Benefits - What can I do if the tenant owes rent?

If the tenant has rent arrears and the landlord/agent thinks he or she is claiming Housing Benefit the landlord/agent should inform the Benefit Service as soon as problems start to occur. We cannot discuss the benefit claim with the landlord/agent but the information will be acted upon.

The Council may suspend payment of Housing Benefit and ask the tenant why the rent is not being paid. Payment will not be reinstated until the Council is satisfied that the problem has been resolved. If the tenant is in dispute with the landlord/agent, the Council cannot become involved in the cause of the dispute. When the dispute is resolved Housing Benefit is reinstated from the date it was suspended and payment made.

In cases where the arrears of rent equals eight weeks or more or where the tenant vacates owing rent equal to or more than any arrears of benefit, the Council may make payments direct to the landlord/agent without the tenant’s consent.

Where the tenant is in arrears with the rent and the landlord/agent wants the Housing Benefit to be paid to them directly, a request for this must be made in writing. The Council will consider the request and decide whether the payment should be made direct to the landlord/agent.

Payment of the tenant’s Housing Benefit must be made directly to the landlord/agent where the Council has been told by the Benefits Agency they are paying the landlord/agent direct an amount towards rent arrears from the tenant’s Income Support/Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

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