Landlords - Rents and Bonds

How much rent can I charge?

This is up to you, however if it is not in line with rents being charged for similar properties in the area you are unlikely to attract a tenant.

If your tenant is receiving benefits to cover the costs of housing, then these will be capped, (and not necessarily at the rent you charge).  

Click here to find the current benefit levels for Swansea. 

How much Local Housing Allowance will my tenants receive?

Please click here for the current, maximum LHA rates payable in Swansea.  Remember your tenant may not receive this amount in full for example if they are working. 

The benefit is paid by default to the tenant, however, in some circumstances you can arrange for the benefit to be paid direct to you.  If the amount of rent you charge is higher than the local housing allowance entitlement, the tenant will be responsible for paying the difference.

Click here for details on how to contact the Swansea benefit section.

Will Housing Benefit (Local Housing Allowance) be paid direct to me?

If you are owed more than 8 weeks of rent, the LHA must be paid directly to you.  In some other circumstances we can still pay direct to landlords.  To find out if it applies to you please visit the Swansea Council website for more information or contact Swansea Council's Housing Benefit Team on 01792 635353 or by email.

Since April 2011 landlords can also ask for benefit payments to be paid direct if a rent is decreased to the LHA levels, and it will 'save or secure' a tenancy. 

Alternatively you could contact the Tackling Homelessness Through Financial Inclusion team at the Wales Cooperative Centre to find out if a Credit Union Rent account could be a solution for you and your tenant.

Credit Union rent accounts 'ring fence' money for important bills such as rent and will pass any benefits to cover housing costs direct to the landlord.  The tenant will not be able to withdraw the housing benefit to spend on anything else and the money will not be used to cover overdrafts or other bank charges (although there is nothing preventing the tenant from closing this account and using a regular bank account which would make this access possible). 

Can I keep the bond myself until the tenant moves on?

Since 6th April 2007 all cash bonds must protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme.

For more information about tenancy deposit protection visit Gov.UK.

You must give the tenant details about how their deposit has been protected within 30 days of receiving it.

Failing to protect a bond/deposit can result in court action and you will have to repay the bond and possibly a fine of up to 3 times the amount of the bond.

It can also mean that you may not be able to gain possession of property at the end of the tenancy, even if you pay the bond into an approved scheme after the initial 30 days.

You may have heard about a recent court case in June 2013 (Superstrike Ltd v Marino Rodrigues).  This has implications for landlords about notifying the tenant when an AST expires and / or is renewed (even if you have told your tenant how  the bond is protected in the past). 

This guidance for landlords may help you if you think your are affected by the judgement. 

What if my tenant is struggling to manage?

The sooner you let someone know, the more likely they are to resolve the difficulties. 

If your tenants need some help and support they should contact the Tenancy Support Unit or Housing Options, to ask to be referred to the Tenant Support Unit.

They can help with a range of issues such as budgeting, dealing with debts and benefit claims.

If your tenant is struggling to budget and manage their money, contact the Tackling Homelessness Through Financial Inclusion team at the Wales Cooperative Centre to find out if a Credit Union Rent account (such as the one mentioned already) could help.