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joshdhaliwal
10-11-2009, 10:17 AM
Hi I have a quick question. My wife and I are fairly new to letting (2 years) and so far have been blessed with fantastic tenants.

The new place we're letting out has attracted some interest via Gumtree from tenants who are on Housing Benefit. Having read some of the scenarios on here is there a recommended list of checks and references we should make before accepting tenancy not only those on HB but anyone?

Thanks for your help in advance.

Snorkerz
10-11-2009, 11:57 AM
As a pretty new LL myself, I can't promise this is a definitive answer - but...

Reference all tenants (benefits or not) through a legitimate referencing company - this will cost but it's not unusual to charge Ts for this and it will give you great peace of mind.

The referencing company will come back to you with a decision

Yes
Yes, With Guarantor
No way


Most benefits claimants will be a '2', so you need them to provide you with a guarantor - who will also be referenced - and you need the guarantor to complete a 'deed of guarantee'.

As a guide, I found this useful link yesterday... http://www.movingspace.com/tenants/first/#Tenantspara4

havensRus
10-11-2009, 12:19 PM
Ask to see and get copies of the following:

1. Letter of benefit award/entitlement (if currently receiving benefits, then they'll have one)
2. Letter of JSA award (job seekers allowance)
3. Letter of any other benefits they might currently be getting
4. National Insurance card
5. Copy of bank statement (check the benefits being paid into it correspond to award-if not why not)

You will need a Guarantor who must be
1. home owner (preferably)
2. Fully employed / Pension Income
3. Credit worthy

Both Applicant and Guarantor must be credit checked.

I generally tell them to be open and tell me if there's anything in their history that would cause them to fail the check, as if I later find one, then they've lost the chance.

If you are happy to take them on, then make sure you see the Benefit application form (if a new applicant) or change of address form (if existing claimant) and fill in relevant sections, tick the box that gives you permission to discuss the claim and get them to sign it, but supplement that with a third-party authorisation letter as well.

If possible, get a new CU account opened so that the LHA gets paid into that, and is separate from the rest of their finances. The CU account details should go in the HB form, so the LHA gets paid into that right from the start. Top ups need to be collected - if the LHA fall short of the rent. Decide how you do that, DD or SO or cash collection-whichever suits you.

HTH