Quite often the amount of rent paid from the local authority will vary over time in line with the tenant's personal and financial circumstances.
The options, outlined in detail below, are to either disable the old schedules and create new ones each time a change occurs, or let the schedules continue to apply the originally-defined rent amounts and modify these rent charges manually each period. The first is a more logical approach, but the second works equally fine. Both are explained below.
It's also most likely that the value of the first benefit payment will not be known until several weeks after the tenancy has commenced, and this is dealt with differently from agency to agency.
Dealing with rent until the benefit amount is known
The most common way to deal with an unknown benefit contribution at the outset of a tenancy is to mark all rent as being due from the tenant, and then adjust the tenant/benefit breakdown once notification of the benefit value has been received from the local authority.
- If a tenant has already paid a considerable amount of money towards the disproportionately large month's rent, this receipt may be removed and stored as a payment on account or overpayment credit on the tenant's account for allocation to rent as the tenancy progresses. However, this will mean the money cannot be paid to the landlord as it would not yet be treated as rent income, and management fees could not be applied for the same reason. Indeed, any management fees applied on the initial receipt would no longer be valid and would need removed.
The next option below would be more preferable, especially if the rental income has already been paid out, and management fees already settled.
- In order to avoid any impact on the rent income collected and the associated management fees applied to date, it will be preferable to apply tenant rent for other periods in advance, by advancing the tenant rent schedule as far as necessary to absorb the payment made to date. On the tenant rent schedule, click Apply Now until adequate rent has been applied.
- If the tenant has overpaid, but it is likely that the overpayment may be required in future, it is possible to create a manual "dummy" placeholder rent, e.g. labelled "Rent overpayment pot" to which the payment can be allocated and either redistributed to actual rent as it occurs during the tenancy, or repaid to the tenant at the very end.
Amend the schedule(s) from a certain date onwards
The active rent schedules will apply the defined amount of benefit and tenant rent each period until either the specified end date, or the end of the tenancy. By default, schedules will run until the tenancy ends.
If the date on which the change in the benefit contribution is known in advance, you can specify the day previous to the change as the end date for the current schedule ahead of time, and create the new schedule to start on the next rent date.
It's more likely, though, that this change will only be informed afterwards, and this will involve deactivating the current schedule and deleting the most recent rents which will have been applied at the incorrect values.
- From the list rent schedules page, click each schedule which needs modified in turn.
- On the rent schedule page, click Options > Deactivate to stop any more rent being applied. You will be prompted to confirm deactivation.
If the change is being recorded in advance, choose Options > Change End Date instead.
- On the main list rent page, inactive (deactivated) schedules are hidden by default, but can be shown by changing the rent schedule status filter.
- Create new rent schedules for each of the tenant and benefit values which are changing.
If payments have already been received against these rents, you may need to transfer the receipts to other (probably the new) rent charges, so you may need to create the new schedules first, then transfer the receipts, and finally remove the old charges.
Modifying individual rent charges
To modify, or indeed delete, existing rent charges, follow the steps in the articles below.