How to let your properties to Housing Benefit tenants

How to let your properties to Housing Benefit tenants

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A lot of landlords are against housing benefit tenants for a variety of reasons but are they justified or just missing out on a valuable source of rental income? But others will think of Housing Benefit as practically guaranteed rent, at least where the council is paying the landlord or agent direct. They can be a good source of revenue and you are less likely to suffer absconding tenants if you follow a few simple guidelines.

 

Presenting a property in good order is more likely to attract tenants who would like to keep it that way. Poorly presented properties are more likely to be treated poorly by its occupant - why should they care if you don’t?

Making sure that everything is in good order, clean and tidy, neutral décor and make sure that you arrange for any works that are needed to rectify problems. With Key-Data Gold property management software you have a full service call management feature which enables you to report, track and instruct contractors to ensure works are completed with due diligence and on time. You will be the letting agent that gains the reputation of providing good, affordable accommodation that is well looked after. Your tenant will be more likely to look after the property well, and report any issues that do arise to you as soon as they occur, particularly if they know you are going to respond and fix them quickly.

Once the tenancy starts, make sure you carry out regular property inspections so that you keep on top of issues that arise, where a tenant is slightly lax in reporting a problem to you themselves. Our easy to use property management software will prompt you, at a date of your choosing, and as often as you choose, to carry out regular inspections on a property so that those little niggles like a dripping tap don’t develop into a major leak, requiring an emergency call out and major cost to your landlord. Your tenant won’t mind you checking the property on their behalf and your landlord will be grateful that you are looking after their property for them and keeping it in good order. Once your inspection has been carried out you can record the details and keep a history of previously reported problems so that you can refer back, ensuring that problems don’t escalate or become ignored.

Marketing properties on the most recognised portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla, Gumtree and then specialist sites such as www.letshelpyou.co.uk will ensure that you attract a large number of applicants, enabling you to select the right tenant for you and your landlord. Sending your properties to the portals has never been easier, with fully automated uploading provided by our property management system, meaning you don’t have to spend your time manually updating every site each time the details of a property change, or a property is marked as let or unlet. If you end a tenancy on our system then you will be asked if you want to market the property, and if you start a new tenancy you will be asked if you want to stop marketing and then your very next upload will update all the portals, automatically.

When you have someone who is interested in viewing the property, you can utilise the office diary to record that viewing. You can then send them an sms message nearer the time to remind them the viewing details, ensuring that you don’t have a wasted visit with someone not turning up at the right date/time. You can then also record all their viewing feedback to the landlord, enabling you to get a good picture of the applicant’s requirements and wishes, but also so that if a property is not being let, you have a note for the landlord that perhaps the garden needs tidying, or the property cleaned, to make it more presentable and let more quickly. When you register an applicant you can confirm whether they are DSS, or if they have a pet, whether they smoke, this means that you can more accurately ensure that they are seeing properties that match their requirements.

Now that the interested party has found the property they like, you need to find out if they are going to make good and reliable tenants for your landlord. Referencing is a must, whether you do this yourself by writing to the relevant parties, ie their previous landlord or by using a referencing agency, and you may want to consider putting a guarantor in place. All documentation for the necessary checks, and guarantor letters and agreements can be produced from our system with a full pre-tenancy check list so that you don’t miss something vital prior to moving in date.

Once the deal is agreed, and your tenant has confirmation of their Housing Benefit payment amount, they will know whether they are going to have to pay a top-up to the rent. Key-Data has a very sophisticated mechanism for dealing with housing benefit, with a tenant top up or without, and you can re-calculate the ‘splits’ at any point where the payment from the council alters. That way you will always know exactly who has paid what and what arrears exist if any, and whether they are owed by the council or the tenant themselves. Once referencing is all clear, you can produce the full tenancy agreement, receive money on account, record a holding deposit, and ensure all necessary paperwork has been returned ready for the moving in date.

Now you can look forward to the tenancy proceeding with a happy and reliable tenant and a happy and grateful landlord.

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