LHA Tenant Rent Arrears
Are Landlords Worse Case Scenario
The UK private rented sector may be booming and tenant demand is certainly strong but 60% of landlords and letting agents are still concerned about ever receiving the rent if they choose to accept tenants in a rental property who are claiming Local Housing Allowance.
A survey of 500 landlords and letting agents by website Dssmove found that apart from the rent issue, 75% of landlords and agents would be more than happy to let to Local Housing Allowance tenants.
Over half of the landlords and letting agents surveyed believed that tenants claiming Local Housing Allowance are no more troublesome than working tenants, but 61% cite rent collection and rent arrears as a major concern.
Just 33% are concerned about fraud and criminal activity with LHA tenants, and nearly 40% believe that LHA tenants would care for the rental property as much as private tenants do.
Aki Ellahi, founder of the website, said: “Attitudes to LHA tenants are changing, more and more landlords and letting agents can see the commercial benefits of letting to LHA tenants. I have been a landlord for over ten years and all my properties are occupied by LHA tenants and I have experienced very few problems over the years. I have currently 500 tenants on benefits and achieve a rent collection record of 100%. I would not be able to achieve this level of success without the use of Credit Unions. Using such organisations to collect housing benefit and pay this across to the landlord or agent is very convenient. My experience over the years has shown me that tenants do not want the hassle of dealing with housing benefit. Although they understand that they need to apply for housing benefit, they prefer it if the landlord or agent can assist them with doing this on their behalf, and this has been the case for as long as l remember.”
Mr Ellahi offered letting agents and landlords the following tips to ensure that they do receive rent from housing benefit tenants:
1. Always use a credit union or similar organisations which can facilitate sending housing benefit to you on behalf of the tenant.
2. Where possible, hand-deliver housing benefit claim forms to the local council’s benefit department to prevent delays.
3. Ensure tenants have the correct proof of benefits before creating a tenancy.
4. Keep on file copies of the benefit letters the tenant shows you before they move in. These are so important as you need proof of the tenant’s National Insurance number which is unique to the tenant.
5. Chase your local council weekly for the progress of all housing benefit, eg new claims and outstanding queries.
6. Start and end tenancies on housing benefit payment dates to prevent the tenant owing you rent when they leave.
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