There are different rules for Housing Benefit depending on the age of your tenant. For more information on this view our who can claim page.
You can help your tenant to apply for Housing Benefit but, as it is based on their personal circumstances, you cannot claim on their behalf. The easiest way for your tenant is to apply online.
We will normally only pay benefit from the Monday after your tenant first contacts us. It is important for your tenant to claim Housing Benefit straight away. If your tenant doesn’t have all the documents they need to provide they should still submit their claim straight away. Otherwise they may lose money.
Your tenant must provide proof of their rent with their claim form. This will usually be the full tenancy agreement, it must include;
- your name and address;
- the date the tenancy started;
- how much rent you are charging;
- how often rent is paid and what the rent covers; including any service charges.
If there isn’t a current tenancy agreement, you will need to complete a housing benefit rent proof form. Your tenant can then include it with their claim form.
If you contact us we can only give you limited information because we must keep the claimant’s information confidential.
We try to pay Housing Benefit within 14 days of getting all the information and supporting documents we need. However, this will be delayed if we’re waiting for information.
Housing benefit is almost always paid to your tenant. They have to pay you their rent.
If you are concerned about your tenants ability to pay their rent please visit our when we can pay your landlord direct page.
If payments are made direct to you, payments will normally be made every four weeks in arrears. Benefit is paid by secure BACS transfer.
Your tenant must tell us immediately if their circumstances change, as this may affect their benefit. The easiest way to do this is by using our change in circumstances online form.
These changes could include:
- change of address, including change of room or flat
- change in level of rent
- change in household members
- change in income or capital
It’s your tenant’s responsibility to tell us about any changes. However, if we are paying housing benefit direct to you, you also have a responsibility to tell us about any changes you become aware of.
An overpayment is when someone is paid more housing benefit than they are entitled to. If we have paid your tenant or you too much benefit, we will usually ask for the amount we have overpaid to be paid back to us.
We will look at the reasons for the overpayment before we decide whether it needs to be paid back and who should pay it. If we decide you need to pay it back, we will write and explain:
- how we have calculated the overpayment
- the period it covers
- the reason it occurred
- how you can appeal if you disagree with this decision
If we pay you too much Housing Benefit for any tenant, you may have to repay it. We can take the amount of overpaid benefit from the benefit you get for other tenants. The law says you must treat your tenant as having paid the amount we have taken from your payment.
You can find out more on our overpayments of housing benefit page.
You can’t appeal against the amount of Housing Benefit we pay your tenant. As a landlord you can only appeal against a decision which directly affects you, for example:
- A decision where an overpayment has occurred along with the amount of the overpayment – but only if it’s being recovered from you;
- Whether we pay your tenant’s Housing Benefit to you, if we have told you we can’t
Firstly, we will look at this decision again to see if we can change it. If we don’t change our decision we will send it to an independent appeal tribunal.
An appeal tribunal will look at the decision, but they can’t make decisions about who should repay the overpayment. They can consider whether we’ve made a decision we’re entitled to make. They can only overturn our decision to recover an overpayment from you if they find we did not act in accordance with current regulations.
To appeal against a decision that you’ve been overpaid, write to us giving your reasons for the appeal. We must receive your appeal within one calendar month of the date we told you about the overpayment. The easiest way to do this is to use our online contact form.
If your tenant is responsible for paying Council Tax for their home, they can also apply for Council Tax Support.
We’ll work out your tenant’s Council Tax Support from the details they give on their claim form for housing benefit. They only need to fill in one application form.
More information can be found on the Council Tax information for landlords page.