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  • LHA/Universal Credit

    Local Authority Relationships

    Happy New Year gang.

    My first post of 2019 and it's to ask a simple question.

    Do private landlords have a good relationship with the local authorities they work within.

    Over many years I have found trying to work with the LA near on impossible. It takes a long time to get through then they hide behind data protection and can't answer any questions.

    Don't they understand we are taking the pressure of the LA by providing housing to people who need it most.

    I'm in a queue now as we speak. Been called number one for 20 minutes. Haha.

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    Sadly in my experience LA Housing Depts are often staffed by people with absolutely no sense of either commercial expediency nor any empathy/understanding of their role in the wider issue of housing the poor.

    Until/unless their jobs become contingent on "making it happen" (a core facet of annual performance appraisals in private sector) their whole interface with outside world will remain fraught - with "customer base" experiencing severe frustration.

    No surprise that English Housing Survey 2017 flags a higher level of tenant satisfaction in private rather than social rentals.


     

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    Thanks for comments, all valuable.

    I also think they need to update their procedures which drive staff behaviour.

    I have problematic tenants with addiction problems. Their response is we can't talk to you.

    They fail to see if I evict my problem becomes theirs.

    Closer working relationships are needed to professional landlords and LA. (Let's save the UC conversation for now.....)


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    At some stage Govt will be forced to revert to paying LHA/HB direct to respective landlords - though meantime there will be many thousands of otherwise needless evictions in both social and private rental sectors.

    In Q4 of 2014 - 64% of all Possession Orders were initiated by social landlords...

    Discussions on Inside Housing forum show that social landlords are becoming increasingly averse to granting new tenancies to benefit claimants.

    Currently the majority of social housing is under control of Housing Assocs - many of whom are involved in new builds. Now that Govt Cap Subsidy for new builds has been cut to just 14% (was 75% back in 1990s) HAs need 86% commercial loans for new builds - and lenders often mandate that  rents across HA rental portfolio must be maintained at a specified level - failing which lender can reprice the loan book.

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    Social Housing is also taking a more commercial view pointpoint for running their business with senior appointments being made from outside the sector.

    This can be beneficial but can also cause so many more inefficienties. HOUSING is not the normal run of the mill business. Specially social housing.

    Private landlords, I guess, will take a similar stance or look to sell on their HB properties and reinvest.

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    Agreed - and the recent PRS tax hikes have already seen a loss of 130,000 rentals and an 80% drop in new investment in the sector.

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    As far as LHA claimants with addictions are concerned - the LA may well not be "bovvered" as they can adopt silo mentality and tell tenant that rent arrears constitute "intentional homelessness" which allows LA to effectively wash their hands of the issue - unless there are homeless dependent children involved.

    Of course with the cost of taking kids in to care being between £14k and £42k pa per child - one would hope that someone in the process would take a holistic view and seek to as you suggest putting proper processes in place to remove the silo mentality which is rife.

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    """"As far as LHA claimants with addictions are concerned - the LA may well not be "bovvered" as they can adopt silo mentality and tell tenant that rent arrears constitute "intentional homelessness" which allows LA to effectively wash their hands of the issue.....""""- up to a point, but much less so now the Homeless Reduction Act has come in.

    As council budgets have been cut and cut and cut thanks to central government funding reductions...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46443700

    - housing spend on average dropped by 48% since 2010 councils are, understandably, doing less and less.

    But it depends on circumstances: Some years ago I had a tenant leave, having agreed to a couple and young child move in.  I spoke with local housing department (& police..) to explain what I was planning to do (***) and they were remarkably understanding,, telling me silly couple, we won't rehouse them.

    *** What was I planning to do?  Well, as they'd been allowed in my previous tenant they had right of occupancy, were not trespassers.  I planned to go round, talk to them and tell them they had to go (polite, calm..).  To my surprise, even though mum & kid went into genuine floods of tears they kinda-understood, I said I'd give them an hour to clear off, departed very uncertain what I'd find, returned, place cleared, had locks changed.

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    From reading the Shelter summary of HRA - there is a major caveat that the homeless/imminently homeless person needs to cooperate with recommendations by LA - which given that they can bounce people in to PRS with capped/frozen LHA - may well mean a major change in location.

    Thousands of poorer households are being moved out of London/SE specifically due to LHA cap alone.

    HRA seems to mandate that LAs give advice in every case - but say the duty ceases after 56 days - or impliedly sooner if the person fails to take the advice (eg relocate to a cheaper location where LHA pays a far bigger portion of the rent).

    Impliedly if LA looks on Rightmove rentals and finds a LL willing to take the benefit claimant on a 12 month AST  and the claimant refuses that solitary offer of housing - then duty ceases under HRA.

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