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This section gives landlords basic information about aspects of housing benefit that might affect them. The Gov.uk website also contains information on Being a landlord.

Your tenant wants to claim housing benefit

Before we can consider paying housing benefit

  • We need an application form, signed by the tenant.
  • Tenants must provide evidence confirming the information on the application form.
  • We also need proof of things like the tenant's income and savings as well as proof of their rent and any service charges the rent includes.
  • The proof of rent we require will normally be the tenancy agreement and rent book.

Tenancy agreements should show:

  • the name and address of the tenant, landlord, and any agents;
  • the amount and frequency of the rent;
  • all service charges in the rent;
  • the start date and length of the tenancy;
  • signatures of landlord, tenant(s) and witnesses (if applicable).

If an application form is incomplete, or if we do not receive the proof we need, we cannot pay housing benefit.

Your tenant is in arrears

If a tenant claims housing benefit and they are more than eight weeks in arrears, landlords can apply to the council for housing benefit payments to be made directly to them. Evidence of the arrears is required, such as a rent book or bank statements.

If the tenant is withholding rent because it is in their overriding interest not to pay it (for example, the landlord has not completed essential repairs) then evidence would need to be supplied by the tenant to support this. 

Before making payments to the landlord, they must sign to accept responsibility for these payments. The arrears accrued are not paid again by the council; the landlord must agree with the tenant an arrangement to recover those funds. In paying the landlord, we are securing the future payments to avoid any further arrears.

Once the tenants arrears reduce below eight weeks, we will stop paying the landlord and payments will revert to the tenant.

Changes in your tenants circumstances

Where landlords receive housing benefit directly from us, they have a legal duty to tell us in writing about changes they think might affect their tenant's housing benefit.

Such changes would include:

  • the tenant changing address;
  • changes in the people living with the tenant;
  • changes in the tenancy or rent;
  • other things about which the landlord might become aware, for example the tenant starting work.

Landlords appeal rights 

Landlords can appeal against certain housing benefit decisions. These circumstances are limited to decisions

  • about whether to pay housing benefit to the landlord
  • about an overpayment, but only where we are seeking to recover the overpayment from the landlord