Housing Benefit for Landlords
Housing Benefit for Landlords
Register for an online landlord account
Once registered, you’ll be able to:
- see schedules for payments made to you or your organisation, including tenant name and address, payment period and overpayment deductions
- see your notification letters for individual tenants
- add other admin users to your account once we’ve set it up
You can use your account to get information about housing benefits that are paid to you. You need to register online for this service.
If your organisation is already set up, you can also add, remove or amend your current users of the landlord service
What is Housing Benefit?
Housing Benefit is a state benefit which helps people on low incomes pay rent for the homes they live in. Your tenant must actually be living in the property to get Housing Benefit.
The amount of Housing Benefit we will pay your tenant depends on:
- their income;
- their savings;
- the size and condition of the property;
- their rent; and
- who lives with them.
From 15 March 2017 all new claims for help towards rent must be made to the DWP through Universal Credit unless the tenant is a pensioner, living in supported or exempt accommodation.
Who can claim?
Anyone who pays rent for the home they live in can apply for Housing Benefit. However, not everyone who pays rent can qualify.
Tenants will not get benefit if:
- their income and savings are too high;
- they live with and pay rent to a close relative;
- they belong to a religious order;
- they live in a care home;
- it is a non-commercial arrangement (in other words, the agreement under which the person lives in the property is not legally enforceable);
- they rent a joint home from their ex-partner;
- they are employed by their landlord and must live in the home as part of their job;
- they rent their property from a company and they are a director or employee of that company;
- they are responsible for a child of their landlord; or
- they rent from a trust and they are the trustee or a beneficiary.
Tenants may not get benefit if:
- they used to live with the landlord as a family member, relative or friend and now pay rent to that person;
- they used to own the property which they now rent; or
- they are a full-time student. (Please contact us for advice because, although most full-time students don't qualify, some do).
Evidence of rent
Your tenant must show us evidence of the rent they pay. This is usually a tenancy agreement but could also be a letter.
We usually pay Housing Benefit by BACS (straight into your bank account) and we make payments every four weeks for the four weeks just passed. Some tenants who have been receiving benefit continuously since before October 1996 receive payments every two weeks.
If your tenant owes you at least eight weeks' rent, we have to pay you direct. You should write and tell us if this is the case. We will usually agree to pay you direct unless you are not acting responsibly over benefit matters. If your tenant asks us to pay them direct, we may still make the first payment to you. This will only happen if your tenant has not already paid you.
What information will you give me?
If we pay your tenant we cannot give you any information unless we have your tenant's written permission. We cannot tell you if your tenant has made a claim. If we pay you directly you will have access to the following information:
- the start and end date of the benefit;
- how much benefit we will pay; and
- how often we will pay you.
If we pay you too much benefit we will tell you:
- whether you have to repay the money; and
- if your tenant is still on benefit, how much we will reduce benefit by each week.
We cannot give you any personal information about your tenant.
If we pay you too much benefit, we may ask you to repay the money. We would not normally do this if the overpayment is because your tenant has made a fraudulent claim. If the overpayment is due to a change in your tenant's personal circumstances, we will ask your tenant to repay the money first. If we cannot get the money back from your tenant, we may ask you to repay it.
The main ways we recover overpayments are:
- taking money off your tenant's ongoing benefit;
- taking money off other benefit that we owe your tenant;
- taking money off your payments for other tenants; or
- sending a bill to you or your tenant.
If your tenant's circumstances change, there may be an overpayment. We often take the money back by taking money off their ongoing benefit each week. This may happen even if the overpayment is for a different address. It is up to your tenant to pay the difference in rent that they owe to you. If we ask you to repay the overpayment, we would expect you to do so within 28 days unless you are disputing our decision.
Appeals by landlords
You can ask us to change our decision and to appeal to The Tribunal Service. You can only appeal if
- we refuse to pay benefit direct to you
- you do not think there has been an overpayment; or
- you think that there has been a legal mistake in the decision.
Our decision letters set out the right of appeal and the time limits for it. You cannot appeal about the amount of benefit that your tenant is being paid.
Change of circumstances
You must tell us about any changes in your tenant's circumstances that you are aware of. If you don't tell us, we may not know about the change and we may pay the wrong amount of benefit. If anything changes, you must tell us immediately. It is an offence not to report changes quickly.
The main changes that you may be aware of are:
- the number of people in the household;
- that your tenant is moving out of your property;
- that your tenant is going to be away for more than a month; or
- rent changes.
Delays in paying Housing Benefit
Sometimes there is a delay in paying benefit. This may happen if:
- your tenant has claimed late or not made a claim at all;
- your tenant has not filled in their claim form properly; or
- your tenant has not sent in all the proof we need to pay benefit.
Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments are extra payments to help your tenant if they are having difficulty paying their rent or Council Tax and they claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support already.