Payment of your local housing allowance

It is up to a tenant to make sure that the rent is paid to the landlord.  This means that if your rent is higher than your local housing allowance (often referred to as LHA or housing benefit) you will have to make up the difference.

In some circumstances we can pay the landlord with the tenant's agreement. The section below tells you about this.

Direct payments to tenants

The easiest way to receive LHA is straight into a bank account.  This means that benefit is received on the day that it is due and a standing order or direct debit can be set up to pay the rent.

To arrange for LHA to be paid into a bank account, please contact the Benefits Service or complete the Change of Payments Form [PDF 8 KB].

LHA cannot be paid into a Post Office Card Account like some other benefits.  You will need to have an account with a high street bank.

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) provide a Money Advice Service and they can help tenants by giving advice on:

  • opening bank accounts
  • setting up standing orders
  • making changes to household budgeting
  • rescheduling debts

The service is available by appointment only.  Telephone: 0845 1203710.

Direct payments to landlords

If someone feels they cannot cope with the process of paying rent to the landlord each month, it may be possible for us to pay LHA directly to the landlord.  The council's Vulnerability Policy and Procedure tells you how we make decisions to pay private landlords. A Local Housing Allowance direct payments form [PDF 139KB] will need to be completed giving us reasons why you think your LHA should be paid to your landlord and we may need to ask for further evidence.

Direct payments to landlord since April 2011

Where a Landlord charges a rent at an affordable level (usually the Local Housing Allowance rate), where there is no requirement for a Discretionary Housing Payment, the Council will consider direct payment of Housing Benefit to that Landlord.

Please remember that tenants have the right to revert LHA payments to themselves. Any request by the tenant will be considered by the Council and the Landlord will be notified in advance if direct payment changes. Tenants will be advised that if they fail to pay their rent and then asked to be placed in accommodation by the Council, they may be considered as “intentionally homeless”.

This guidance has operated from April 2011, and continues until the introduction of Universal Credit, or the DWP changes their guidance about direct payments.

This guidance relates to tenants claiming Housing Benefit in the private rented sector, who are not covered by the Safeguarding (vulnerability) policy.

Eight Weeks Arrears

The regulations state that where a tenant has rent arrears equivalent to eight weeks the council must pay benefit to the landlord directly.  When we are notified that a tenant is in arrears we will take the following action:

  • no further payments will be made to the tenant while we carry out enquiries
  • we will contact the tenant to check whether they agree that they are in arrears and that they are not legitimately withholding rent
  • if there is not a dispute and the tenant agrees that the arrears stand we will make the next payment of benefit to the landlord
  • if there is no response from the tenant within two weeks, payments will be made to the landlord
  • payments will continue to be made to the landlord until the arrears are cleared

Tenant with over 8 weeks arrears notification form

There are many reasons why someone cannot manage their money and paying the landlord may only be a short term arrangement.  There are a number of local advice agencies (external link to Advice Brighton & Hove) who may be able to offer support.

Landlord payment schedules

These are sent first class the day after every payment run. You should therefore get these within two days of receiving your payment by cheque or into your bank account.

If you would prefer to receive payments direct to your bank account, please email housing.benefits@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

If you would like your payment schedules sent to an email address, please email housing.benefits@brighton-hove.gov.uk or call our landlord line on 01273 296647.

We pay landlords directly in four weekly cycles. Benefit payments are fortnightly in arrears to claimants and four weekly in arrears to landlords.

More about local housing allowance