After all, with so many other landlords vying for tenants’ attention, finding the perfect people to fill your empty rooms can be a challenge.
There’s no shortage of DSS tenants though! Because so many landlords are hesitant to hostthem, these guys and gals are often desperate for a place to stay. Advertise aroom and you’ll be inundated with interest.
Nevertheless, that landlord reluctance we justmentioned isn’t unfounded. Stories of trashed properties and rent-relatedissues abound, which is why it’s crucial to understand the risks and rewards before promoting your HMO to DSStenants.
Are you trying to do exactly that? Check out thisreview of the pros and cons of benefit tenants to find all the answers youneed.
Advantages of Benefit Tenants
Many HMO landlords say no to DSS tenants withoutconsidering the, err…benefits. Aside from the high demand for rooms, though,there are a number of other compelling reasons to accept people who rely ongovernment housing assistance. Here are a few of the main ones:
It’s Guaranteed Income
Finding reliable tenants who pay their rent on time,every time, is no mean feat. Some people forget to pay on time; others ‘forget’to pay at all. Either way, you’re left chasing them up in order to access yourincome and avoid unwanted financial issues.
That all changes when you have tenants on housingbenefit. Their rent gets paid by the DSS, which translates to guaranteed cashflow. You can sit back and relax as the money comes in each month.
You Can Expect Longer Leases
Tenant retention rates are another major bug-bear formost HMO landlords. People move in and move on with exceptional frequency thesedays, which means you’ve always got an unoccupied room (or two) to fill.Stress, financial uncertainty, and unhelpful amounts of extra work are just afew of the knock-on effects that occur in the process.
By comparison, DSS tenants tend to seek much longerleases. Reluctant to go through the hassle of finding somewhere to live again,they choose to stay in one place and enjoy their newfound stability. As aresult, the constant search for new tenants can cease, leading to less work onyour part, constant income, and easier management all-around.
Bad Apples Are Everywhere
Last but not least, it’s worth remembering that beingon benefits doesn’t mean you’re a bad person who’s guaranteed to cause troubleof one form or another. Far from it! Many HMO landlords happily accept benefittenants and experience no issues at all.
Furthermore, bad apples exist in all walks of life andevery echelon of society. You could fill your home with high-earning corporatesorts who still default on their rental obligations and disturb the neighbours!In other words, you could have a blanket rule against people on housing benefitand still end up with a tenant fromhell. Even worse, you’d find it harder to fill your empty rooms in the firstplace.
Disadvantages of DSS Tenants
Needless to say, taking on benefit tenants isn’t all hunky-dory. If it was, then every HMO landlord would do it and the demand for social housing wouldn’t be so high! The reality is that a number of challenge scan arise for anyone who takes this path. Here are the primary disadvantages of DSS tenants to know about:
Rent’s Paid Indirectly
One potential problem pertains to how this type of rentgets paid. In most cases, councils won’t pay rent to a landlord directly. Moneygoes to the tenant instead, who’s then supposed to pass it on. You could, intheory, get unlucky and get an unscrupulous tenant who keeps the cash instead.
On a similar note, some landlords struggle with when councils pay rent as well. Ratherthan doing it on a set date every month, it’s often distributed every 30 days. That means you could bepaid rent twice in one month, which can complicate bookkeeping and cash-flowmanagement.
There Can Be a Shortfall
Then there’s the potential shortfall to think about. Basically, benefit tenants are unlikely to have their entire monthly rent paid by the council. The vast majority of it will be covered, but they’re left to pay the balance themselves.
This isn’t a problem most of the time. However, it might not be possible for people in dire financial straits, which would leave you out of pocket.
Another complaint of some private landlords relates to the level of bureaucracy involved when working with councils. Getting the ball rolling could involve standing in line, interacting with unenthusiastic employees, and completing endless piles of paperwork.
Likewise, the local authority sets the rules,processes, and policies that are involved. The result? They can vary dependingon where you are in the country! This lack of uniformity can muddy the watersand make it hard to understand your obligations.
Remember thePros and Cons of Benefit Tenants
The prevailing stereotype of benefit tenants meansthey’re rarely a go-to choice for HMO landlords. Given the numerous advantagesthey bring to the table, though, it might be time for that to change!
Have you been contemplating the possibility of renting your rooms to DSS tenants? Well, we hope the pros and cons in this post have helped with your deliberations. Keep them in mind and you should be a step closer to making an informed decision that’s right for you.
Are you struggling to find tenants for your HMO property? Well, as room rental marketing experts, our professional service can help. We’ll promote your property in all the right places and conduct soft references of prospective tenants to ensure you get the best possible people through the door. Get in touch today to find out more.