Housing Benefit - landlord questions and disputes

Payment not received

For every new claim, claimants have to provide:

  • proof of identity
  • proof of income, savings
  • proof of rent

If you have not received a payment it could be because the claim is either new or is under review and we are waiting for further information from your tenant. We cannot give you details of individual household members or the actual income or savings of anyone living in the property.  If you wish to know any of these details or wish to act on behalf of your tenant you must complete an authorisation slip and get your tenant to sign it and send it to us before we can give any further information.

If a tenant vacates the property, we cannot give you details of their forwarding address.

We can tell you if we have suspended payment of benefit but not the reason – you will need to contact your tenant, or ask your tenant to contact us.

Amount of payment

If you wish to query the amount of the payment we can tell you if there is an overpayment being recovered from the benefit and how much the weekly recovery is.

We cannot tell you how someone’s benefit has been calculated unless you get authorisation from your tenant.  We can give you information about the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) which will be the amount used to calculate your tenants Housing Benefit.  The LHAs rates are published annually - see our Local Housing Allowance rates page for more details.

Overpayments

We can tell you if we are recovering an overpayment from ongoing benefit and how much the weekly recovery rate is where we are paying you directly.  However, we cannot tell you why the overpayment occurred or the amount outstanding.

Appeals and complaints

If we make a decision which affects you, either:

  • whether to recover an overpayment from you or
  • whether or not to make direct payments to you

You have the right of appeal. You have one calendar month to appeal in writing against any decision, from the day following the date of the notification letter.

If you are dissatisfied with our service you can make a complaint. In the first instance you should write to Brighton & Hove City Council, Customer Feedback, Kings House, Grand Avenue, Hove, BN3 2LS

What information do we need from you?

It would be helpful to us if you tell us about:

  • rent increases – we need to see a formal notice of increase
  • tenancy changes e.g. start, end and changes to tenancies – we need to see a copy of the tenancy agreement
  • changes to any service charges – again we need to see proof of this
  • how to contact you – best person to speak to with phone, fax and e-mail address

How to deal with rent 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

We need to have sufficient evidence of arrears so that we can make a well-informed decision to make payments to the landlord.

Housing benefit application forms

If it would help you to help your tenants, we can provide you with a small supply of Housing Benefit application forms.  Please contact us to arrange this. Or, you can tell them to use our online Benefit claim form.

Good Tenant Guide

If you would like a copy of our guide please email housing.advice@brighton-hove.gov.uk.