Landlords may have their tenant's Housing Benefit paid direct to them, provided the tenant agrees and subject to Local Housing Allowance. However, you should be aware that doing this does give you certain duties, such as notifying the Council if you become aware of a change in your tenant's circumstances, and the possibility of having to repay any overpayments of Housing Benefit which may arise. (See 'Overpayments'). In this respect, you will need to complete a payment mandate, which both you and the tenant must sign, in which you undertake to fulfil these duties. You can also request that Housing Benefit is paid direct to you where your tenant is more than eight weeks in arrears with their rent payments.

Once you and the tenant have signed the payment mandate, you will receive notification from the Council of the amount of Housing Benefit which the tenant has been awarded. This can vary from time to time depending on their circumstances, and may not meet their full contractual rent liability. In this situation, the tenant is responsible for making up any shortfall between the Housing Benefit and their contractual rent. Housing Benefit does not pay for deposits, and is only payable whilst the tenant uses the property as their home.

Payments are normally made at intervals of four weeks, in arrears. Thus there are 13 payments in a calendar year, so each four-weekly payment will not equate exactly to a month's rent.

As a landlord, you have limited appeal rights. You cannot appeal against the level of the Housing Benefit award (even if it is 'Nil'), only the tenant can do this. You are able to appeal against the amount of an overpayment, the Council's decision to pay or not to pay the Housing benefit direct to you, and the decision to recover an overpayment from you. (See 'Appeals')

The Rent Service is responsible for providing the Council with Local Reference Rents for properties where a claim for Housing Benefit is being made. This will be the figure on which the entitlement is based, and in many cases will be different to the contractual rent. So that up to date figures can be provided,  The Rent Service continually monitors the local rental market. The greater the range of sources, types of properties and geographical spread, the more comprehensive the data used to determine the LRR's. Collecting and compiling the list of rents reflective of the private rental sector represents a significant piece of independently researched market information. As a landlord or agent, you have the opportunity to contribute towards this research by providing The Rent Service with examples of your recent lettings, giving basic details about the property and the rental level achieved. Details of how to send the information can be found on The Rent Service website at the link to the right, under 'Lettings Research'. 

If your tenant is subject to Local Housing Allowance then their Housing Benefit will be paid direct to them. However, to protect vulnerable tenants and reassure their landlords, the Council will have a discretion to pay the landlord. A 'Safeguard Policy' has been set by the Council which sets out the guidelines within which decisions on this will be made.

See also the link on the right to Local Housing Allowance for information. For more information on LHA, please email or telephone 01424 787000.

Powered by GOSS iCM