Advice for Landlords About Housing Benefit
What happens if your tenant receives housing benefit?
If your tenant receives benefit under the Local Housing Allowance scheme, we will normally pay them their benefit directly. We’ll only make the payment to you, the landlord, in special circumstances.
We have a Dorset Wide Safeguard Policy that sets out the conditions where benefit would be paid directly to the landlord. These are if:
- The tenants are unable or unlikely to pay.
- The tenants are up to eight weeks in arrears.
- To safeguard the provision of a tenancy
Your responsibilities as a landlord or agent
If your tenants aren’t under the Local Housing Allowance scheme, then they can choose to have their housing benefit paid directly to the landlord.
If you do receive the payments, you will need to let us know if there are any changes to the tenant’s circumstances. The kind of changes we want to know about are:
- Where a tenant moves from his accommodation (including any change of rooms within the same property)
- A rent increase or decrease
- Where the numbers of occupants change
What to do if your tenant is in arrears
In most circumstances, we would only be able to pay you directly if the tenant is eight weeks in arrears. However, let us know around five weeks to avoid delays.
When your tenant is in arrears, it means that their payments are outstanding. As a landlord you may take whatever legal action you wish, as it’s your tenant.
You may wish to contact the Housing Benefit office to see if there are any outstanding payments due, but we can’t give out personal information when it isn’t relevant.
What information can you tell me?
We can’t give you any personal information about your tenant due to privacy laws. Where it’s relevant, we can let you know if we are waiting for any information from the tenant as this could affect their benefit payment.
We can’t go into greater detail. For example, we couldn’t let you know that we’re waiting for proof of their Jobseekers Allowance as this would tell you that they were unemployed.