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Simon7685

Housing Benefit/LHA some advice needed please

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sorry if it's a long one again but I want to try to give the full picture to get the right advice.

 

I am starting self employment from Monday. I have received notification about my HB ending and then being reawarded for the 4 week beneift run on. All that is fine.

 

My landlord came tonight, he said this is the ideal time for him to increase my rent by £10 a week. Basically he says he wants me to move from Housing Benefit to Local Housing Allowance as this will mean he can charge the additional rent and the council will pay it no questions asked as this is how it works under LHA.

 

However to enable the change their needs to be break in the claim of 7 days. So he wants me to agree to end my claim for HB wait 7 days and reclaim under LHA. However he also expects me to pay the missing weeks rent, ie £105. He says there is a standard letter that landlords have to enable this and he will bring it along with a new agreement for me to sign and send to the council.

 

He claims that this is not wrong, a con, or illegal in any way. It is about him getting what he is entitled to from the council!! I think that while it may be legal, it is about greed on his part, trying to get the most he can. He has a lot of property that he rents out and he says he does this to everyone and forces them to switch to LHA, presumably to result in an overall increase in rent and a guaranteed uprating every April.

 

He also states that under HB they will not pay the rent increase and unless I do this I will have it to pay every week, which I do not believe is correct. I intend to make an appointment with the council about this but as its Friday I can't do anything until after the weekend. Can anyone with any knowledge about HB/LHA tell me if my belief is right here or not?

 

As far as I am aware a rent increase will be covered under HB and either way they will only pay upto to the LHA rate anyway. My rent is currently £94 a week, under IS I recieve full HB, if there was a rent increase of £10 a week that would still be covered, as the LHA rate is £104 a week.

 

So if I am right why on earth should I agree to a change to LHA that will result in me having to pay my rent for one week, that I cannot really afford to do, hence claiming HB in the first place, when it is not necessary.

 

I cannot help but think he has some kind of ulteria motive in getting me to do this but I don't know what. I just know that what he is suggesting is entirely for his benefit and will end up costing me money I cannot afford, just to cover his greed. Not to mention I do not agree with his proposals.

 

I have just completed the online calculator for HB/LHA for my area again. It clearly states that when my self employment is taken into acount and the initial level of earnings is entered, I will get the same benefit whether it is HB or LHA.

 

Any advice appreciated.


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My Story - Simon -V- The (SH)Abbey - :!:WON / 19 November 2007:!:

 

SKY TV and the penalty charge - how far will it go?

 

Me V Its4me and Close Premium Finance:!:WON / 28 November 2007:!:

 

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i have known one landlord to do this in the past

 

however in that case, the landlord agreed to waive the rent for the week that there was a break in claim, so the tenant did not lose out for the landlord's benefit


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The landlord can charge you a rent increase, but cannot force you to break your HB claim. LHA applies to all private HB claims, but what happens is that you get awarded the LHA applicable at the time of the claim, and then this only gets reassessed on the anniversary of the claim - so if the LHA for your area and property goes up in the meantime, you aren't entitled to the increased LHA rate until the anniversary of your claim (or the anniversary of when LHA was first applied to your claim). So yes this is greed on the part of the landlord - he's seen a change in the LHA rate, and wants to charge the maximum for all his properties. Find out when your LHA rate is next due to be reassessed on your claim, then you have a choice - do what the landlord says and break your claim, or pay the £10 a week difference in the meantime.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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estellyn, i think the OP is still on Rent Officer determinations


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estellyn, i think the OP is still on Rent Officer determinations

 

Ah, an old claim - well in this case surely there's no need to break the claim - just inform regarding a rent increase? Though I'll defer to you on this id, as this is more your area.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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Thanks guys, its good to know that I am not the only one that thinks this stinks on the part of my landlord. I understand the basics of HB and a little LHA but am in no way an expert, so all advice is very much appreciated.

 

I am on the old HB system if that helps, my HB has been in payment since 2005. My last rent increase was in June 2011, he put it up by £10 a week. I was on full HB due to being on IS but I ended up having to pay the £10 increase for 9 weeks. I never did get my head around why exactly that was. I applied for a DHP and was refused because they took my DLA into account for that and said I didn't qualify.


:)IF YOU ARE BORED WITH LITTLE TO DO:)

My Story - Simon -V- The (SH)Abbey - :!:WON / 19 November 2007:!:

 

SKY TV and the penalty charge - how far will it go?

 

Me V Its4me and Close Premium Finance:!:WON / 28 November 2007:!:

 

IF I CAN HELP, I WILL, IF I DO, THEN PLEASE CLICK ON THE SCALES ON THE LEFT

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Under the pre-April 2008 scheme, HB is calculated based upon a Rent Officer Decision.

 

When you originally applied for HB, the Council referred your rent to the Rent Officer (who is independent of the Council). The Rent Officer would then have determined the maximum rent level for your HB. This rent level would stand for 52 weeks. Every year, around the anniversary of your claim, the Council would refer your rent again to the Rent Officer who would set a new maximum rent level. Some years it might go up, some it might go down, some it might stay the same. If you have a rent increase in between the Rent Officer decisions, the existing decision stands and your HB could not be considered for an increase until the next time it is due to be referred to the Rent Officer

 

In April 2008, the government changed the rules, so instead of referring individual rents to the Rent Officer, there would be set maximum rent levels these are called "Local Housing Allowance" rates.

 

The new LHA rules only applied to new HB claims, or where there had been a change of address. Existing claims would stay under the old Rent Officer rules.

 

In some cases, LHA rates are more generous than RO rates. In others, RO rates are more generous than LHA rates. So I can understand why your landlord wants to do this.

 

The HB rules do not allow RO awards to transfer to LHA awards on request. The only way to change over is either to: -

 

  1. move address; or
  2. end your current claim, have a break, make a new claim

You should also be aware that if you migrate to an LHA award, you will lose the ability to choose who HB is paid to.

 

 

  • Under the RO rules you can choose to have HB paid to yourself or your landlord.
  • Under the LHA rules, you lose the choice, and HB will normally be paid directly to you who would then have to make arrangements for paying your landlord


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What size is your property?


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It is a 2 bedroom 3fd floor flat.


:)IF YOU ARE BORED WITH LITTLE TO DO:)

My Story - Simon -V- The (SH)Abbey - :!:WON / 19 November 2007:!:

 

SKY TV and the penalty charge - how far will it go?

 

Me V Its4me and Close Premium Finance:!:WON / 28 November 2007:!:

 

IF I CAN HELP, I WILL, IF I DO, THEN PLEASE CLICK ON THE SCALES ON THE LEFT

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So when the rent up in 2011 in June because the anniversary was in September, they wouldn't consider the increase until the anniversary and that is why I had to pay it? Is that right?

 

If so then would that likely follow with this increase, £10 a week I would need to pay until the anniversary date in September 2013? The increase back in 2011 was the first increase in six years to be fair on him, it went from £85 to £95 a week, so I was surprised when they said they wouldn't pay it. My Mam is in a housing association property and they pay her increases each year without a fuss (she has been there for 13 years), which confused me even more. I guess now that this is because it is a HA property then?

 

thanks for your help:-D


:)IF YOU ARE BORED WITH LITTLE TO DO:)

My Story - Simon -V- The (SH)Abbey - :!:WON / 19 November 2007:!:

 

SKY TV and the penalty charge - how far will it go?

 

Me V Its4me and Close Premium Finance:!:WON / 28 November 2007:!:

 

IF I CAN HELP, I WILL, IF I DO, THEN PLEASE CLICK ON THE SCALES ON THE LEFT

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the reason i asked about size of property is that there is a way to trigger an early RO decision if you have a spare room, are you living on your own?

 

the method to trigger early RO decision is to: -

 

  1. have a friend/relative (preferable under 25 and on a passported benefit) move in at same time as rent increase
  2. request Council refer to RO for 2 bedroom rate
  3. have friend/relative move out after 1 week
  4. request Council refer to RO for new 1 bedroom rate base

if you have a partner living with you, it is possible to transfer from RO to LHA without taking a break in claim as follows:

 

  1. you notify the Council you wish to terminate your HB award from the following Sunday
  2. your partner makes HB claim in her or his name at the same time stating she or he wishes to claim from following Monday

  • Confused 1

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So when the rent up in 2011 in June because the anniversary was in September, they wouldn't consider the increase until the anniversary and that is why I had to pay it? Is that right?

 

That is correct

 

If so then would that likely follow with this increase, £10 a week I would need to pay until the anniversary date in September 2013? The increase back in 2011 was the first increase in six years to be fair on him, it went from £85 to £95 a week, so I was surprised when they said they wouldn't pay it. My Mam is in a housing association property and they pay her increases each year without a fuss (she has been there for 13 years), which confused me even more. I guess now that this is because it is a HA property then?

 

As things stand, if your landlord increases your rent, you could be left making up the shortfall until next September.

 

The RO and LHA anniversary rules only apply to private tenancies.

 

HA rents fall under totally different rent control rules.


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I have to say I wish the LA letter about the last increase not being paid had been as easy to get my head round as your esplanations on here, so thanks again for your help, I do appreciate it.

 

So I could end my claim to HB and the wife claim LHA from the next day, even though she is on the current claim? Our tenancy is in joint names and so is the current HB claim?


:)IF YOU ARE BORED WITH LITTLE TO DO:)

My Story - Simon -V- The (SH)Abbey - :!:WON / 19 November 2007:!:

 

SKY TV and the penalty charge - how far will it go?

 

Me V Its4me and Close Premium Finance:!:WON / 28 November 2007:!:

 

IF I CAN HELP, I WILL, IF I DO, THEN PLEASE CLICK ON THE SCALES ON THE LEFT

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So I could end my claim to HB and the wife claim LHA from the next day, even though she is on the current claim? Our tenancy is in joint names and so is the current HB claim?

 

Yes, you can. That would allow you to go onto LHA at the new rate without having a break in entitlement. Make sure you align the change in claimant with the rent increase.

 

Do you have an effective date for the rent increase?

 

HB awards normally start on Mondays and end on Sundays.

 

If the rent increases on a Monday, you will want to end your award the day before, and have your wife claim from the Monday.

 

If the rent increases on any day other than a Monday, you will want to end your award the Sunday of that week, and have your wife claim from the Monday after the rent increase.

 

To minimise risk of loss of any benefit, your wife will need to submit her claim before the termination.


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He has agreed to allign the change with the end of my 4 week benefit run on which ends on Sunday 13 January 2013.

 

So I need to get him to start the new agreement from Monday 14 January 2013, along with the increased rent, is that right?

 

I have just checked back to last time and it was 2010 not 2011, it didn't seem that long ago but there we are. How time seems to fly by nowadays!

 

So I will then need to get a new LHA form as oppose to the HB change of circs they sent out, get it filled in and all the info submitted asap to get the claim done in time. 4weeks for a LA to process a claim is asking a lot especially our LA, they are always weeks in arrears with claims. Well I guess he will just have to wait for his rent then until its sorted because I certainly can't afford to pay it when just starting out with my new venture. I don't even expect to make any money for at least 3 months.

 

A final stumbling block to the masterplan........

If the claim is in my wifes name, with me as partner, can the payments be made direct to my bank account? Or does it have to go into hers?

 

Thanks again


:)IF YOU ARE BORED WITH LITTLE TO DO:)

My Story - Simon -V- The (SH)Abbey - :!:WON / 19 November 2007:!:

 

SKY TV and the penalty charge - how far will it go?

 

Me V Its4me and Close Premium Finance:!:WON / 28 November 2007:!:

 

IF I CAN HELP, I WILL, IF I DO, THEN PLEASE CLICK ON THE SCALES ON THE LEFT

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It will normally be paid to the claimant, however she could request payments be made into your bank account, i think most Councils would be okay with that, though can't guarantee.

 

I would advise that you also submit a letter with your wife's claim explaining that you do want to terminate your award on 13 January and that your wife wishes to claim with effect from 14 January.


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Thank you very much for your advice with this, I think that this is more likely to be the route I will take. I don't see the point in having to pay £105 or £10 a week until next September for the privelage of staying on the HB system.

 

I do not like the way my landlord has gone about this and still think it is morally wrong but that is for his conscience not mine. I wish I could afford to move to be honest but just setting up a business and trying hard to make it work, it's not an option. I will be organising an appointment with my LA as soon as I can, due to a family bereavement over the weekend it has slowed plans down but I have a week or two to get it sorted.


:)IF YOU ARE BORED WITH LITTLE TO DO:)

My Story - Simon -V- The (SH)Abbey - :!:WON / 19 November 2007:!:

 

SKY TV and the penalty charge - how far will it go?

 

Me V Its4me and Close Premium Finance:!:WON / 28 November 2007:!:

 

IF I CAN HELP, I WILL, IF I DO, THEN PLEASE CLICK ON THE SCALES ON THE LEFT

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if you have any problems changing claim over, let us know


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