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Mago
23-04-2006, 09:17 AM
The rent that I am being charged is £110.00 per week,several months ago I had to apply for HB,during the process of this application I received a vist from the Rent Service Officer,who has set a fair rent of £90.00 on my letting,my landlord stated on the HB application,that I had a kitchen for my sole use of,the landlord has now informed me as I am in arrears with my rent due to the amount of HB that has been received,that I must do one of the following,(pay off the arrears and continue to pay £20.00 per week out of my own pocket,or allow shared use of my kitchen and the arrears will be wiped off and he will accept £90.00 per week as full payment of my rent),in other words he wants me to continue to claim rent for the sole use of a kitchen,when in fact this would not be the case.Surely this would be otaining payment of HB by deception?

PS I beleive that the motive behind his request is that he has become aware that due to the 2004 Housing Act coming into force,he has now got to supply a kitchen for the remaing tenants residing at the property,at the present time all tenants apart from my self,are cooking on hot plates etc,within the confines of their own rooms.

Any advice received would be most welcome.

MrShed
23-04-2006, 09:27 AM
Yes it would. However, from the sound of it, the landlord is not actually doing this intentionally for the purpose of obtaining HB fraudulently, just merely to resolve an issue that has come up....he is probably not even aware that this would affect the HB entitlement. I would sit down and speak to your landlord and explain this to him.

Mago
23-04-2006, 10:15 AM
Thanks Mr Shed.
I did explain to the landlord that if I were to inform HB office that my situation of letting had changed,ie shared kitchen,that the HB Received woud no doubt be reduced,the reply was it is up to you,but bear in mind that you will have to make up any shortfall out of your own pocket.

The landlord is well aware of what he is doing,at the onset of my letting(no tenancy agreement has ever been offered)he stated that the ground floor and all contain within were for my sole use of,the landlord filled in the HB Aplication to that effect,the situation since has been as follows,he has now insisted that all tenants be allowed access to the washing machine,this access being gained through my living room kitchen,that all tenants be allowed access to the back garden,this access being gained through my living room kitchen,that all tenants be allowed the use of my toilet,in effect what started of as being in the landlords own discription a self contained flat is now turning out to be me having a bedsit and sharing all other facilities,during the course of this ongoing saga I explained to the landlord that as he was claiming HB to the effect that I had sole use of the ground floor and that I did not share with any-one else in the household that he cold not stipulate that I share any of my letting,the reply that I received was the following. I will go to the HB Dept.tell them that your conditions of let have been changed,when I made him aware that I did not beleive that he could do this with out my consent or that if he could,then the amount of HB paid would be reduced accordingly,the reply was as follows,if the amount of benefit paid is reduced,you will have to make up the short fall.

RichieP
23-04-2006, 18:43 PM
I'm surprised HB has been paid without a valid, signed tenancy agreement.

He does seem to have you in a difficult position. You need to decide whether to inform them and probably end up paying for the shortfall, or putting up with the changes and not having to fork out.

Mago
23-04-2006, 19:10 PM
RichieP ,
thanks for the advice,as I see it a fair rent has been set on my letting by a person who is employed by the following. The Rent Service is a government agency providing a rental valuation service to local authorities in England, supplying them with a range of valuations to assist them in settling claims for housing benefit,as I been informed that the Rent Officers valuation is that the maxiumn rent to be used for assement is £90.00,and therefore I beleive that this is what I should be paying,as it stands the landlord is now trying to charge me £90.00 for a single bedsit when still making a claim for a bedroom and a combined kitchen/living room.Also he has recently told me that he is putting up my rent by £10.00 per week,the reason,to cover the cost of electric and heating.

P.Pilcher
23-04-2006, 22:41 PM
I feel that it really is quite simple. Rent officers fix rents as they do to ensure that local authorities are not being ripped off by landlords trying to charge excessive rents to H.B. claimants. On the other hand landlords expect to receive the market rent for their properties. There is often a difference between these two and guess which is the lower! If the landlord is charging a fair market rent for his property then any tenant should be prepared to pay it. If the H.B. tenant cannot afford to top up his H.B. payment to this figure, or is not prepared to, then the landlord will replace him with a tenant who can.

P.P.

Energise
23-04-2006, 23:34 PM
Rent officers fix rents as they do to ensure that local authorities are not being ripped off by landlords trying to charge excessive rents to H.B. claimants. P.P.

The problem for private landlords (and their tenants) with the rent officers assessment of a local fair rent is that the rent charged by housing associations is one of the comparisons used to access a "fair rent".