Benefit Claiming Tenants!

publication date: Dec 8, 2009
 | 
author/source: Guest article by Terry Lucking, Belvoir! Peterborough
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Benefit claiming tenants! I will not accept this type of tenancy.... or should I?

Most new landlords tell me they would refuse an application for a tenancy from a benefit claimer. What’s the reason behind this? When I ask them why, they are unable to give any detail, the decision in my opinion is an emotional one based on perception not facts. Local housing allowance benefit claimers are stereotyped as people who don’t work and don’t care about their responsibilities.

There are many different reasons why people become benefit claimers. In my experience, only a small proportion are lazy or irresponsible. Just because someone has a job doesn’t mean that they have more financial security as they could lose their job at any time.

A tenant may be highly career driven but could easily have an accident that may prevent them from working. Would you then make your perfectly good tenant leave as they had no option but to start claiming benefits? It may be that they don’t even tell you or the agent that their circumstances have changed. If they are paying their rent on time and looking after the property, how would you know a situation had arisen?

You can never see what’s going to happen in the future. Your tenants could be a family with children. What would happen if a partner left and they were to start claiming benefits? Would you make your tenant and their children homeless just because they were claiming housing allowance?

As local housing allowance is paid a month in arrears, if you’re worried about not getting the rent on time protect yourself by asking the tenant to get a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who would be employed full time, that if the benefits were to become late and the tenant did not have the money, you could collect the funds from the guarantor.

Many local housing allowance claimers are good responsible tenants. They want a home with stability. Most of the time during the tenancy, they are more likely to improve the home by decorating and tending to the garden.

My advice to landlords is start with an open mind about people who claim housing benefits, instead of going in with a closed mind. Circumstances can change and anyone could become a local housing allowance claimer, even you or I.

The real question in my opinion should be for all landlords “What do you actually want?”. The answer is surely “rent paid on time and my property looked after”. If the tenant and guarantor are properly referenced and rent insurance is secured, then a tenancy with a benefit claimer is no higher risk and in fact, may well prove to be a better experience.

For more information on Buy to Let in Peterborough, contact BELVOIR! Peterborough on 01733 286939 or enquiries@buytoletinpeterborough.co.uk.


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