Fury as city council allows LHA tenants to run up arrears

A landlord has accused his city council of wasting taxpayers’ money by not doing more to claw back unpaid rent from people on housing benefits.



In a story that will be only too familiar to landlords everywhere with tenants in receipt of Local Housing Allowance, Oxford City Council’s policy is to wait until tenants are in arrears for eight weeks before taking action to pay the landlord directly.



The Oxford Mail has also revealed that the city council pays thousands of pounds in housing benefit to prisoners.  



Landlord Karim Easterbrook, who owns several properties in Oxford, said the city council was wasting taxpayers’ money by allowing people to essentially “pocket” the housing benefit.



He said: “They keep saying ‘sorry but the contract is between the landlord and the tenant’.

 

“And every time I reply ‘No, the contract is between the council and the taxpayer’.

 

According to government guidelines, unconvicted prisoners can claim housing benefit for up to 52 weeks. Convicted prisoners can get housing benefit for up to 13 weeks,.



Mr Easterbrook said: “When you think about the extent of the cuts sweeping the country, the fact they are paying housing benefit for someone who is effectively already getting bed and board is just ridiculous.”



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11-August-11General Lettings News