Landlords are an important stakeholder in the service that we provide. We aim to work with landlords to ensure that they receive payments promptly and to ensure that overpayments of Housing Benefit are minimised. In return we ask landlords to respect our obligations towards claimant confidentiality and the data protection act if they make enquiries about their tenants.
Payment to landlords direct?
Within the Housing Benefit Regulations we can pay your tenants Housing Benefit entitlement directly to yourself if your tenant is behind with their rent for more than eight weeks. Please note that as soon as your tenants rent is less than eight weeks in arrears, legally payment of Housing Benefit will revert back to them.
Under the new Local Housing Allowance scheme, for all new claims and change of addresses since the 7th April 2008, payments of Housing Benefit must be made direct to the tenant, unless there are exceptional circumstances and fall within the Authorities 'Vulnerability Policy' or 'Safeguard Policy'. These policies can be found in our Local Housing Allowance section Local Housing Allowance
Recovery of overpayments
When we pay housing benefit directly to a landlord and their tenants entitlement to housing benefit changes we may ask the landlord to repay the money which has been overpaid.
Each case is decided on its merits. If we decide that it is appropriate to recover the money form the landlord we will invoice them. The invoice will show the period, in which the overpayment occurred, the name of the tenant and the amount of overpayment. If a landlord has difficulty repaying the money our payments team will be happy to negotiate repayment by instalment.
If a landlord fails to make repayments of overpaid Housing benefit we can recover outstanding payments from any future payments of Housing benefit due to be paid to the landlord. We are reluctant to recover overpayments in this way but occasionally we are forced to do so. If we do invoke these powers it means that for each tenant in respect of whom Housing benefit is being paid the amount of their entitlement will be offset against the overpayment.
In these cases the landlord must reduce the tenants rent liability by the full value of their housing benefit entitlement. The landlord is not entitled to seek to recover the monies form their tenant.
The legislation that enables this is contained within Section 16 of the Social Security Administration Act 1997.