Housing Benefit Information for Landlords

 

As a landlord, you may be uncertain about tenants claiming housing benefit and how it may affect you. This benefit is awarded to those on a low income to help cover the shortfall between their earnings and their rent. If you need more information or clarification on anything below, please email benefits.landlords@arun.gov.uk or call us on 01903 737753. 

 

If your tenant is claiming benefit

Housing benefit will normally be paid directly to your tenant. If your tenant is claiming or applying for housing benefit, some information may be requested from you. It would be helpful if you could provide, if necessary, evidence of your tenants’ rent to support their claim. We would expect this to include:

  • Landlord or agent’s name and business address
  • Date of tenancy agreement started
  • The amount of rent you change for the property
  • If any services are included in the rent, such as fuel, water or meals
  • How often the rent is due (weekly, monthly, four weekly)
  • Name and address of the owner of a managed property

 

Landlord declaration forms

Your tenant may ask you to complete a Landlord Declaration Form.pdf [pdf] 544KB to help with their claim. 

 

How benefit is paid

Benefit is normally paid directly to the tenant, however, there are some exceptions to this.

If the tenant is considered vulnerable

Vulnerable, in this sense, means that the tenant would be considered to have difficulty managing their finances or has built up rent arrears. It is the decision of the council whether a tenant is vulnerable, and we will require supporting documentation in order to make this decision. We will accept evidence from the following people:

  • The tenant and their friends and family
  • Creditors or court orders
  • Probation officers
  • Social services or other welfare groups, including money advisors, care support workers and homeless teams
  • Pension Service or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • General Practitioners or hospitals

We will liaise with the tenant when making our decision. To see further details of this policy please see the Payment to Landlords Policy.pdf [pdf] 50KB .

If rent is more than 8 weeks in arrears

If your tenant’s rent is more than 8 weeks in arrears, we can pay housing benefit directly to you even if the tenant has not requested us to. It is important that you inform us if this situation occurs, especially if you are considering enforcement action and you believe that the issues are in part due to non-payment of housing benefit.

Unless you are receiving the payments, the details of the claim are confidential. If benefit is being paid directly to you, we are able to tell you:

  • The weekly entitlement
  • When benefit starts and finishes
  • When the entitlement changes
  • Payment dates

We cannot provide additional information without the written permission of the claimant.

Please complete a  Landlords statement of arrears form.pdf [pdf] 154KB and return it to us at the Littlehampton address below. 

 

Backdating the claim

Housing benefit cannot normally be backdated, even if the rent liability starts before the tenant moves in. There are a few exceptions to this rule, one of which is if a property is being adapted to meet the disablement needs of a member of the household. In this situation, a claimant can be treated as occupying the property up to four weeks before they move in.

We would also backdate a claim up to a maximum of three months for pension age or one month for working age claimants if requested by the claimant, but they must be able to show good reason for not claiming earlier and continuous good cause for this to be applied.  

 

Landlords' Forum

Arun District Council hold a forum between ourselves and local landlords. They are held 3 times a year and the aim is to enable landlords to raise issues of concern, exchange views and opinions and support each other. We take the opportunity to update landlords on legislation and provide information on developments within the council. Please see the Landlords' Forum page for more information on the meetings, previous agendas, and to find out how to become involved.

 

Local Housing Allowance

The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) arrangements apply to those renting from private landlords. They are used to calculate maximum amount of housing benefit a person is entitled to claim. They are affected by the area the property is in and the size of the household. The rates are set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), and you can check which area a property is in by using this LHA calculator. The maximum amount you will be entitled to claim can be found on the Local Housing Allowance page.