Direct payment of Housing Benefit to Tenants for onward payment to Landlords should be scrapped. As a small property letting business it has been a disastrous Govenment ruling. As stated in other postings relating to this topic it is always private landlords who lose out and when the tenant doesn't pay it is 8 weeks before the Landlord is allowed to apply to the local council to have the rent paid direc to themt! Even then the Council can elect not to pay direct to the Landlord.
Another issue is that this ruling does not apply to Council of Housing Association lettings. In these circumstances the rent is paid direct to the Landlord. Why one rule for them and another for the private landlord?
As a private landlord we expect rents to be paid by a tenant 1 month in advance to facilitate payment of mortgages etc. Housing Benefit was always paid four weekly in arrears when the housing benefit used to be paid direct to the landlord. Furthermore if, as a Landlord, you have several tenants on housing benefit then the Council can make one payment per month for all those tenants. Under the current LHA each and every one of those tenants are made a payment every two weeks by the Council. This makes lots of extra paperwork and expense both for the Council and the Landlord, if in deed the tenant bothers to pay you! Also if the LHA level set by the local Council is more than the figure the Landlord has set for the rent then this additional money is paid to the tenant!! Why shuld a tenant be paid this additional money out of government money – ie: our taxes?
Why is this idea important?
1) Making addional work and additional costs by paying two weekly to Tenants. If Landlord has several Housing Benefit tenants then the Council can make 1 payment to the Landlord for all his Housing Benefit tenants once per month/
2) Some tenants not paying rent to Landlords so Landlords losing out and it is 8 weeks before Landlord can apply to Council to have rent paid direct to them and even then its at the Council's discretion. If it then means Landlord needs to go to Court for eviction this process can take a further 3 or 4 months. Private Landlords, in the main, have mortgages to pay and these cannot be served if we are not receiving our rents.
3) In some cases LHA is set higher than the actual rent of the property but this difference is still paid to the Tenant to spend as they please. What a waste of tax payers money.
4) LHA is the private Landlord's nightmare but Councils and Housing Associations still have Housing Benefit paid direct to them. Why the differential?