As a landlord, you can enquire about your tenant’s benefit claims as long as the claimant has signed part 16 of the Housing Benefit application form. As the landlord, you must be able to provide the following information when calling about your tenant’s claim:
- Your name and/or company name
- Your address and/or company address
- Your tenant’s name and address
- Your landlord code, if you have one.
We can discuss only the following with you:
- That your tenant has claimed or renewed their claim for Housing Benefit, that we have received the form, and the date on which we received it
- That we have made a decision on your tenant’s claim and whether they are entitled to benefit, but we cannot give reasons or how we calculated it
- That we have made a payment to your tenant and the dates of entitlement, but we cannot tell you the amount or how we calculated it
- That we need more information to make a decision on your tenant’s claim and what general information we need, but we cannot tell you specific details we have requested.
In certain situations we can also discuss the following about your tenant with you:
- Whether we have issued a short review form (or whether one we have issued hasn’t been returned)
- The reason why we have suspended a claim (for example, if the claimant is no longer entitled to receive benefits, we can tell you that we believe their circumstances have changed and we have written to them to clarify the situation)
- The reason why we have cancelled a claim (for example, due to the claimant not returning information we have requested, although we cannot disclose the specifics).
Receiving benefits payments
If your tenant is receiving Local Housing Allowance, it will generally be paid directly to them, unless they are protected by the safeguard policy and have applied to be placed onto this. Examples of when the safeguard policy will be used are:
- Unable to open bank account
- A history of debt problems.
We will need evidence for each of the above.
If your tenant is claiming Housing Benefit, we will pay it in accordance with the original application and how the tenant originally agreed payments would be made. This would be one of three options:
- Directly to the landlord – you must have a valid landlord code for this
- To the tenant by cheque
- To the tenant by BACS (bank transfer).
If you are unsure of how payments will be made, contact the Benefit Service on 0121 464 7000 for further advice.
If you’re receiving direct payments for Housing Benefit for more than one tenant, we will only send you one receipt/payment. With it, we will include a schedule that shows the dates and the amount of benefit we are paying on behalf of each tenant.
If we are paying the benefit directly to your tenants, we will not send you any payment information.
If you have received direct payments and there has been an overpayment, we will recover the overpaid amount from you. You must tell us as soon as you become aware of any overpayments to stop any action being taken against you. To recover overpayment we may send an invoice or deduct it from future benefit payments.