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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Birmingham City Council ordered to pay landlord more than £1,200

Birmingham City Council has been instructed to pay a private landlord £1,269.20 after mistakingly paying housing benefit directly to his tenant. 

The landlord was left out of pocket following the error, as the tenant, who had significant rent arrears, disappeared without passing the money on to her landlord. 

The woman, who has not been named, was in receipt of housing benefit to pay her rent up until July 2018 when the claim ended.

She then made a fresh claim in October last year and asked for the council to pay her benefit directly to her, which it agreed to do so, despite the fact that the tenant was in severe rent arrears. 

The law states that rent should be paid directly to a landlord if a tenant is in more than eight weeks' worth of rent arrears. 

The council apologised for the mistake but refused to pay the landlord the £1,269.20 owed, claiming that it 'cannot pay housing benefit twice'.

However, the Local Government Ombudsman ruled that the authority caused an 'injustice' and ordered it to compensate the landlord. 

The watchdog's report said: "The council has accepted it is at fault. It should have paid the housing benefit to Mr X’s (letting agent) company.

"The council is right; it cannot pay housing benefit twice and Ms T (tenant) should have paid her rent. However, this does not mean it has not caused injustice. It should remedy that injustice. If the council had acted correctly it would have paid Mr X £1,269.20 towards Ms T’s rent. Mr X has no ability to reclaim this from Ms T."

  • Neil Moores

    At last. Common sense

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    Why not name the tenant ?

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    Pity it's the council tax payer who will foot the bill and not the incompetent council pen pusher.

  • Suzanne Morgan

    Justice is sweet.

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    It should be made mandatory that the HB be paid to the landlord and not to the tenant. The HB entitlement may not be enough to pay the rent. If the tenant fails to top up the HB for eight or more weeks then the LL should be able to repossess the property.

    Paul Barrett

    Ever heard of 'clawback'!?
    Believe me while this regulation is still in force you would not wish to receive direct payment unless in the process of evicting.
    As for a timely eviction if Contractual rent isn't paid!!??
    What planet have you been living on!!??
    The idea that the PTB would make eviction easy for LL suffering from rent defaulting tenants is for the birds..
    They are currently working on making it even more difficult to evict!!
    What you suggest is simply far too sensible.
    There is simply no way what you suggest will ever come to pass.
    Indeed you should plan for eviction being made far more difficult to achieve.
    This is why many LL are refusing to take on DSS tenants.

     
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    Hi Paul
    In no way I have suggested that it is easy to repossess the property. I am rather suggesting how it should be.
    Letting out a property has become a frightening business and more so when any government institutions are involved. The government is bent upon making PRS a fruitless business as they did with holding Railtrack and British Energy Shares more than a decade ago. The government may push it to the extent that an accidental LL would shudder to hold a BTL property. I am planning to quit once my mortgage tied up period is over unless the government reverses its anti PRS policies , which is unlikely

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    Hi Paul
    In no way I have suggested that it is easy to repossess the property. I am rather suggesting how it should be.
    Letting out a property has become a frightening business and more so when any government institutions are involved. The government is bent upon making PRS a fruitless business as they did with holding Railtrack and British Energy Shares more than a decade ago. The government may push it to the extent that an accidental LL would shudder to hold a BTL property. I am planning to quit once my mortgage tied up period is over unless the government reverses its anti PRS policies , which is unlikely

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