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I have a tenant who is currently on remand but cannot come to Manchester until his trial date. He has been on remand since before Christmas and is now staying approximately 50 miles away. He is not allowed to come into Manchester at this time. The DSS have told me they will pay his rent if he can prove he is on remand but he will have to attend their offices, which he can't. His trial date is in a few weeks time. If he is sent down is there any way I can recover all the rents due, and also am I legally able to rent his flat out so long as I put his property that is still in the flat, in safe keeping.
03-02-2009, 14:48 PM
Although DSS are ultimately responsible for HB, you must understand that the local authority pays it. HB Regulation 7 covers occupation of the home.
In these circumstances, the tenant is on remand and so continues to be eligible for HB for a maximum period of 52 weeks. However, things can alter when the case goes to court and the verdict announced. If guilty, the maximum length of absence allowed (for HB) is 13 weeks (including time spent on remand). If not guilty, the 52 week absence rule holds.
You have got cause to be worried. As I am sure you are aware, this could cost you a considerable amount of lost income. Act now.
The man does not have to attend offices in person. He has to provide information and evidence to confirm his situation. For any HB to be paid, he must intend to return to the premises and you must not sub-let the accommodation in his absence. If he is "sent down" you can recoup some of the rents due but that will depend on his co-operation i.e. confirming his situation to the local authority. A multitude of different possibilities exist here any I would very much advise you to speak with a housing benefit consultant.
In answer to your question "..am I legally able to rent his flat out so long as I put his property that is still in the flat, in safe keeping". This question relates more closely to Housing Law but I re-iteratre that HB could only be considered if you were not sub-letting.
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