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View Full Version : The shoe is on the other Foot



Snowbed
08-06-2005, 15:18 PM
Just after Xmas my tenannt stopped paying me. His cheque for January bounced and i just put this down to overspending at Xmas because i had had no problems with him in the 6 months he had been there.

Anyway, excuse followed excuse and come March i eventually consulted a solicitor. His letters had no effect and thus i instructed him to isssue a section 21 notice.

Whilst i was waiting for the legalities to run there course (i had given up on getting any money, i just wanted him out of my property), i recieved a phone call from the Housing Benefits saying that if i gave them details of the date he moved in, amount of arrears and monthly rent they could process his claim.
(previously he had said a claim was going through so i got him to sign an authority form so any money could be paid direct to me. However, when i took the form in they said no claim was being made on this property and i assumed it was just another delaying tactic by the tenant)

Last week i got a cheque from the housing benefits, not only for the arrears but also backed dated to when he moved in (last June). Not sure why it was back dated because i was under the impression this could not be done (i think its because his parents (pensioners) live there with him). I am supposed to take the arrears and pay the rest back to him.

1.) Do i have to pay the balance back to him? Will the benefits people 'come after me' if i don't? I only ask because if they pay benefit direct to the tenant and they do not in turn pay you then they don't want to get involved.

2.) Can i deducted expenses for solicitors, interest for late payment etc before i pay the balance back to him. If so, how do i do this? Is it sufficient to write a letter detailing the expenses and get him to sign it? (he has agreed to meet any costs although no figures have been quoted) As a side issue: i didn't actually incurr any solicitors fees as he forgot to issue the section 21 notice and has not tried to contact me since i told him what i thought of this

3.) Should i let them stay now that i am getting my monthly rent paid direct to me by via housing benefit

4.) If i let them stay do i get him, his mum and dad and his sister (who's now moved) in to sign the tenancy agreement?

Any advice/opinions/comments would be much appreciated.

I think i'll let him wait for his money(about £2500) anyway if i have to pay it him; see how he likes it.

A happy ending for the Landlord for once

Tax Accountant
08-06-2005, 17:25 PM
I think that you should be aware that if the benefit people determine at a later date that the tenant was not entitled to all or some of the benefits paid to you, they will pursue you to reclaim the amount deemed to have been overpaid. The fact that the tenant also has other people occupying the property complicates the issue of overpayment of Housing Benefit.

I don't think that they will come after you for any other reason.

I would hold on to the extra money as a cover against any potential liability for clawback of housing benefit paid to you. You could also use this towards any future arrears or breaches of the lease covenants.

You cannot deduct expenses which you did not actually incur.

You should of course get the tenancy situation regulated regarding all the people who occupy the property.

Ramnik

Snowbed
08-06-2005, 18:18 PM
Thanks Karongo

Leaves me with a dilema. :confused:

How could they have paid the wrong amount of benefits? Do you mean if the tenant has been telling porkies to them?

Do i go back to the housing benefit people and double check with them that they are not going to ask for it back at some point in the future. ie/ make sure it wasn't a fraudulent claim. Obviously the down side of this is that if it was they will want some/all of it back and i am back to square one.

Maybe i should do as you suggest and just hold it back in case of future problems (either with the tenant or the benefits people). The trouble with this is that i can never see this situation resolving itself. Do the benefits section have a deadline for reclaiming misallocated benefits? If they do i would imagine it is a long time and thus i would have to hold it until this period has expired. What if the tenant wants to move out before then? Do i still hold onto the money? He obviously won't be very happy about this.

Oh Dear Oh Dear . . . . Anybody want to buy a 2 bed terrace house in Derbyshire ;)

LMT
09-06-2005, 15:13 PM
You seem to have assumed that the tenant knows you have been overpaid - are you sure he does? If he doesn't know about the payment then maybe you shouldn't mention it to him - the overpayment is a matter between you and the Benefits Agency, with the money rightfully belonging the the BA and not the tenant (from what you say)
If the tenant does know about the payment (or you choose to tell him) he might end up arguing that you should use this against damage, unpaid bills etc etc when he leaves. He would be in the wrong but it might encourage him to try it on and make things awkward for you.

RichieP
09-06-2005, 16:29 PM
HB can claim money back years after it was overpaid. You should check with them it is correct and get it in writing.

Evict your tenant anyway. You obviously can't trust him.

MrWoof
09-06-2005, 21:07 PM
Last week i got a cheque from the housing benefits, not only for the arrears but also backed dated to when he moved in (last June). Not sure why it was back dated because i was under the impression this could not be doneIt was backdated because he was entitled to benefits from the date he moved in




1.) Do i have to pay the balance back to him? Will the benefits people 'come after me' if i don't? I only ask because if they pay benefit direct to the tenant and they do not in turn pay you then they don't want to get involved.

2.) Can i deducted expenses for solicitors, interest for late payment etc before i pay the balance back to him. If so, how do i do this? Is it sufficient to write a letter detailing the expenses and get him to sign it? (he has agreed to meet any costs although no figures have been quoted) As a side issue: i didn't actually incurr any solicitors fees as he forgot to issue the section 21 notice and has not tried to contact me since i told him what i thought of this

3.) Should i let them stay now that i am getting my monthly rent paid direct to me by via housing benefit

4.) If i let them stay do i get him, his mum and dad and his sister (who's now moved) in to sign the tenancy agreement? 1.) If he has overpaid, pay it back. Nothing to do with HB
2.) No
3.) Why not?
4.) Yes, you need to do a new agreement and this will have to be submitted to HB

Snowbed
09-06-2005, 22:09 PM
Thanks Mr Woof

I am new to this and have had no experience with people claiming housing benefit so you must excuse my ignorance. My limited knowledge of housing benefit was that a claim could only be back dated to the date the claim was made (something my solicitor told me - however as I have already stated, he wasn't very good in my opinion)

My uncertainty regarding not letting him stay stems from the 'bad blood' between us that arose during the 5 months he was not paying me. Now he wasn't nearly half as bad as some of the tenants that i've read about on here, however various incidents happened that made me think he's not an ideal tenant, in fact a devious one who knows how to exploit situations to his benefit:

Example:(please try not to laugh at my stupidity but hopefully you will understand that i was desperate for some money/any money from him)

He approached me to write a letter stating what arrears were owed to me and that he had 14 days to pay otherwise he would have to vacate the property. He said he needed to show this to his bank so that they would approve his loan application (they wanted to see that it was for a justifiable cause). Now, looking back i was stupid, but as i have said i was nieve and desperate. Anyway, the next think i know is that i get a telephone call from the 'harrasment officer' at the borough council saying that i can't make him vacate the property as stated in my letter. I explained my side of the story and the officer was fine with me, however it understandably left a horrible taste in my mouth.

Now i can let him stay(the easy option now i am getting the monthly rent paid to me via HB - although this in itself is now a cause of concern - see my other thread). But do you really want a tenant in your property who you neither trust or particularly like?

RichieP
10-06-2005, 08:15 AM
I'm new to this as well, but in my opinion, I'd be taking action to get him out of there. You don't know what he's up to next. Something may suddenly crop up that will cost you a lot of money. I'd rather go a month without rent than have someone like that as a tenant. He obviously doesn't give a toss about you, getting you to write that letter then using it against you.

MrWoof
10-06-2005, 16:38 PM
I think I'd go along with Richie, he's taking you for a ride, you don't say how long the initial AST was for, if six months, serve a section 21 and get rid. If he's moved family in without your permission he's probably in breach of the tenancy agreement but if you can serve an S21, thats the easy way.