sharing Information with a landlord

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  • #34090
    Andy Shanks
    Participant

    Quick question
    We are paying LHA to claimant, the landlord rings and asks if benefit is being paid for their tenant [many reasons why this may happen but most likely is the claimant is not paying the rent even though getting LHA] what can we tell the landlord?

    Will we need a sharing information with landlord type form?

    This has probably been covered before but it was a question raised at a landlord forum we held and it has got me thinking exactly what we can and can’t tell the landlord [if anything] without the permission of the claimant

    #95310
    Julian Hobson
    Participant

    If the call generally goes like this (now)

    L/L. is mr A getting HB

    US. Can’t tell you I’m afraid

    L/L. If they are, they are not paying rent with it.

    US. Can’t tell you anything but if you write to us setting out any rent arrear then we will look at your letter and decide whether there is anything we can or should do. This is the response I would give even were no claim has been made, so you should not conclude from my advice that we have received a claim, or that we are paying your tenant anything at all.

    I can’t see any difference really between the current position and the post April position.

    #49137
    Anonymous
    Guest

    You can only tell the landlord information when the landlord is an affected person.
    In your example I do not think this would be the case. If the landlord wished to know such information the tenant would have to agree with this being disclosed.
    No difference between now and then. 8)

    Posted at same time as Julian

    #95311
    Anonymous
    Guest

    When the issue is raised, I’ve been using similar wording to Julian in my current LHA training. And then asking my delegates what they do [i:9e7219a3fc]now[/i:9e7219a3fc]. Cue deafening silence…

    #95312
    Anonymous
    Guest

    You raise an interesting point, Andy.
    If landlords are no longer an ‘affected’ person ( never did like that terminology) because payments are going direct to the tenant then they will not know who is or isn’t getting LHA Presumably, as Julian alludes to in his response, landlords might send in arrears details of all their tenants on the off-chance that some might be receiving LHA.If that is the case then LAs can expect quite a lot of information not relevant to them but highly sensitive nonetheless and warranting strict data protection security.Not to mention the risk to landlords of legal challenge from non benefit recipients for disclosing such info to a third party.
    Not a new issue but certainly one which will feature on a much bigger scale now that the ‘choice’ of tenants to pay landlords direct (and we all know that in many cases it wasn’t really a choice but an unwritten condition of the tenancy) has been removed.

    #95313
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Mmmm! You have me thinking – we currently issue a form to those wanting to share certain info with their landlords. Come LHA, even if the tenant has completed one, do we or don’t we divulge the info to the landlord that the tenant has agreed we can do ❓ ?

    #95314
    Julian Hobson
    Participant

    I’m pleased that most seem to accept the general thrust of what I’ve said. It does leave us with a bit of a difficulty though.

    Lets assume we get a letter from the L/L we might be able to look at “Difficulty/unlikely/8 weeks” in cases where we have a claim (in payment or otherwise) and the L/L will become a person affected at the point we make a decision. For the period in between the L/L’s letter and our decision they won’t be a person affected AND we will have no real authority to candidly “discuss” anything with them. I suppose there is no real difference between now and LHA as we are faced with this in arrear cases now.

    In the “other” cases where we hold nothing can we tell a L/L that we hold nothing? I think we can given that we have no duty to, or relationship with the Landlords tenant. We are not disclosing any information we hold about that person. If that is the case could we not tell them when they make the first call.

    There is however a grey area in cases where someone was getting HB and has now stopped. Would these be the same as the “other” cases OR do you think we can/should divulge that they are known to us and were in receipt ?

    #95315
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I think we may be getting (in the future) a lot of letters signed by tenants giving us authority to disclose to their landlords.
    It is probable (I think) that an increase of these letters will be received (in the same way as I have this strange feeling that many contractual rents will “rise” towards LHA levels).
    If we do not feel that any co-ercian has taken place I have no problem with revealing information to the landlord in these cases. 8)

    #95316
    Julian Hobson
    Participant

    I agree jon and on the LHA level in rent increases, you can guarantee that the level will be based on rooms in the property and not the household wanting to rent. Contractual rents will therefore in most cases exceed the LHA level.

    Landlords won’t (for the most part) be agreeing contractual rents based on household size unless they are canny. They might also expect to be able to increase the contractual rent without questuion when a coc means the lha rate changes (they certainly suggested it at forums here)

    Will we need to look at the “legality” of rent increases in such cases, the old scheme didn’t really warrent this level of intervention.

    #49144
    peterdelamothe
    Keymaster

    Deputy Commissioner Mark somewhat ridiculed this “person affected” line in CH/180/2006. Request has to be in writing though, not on telephone.

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