Terms and conditions of tenancy

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    Dealing with a current claim where within the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement it is stipulated that should the tenant at any time receive HB it must be paid direct to the landlord. This tenant would not be classed as vulnerable under the draft guidance and the accommodation occupied is not ‘supported’. How should such a claim be treated assuming it was made post April 08?


    In my view the law overrides anything that may be in a tenancy agreement.

    Foe example we recently had a LL on the phone complaining that we had made him liable for Ctax even though, as he said, “the tenancy agreements clearly state the tenants should be liable”.

    As my CTax mates pointed out the legislation overrides anything that a LL may want to happen.


    Another wheeze you’ll probably come across is landlords stipulating 8 weeks rent in advance, thus supposedly putting the tenant 8 weeks in “arrears” as soon as the tenancy starts. It doesn’t do any such thing.


    Pesky Landlords… 😉



    We already pay most of our tenants direct even without LHA. We had a landlord who was a real pain who threatened to put an 8 weeks in advance clause on tenancy agreements so we had to pay direct. We countered that the tenancy would be created to take advantage of the HB scheme and no HB would be paid – I don’t think we could have made that stick but the landlord backed down.

    I would be interested in your views of why such a clause does not instantly put a tenant 8 weeks in arrears. Is it a sham clause/not legally enforceable?


    Julian Hobson

    Looks like this has been anticipated:


    My view is that it can’t be rent arrears, I don’t think any court would accept it as arrears either.

    I think the courts would probably take the view that it was an unfair clause and possibly therefore not legally binding so as to create an arrear that would warrent the courts taking action.


    Some of these are a bit out of date though? For instance, Commissioner Jacobs in CH/3629/2006 allows suspension under 11(2)(a)(ii) where there is a doubt about payee not just entitlement.

    58. In cases where the customer is withholding rent due to a dispute, should we suspend payment?

    No. Prior to the implementation of the Decision and Appeals regulations 2001 HB Regulations provided for Local Authorities to suspend benefit where there was a tenant/landlord dispute. This was repealed in 2001 and the local authority can now only suspend where there is doubt over entitlement.

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