Tenant Issues……………?

I’m loosing count of the amount of calls we receive on a daily basis, where on average landlords only act when they are three months plus in rental arrears…!

Yes managing properties with private or DSS tenants can often be a time consuming and complicated task that needs ongoing management, especially in today’s environment. Between working hard to ensure that properties are let and dealing with tenant demands, rent arrears problems and housing legislation requirements, it can be too easy to lose focus and be a push over landlord. Don’t get me wrong the majority of tenants are perfectly fine and hassle free;however at one point everyone will have a problem of some misdemeanour.

Most property owners may feel sure that you won't ever experience a problem tenant, not even a full background and tenant reference check can omit every bad risk. The longer you continue managing rental property, the more certain it becomes that you will one day have to deal with a problem tenant.

 

DSS tenants are a hot topic, I’m sure they always will be. For myself and a few of my colleagues we have had no problems at all with DSS tenants in our properties….we must be the lucky ones. At Legal 4 Landlords we have at least 20 new cases a week with regards to some sort of DSS tenant and the issues they have. Are they really such a high risk tenant? You have to ask yourself why they are on housing benefits in the first place. Did you also know that DSS tenants are split into two types?

 

A tenant receiving financial aid from the council is either on Housing Benefits (HB) or Local Housing Allowance (LHA). It is imperative that landlords know the difference between the two!

 

LHA was introduced in April, 2007. It is a new way of calculating Housing Benefit (HB) and is based on the area the customer lives, number of occupiers in the property and household size. LHA is a much fairer way of calculating HB, as it ensures that tenants in similar circumstances in the same area receive the same amount of financial support for their housing costs. If you are one of those rare landlords who have customers receiving financial aid before April 2007, did you know the council can actually pay the rent directly into your account? However the new LHA basically pays the customer directly, which helps the customer to manage their personal funds…..big problem for some landlords, not all though.

 

If you manage your own properties, try and meet your tenants this goes for letting agents also before selecting them. I always prefer face to face meetings when making these choices. If this is not viable for what ever reason, you should investigate polices such as rental guarantees with legal expenses for that added peace of mind or the no deposit guarantee.

 

The best advice I can give is to act promptly and resolve any issue you have as soon as possible, the longer it goes on the more troublesome it will become.

 

For free legal advice call 0800 840 7133 anytime…

 

Sim Sekhon

 

Senior Partner

 

L4L

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