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Rent Increase of £40 (24%) a week on Periodic Tenancy a little help please.


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Basically I've just had a hand delivered letter dated today which says.

 

10th May 2012

 

Dear Mr Freek

 

Re: New Rent

 

The rent for your flat has remained @ £170 per week for a number of years and it is time we catch up with the current market.

 

We are able to offer you a new Shorthold Assured Tenancy as a rent of £210 per week which will amount to £910 per calander month.

 

Please let us know if you wish to continue so we can make the arrangements.

 

My landlord

 

Could somebody please translate that for me into when I will have to either agree or disagree by and what date the new rent becomes effective?

 

As I'm reading on some sites it's 1 month from date of notice so the 10th June whilst others are stating valid rental period - I pay 1st every months so 1st July?

 

If I refuse the increase I know it's a min 2 months notice from landlord but when could that be legally served on me?

 

Also are they offering me a new 6 month contract?

 

As I really don't want this due to the fact I'm currently receiving LHA; which for my area is a max of £184 but that is reviewed only once a year which means my current award of £170 would not be increased until my review date which is either October or next January. This would leave me with an income of £12 a week pre-review £27 a week afterwards. I get assessment rate ESA £72 a week and have bills of £40 leccy/gas, £25 land line/internet and £20 water rates a month.

 

So although short term I can absorb this long term not a chance.

 

My rent £736 per month hasn't increased since I moved in Mar 2007 (it was cheap then) and although it's 24% doing a search says 1 bed my building are currently going for £220 - £270 a week so I might have room to negotiate but I think it's pants down barrel time tbf.

 

Sorry for the questions but I need to start planning where I go from here.

 

I'm going to throw this out to the benefits board as discretionary housing payments etc may be an option but I'm just really confused about where I stand at the moment.

 

Oh if anybody knows about options for securing housing via the Council (or any other body) for single people over 35, no children with Mental Health problems that would be really appreciated to!

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There seem to be two options (other than leaving). Buy for time or negotiate (or a bit of both).

 

The buy for time option goes like this. The letter you have received is not a formal notice, therefore it can be ignored. You can either ignore it completely and see what happens, or you write a negotiating letter on, say, 1st June (which buys you an extra month should landlord issue notice).

 

As alternative to a new contract, LL could issue a Section 13 notice of a rent rise which is a formal notice but which also sets out what rights you have to challenge the rise. By the sounds of it, you would find it hard to successfully challenge the rise, as it seems close to the market rate.

 

A polite letter reasonably soon with the points you've noted about your LHA maybe the best option if you think you could negotiate an acceptable figure.

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Could you not write a letter asking to meet in the middle, say £20 increase. then as far as the council goes just do a change of circumstances form with proof of the rent increase then they will up your benefit.

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Cheers for that I think I'm over the initial shock of it now

 

I'm liking the letter delaying tactics (prob wont use it though) and the suggestion of £20 makes a lot of sense.

 

So I'll knock up a letter along the lines of good long standing tenant, having to re-advertise (agency fees, loss of rent etc), pleading poverty and explain fully my financial situation.

 

We can but try as they say & see what happens.

 

As I said until I hit my claims anniversary date the rent increase will not be looked at. The only thing which would trigger that is if I moved. Prob will not get discretionary housing payments either until my savings are all gone.

 

My mental health state means that looking for somewhere else for me will be problematic if not impossible by myself. So if I have to take the hit on it short term I'll have to take the hit! The main thing is avoid eviction and try and get something else in place for the long term.

 

I'll go to the local advice center next week and run everything past them. I'll also start investigating what helps available via any route for people with mental health issues. See my counselor Monday so I think a chat about getting re-referred onto an assisted place therapy scheme might be in order as that really is my best hope atm.

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Why wouldn't the council look at the rent increase.

If there's a change in circumstances then the council must be informed straight away and they will make the change accordingly.

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Taken from here and it was one of the 1st things I checked http://www.dwp.gov.uk/local-authority-staff/housing-benefit/claims-processing/local-housing-allowance/faqs/

 

Change of circumstances

 

Q. Will mid-year rent increases be taken into account?

A. No. The LHA rate in payment will apply from the date of claim and continue to apply for a year unless an update is triggered by a change of circumstances. The anniversary review date will be the earlier of the effective date of the claim or the effective date of the backdated award.

 

Not sure if it's always been like that or if it was brought in with the caps last year?

 

The only time a new rate would be calculated during a year from what I could tell is for a change in the number of residents claiming. See here for more info http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/lha-guidance-manual.pdf

 

Going through the examples I couldn't see anything which might help.

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I did it with my council as a change of circumstances and they upped my housing benefit. Can't see how they can expect your rent to go up and you carry the extra untill the next review which could be nearly a years time.

 

I would ring them on monday and ask them.

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Most Councils will consider mid-term rent increases unless T is receiving max LHA for status/accom size.

LHA has been reduced for some young single Ts since April 2012

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The T is not getting full Lha, it's £14 under what they say is the max so a rent increase would be looked at and new award gives.

 

As I've said, phone your council on Monday as I can't see why they would not deal with it as a change of circumstance as it effects you the same as a change of income.

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  • 1 month later...

Quick update.

 

I'm no further forward with this, there has been no further communication between me n my landlord and I've not formally accepted or rejected the rent increase. Hopefully I'll get some movement after seeing the Councils Tenancy Support Service Tuesday but who knows?

 

1, I was correct a rent increase will only be looked at on a claims anniversary date and not before.

 

2, Councils have specialist teams for the Elderly, Woman seeking refuge and the disabled (mental and physical).

 

Mine has the SNAP (Supported Needs Assessment & Placement) Team plus various flavours of Tenancy Support Teams.

 

3, Gaining access to these teams and the help they may offer is a mission in its own rite! It's taken me 3 face to face visits and it was only in the last one yesterday when I specifically asked about those teams have I now got an appointment Tuesday to see someone who should be able to advise me on who/what I can access.

 

4, Council front line staff are either incompetent or are actively trying to deny access to help.

 

I've repeatedly and forcefully stated I needed help due to mental health issues over the 3 visits and they've just ignored it. On my 1st visit the guy a saw took me to reception and told them to book me an appointment to see a housing officer. Did they do this no! They booked me to see a normal change person. This person just told me to do nothing and ignore the letter until a formal notification arrived. I wouldn't have even known they had not booked me to see a Housing Officer until this was confirmed in my 3rd visit.

 

Unbelievable Geoff!

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Hi speedfreek

 

Why dont you also as well as the councils look on the internet at any other housing association that are in your area and request there application forms and make sure you also ask for a medical assessment form with each application.

 

Then just fill then in and send them off at least that way you are getting yourself on their housing lists and you can inform those agencies that are suppose to be supporting you.

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Cheers Stu hopefully that will happen tomorrow.

 

If I said today I saw somebody from an outside charity (linked to the Council) who dealt with helping/supporting people in/into employment would you believe me?

 

All I can say is thank **** they were not employed by the Council \o/ This person understood (actually understood!) what I said to him, made a quick call to his lady colleague who will be able to help.

 

I was passed to her and apparently they can help with landlord negotiation or locking for somewhere more affordable to live! So hopefully tomorrow I might just get somewhere.

 

Somebody pinch me to make sure I'm not just dreaming this!

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