But as for 'dss tenants' I think its unfair that landlords tar all with the same brush.. for instance I am a dss tenant and my rent is paid on time everytime even if theres been a problem with my housing, in my eyes thats the most important bill of all... but at the same time have also been evicted by landlords who have treated me unfairly because ive asked them to repair the windows which had dropped and was a serious security risk, I was evicted because instead of going to the council I thought id be civil and ask the landlord until it was done 3 months later my still not fixed now bioler is broke what does he do evict me- see where im going? Its a two way stree unfortunately, but hate to think as a dss tenant you wouldnt accept me as you dont trust people on benefits is discriminition really.. ive never been in arrears for anything... so just a question? Is it fair to just fob anyone off with no dss? Or take everyone how you meet them? Sorry but if I myself can tell riff raff from a mile off why cant you? You'd be surprised how easy it is...

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maz 4th October, 2014 @ 12:42

P.s im not on benefits out of choice! I would much prefer to work! But am told I am not capable... and have always wanted to be a landlord, but have no choice but to stay on these god damn things called benefits.. theres no benefit of been incapable to work! Not everybody on dss wants to be... like not every landlord is an a hole but some are like some tenants.

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William Taylor 4th October, 2014 @ 13:04

i think personally it doesn't really matter about dss as while government cuts are in place it is extremely difficult to find a suitable place (especially single people)
now is the time when the conservative government are declaring a war on benefit's.
truth to the matter if we didn't give out billions in aid money, let in countless immigrants , i don't think we'd have a problem with so little job's.
with a dss tenant that fall's into arrears i would instruct to get a debt collector on to it by selling the debt to them. if the tenant's are smart enough they can get out of debt free of charge.
perhaps we could stop winging about people in need of help, stop branding them as scum class & maybe even help them out.
the most valid point only accept dss if it's paid directly to the landlord/agent!! if you don't do it this way your an idiot, end of!
same as the poster said about the scum class are easy to tell from decent tenant's.
i have spend countless hour cutting tree's down (taller than the house)doing up the garden & renovating the blocks of flats for my landlord and i'm on dss, so don't say were all scroungers, alcoholic's or junkie's.
not to mention over £200 spent on new low energy lighting for my flat and that's excluding paint, new tiles +grout and adhesive, underlay , new carpet and insulation. the flat was rough when i moved in and when i move out it's going to be like a show home.

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maz 4th October, 2014 @ 13:20

@WilliamTaylor... well said, totally agree!

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William Taylor 4th October, 2014 @ 13:26

maz agree with you most landlords aren't a holes but some are. absolutely true, in my experience the landlords that just let themselves in and think it's ok without prior notice. and they'd say it's legal to do so,
or the cant be bothered doing any repair work because i'm so tight. that's why most of the time i do my own, i'm just lucky i've got a decent landlord that'll pay me for any repair work i do, or give me free electric (privately metered at £5 per week)
I am in the same boat, i suffer from ptsd, anxiety and depression, would love to work but i cant due to chest /heart pain & back pain. i really am a hard worker and when i have worked its always been well over 40 hours a week, at times getting well over £400 a week on a minimum wage job from 18 onwards to 25, i'm now 27 & on esa and hb/lha,dont claim dla as i'm not greedy (although i could claim it).
i spend my benefit money on power tool's (chainsaw, saw's, tile cutter,jet washer, sander's, angle grinder, hedge trimmer,painting and decorating equipment,ladders, i get my neighbour to help as some of the thing i can do for a few minutes and then i have to stop due to pain, although i try and ignore it.

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William Taylor 4th October, 2014 @ 13:30

aswell as winging about dss tenant's you wouldn't have the problem if you have proper landlord insurance so that it guarantee's the rent to you under any circumstances. so i have no sympathy for penny pinching landlord's, do the job properly or not at all and insure yourself and property properly too.
and before i get asked i have worked in the letting industry in kilburn, london and yeah we had a few issues but we never ended up cash down.

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donna 19th November, 2014 @ 17:55

Most landlords are pricks & I don't care what anyone say's. All they want is money money money but soon as you ring for a repair," oh, ill log that in for you & so & so will be there on monday." Monday passes nobody turns up. Ring landlord again.. "When is the handyman coming?" He's never coming that's what!! I agree with the women who mentioned about these landlords^ quick enough to ring for rent but when a repair needs doing ohhh noooo! Not one of you bastards know how to live without mammy & daddy wiping your arses. I can't wait for the day you lose your jobs, houses, families, cars etc etc. The thing is, people on dss don't have a mortgage, don't have luxuries but I tell you now, we certainly know how to live without cash! What would you do if you lost everything? Probably commit suicide because people like you don't know how to live! Correct me if I'm wrong but I tell you 100% I'm right! If you lost your home your house is possessed, car gone back to the finance company etc etc NOTE to landlords/lady's stop thinking you're better than everybody else when clearly you're not! Don't look down on people when it was the bank that helped you out in the first place.. Idiots

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Thunder Balls 19th November, 2014 @ 18:39

A lot of Landlords want a risk free investment.

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Sharon 19th November, 2014 @ 20:24

What would you do if you lost everything?

Get off my fat arse and do something about it rather than moan about how unfair it all is.

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Michaela 20th November, 2014 @ 14:32

Theres no law saying we have to accept housing benefit tenants so my advice after years in this business is dont!
All of the housing benefit tenants I have dealt with have left the property dirty with rubbish everywhere and usually end up owing rent so there is no deposit for repairs or rubbish clearance.
There will always be working tenants for private landlords we dont need housing benefit tenants!
I find that the attitude of those that dont have to pay rent or council tax is easy come easy go.
Im sick of listening to people moaning on how landlords have everything and tenants have nothing.
Tenants have rights and a good landlord will ensure those rights are met.But some tenants treat properties like a hotel and thats not how renting is supposed to be. A tenant also has responsibilities. As a landlord adviser a managing agent and a landlord I have witnessed both bad landlords and bad tenants but my experience of the latter is far greater.

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Michaela 20th November, 2014 @ 14:45

Donna in response to your rant
after almost going bankrupt
Got of my arse and fought for survival
Yeah felt suicidal but that just made me more determined.
And in that time provided new boilers for my poor tenants whilst my own wasnt working even though I was in debt up to my eyeballs and couldnt get credit and for your information my kids had to go without all of us did had no cash and budgeted. So that I kept a roof over our heads and my tenants.
And donna landlords dont get money for free they have a mortgage, repairs and tax to pay.

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Graham 4th January, 2015 @ 10:36

Well said Michaela,

I am now 4 months with no rent and waiting for my 2 months section 21 notice to end so I can start eviction proceedings on my DSS tenant, this is a tenant I've had for 4 yrs, after 2 months at the start she spent the rent from the council on xmas presents, it took her 14 months to clear those arrears!

The original rent agreement said no pets, but each time an inspection was arranged a friend was with her who "had brought a dog" eventually I got wise to this and offered her an opportunity to come clean about "pets" turns out she had 2 cats a rabbit and an Alsatian..

In those 4 yrs I've fitted new carpets ( cat damage) a new boiler, 3 bathroom light pulls (electricians opinion was a child had been swinging on it) I've had to pay call out charges to a plumber because she refused to open the door more than once on dates/times SHE had arranged with him, she forgot to mention the neighbours guttering was pouring down my wall..

So I'm now left with repair bills which will run into the thousands.. I will be 5 months without rent at leastIve

I've had to put up with 2x long periods of arrears and normally her 25 quid top up is 4 months late, yet her emails have "sent from my iphone" on them so don't talk to me about people starving to death!

And Citizens Advice tell her not to leave and make herself homeless…even after I've given notice,

I agree there are some bad landlords out there, but there are a hell of a lot of good ones good fair people, like me who have worked hard all there life, I've not been out of work since I was 13, yet all the laws and councils that I pay taxes for are on her side, no doubt she will move 1 mile up the road into another clean and tidy house and start the entire process again

Its disgusting

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Benji 4th January, 2015 @ 11:19


Your post raises loads of questions, here are 3 obvious ones-

Why haven't you applied for direct payment?
Why aren't you using section 8?
Why didn't you serve a section 21 when she first went into arrears?

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Graham 4th January, 2015 @ 18:46

Benji, All good questions,

After the first episode of rent spent on Xmas presents, I applied and got direct payment, this had been coming through OK for approx 2.5 yrs, (her top up was random) but the payment from the council was on time, and then end of last summer it just stopped, with no notice, I use a letting agent to 'manage' my property (only things worse than tenants!) they'd contacted the council, and her rent entitlement was under review.. this took over a month to review at which point I was told she was now in full time education and waiting for her University bursary.

When she was threatened with a section 8 - she paid £2.50 off her arrears.. keeping her under a full 2 months arrears.

I was Naive and thinking a tenant of nearly 4 yrs, trying to better herself with education deserved a break and I kept believing her stories of money coming from the Uni 'next week'

Never again.

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Benji 4th January, 2015 @ 20:06

Graham, All good answers!

On the face of it, I'd still pursue section 8 (grounds 8 & 10) as well as the s21.

I would definitely get a CCJ registered against them. In this case, the odds sound very much in your favour.

Good luck.

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Benji 4th January, 2015 @ 20:11

And ground 11.

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william taylor 5th January, 2015 @ 15:09

more importantly why aren't the council keeping you updated, unless the tenant hasn't said that you are ok to communicate with them.
serve evection notice and if date passes by get high court enforcement to evict and serve a writ for the debt aswell.
yeah they cost a bit but they act fast unlike councils or etc..

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Graham 10th January, 2015 @ 22:56

William, Benji, thank you both for your advice

Out of the blue my tenant paid 500 off her arrears this week, I was very surprised, however she's still 2200 in arrears, no mention when anymore will be paid, still refuses to give up to date contact details for her garrantour, and after visiting the property today and seeing it in a very neglected state, I've also served a section 8 alongside the section 21.

I want the house sorted and re rented asap

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Cara 16th January, 2015 @ 20:15

What a breath of fresh air this site has been for me this past few months, Mr. I Am Your Landlord! :)
I have read this article several times now and made my final decision not to pursue the rent arrears from my DSS tenant, but just cut my losses and move on. Thanks for the great advice and the wonderful way you have with words.
Carry on carrying on... URGH!,F*CK,SH*T ..Love It! :)

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DavidP 17th January, 2015 @ 20:45

I read your post with tears in my eyes, because I know where your coming from, but please look at the other side, I paid my rent on time, every month, I redecorated a flat that was in a poor state when I took it, yet in 3 weeks, I will be evicted because the Landlord decided to spend my rent else where and not on his Mortgage. Yes his choice, his money, but today I went to view a place, it was worse than this place was, Damp, small and very un-secure. I'll take with open arms, I can get the repairs done at my own expense, my benefits to pay for my disabilities to fix up the flat. Then came the Bombshell, because I am on DSS and my Guarantor can't confirm he has 10k in savings, I can't have it. So yes some on DSS let the system down, so do many workers, but the system lets us down to, because in 3 weeks time, I will be sleeping in the streets with the Rats and my only crime was to take a 2 year contract with a Landlord that I didn't know wouldn't pay his mortgage. So I hope you and your Welfare Officer, sleep well, because I won't.

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Graham 18th January, 2015 @ 10:50

DavidP - There are some very good tenants out there, private and DSS, there are some very good landlords out there, it's just matching these two together that's the problem.

The only thing i've never found is a good letting agent!

I wish you good luck and hope you get it sorted.

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neil 6th March, 2015 @ 18:49

None so blind as them that can not see,
You will in the end all be homeless and hungry,
6.6243 billion people all needing Homes and Food and Jobs,
Heating, Petrol. Diesel, Shoes socks tampons bras pants nickers
The list is endless
that is of this moment in time,
Cant you see the big picture,, cant you get head out of your xxxx to see what will happen in the next two decades,
This will be in your life time, and your children's your grand children's life time,
when 6.6243 people double to 13+ billion people,
That right people 13+BILLION
We cant live together now,
and share want we have,
your comments here prove that items, objects, buildings, wealth
are more important to us then the fact we are all Homo Sapiens ,
:¬( what got to do with you in this Present TIME, ,
Heaven help you,
If you cant see why ,

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william taylor 6th March, 2015 @ 19:55

Yeah your comment is true we should all look out for eachother, But i think you're missing the point of tennant's spending rent given to them on their habit's.
You cannot live anywhere rent free, You cannot even squat in a residential property.
The big point is if you're not going to pay the rent, Give you're property up to let some of the people that deserve a property have it. If you dont pay you're rent you dont deserve a property to live in!
the above doesn't apply to all people on dss, Just the people who run off and spend their rent on payday.
i am on dss myself but i use direct payment's to my landlord (no need to waste his time collecting rent), infact due to cap's i am short of £10 per week but i do work for my landlord to cover the arrears and he's more than happy with the arrangement as it saves him a lot of money.
same applies as dss that doesn't cover all the rent ,strike a deal with the landlord he/she's human after all! im not saying all landlords are nice people but some of them are.

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william taylor 6th March, 2015 @ 20:30

graham- you'll never find a good letting agent! they're just in making cash and noot giving a sh#t sadly.

--also anybody need any help fixing up a property or 2 let me know, plenty of experience.
especially overgrown garden's that look like something out of jursssic park.
i'm in the midlands but can travel providing i have overnight accomadation--

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Janse01 14th March, 2015 @ 14:13

I've experienced on two occasions the mind set of dss tenants.

And based on my experiences...They're scum!!

My property on both occasions of renting was refurbished to a high standard prior to the scummy fcks moving in.

Our local council were of no help. And yours won't be either.

In my opinion the scummy fcks should not be entitled to housing, they have no place in society and should be sterilised, so as not to continue the bad breeding that comes with this trash.

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william taylor 16th March, 2015 @ 17:30

you're the one who picked you're tennant's , or a letting agency.
Either way theres scum in all walks of life but intelligent people don't brand them all the same.
Also you should only have dss tennants if paid directly to yourself, so for your failing's you only have yourself to blame.
ive spent loads of money on my flat and you dare to call me scum, i'd love to show you my flat! My landlord comes to me for all the reapir's on his properties, and all he ever say's about me is praise on my work on my flat and his other flat's (not to mention all the gardens and his bungalow, and how i am a model tennant. so stick your opinion up you're arse for calling me scum.

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william taylor 16th March, 2015 @ 17:41

i also whish you'd get sterilised to help rid the world of arseholes like you.
i am from a middle class family not a council estate so don't even dare label me as the same as the council estate trash!
just because i cannot work after surgery, does not give you the right to brand everyone on benefits the same!
i am an extremely hard worker, and always have been.
sorry for the rant everyone else, but i don't put up with being bad mouthed, yeah i could understand if i was an alcy or druggie, just a dole dosser but i am so far away from that type of life. 5am start every morning and not even getting home until 1am most night's.

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Jess 12th August, 2015 @ 15:35

As a DSS tenant who was renting with a student, it was the student who never paid his rent and wrecked the place after my partner and I left. Despite security footage proving it was the student, the landlord has decided to make us the criminals. Not all DSS tenants are horrid people, some of us our DECENT people who will take care of the place. You're just as likely to get working tenants who wreck the joint after they leave. Students are the worst.

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Jojo 6th October, 2015 @ 19:04

I have a spinal problem meaning I can't work and am now discriminated against because landlords won't accept DSS. This means I will now be homeless
I'm not scum, I sold my cleaning company after my 3rd surgery and my house went to my ex partner & his children 18 month ago.
I can't get and have never lived in social housing so in 3 weeks I'm homeless
All ideas gratefully received

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Krissa 4th December, 2015 @ 12:01

My ex daughter in law asked me to be a guarantor for her as she was going to be made homeless from a bad landlord. She told me if i dont do it i will never see her or my grandson ever again. She had me over a barrel and i said yes. It told the letting agency representative that i am a tenant myself, i am self-employed on a low/limited income. I also have health issues which prevent me getting a full time job. I just received a letter 2 days ago with a court order demanding £2,376.75 for £2,000 rent that she never paid and £376.75 in court fees. This is to be paid by 14th December.
I now live in a house share renting a room, my income is £500 a month and out of that i have to pay £300 rent, bills inclusive, £125 for a debt on a credit card and £40 on my mobile phone which i need for work purposes. This leaves me with £35 for food for a month. What do i do?

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English Lady 19th February, 2016 @ 02:27

I am a pensioner, I have known what it is like living in my own home, so I have respect!
Due to circumstances resulting from divorce I am forced to live in a rented house with my disabled daughter who has had spinal fusions. We have lived in several rented houses since 1999, in two instances the landlord has given notice that he wants to sell and has fealt comfortable showing his house off because I am clean, tidy and have a flair of bringing out the best of what I have, you can do a lot on very little if you visit the local auctions and know colour schemes, and I like a nice home environment.
I had always paid my rent and bills on time and have references from all my previous landlords/ladies
HOWEVER we moved to this cottage two years ago, it seemed perfect and in the right location.
The agent was keen to sign us with our references and suitability, (having no children) he promised solar electric, new doors as the ones installed were tongue and groove, very thin and ill fitted, the house had been re painted throughout and looked very nice, the rent £875 a month so I was left with a large top up, but I am thrifty and
can manage this as we do not smoke or go out much.
Due to the promise of the solar panel electric we were not bothered by the landaldy contracting us to an expensive electric supplier as I thought the solar benefit would offset this.
After we moved in we were shocked to find none of the radiators worked properly, the oil boiler is outside on the roof and about 30 years old, as was the immersion heater which could not be turned off and actually boiled until it exploded and flooded the house, the electrics were outdated and dangerous, the damp soon came through the new paint work, and there are large mouldy patches, my daughters bedroom was so damp her bed fealt wet, (we had to buy a large dehumidifyer) the new Ikea wardrobes she had bought warped and her clothes and shoes went mouldly.
The other bedrooms were damp, causing my clothes and shoes to smell.
The outside doors were not replaced and last November we were robbed of our laptops, phones and other valuables due to there insecurity.
We have infestations of slugs, spiders, earwigs and worms throughout the house.
We found the log burner has asbestos surrounding which is in bad repair and the broken chimney collar lets out CO2, so we have been told we cannot use it.
On top of this I found we did not get any solar benefits, the solar meter was read and went direct to the landlady and we were left paying a premium for our electric. The oil tank (outside) had leaks into the ground and it was costing us more to heat the house.
Throughout the first 12 months we paid the rent but we were constantly complaining to the agent but the landlady just kept trying to patch up, never replacing anything. there is a trip hazard three stairs up (as noted by the environmental health inspector) which caused me to trip in our first month of tenancy, bruising my face and side and breaking a tooth which needed extracting and the only way to replace that front tooth was with an implant, this was expensive and required surgery. (I had kept my teeth perfect throughout my life)
Due to the boiler boiling throughout the first month the agent promised to reimburse me for the electric, then when my DWP benefit for electric (£140) was due to be paid I was told by the Ecotricity supplier they did not subscribe to this?
Again the agent promised to reimburse me, this made the ammount owing to me £200.
Six months later I had not received it and wrote to the agent and landlady saying I was deducting the £200 from the next months rent and stopping rent altogether if we did not get the secure doors we had been promised (the house is about as secure as a tent)
The day after this I was served with a section 21.
I was given legal aid to fight this as the section 21 had not been served correctly and the landlady had fraudulently re written it. Also the deposit had not been lodged.
The solicitor was also going to counter claim for me.
The landlady pulled out at 11pm the night before the 10am next day court hearing.
The court hearing was dismissed but the judge made an order that the landlady would have to appeal to the court before issuing further proceedings and my defence and counter would be heard.
A week later the deposit was refunded to me and another section 21 was served.
Now I am 8 months behind with rent as I cannot move until I know the landladies next move.
I am told I will not be legally aided and will have to pay for my own legal fees for a counter claim!
If anyone here thinks myself and my daughter have been treated fairly by this landlady I beg to differ.

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English Lady 19th February, 2016 @ 02:37

I forgot to mention.
1. The backed up septic tank from next door (owned by same landlady) which flooded and came under the back door, not realising this was sewer I had been out trying to unblock the drains!
2. The rain that comes in under the front door causing puddling and wet in the lounge.
3. The constant flow of workmen trying to patch up the old outdated systems.
4. The none exsistance of a damp proof course
et. etc........

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bella 12th March, 2016 @ 03:44

Hi I am currently renting from my parents. They live in their own property. The flat was bought as an investment and for the past 10 yrs has been rented out through an agency. I moved in SEPTEMBER '15, with a 6 month Assured Shorthold Tenancy. I applied for HB, but was turned down, as I returned necessary documentation 1 day late. That was Oct '15. I have not paid any rent and am not working. How should I go about claiming HB please?
If anyone could help, would be most grateful.

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Stealth Bomber 19th May, 2017 @ 14:14

Does this situation get resolved any easier with a named guarantor to meet any rent arrears?

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Del Boy 1st August, 2017 @ 00:04

I'm a landlord. Just got done today. Finally changed the locks. The place was destroyed. She even stole the keys. Nothing but trouble from the start. I'm so angry and betrayed. The council have rehoused her. Im forced to sell. Reading this I can't persue the money. I've got to pay for a skip in the morning. The system stinks!

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Emma 1st August, 2017 @ 13:12

Feel your pain @Del Boy. Had too many of these. Now sold all my BTL's. Had enough of landlords having no protection

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Paula r 5th July, 2018 @ 02:37

This makes me feel offended, I am on benefits because I have 2 small children (not planned,the implant didn't work. Ps I'm going through the process of claiming compensation because it cannot be a coinsidance 2 times in a row) and I am currently receiving £114 per week (including child benefit) it took me nearly 8 months to receive any money for my children (which apparently couldn't be backdated) and at that point I was living on £53 per week with 2 children + paying bills... I ended up being in £1543 arrears because quite frankly feeding my children is more important to me than paying my rent (I already knew that it would be a very long process to evict me) and I basically had no choice, i mean just baby milk alone costs £9 per 2 and I needed more than one per week,me and my 1 year old lived on reduced food that I froze to make it last longer and sometimes we would have to go to a food bank... I do not want to be on benefits but I cannot work at the moment, i do not have enough education to start a career that pays well to afford baby sitters for a 2 year old and 11 month old... My benefits are all sorted out now and I am receiving just over £550 per month to live on which is enough (for the essentials) and I no longer need to dip into my housing benefit likens did before and even though I am not receiving that much I am still paying £150 per month to clear my arrears... the bottom line is, please don't judge people by their actions...

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Henry 18th October, 2018 @ 15:23

After experiencing nothing butvtrouble from DSS tenants, i stopped renting to them for manybyears, up until this family of 5 rang me to rent one of my properties. They were extremely nice, polite and managed to talk me into it. 1st month’s rent was paid when they moved in, 2nd month’s rent was paid after i had to chase them for it and then they stopped it completely.

Now they are not answering my messages, putting the phone down on my face and leave me no option but to chick them out by court.

DSS?? Absolutely never ever again! Nothing but trouble!

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Lisa 21st December, 2018 @ 22:55

Landlord don’t rent to dss not worth it. You will be renting your place to make nothing.

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Sid 26th April, 2019 @ 15:27

I bought a flat below my existing flat with a tenant insitu in Aug 2018 in East London. The seller didn't disclose thta the tenant hasn't paid him since Feb 2018 (i.e. 6 months arrears). I approached tenant (single Muslim mother of two) and she was nice and requested to reduce the monthly rent bcoz of her situation and is on benefits (which I didnt know). I reduced rent by £150 pm. That's it - she never paid, won't pick her phone for one and half months!! When I went to the flat and knocked on the door multiple times, she claims of harassment!! I waited for a month more when she responded saying that she is going to get my rent directly paid into my account from council. I wrote to council and gave a letter to her as well. After a month, council "formally responded" saying there is nothing owed to her. I applied for Sec 21 with the help of a legal firm, and then appiled for court eviciton order which took 2 months to get a date for hearing. With the claim that there is technical incorrect wording & her claim of not receving notice, court ordered to come back in two weeks resolving. It took another two months to get next hearing. She doesn't leave even now, and now applying for bailiff which apparently takes another 6 weeks. So, literally since Aug 2018, I haven't got a penny. She enjoys in parties (can see from her DP on phone and on social media posts).
I am not a "professional landlord" and have two flats bought from my life savings. For all those who say DSS are great, and have reasons for their situation, its all bullshit. Two of my friends are in same situation and worst one had a newly built flat where the tenant after eviction caused a lot of damage. The judicial system, the fraudsters like Coucils and Citizen Advice are nourishing rogue tenants in this country. (for all those jumping into judging landlords, I am renting for the last 8 years even now, and I knwo my responsibilities).

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Ann 9th June, 2019 @ 09:33

Im a landlord and if I have tenants on benefits I make sure the rent is sent to me not the tenants,it stands to reason if a tenant on benefits needs something important to them they will spend the rent money, so rent money should always be sent to the landlord after all they’re rent money is from the tax payers and landlords are tax payers, the government should never sent rent money to a tenant but always to the landlord

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ethan 6th July, 2019 @ 17:13

hi i am disabled and due to a mess up to help pay my rent i have had to use my benefits and go without food etc because housing benefit has not helped i am now being evicted has the landlord has been awarded the rent for 4 months that the hb never paid the landlord is a care home owner of 2 large care homes he lives next door and for the past 6 months he has been harrassing us if never protected our deposit he has served invalid section 21s and the council have said they will not help so now we have to take the landlord to court for malicious harrassement against disabled people its been a nightmare and we are still living it

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Stealth Bomber 6th July, 2019 @ 21:12

@Ethan You need to be clear on the ‘ mess up’ as to what’s really gone on. I’ve had disabled tenants and DLA was a different arrangement to claiming housing benefit and DWP nonsense. You may well have a bad landlord, I don’t know, but look at the root cause that’s started your problems.

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Maggie 10th April, 2020 @ 20:53

Advice please. Universal Credit couple with a baby owe £1220 in rent arrears over 9 months. Their ASTA ran out in December 2019 and so they are periodic tenants. She wants to stay in the property and promises to pay £100 per month towards the arrears. Can I trust them? They are not managing now so where will the extra money come from?

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Stealth Bomber 12th April, 2020 @ 11:09

@Maggie. If they've been losing over £100 a month for the past 9 months, you don't need to be an economist to see there's no way they can pay future rent in full, PLUS the extra £100 to clear the arrears. There might be a route for the tenant to request the rent is paid direct to you, I don't think anyone really knows all things Universal credit, DWP, Housing Benefit, but you can ask for nothing. Whilst we are in the grip of lockdown, there's really very little going to happen, and based on them falling behind in a period where things have been relatively good, that's not going to get any better now we all have an economic slump to get through. All you can do is be reasonable, offer a payment plan, suggest they request rent is paid direct to you, should that be an option. Make sure all communications are logged and on record. At least then you are in the right field when the chances are it will come to serving notice at a later date. Sorry to sound so negative, but you really should have been all over this long before 9 months had elapsed. 6 month break clause is something you should utilise, and if by a long shot it does come right, I wish you sunshine and success.

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Maggie 12th April, 2020 @ 12:25

Dear Shealth Bomber, Your comments have confirmed I have to take action. A housing officer who asked us to take them because they were in a hostel talked to her and she said her partner had left and she had arrange Universal Credit for herself. I have put a copy of How to Rent through her door in case she had lost hers. I filled in the DWP form because they were over 2 months in arrears and was refused because I did not have her d.o.b. but after a follow up they said I was to submit the form again. The direct rent payment is approved for 6 months but the amount is not confirmed. Using Shelter's website for the Local Authority rent allowance, on her own with a baby she is not entitled to a 2 bed property so the rent will probably be £91.24 per month short. Her offer of £100 per month will leave just over £8 pm or £100 per year...12 years and that if she pays. My patience is at an end. Once again you have been a great help, thank you.

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Shehab Zizo 13th November, 2020 @ 18:59

What happen if tenants receiving housing benefit but not paying rent for 12 month ?

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Chris Wood 28th May, 2021 @ 22:00

I see a lot of negative comments from both sides of the arguments. There are good and bad tenants, and good and bad lanlords. As a Landlord I try and treat my tenants with respect and honesty. If there is a problem with the property I fix it. Why ? Because that is fair thing to do. Landlords who do not respond to genuine complaints from their tenants are bad landlords. However, sadly the system is weighed heavily in favour of tenants. If they are inclinded to do so, they can stop paying their rent knowing that they can do this for quite some time before the landlords can use the legal system. Even after that the process is slow and costly, so the tenants can still have a home for free whilst the landlord proceeds with through the slow legal system. Eventually, if they refuse to leave of their own volition the landlord will have to get bailiffs to remove them - and this costs more money. Dss tenants are a whole different ball - game. They can drag it out even further if they wish. Eventually they will get evicted but knowing full well that they will still be entitled to getting housing benefits again. To me as a landlord I see this as the tenants have been defrauding the system and should be prosecuted by the state for this. They have been in receipt of housing benefit to pay their rent - not spend it on drugs, alcohol, pets, new iphone, cars or whatever they have chosen to spend it on other than pay the rent they owe. Nor is it worth the landlord taking them to court for the arrears as the judge is only likely to give the tenant a small amount of their benefits to pay the arrears. I am sorry to say that when they goverment changed the law so that tenants get their housing benefits paid to them , rather than the landlord, this opened up the floodgates. No wonder landlords in the main avoid Dss tenants like the plague. I am just getting rid of one - who has repeatedly had periods where no rent was paid. I have given him chance after chance, but it seems he would rather spend his rent on drugs and alcohol than have a nice place to live. He will end up in some scraggy estate flat which is really where he deserves to live not the nice studio flat I spent thousands on getting it ready for the new tenant. He has abused my good nature and the system in general.

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Feroz 13th August, 2023 @ 22:47

Find your articles interesting and invaluable reading.
As a Landlord, I have a question that needs your valuable input.
I have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) for one year fixed that automatically became a Rolling Periodic Tenancy. The Tenant is Disabled on Crutches, with Physical Impairment of limb, Unemployed, on benefits, a single mother of dependent children, and in considerable arrears, which the Tenant cannot afford to pay. The current rent is being paid directly to me, continually and up to date by the Tenant's Council. Section.8 and Section.21 was served and the Court issued a Possession Order with Court Costs, but the Tenant has remained in my property, claiming Exceptional Hardship & Vulnerability.

Although I have a Rent Guarantee (Not a Deed), from the retired parent of the Tenant, signed by the Guarantor & witnessed by the (Ad hoc) Letting Agent at the time, some years back, but ONLY with my Initials (No Signature). I would like to know if I can rely on this Rent Guarantee after 10years, as enforceable in the County Court, whilst the Guarantor is contesting the validity of the Guarantee for reasons of:

1. Guarantee being issued to, and signed by the Guarantor, days AFTER Tenant moving-in and signing the AST, not giving Guarantor the chance to Timely Review the Terms & Conditions of the AST.
2. That, as Landlord, my signature does not appear on the Guarantee, rather only initials, along with my Letting Agent's signature as witness. The Agent being Ad hoc, discontinued after letting.
3. The Guarantor being 62 Unemployed & retired at the time of signing, confirms he had signed for the one year fixed period of AST.
4. Guarantor states, for Extended AST & Guarantee beyond One Year A Deed should have been executed.

Kindly let me know Options I have for pursuing Eviction & Claiming Arrears from Tenant/Guarantor

















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