If you have a tenant who is in receipt of, or has claimed, Housing Benefit and who is in rent arrears, in the first instance you should speak directly to your tenant and try to agree payment terms. If your tenant is experiencing financial difficulties you should advise them to contact Customer Service on 01752 668000 or at First Stop, New George Street, Plymouth.
If, after having spoken to your tenant, they remain in arrears of 8 weeks of more, you should contact us by filling in an online contact form. We must pay Housing Benefit directly to you as the landlord or agent in this situation unless we decide it is in your tenant’s overriding interests not to pay you. You will need to provide the following information when you contact us:
- 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 due to 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 you should apply for a direct payment of rent directly to Universal Credit online at gov.uk
Tenant Housing Benefit claim information and payment status
As a landlord we can only share information about your tenant’s claim if they have given us their permission. We can only tell you:
- If we have received a claim and the date we received it;
- If we have 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;
- If we have made a payment to your tenant we can tell you when the payment was made and the period it covers;
- If we have 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 can do this by either making deductions from payments you receive for another tenant or, where this is not possible, we will issue an invoice.
We will write to you to let you know if this happens.