landlord direct payments – change by landlord to tenancy agreements

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    Good morning everyone.

    We have a difficult agent who has now changed the tenancy agreements that they give the tenanats. the chage is as follows;

    7 Housing Benefit

    7.1 The Tenant authorises the Local Authority or The Rent Service to discuss with the Landlord and the Landlord’s Agent the details of any Housing Benefit or Council Tax claims made at any time in relation to the renting of the Property.

    7.2 If the Landlord’s Agent so requires, the Tenant consents to any Housing Benefit being paid direct by the Local Authority to the Landlord or the Landlord’s Agent.

    7.3 The Tenant agrees to refund to the Landlord any Housing Benefit overpayment recovery which the Local Authority seeks from the Landlord in respect of this tenancy, either before or after the Tenant has vacated the Property where this creates a shortfall in the money owed to the Landlord

    Can anyone offer assistance as to what their stance on this would be. Would you see this as paying irect in order to secure the tenancy?. The tenant has already moved into the proeprty without any confirmation that the benefit will be paid direct to the agent and has no other reason for us to pay direct. Rent is considerably higher than LHA, no debts, no personal issues, etc.
    My initial feeling is that on principal we shouldn’t be paying direct but then logically think oh well what real difference does it make as the goalposts on who to pay seem to have opened up and it’s a lot easier to just pay direct to the agent. However i know that paying direct with this added to tenancies will open floodgates of other agents doing this.
    minefield really and getting fed up with arguements witht he agents about who to pay. :~

    Kevin D

    [quote=irenejoy]However i know that paying direct with this added to tenancies will open floodgates of other agents doing this.[/quote]

    In terms of making a mockery of the legislative intent, this wouldn’t be the first. For example, LLs deliberately create tenancies / agreements requiring payment 2 months in advance. That immediately puts tenants in arrears of 8 weeks+ and engages the direct payment mechanism.

    On this issue, nothing in the tenancy agreement can usurp benefits legislation. For that reason and quite possibly more generally, it’s arguable that such terms are not enforceable because HB is “inalienable” (see s.187 SSAA 1992).

    All the LA has to consider is the law relating to HB; not terms in a tenancy agreement (in this context). If you think paying the LL will help maintain the tenancy, it’s pay direct. Otherwise, it’s pay the clmt (assuming that none of the other direct payment provisions are engaged).

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