View Full Version : DSS tenants. Yes or No?

08-12-2005, 21:22 PM
Been a newbie landlord i have read lots of posts here and the general consensus is DSS shouldn't be let to if at all possible.

So i have gone with a letting agent to let out my nice home and stipulated no DSS.

Now, as i was mailing flyers for the house i met a lady recently seperated from her hubby, 2 kids, looking desperately for somewhere to live as she has only seen houses she didn't like on estates she didn't like; mine was perfect for her. However, yes you guessed it, she is DSS (hubby was bread winner).

So my questions are:

The letting agents have put my property up for £465 pcm, will the DSS pay all this?

Where do deposits come from?

Do letting agents allow DSS tenants?

Any other info you can think of???

Ta all.

08-12-2005, 21:57 PM
It's your property so you decide who lives in it, not the letting agent. If you've got yourself a suitable tenant without the letting agency's work then you've saved yourself a fee, although if they are managing it it'll still cost you and you've done half of their work for them.

The DSS (Housing Benefit) don't pay deposits, they just cover the basic rent, sometimes not even that.

It's up to you on this one. If she checks out OK with all the proper references and your gut feeling is OK then go for it. If you have any doubts at all, say no.

It's better to go a few weeks with an empty property than to get an absolute nightmare than can end up costing you 1,000's.

08-12-2005, 22:05 PM
Thanks, i'll tell her to contact my letting agent.

PS I don't mind running around looking for tenants, i just want someone in there!! LOL!!

08-12-2005, 22:15 PM
What area are you in... contact the local council they may have a bond scheme and may be able to help the lady.

We have both employed and DSS tenants, we have as many propblems with both! Its all dependant on the tenant. If they want to pay they will... if they dont they wont! Makes no odds whether they are DSS or not!

Forgot to say... get tenant to ask for a Pre tenancy determination from the council this way you will get an idea of what the council will pay!

08-12-2005, 22:50 PM
The "DSS" doesn't exist and hasn't done so for some time.
The term should be Housing Benefit Claimants.
The DSS was replaced by the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions)
On the posters other point, he should consult his mortgage deed to ascertain if he is allowed to accept HB claimants as tenants, because the Halifax, Birmingham Midshires, Bank of Scotland all prohibit such persons in their buy-to-let mortgage documents.

09-12-2005, 16:04 PM

I have let my house to some one recieving housing benefit and I personally wouldnt advise it.

Its fair enough to recieve the rent and some housing departments will pay directly to you. The problem comes when you want the tennant to leave. Most if not all housing departments wont rehouse a tennant untill they have become 'roofless' which means you have to serve all the paper work and get the bailiffs in!

Its not worth the hassel!

09-12-2005, 16:12 PM
Thanks for all your advice, you've made up my mind; NO DSS FOR ME!!

(sorry Housing Benefit claimants!! LOL!)

09-12-2005, 16:23 PM
my husband is disabled so we have to be on housing and because of people like YOU we are stuck with a really bad landlord who is commiting fraud and the house is in disrepair. we are guarenteed the rent and it gets paid straight to the landlord (you dont get that security with working tennants because they could lose their job or decide not to pay.WE paid our deposit and first months rent ourselves.REALLY dissapionted in your choice!!

09-12-2005, 16:48 PM
I'm really sorry you feel that way, but as you can see i was open to the idea of DSS. However, i have listened to experienced people who because of past problems with DSS have advised me against it.

So unfortunately it is because of the bad outweighing the good with DSS which has landed you in the position you are in now, not me.

09-12-2005, 16:58 PM
If you consider your potential tenants trustworthy, then they can claim their HB and pay you in accordance with your requirements (ie probably one month's deposit and a month's rent in advance). If they do not have such spare funds available, housing benefits are paid in arrear and on a four weekly basis. If the tenant agrees or is in arrears then such benefits can be paid directly to you. It takes some time for such benefits to be assessed for a new tenant and such payments to start (quite a few weeks). If a tenant's circumstances change such that benefits are no longer claimable, you will not be advised, but your payments will stop when the paying authority find out. If the tenant has not bothered to inform you of this, then you could be over four weeks in arrear before you can take any action to recover what you are owed from the tenant him/herself.

Young tenants "trying to beat the system" are the worst in this respect. More mature tenants, particularly those unable to work due to disability/ long term illness can however prove very reliable, honest and up front. They can also be very long term as well if that's what you want.

The next door neighbour of one of my tenants is such a person. He knows of another property I own which he would just love to rent - and his benefits can afford it. Guess what - the tenant here has just defaulted on her rent payment and an S21 notice is shortly going in the post. I shan't have much difficulty replacing her!


09-12-2005, 17:02 PM
Three quarters of my tenants are in receipt of HB, I look for long term tenants ie families with young children. As Justaboutsane said, there can be problems with employed or claimants. As regards getting them out if necessary, I had one HB claimant who was advised to wait for bailiffs and I've got one full rent payer now doing the same. These are a small proportion though, most questions in this forum reflect bad experiences but friends of mine who have been renting out much longer than me reckon one in twenty are bad, HB or not. Your choice but don't write of HB claimants, as RichieP said, go with your gut feeling (and application form).

09-12-2005, 17:11 PM
I work on a bond scheme as mentioned above, and most of our landlords, once they understand how the scheme works, appreciate the positives of having HB claimants- they get back-up from our scheme if anything does go wrong, they get the HB paid direct to them, including the HB share of the rent in advance, and they can claim from our scheme against the bond rather than have to argue with the tenant- none of which they get with non-HB tenants. Schemes vary from area to area, but most work on similar lines. There are good & bad HB claimants, just as there are good & bad working tenants.
"Most if not all housing departments wont rehouse a tennant untill they have become 'roofless' which means you have to serve all the paper work and get the bailiffs in! "- this applies to all tenants, not just HB claimants.

09-12-2005, 20:09 PM
"Most if not all housing departments wont rehouse a tennant untill they have become 'roofless' which means you have to serve all the paper work and get the bailiffs in! "- this applies to all tenants, not just HB claimants.

I'm glad you said that Caroline because I was about to do the same.

You can' judge someone's likely behaviour because they are on benefits. It's whether you're prepared to wait for the HB to be assesed and paid, and then paid in arrears that is the main issue.

09-12-2005, 20:27 PM
Caroline... which area do you work in. We have some empty properties and as we have used Bond schemes before we may be able to join forces so to speak!

Areas we are looking at are Doncaster and possibly sheffield, although sheffield is not yet ready!

we are sorted in Bristol and South Wales.

We may also be looking at moving into the west midlands in the future.

We have found in general that Bond schemes work, and we are more than happy to work with them accross the country.

about 75% of our tenants are HB and yes we have some bad people but we take everyone on their merits, like others have said go with your gut feeling... dont block people out just because they are HB.

10-12-2005, 11:17 AM
Our scheme is in York- city of York only, since it's funded by the council. We are really short of landlords, so do get in touch if you can help. If anyone else wants to know if there's a scheme in their area, have a look here (http://www.nrdf.org.uk/map.asp?cat=20)

This is only members of NRDF. there may be other unaffiliated schemes- ask your local council or CAB.