Tenant lost job - please advise!

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Our tenant, who came over from Poland last year and had an employment contract via an agency, has just lost his job. He has a wife and 2 children and I have an AST with him and his wife for a 6 month fixed term from 3rd October 2008.

Apparently he has applied for benefits including housing benefit, but does not know how long this will take to come through (it also appears that he is having additional problems with this due to him coming to work/live in the UK from Poland.) He has been in touch with the local citizen's advice bureau so we presume he is doing all he can in this respect. Obviously we realise it will vary for different authorities, but any advice on how much housing benefit is paid would be much appreciated (i.e. does it have any relation to how much rent is being paid as per the AST? The property is a 2 bed flat.)

They have been good tenants to date, always paying the rent on time and looking after the property. The were however not able to pay the rent on the day it was due this month on Tuesday 3rd February 2009 (it transpires he was away from home until the weekend, trying to secure another job.) We have therefore only been able to collect the rent today (Sunday 8th February,) and have therefore only just found out about his job situation today. Presumably, even if we wanted to serve notice on him (we would prefer to find out if he is able to pay the rent first) then it is now too late to do this?

Our tenant recently also let us know that he has applied to be on the local council's housing scheme (late last year,) along with another local housing scheme. Having contacted the two organisations for further information, it would seem that there is a very long waiting list for both.

Obviously we are concerned, and although we certainly would not like to see our tenants out of a home, we do also need to protect ourselves. This is a new situation for us and one we have not experienced before - any advice would be much appreciated!

08/02/2009 00:00

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