Hello landlords. If you're here because you want landlord insurance for housing benefit tenants, you've got it!
Also, if you want to find information about housing benefits in general, we've also got you covered.
What you'll learn...
Here we go, learn about claims, eligibility, how long it takes, and so on...
When a tenant claims, benefits, they get the option to claim expenses for their rent if they have a landlord. They fill in DWP forms and wait for an answer within a month or sooner.
It can take longer in some cases, where more evidence is needed. The DWP may require more information from new immigrants or asylum seekers. Or they might be waiting for wage slips if the tenant works part-time and they're still eligible for housing benefit.
The sooner they get the red tape completed, the better.
The money is paid to your bank account (the landlords) or in some cases straight to the tenant, but most landlords get it directly into their own personal or business account.
You'll get the payment once during the month and any backdated money paid with the first month's payment or it could be a separate payment.
If you come across a tenant who commits fraud, you need to act because it could affect your rent income and you could be liable for overpayment claws.
Here's what to do...
Remember, don't jump the gun here because it could be someone playing games with your tenant. It could be a partner trying to mess their money up and reporting something that's wasn't true.
If you know what period the offence was committed over, you'll have a rough idea what you might need to pay back. You can avoid this by finding a tenant who's claims DLA or ESA for a long period of time.
Well, it helps, but fraud could still be committed by any tenant.
Cover all angles here and don't go and start accusing. Let the DWP handle the situation and work with the tenant because he/she might know what the problem is and offer you a solution to a problem that wasn't there in the first place.
Keep your cool and get the facts right.
There are some important things, like making sure the property meets regulations and it's in good condition. Also, get identification from the tenant and keep a record in your office or safe.
You could also follow these rules...
Just like any tenant, you don't know them from Adam, so make sure you visit them once a month for the first 3 months if you are unsure about their personalities.
As soon as you receive word from the DWP the rent starts getting paid more or less right away. Like always, leave room for holidays and the festive season.
If there is a delay in your rent payment it may be a good idea to contact the tenant first because they'll get more information from the DWP better than you will.
There is a way for the landlord to check this themselves and it's easy. Just give the local council or DWP office a call and let them know about the missing rent.
They should at lease let you know why you haven't received it.
Always check the money because the DWP can change the rates at any time. When you're running the business, sign-up for online banking so you can setup alerts when the money hits the account.
Do this on your Android phone or iPhone if you have a few properties and you rely on that money for other things. Other than that, make sure you rent a livable and decent property in the first place.
You can charge a service charge for the upkeep of the grounds and garden maintenance.
Other things you can charge for include...
You cannot charge for things like the following...
Also, things like play areas and football areas can be addressed with a service charge. If you offer personal care and support for tenants, that cannot be granted under a service charge other.
This is just a basic idea of what you can and what you can't charge for and if you're concerned, please contact the DWP and they'll help you out further.
Add your own experiences if you've ever dealt with a DSS tenant here.
If the DWP pays the money into the tenant's account, you can either ask the tenant to get another bank account just for that payment or ask the DWP to change the details about you (the landlord) on their system for the next payment date.
You might need to wait until the next time they get around to it or you might get lucky and get it sorted that day. They are usually very good at helping landlord but they do get busy from time to time.
If the tenant receives the money in their own bank account and they fail to either BAC's it to your account and the rent is in a default, you'll need to take time out of your day and fix it (if you can).
This is a worrying situation and it could mean the tenant going to do a bunk with the cash and the contents of the property. But then again you might be worrying too much here because they could be on holiday or dealing with a family bereavement.
Give them a few days to sort it out, then take some drastic action to recover the rent. You could also take out a Rent Guarantee Insurance policy, which will cover this if you have a mortgage on that rented accommodation.
Here are some contact numbers for the different department of the DWP. if you need more you can visit the DWP's website here.
Job Centre Plus (New Benefit Claims)
0800 055 6688
Textphone for Job Centre Plus
0800 023 4888
Welsh Language for Job Centre Plus
0800 012 1888
Jobseeker?s Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance
0345 608 8545
Every tenant claiming housing benefits are all based on different merits. Every application is made and assesses on the individual needs and income of that person.
They could be a disabled person and need more facilities than others.
So that's something we can't answer today because of this and the way it works. Usually, if you have a large family living at your rented house or flat, they might get all their rent paid for them or they might need to pay something towards it every month.
You won't know until they apply and get an answer for the DWP.
Got a story you would like to tell, tell us here and we'll publish it on this website for others to see and learn from.
If you want or need an insurance policy to cover the housing benefit tenant you can find one here.
Them you fill in the form, you will be asking for a price from more than 40 insurers with one form. After you decide on what cover you might want to buy, the policy can be set up for you online or on the phone that day.
If you want to figure out ruffly what your tenant will receive. You can use QuickCalc's free calculator. Play around with it and you'll see how it works.
Or see the benefits calculator from the DWP itself, here.
Your tenant may or not receive help with paying the rent if:
The tenant can apply if they are working or if they are unemployed. If they are living with a partner, then only one of them can apply with the DWP.
And if you have a tenant who is under 35 years of age and rent a bedsit or even a single room from you, they can claim housing benefits for shared accommodation too.
If your tenant has no idea what to do or how to go about a housing benefit application you can learn about it here. I have listed some steps they need to take in order to be eligible for this type of benefit claim.
That's about as far as it goes here, and it's really down to your tenant to get all the form filled in and await a decision. Most decisions are made for the benefits side (job seeker etc.) within two to three weeks.
If it takes longer and as long as the forms are done correctly and you are still waiting for your money, give it another week and if you still don't get any job, get the tenant to give them a call to see what's happening with it.
Send your dramas in here if you had a bad or good experience when dealing with unemployed tenants. Send it in by clicking here.
If you would like to add a question to help someone else out. You can leave a story about your experiences as a landlord renting to housing benefit tenants on this page.
If you know something that wasn't mentioned here. You can send it in and we'll publish it on the website. Or it could be a story you have about your landlord business.
Do you have a great story about this? Share it!