Housing benefits advice for landlords
The amount of housing benefit paid out depends on a person’s circumstances as well as the amount of rent, so landlords cannot apply on a tenants behalf.
Universal Credit is calculated by the DWP, and Housing Benefit cannot be paid if claimant is in receipt of Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is a benefit which is paid to single people who would have claimed Job Seekers Allowance. The payment will usually be a single, monthly payment which is paid in arrears directly into the claimant’s account. Payments will include all eligible housing costs, where appropriate, which means that claimants will be responsible for paying their rent themselves.
As a Private Landlord you can get ready for Universal Credit by:
- Familiarising yourself with the changes
- Consider how you might need to adapt your policies
- Engaging with your tenants early, to make sure they understand their responsibilities and the support available
You can get local information and advice on www.gov.uk (external website) or contact your Local Jobcentre
Information we can give
If you contact us we are limited with the information we can give you because a claimants information is confidential. However, we can give certain information in some cases where the landlords are seen as a 'person affected'. This could be when:
- We are recovering an overpayment from you. We can let you know the amount, period and reasons for an overpayment being recovered.
- We are paying Housing Benefit directly to you. We can let you know the amount, weekly benefit rate and period covered by cheques sent directly to you, and the date direct payments stop.
- Direct payments to a Landlord have been refused. We can explain why.
We can discuss a claim if the tenant gives us permission by signing a tenant consent form. Where a claimant has not asked for benefit to be paid directly to the landlord, we cannot give any information about a claim at all.
We can also give landlords information if a tenant has signed a letter confirming that their landlord can act on their behalf. A general letter at the start of the claim is not enough to allow the release of personal data on all later occasions and we can confirm the claimant's intentions whenever we feel that it is suitable.
We may provide landlords with other information if the needs of the claimant make it suitable or if it helps the benefits administration e.g. when we are waiting for more information from the tenant.