Direct payment of Housing Benefit
What to do if you have a tenant in rent arrears who receives or who has made a claim for Housing Benefit.
First, speak your tenant and try to agree payment terms.
If the tenant has financial difficulties they can call us on 01752 668000
If they remain in arrears of 8 weeks of more, contact us.
We must pay Housing Benefit directly to you as the landlord or agent unless we decide it is in your tenant’s overriding interests not to.
You will need to provide the following information:
- your full name, address and contact details
- your tenant’s full name and address
- weekly rent payable
- amount of arrears and period they cover
- date of any court action planned or started
- your bank details if you are not already receiving direct payments from us for any other tenant
If the arrears are not yet 8 weeks we can still consider paying Housing Benefit directly to a landlord where it is felt that it is in the tenant’s best interests:
- because of vulnerability issues and/or
- where it is considered there is a risk or likelihood that they will not pay the rent
If your tenant is receiving Universal Credit. Apply for a direct payment of rent on GOV.UK
Housing Benefit claim information and payment status
We can only share information about your tenant’s claim if they have given us their permission.
If we have your tenant's permission, we can only tell you if we have:
- received a claim and the date we received it
- made a decision on the claim we can tell you if they are entitled to Housing Benefit but if they are not we cannot give you reasons
- made a payment to your tenant we can tell you when the payment was made and the period it covers
- contacted your tenant asking for more information but we cannot tell you what we have asked for
Housing Benefit is a means tested benefit and your tenant may not be entitled to benefit that covers their rent in full.
If a tenant has left your property but you are still receiving payments, you must tell us as soon as possible to prevent overpayments.
If we make a decision on a claim and you disagree with it, as a landlord you have no right of appeal. This is because the decision is made on the tenant’s claim and it will be for them to appeal.
Sometimes a tenant may receive too much benefit.
If we decide that the landlord is responsible for causing the overpayment (for example, where a tenant has moved out), then we can recover the overpayment from the landlord.
We will first send an invoice and then if no payment is made, we would consider deductions from other benefit tenants.
We will write to you to let you know if this happens.