Ask Lorraine –
Some advice please, on a rather delicate matter.
My wife and I own a 3 bed terraced property in Tamworth, we have had the same tenants in the property since purchasing it some 5 years ago. They have been good tenants and we are more like friends than landlord and tenant. We have the odd month when rent is up to a week late, however it’s always been received in the end and with little prodding on my part.
Both the husband and wife work for the same company, they have just informed my wife that the company is closing down with the loss of all jobs.
Our tenants have asked if we would give them a new tenancy agreement so that they are able to claim housing benefit.
I have agreed to give them a new 1 year tenancy agreement.
My dilemma is this, at the moment the tenants are a few days late with this months rent, what happens if they are not able to pay and the council are not forthcoming. Will we be able to evict or will we have to wait until the new tenancy agreement expires in a years time?
The tenants do not require a new AST (tenancy agreement) in order to claim Housing Benefit, the council will accept the original AST or a copy of the original AST.
In the first instance I would suggest checking what the tenants Housing Benefit entitlements are, you can check the LHA rate on the LHA Direct website.
If you have not already given a new tenancy agreement (AST) I would not do so, you could be making it more difficult to evict the tenants and their rights will become much stronger. There is so much prescribed information to give with a new tenancy agreement and so many regulations that you must comply with i.e a copy of the EPC, protecting the deposit correctly and giving them the prescribed information. What about the government’s “How to Rent” booklet, the list goes on!
Should the need arise and you find yourselves in a situation where you need to evict, without the correct paperwork having been given at the start of the tenancy, you will find yourself in serious trouble and will have great difficulty evicting.
As always, I would recommend meeting with the tenants and explain that a new AST is not required. Support them however you can, without it being at your detriment.
You have already mentioned that the rent is payable monthly, once there are over two months arrears you can take action to evict under the s8 Housing Act, should you wish!
You may wish to seek legal advice if you do ever decide to go down the route of evicting under the s8 Housing Act. The professionals can do this on your behalf.
I hope things do work out for you and your tenants.
until next week