Thursday, March 14, 2013

Well Done Duncan-Smith but there is a problem

As I have said before I am completely behind Ian Duncan Smith and his approach to welfare reform especially the so-called Bedroom Tax. This is nothing to do with people who own their house or rent on the private sector and are working. It concerns those that are on benefit especially housing benefit. Lets take an example of a single person living in a 3 bedroom house and receiving Housing benefit of say £700 pcm, why should the tax payer pay for them to have a house of this size when a one bedroom Flat would suffice at a price of say £480 pcm? This individual would be better of because their utility bills would be far cheaper, plus us taxpayer would be better of and house could be released for a Family.
Now there will be always exception to the rules but this is mainly geared to get the sponges in our society back to realizing they cannot continue to live of the state. In my opinion Housing Benefit is a hand out for those who have hit hard times and is not a right.

After saying my piece I do have one problem with the proposed legislation and That is where Housing Benefit Claimants will not have the their rent sent straight to the Landlord. This will eventually lead to a lot more homeless people and a lot of aggravation for Landlords.

As a Landlord I try and avoid renting to those on benefit but over recent years many of my tenants have lost jobs and therefore claim housing benefit. Where as 5 years ago I had one tenant on benefit I now have six. Three of them have their benefit paid to me direct, most pay approximately the same rent but each get a different rate from the council? Most have to top up their rent i.e. one flat is £480 pcm and he receives £460 pcm so he has to pay me £20 pcm and I struggle to get that most times he pays me when the next £20 is due so he is permanently a month behind another is several hundreds of pound behind and pays me back £10 pcm. So I am a bit soft but I know I will get the money and the latter has just started a job.

Yet on one occasion I really got caught and this where the problem is when you housing benefit are not paid to the Landlord. I allowed a women in her forties to rent a flat who shall we say was a bit slow, her mother begged me to take her on which I did and straight away she stopped paying the rent but the mother would pay it for her. After nearly 6 months of this the mother had enough and stopped and then the problem really mounted up. She had been receiving housing benefit but was spending it in the pub, when I asked for the rent she would just say “you will have to do with out I have spent it on more important things” I contacted the council they would only say they issued the money and it was down to me to collect it, eventually I contacted the Police and suggested it was fraud? Oh no if she received the money and intended to pay me but got way laid into a pub it was not fraud. So my next move was to take her to court this could take up to 6 months even longer in some cases and while that was happening she would not be paying rent and by this time she owed me £1440. The cheapest way to get rid of her was to say if she left with in a few days I would for go her debt, she laughed and said yes. She did not realize the only she was standing and not lying on her back unconscious was because she was female  (of a sort). She had in my opinion stolen money from the Council and nothing was done

So lesson leant avoid taking on people who are on benefit, always check references, make them pay an admin fee, make the rent payable to you direct and never and I mean never listen to a hard luck story

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