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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33004
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I am a buy to let landlord who has a brother who is on incapacity

Customer Question

I am a buy to let landlord who has a brother who is on incapacity benefit as a result of mental illness. On December 23 of last year I agreed to let him live in one of my flats. Before doing this, however, I checked with the local council (London Borough of Redbridge) by phone whether he would be able to get housing benefit to claim his rent in view of the fact that he is a family member.

They told me that he would, so long as the property concerned had already been a rental property prior to his moving in. I confirmed it had.

The council sent me a form to give them my bank details, which I did on January 19.

I heard nothing from the council, so on February 7, I emailed them, reminded them of the form they had sent me which I had sent back on January 19 and asked if I would be receiving any rent. I received an automated response from the Council confirming receipt of my email and nothing else.

On February 17, still having received no response from the Council, I phoned them. They told me that rent would usually not be paid direct to me, but to my brother. However, in view of the fact that the rent was now more than 28 days' late they could make a direct payment to me if I wrote to them. Consequently, I sent them an email to that effect on February 17. Once again, received an automated response and nothing else and no payment.

Last Friday, February 21, I phoned them again. They stated that because my brother and I were both family, they would need us to complete a special form. They informed me that they had posted this form to me. However, it is now Friday, February 28 and I have received no such form so I am doubtful that it has every been sent.

Under these circumstances, do I have any legal recourse or do I simply have to suffer this?

Thanking you for your answer,
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare and I will do my best to help you
i am afraid that there is no action that you can take against the Council - not least because it is your brother's claim and not yours.
You and he can arrange to collect the form from the council directly which will be the swiftest way of doing this - but it needs to be requested on HIS behalf not yours
If there continues to be problems he can also access assistance form the service (ironically council run) here
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. How about if I had the necessary power of attorney?
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Frankly that would be unwise since you are also the Landlord - it could be seen as a conflict of interest

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