Plight of family where landlords refuse point blank to consider tenants on benefits

What happens to tenants who have to leave their home because the landlord is selling up?

An unusually troubling account on Property Tribes is well worth reading – and it is just possible that there are local agents who may be able to help.

The piece is all the more moving because it is written entirely without self pity.

The household consists of four people – the parents both being full-time careers to their two autistic sons.

The mother is also registered disabled, and the family lives on housing benefit. Any change, particularly the upheaval of a move, is very difficult to autistic children to deal with, and the family cannot move out of the area for reasons of school and elderly parents close by who need their help.

The family has lived at the property for six years, have always paid their rent on time and have an excellent relationship with their landlord, who is having to sell up for personal reasons.

He has furnished the family with excellent references and even offered to pay the deposit for their next home.

But where is their next home?

The mother says they have been turned down repeatedly because of being on Local Housing Allowance.

She says: “Two high street estate agents informed our housing officer that none of their landlords would be willing to work with our situation. One exceptional agent has been hugely supportive but doesn’t have any properties.

“We are now two weeks away from the Section 21 coming to an end, viewers are coming to our house while we are packing up our life into boxes. My eldest son is having a really difficult time and our landlord is looking to have to face evicting us. We have been turned down consistently mainly because we don’t have a guarantor.

“Yesterday our housing officer told us we might have to face temporary accommodation which means two moves for my sons to cope with which is the worst thought ever.

“It seems to be that any association with LHA means you are a problem and we haven’t managed to get past the agents at all.”

Can any agent in the Spelthorne area of Berkshire help?

More here.

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7 Comments

  1. kittygirl06

    It is a very sad situation for this family and unfortunately it is not an isolated case.

    It is due to government policy why know very few landlords will take H benefit.

    No direct payment ,  payments stopped regular,  payments way below market rents.

    U credit which is an absolute nightmare which the government try to say is working.

    Benefit caps of £20,000  and the extra the tenant recieves comes off the housing benefit

    part which sometimes means nothing towards the rent.

    Any working child in household housing benefit  seems to drop by £400 as the child is to

    contribute and they cant or dont.

    Departments taking months to sort out changes to the claimants benefits .

    This is done I beleive deliberately to stop landlords taking people on benefits

    They dont like the landlords receiving  the money and they dont want people claiming so they make itas difficult as possible.

    Now its been frozen for 4 years!

    Most people would rather work if there was jobs , not zero hour contracts bring back manufacturing

    to this country.

     

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    1. jad

      Yes, I sympathise for genuine cases …………. but how many thousands of Landlords have been the victims of Housing Benefit Tenants who wreck their properties or who pocket the monies given to them to pay rent with and leave many, many Landlords stuck with a ‘Nightmare Tenant’ who not only treats the property like a slum but doesn’t pay the rent either.  Things are going to get far worse for the HB Tenant as OSBORNE continues his war against all Landlords, Good and Bad.  In a Nutshell, M.P.’s have caused this and now they wag the finger at Landlords – as regards to OSBORNE, see how he feels when the conservatives get voted out at the next election, I for one who have voted Conservative for 50 years will never go that route again – and unfortunately for my tenants they will be homeless as I have just served notice on the first one,,,,,,,,,,,,, one of the best tenants I have had in 17 years.  I am not prepared to put up with all this from rogues in the House of Common anymore.

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  2. dave_d

    I wonder if they’d been offered the opportunity to pay the full fixed term in advance?

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  3. Eric Walker

    In order for this tacit discrimination to be eliminated, Local Authorities need to understand Landlords concerns. Their understandable reluctance to avoid benefit tenants in part drives the anti agent policies of Shelter & Generation Rant.

    It remains incredible that a Landlord effectively has to bear the cost of a tenants fraudulent claim approved by a Local Authority. LA’s seems to expect Landlords to effectively insure such false benefit claims and then rub salt in to the wound by advising tenants not to move out until the bailiffs arrive.

    This needs to be fixed as, at some point, it may well be deemed discrimination. Just a thought.

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  4. BillyTheFish

    Yes a Landlord and therefore the agent can say ‘no’ to HB however any agent who refuses disability benefit is discriminating and in breach of the Disability Act.

    Although the parents are not disabled the children are so they may have a case. If they do and this is then mentioned to any agent they (the letting agent) will have no choice but to show them the property of their choice.

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    1. Woodentop

      And the landlord declines without giving any reason, a waste of everyone’s time?

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  5. Woodentop

    Well said Eric. I have seen local authorities take advantage of private landlords with tenants from hell and wonder why, once bitten twice shy. The policy of councils using Shelter legal advice etc to side step re-housing straight away (they haven’t enough properties) at the expense of the landlord is another nail in the coffin. Then all the legislation constantly being thrown at landlords, while may be justified in some cases, is in the main a minority and totalitarian attitude, another nail in the coffin for any right minded landlord who takes on a tenant they risk loosing control over and importantly substantial financial loss.

     

    The answer for the tenant in this case is: there are landlords that do help as DSS isn’t a total no no but a stereo type of the tenant from hell. We have many DSS on our books (not in that area, so can’t help) and are perfect tenants but 8/10 we reject as high risk. Their personal position actually puts them right to the top of the local authority “must list” and most will know that the trigger for that is the court possession order (some months away!).

     

    I would suggest they sit down with the landlord and agree to waive the deposit he wants to pay and use part of it for the possession court fee’s. They agree to continue to pay the rent all the time and when the court hearing arrives they do not challenge the possession. The court is likely to give a long extension (6 week max) to be out and that kicks the local authority into rehousing as a matter of urgency. This may sound like the landlord will not get a quick sale, however if could turn out quicker than it all going pear shaped and costly for him if it becomes confrontational.

     

    Down side is the accommodation they get from the local authority or come to terms they will need to move area where someone will accommodate them.

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