Housing Benefit information for landlords
Online account management
As a landlord you can access your account information online. It is quick and easy to register and once registered you can manage your accounts for benefits and council tax when you want to.
What can the council tell a landlord about a tenant's benefit claim?
The amount of information that can be given out depends on whether the landlord or tenant is to receive the benefit payments.
Payments to tenant
All details concerning a tenant's claim are confidential and cannot be disclosed to a third party in any circumstances. This includes confirming that a claim has been made.
Payments direct to landlord
Where the tenant has authorised benefit to be paid direct to the landlord the following information can be disclosed:
- The dates on which entitlement started and ended
- The weekly amount of benefit entitlement, amounts paid, and dates of payment
- The landlord will always be informed in writing when:
- A determination of a tenant's Housing Benefit is made
- A tenant's entitlement ends due to a change in circumstances
- A tenant's entitlement ends due to a change in address
- A tenant's claim is suspended.
The responsibility for supplying proof of income and liability for rent rests solely with the tenant.
Can a landlord insist that they receive benefit payments?
Payment may only be made to a landlord if the tenant requests this in writing. However, where the tenant owes more than eight weeks rent arrears, the landlord can write to the council and ask that future benefit payments be made direct to them.
Where payments are to be made directly to the landlord, the council will send a form to the landlord asking the landlord to accept that overpayments may be recovered from them and agreeing to notify any changes to the tenant's circumstances they know about.
Will Housing Benefit pay off rent arrears owed when a tenant leaves?
A landlord is legally required to tell the council as soon as they are aware that a tenant in receipt of benefit has left. If there are any rent arrears, full written details of the amount owed and how the debt arose are required, as well as confirmation of the date the tenant moved out.
The final benefit payment would normally be paid up to the following Sunday but it may be earlier depending on the circumstances. Benefit may not be payable for a period where a tenant has left without giving notice to their landlord, or where the tenant has claimed benefit at another address but has failed to notify their previous landlord.
Can landlords refuse a tenant who is on benefits?
For a long time, letting agents and landlords have been putting in place so-called ‘no DSS’, ‘no benefits’, or ‘no Universal Credit’ policies to prevent renters who receive housing benefit from accessing homes.
However, a landmark court ruling in July 2020 confirmed that refusing to allow someone to rent a property because they are on benefits is discrimination and therefore unlawful.
If a tenant believes they are being discriminated against in this way, then they can contact us for help. We're also happy to help any estate agent or landlord with any queries on this ruling. Please contact the housing team here on 0303 123 1702.
The council deals solely with a tenant's entitlement to Housing Benefit. Rent that is due and payable under the terms of a tenancy is a matter between the landlord and the tenant. The tenant retains full liability for rent and for paying the landlord any sums owed during the course of the tenancy.
Benefit may not be payable for a period where a tenant has left without giving notice to their landlord, or where the tenant has claimed benefit at another address but has failed to notify their previous landlord.