Can my housing benefit be paid directly to my landlord?
Since the introduction of Local Housing Allowance, housing benefit payments have been paid directly to the person claiming it and then they need to pay the landlord themselves.
There are a few exceptations to this method though, and payment can be made directly to your landlord if:
- you have rent arrears of eight weeks or more
- deductions are already taken from your income support, jobseeker’s allowance or employment support allowance to pay for rent arrears.
The council also can also decide to pay your local housing allowance direct to your landlord. They may decide to do this if they think:
- you are likely to have problems paying your rent, for example if you have you have problems with drugs or alcohol, or you have a serious medical condition
- you are unlikely to pay your rent – for example if they are aware you have consistently failed to pay the rent in the past
If you have any of the above problems, you can request that your housing benefit is paid directly to your landlord. It is important that you can provide supporting information/documents to your council to prove that you need the payment to go direct to your landlord if you have your doctor and other health professionals, support workers, probation officers and others help you with this.
From 1 April 2011, the council will also be able to use its discretion to pay LHA direct to a landlord where this will help someone to obtain or keep a tenancy.
- For existing tenants – if the rent has been reduced to an affordable level (normally the LHA rate for the property).
- For new tenants – if the rent has been reduced to an affordable level or direct payments will help a tenant secure the tenancy.