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Housing benefit advice for landlords

As a landlord, your tenants could get housing benefit if you charge them rent and they are on a low income. Housing benefit can pay for all, or part, of their rent. The amount of housing benefit they receive will depend on their income and circumstances.

Universal Credit replaces Housing Benefit for some people. You may need to check what benefits your tenant is in receipt of.

About tenants housing benefit

For private tenants, the maximum housing benefit payable is normally calculated using the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate for the area and the number of bedrooms your tenant needs. Find out about Local Housing Allowance rates.

Tenants claiming housing benefit

Tenants can claim benefit in one of the following ways:

  • tenants can claim online
  • if your tenant is claiming Universal Credit, they should claim housing costs via the DWP.

Discretionary housing payments

 A Discretionary Housing Payment can provide extra money to help your tenants meet their housing costs.

Payments are short term and we will need to know that they are looking for help to manage their money and prioritise rent.

Who can claim a Discretionary Housing Payment?

Anyone who needs financial help with housing costs and is currently claiming either:

  • Housing Benefit or
  • Universal Credit that includes an award for housing costs

What can a Discretionary Housing Payment be used to pay for?

  • Rent deposits.
  • Rent in advance.
  • Moving costs.
  • Rent arrears (but not if you were receiving enough housing benefit to pay all of your rent at the time the arrears built up).
  • A shortfall between housing benefit and rent or housing costs included in Universal Credit and rent.

Tenants can download a form to Icon for pdf request a Discretionary Housing Payment [194.52KB].

Direct payments to landlords

Housing benefit will almost always be paid to the tenant. It's the tenants responsibility to pay rent to you, their landlord. Payment may be made directly to you if we decide that the tenant:

  • is likely to have difficulty managing their money
  • is unlikely to pay their rent.

We can also make a direct payment of benefit to you if we consider that paying directly to you, the landlord, will assist the tenant in securing or retaining the property. If this is the case, please call us on 01775 761161.

Tenant arrears

If your tenant owes rent for eight weeks or more, we can pay housing benefit directly to the landlord. Please contact us on 01775 761161 to request a direct payment form.

Tenant change of circumstances

You should tell us immediately in writing if any of your tenant's circumstances change, such as if:

  • they change address
  • their rent changes
  • the number of people in the household change
  • their income changes.

If you need to contact us please call us on 01775 761161.