My tenant is paying housing benefits - do you work with this?
It is important to note that the tenant is always responsible for their rental payment, whether or not they have a housing benefits entitlement. This is always made clear to tenants.
We will work with the local authority (LA) so that some or all rent can be paid by the LA.
Issues specific to "housing benefit tenancies" which will be addressed in this article:
- Rent received in arrears
- Constant changing of rent liabilities
- Chasing of rents
- Setting rent amount
Rent in arrears
The LA will pay 4 weekly in arrears. It is important that the rent is charged to the tenant's account, and not to a separate LA account, as the liability remains the tenants.
We avoid sending late payment demands to tenants for which a payment is due from a LA by setting up a second account for the same tenant, with the suffix "housing benefit payments". This account will be charged rent 4 weekly in advance, but we will not initiate any recovery procedures before the account is 4 weeks in arrears.
Regular changes to entitlement:
The tenant's entitlement will likely change, possibly a few times, during the course of their tenancy.
We may then need to retrospectively cancel rent charges in order to reallocate payments received (which were allocated to rent charges raised for the previous benefits entitlement) or rent charged with previous entitlements used in calculating the rent split.
It is imperative that this done promptly and properly, to ensure that accurate rental charges are raised.
Chasing of rents:
Rent North East correspond with LA's on a daily basis, to constantly clarify, assess, and troubleshoot any issues. We have been successful in collecting thousands of pounds in rental payments which have been outstanding for months under previous managing agents. This is not due to any special knowledge - rather we have robust procedures which ensure that a LA's protocol is followed so that rent can be paid out.
Assessing benefit entitlement:
At Rent North East, a member of staff is assigned to process tenancy applications, with no other distractions. This includes vetting and referencing, and carrying out Right to rent checks.
Within this process, we will calculate the LHA for your property and tenant, and make any necessary adjustments to reflect this.