OpenRent Community

Tenants struggling to pay rent

My tenants have been struggling to pay rent over the last 4 months through covid and have been paying less than half the amount due each month. I was being flexible as I thought it was the right thing to do but and now they have lost their job. They have applied for help through universal credit but wont arrive until another month! I dont see how they will be able to afford the rent even if they get help with benefits and how they will catch up. I feel bad giving them notice but this is will be the 5th month of them not paying even half. Do you think I should give notice or see what happens with the benefits?? Also wheres the best place to get a 6a form to give them notice?

Hi Samantha,
UC is about £595 for a couple, which includes an extra payment of about £95pm because of Covid, which could be used towards paying off rent debt.
The Housing Costs element will probably cover most of the rent (or all) assuming it is in line with the average, and is worked out based on what the LHA have set as a standard.
You can apply to have the rent paid directly to yourself, you don’t need tenants permission, only their date of birth. Very short form and you will be notified within a few days. On the gov.uk website under direct payments to landlord, I believe.
Do it now! That way it won’t be swallowed up in any overdraft they have.
Their council tax will also be paid if they are not working.
Just wondering why they were only paying half?
Furlough was 80%, no idea what SE was.
You could suggest they take payment holidays on other debts such as credit cards to give themselves time to catch up on rent being it’s a priority debt.
I also believe they can ask for UC to be paid in advance if they are struggling.
Personally, think I might wait for the UC payment as at least that way you will get all, if not most of the Housing Costs through UC.
They might stop paying completely if you give notice.
You could request all incomings and outgoings along with proof and agree a repayment plan.
Gov.uk have all forms.
Martin Lewis’s email this week contains a big section on job loss and benefits.

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https://directpayment.universal-credit.service.gov.uk/
Form to request direct payment.

Thank you so much for your reply. That was really helpful

Let us know if you manage to get it!

@Mr_T hello Mr_T, I am a first time landlord, I have a potential tenant who works at a pizzaria, which may be in danger of closing if the market does not improve. I have a few more questions on the UC and Housing cost. So the £595 infra tenant to live on and to pay their bills. I s the Housing cost a separate benefit landlord can claim on the behalf of the tenant and do you know how much it is and for how long will the government pay this to the landlord?
Thank you so much for your help

Hi Sung,
There are different rates of UC depending on age or if single or living as a couple.


They get a standard rate to live on (plus a bit extra at the moment I believe).
On top of that amount they will get an amount for Housing Costs. This isn’t listed as it varies depending on where they live. If you look up the Local Housing Allowance for your area you will get an idea of what the amount may be.
A landlord doesn’t claim on behalf of tenant. The tenant makes the claim and it will all be paid to the tenant.
But as the landlord you can go to this site and make an application to have it paid directly to yourself.
https://directpayment.universal-credit.service.gov.uk/
It’s worrying.
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The £595pm is the current rate for tenants living as a couple over the age of 25.
They also get most of their council tax paid.

Hello Mr_T,

Thank you for your reply and the information, it is very helpful. As I do not know much about benefits, your information is much appreciated.

I have a delima.
I have this lovely couple with three very young children. She is a full time student, but she cannot provide proof that she gets the grant or bursary for her university course, she is on benefits and he is working in a pizzeria, I have not got any reply from the references I sent.

My friends who are also landlors told me to avoid this as if he lost his job, as hospitality are the first to close at Covd-19 second peak, or he may leave her, which means I cannot evict a single mother.

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Hello Mr_T,

Thank you very for your message and the information, I really appreciated your help.

Best wishes

Sung

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what makes you think you cannot evict a single mother? anyone who does not pay rent can be evicted

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Hi Sung,
Do you mean you are thinking of having them as tenants?
Why can’t she provide the proof of a grant or bursary for her course?
With children they would also get extra payments with the UC to live on.
Other areas of food retail, such as delivery are booming.
As Colin said you could evict a single mother but I expect she would be told by the council not to leave until you had gone through the whole court process. Only then would they re-house her.
I guess it’s hard to say what is going on in their relationship or what will happen in the future.
I assume the property you have is a family sized one?
If so, you will have the same problem with everyone, that one of them will ditch the other and leave.
I guess the other problem with benefits is if your rent amount is higher than the what the local authority will pay. Then they will have to make up the difference.
Have you checked yet to see how your rent compares with what the local council consider to be rate for a family and property of that size?

Hello Colin,

Thank you very much for your reply, I really appreciate your help.

My friend, who is also a landlord told me that the government are very protective of single mother. It takes more to evict them, especially if they have very small children.
I am
So worried and and not sure what I can do. I asked her for 6 months in advance rent but she said due to the benefits she can’t, apparently they won’t pay her if she pay me a lump sum.
I am not sure what I can do with her.

Thank you So much

She could pay upfront. UC don’t know she’s paid upfront, it’s not a question they ask as far as I’m aware, and even if they did, as long as she was entitled to claim surely she would get the amount back.

You can look on the council website for rent amounts for private rented accommodation in your area.

If she is studying and he is working they sound like they may be the type of people who do work and will look for another job.

If you are considering them you really need to ask to see bank statements. It’s normal practice these days, any landlord would ask for them.

My son has just finished university and he did get a letter each year from student finance.

If it’s a bursary or grant (and any student finance) will all show on a bank statement - as will the benefits they are getting and the money she’s paid for the course. Ask for a years worth if you need to.

If the other tenants wages are not paid into the same bank account then you need statements from his bank too.They can request copies from the bank or download them themselves from online banking.

If they don’t want to provide bank statements then I would be wondering what they are hiding.

Good morning Mr_T,

Thank you for your message.
Yes my house is a three bedroom house, sadly the mortgage I am under don’t allow me to rent the house as HMO.
I had a few groups of friends looking at it and decided the small bedroom were too small for three people and the rent £1300 too high for two friends to share.
I have not asked the council regarding the house cost, how much it will cover. I will try to ring them and hope to get some good information.
My concern is that she has 3 young children and study full time with him working full time. I am not sure if this is good.
She said that the University does not provide and letter to prove whether the grant is granted or not, as on top of the rent she will need to pay an annual fee of 10k for her course.
Thank you very much for your help.

Hi Samantha,

I think it’s disgusting to evict mid pandemic, I’ve personally taken loss on five of my properties over the last three months and have been nothing but cooperative with my tenants because I understand they are in unprecedented times, just like we are, but without the safety net of capital. I personally have enough capital to weather the storm for twenty four months over twenty properties ( East Sussex). Poor landlords with a lack of funds looking to make a quick buck off tenants give the rest of us a bad name. Maybe the lettings game isn’t for you, if four months @50% is going to make you go like Goerge Clooney in a ‘Perfect Storm’ then please sell!

Gaz

Agree we should help our tenants .as Millionaires it is my / our duty

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If you are able to take such a hit then maybe you are the bad landlord by asking too high a rent in the first place?

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MR T that is a good reply . You will get some abuse for that and then Sam will have to delete the subject !!!

It was a serious reply to what I thought was an arrogant post. Some of us keep rents low all the time and don’t have 20 properties.
If a landlord can afford 50% per cent loss on rent for 24 months then surely it’s a fair point that the rent was too high in the beginning.

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