Local Housing Allowance arrangements set the maximum amount of Housing Benefit that can be awarded to a household based on the size of property (i.e. the number of bedrooms) they need. The rates are set locally and are published by local authorities. If the amount of rent you charge is higher than the local housing allowance entitlement of the household renting your property, they will be responsible for paying the difference.
Landlords - Rents and Bonds
How much rent can I charge?
The amount of rent you charge is up to you but it should be reasonable, based on the size and condition of the property. Remember that if it is not in line with rents being charged for similar properties in the area you are unlikely to attract a tenant.
As a guide, look at the Local Housing Allowance rates for Cardiff to find out how much Housing Benefit could be paid to qualifying tenants.
Will Housing Benefit be paid direct to me?
Housing Benefit is generally paid direct to the tenant who is then responsible for paying the rent. However in certain circumstances, for instance if there are substantial rent arrears or if the tenant is likely to have difficulty in managing their financial affairs, payment may be made direct to the landlord. Visit the Cardiff Council website for more information or contact Cardiff Council's Landlord Liaison Team on 029 2053 7292 or via Landlords@cardiff.gov.uk.
Can I keep the bond myself until the tenant moves on?
Since 6th April 2007 it has been a legal requirement for deposits taken by landlords or letting agents for assured shorthold tenancies to be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. The legislation covers virtually all new assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales. Deposits taken in the following circumstances do not need to be registered as they can not be Assured Shorthold Tenancies :
- resident landlords (those living in the property)
- landlords of tenancies with rent of over £100,000 a year
- company lets
- student accommodation let directly by universities or colleges
The legislation initially required the protection to be arranged by the landlord within 14 calendar days of receipt of the deposit, but this was amended to 30 calendar days from 6th April 2012.
There are three deposit protection schemes available, two of which are insurance-based and which allow the landlord to keep the deposit as long as they pay a premium to the scheme, and one custodial scheme which holds the bond on behalf of the landlord (free of charge) until the end of the tenancy.
Remember: You must give the tenant details about how their deposit has been protected. Failure to protect a bond/deposit can result in penalties and may also mean that you are unable to gain possession of your property at the end of the tenancy.
For more information about tenancy deposit protection visit Directgov.
What if my tenant is struggling to manage?
Support can be provided to help people who are having difficulties with tenancy-related issues. Tenants in this situation should be advised to contact the Council's Housing Advice Unit, or another professional such as their GP, to ask to be referred to the Tenant Support Scheme. Support and advice regarding a range of issues such as budgeting/debts, benefit claims and mental health/counselling can be provided.