Payment of Local Housing Allowance
Housing Benefit (HB) is normally paid to the tenant under LHA rules to encourage claimants to take responsibility for their financial affairs. Payments are made directly to the claimant's bank account.
- How to set up a bank account
- If you are unable to pay your rent
- If you have rent arrears
- Recovery of overpaid HB
- Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs)
Basic bank accounts are recommended for tenants getting Housing Benefit (HB). A standing order is an easy and effective way of managing money and paying rent.
You can get information on opening a basic bank account from the Money Advice Service website (external link), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website (external link) or you can call the FCA on 0800 111 6768.
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) provide money advice to private tenants getting HB and can help with budgeting and advice on managing debt. If you would like to use this service, please visit the CAB website (external link).
It is recognised that some claimants may struggle with the responsibility of paying their rent. Payments can be made directly to the landlord where any of the following apply:
- the claimant has difficulty managing their financial affairs
- >the claimant may not pay their rent
- it will help the claimant retain or secure a tenancy
Our LHA Safeguards Procedure (PDF, 190KB) details how we decide if we can pay the landlord.
Important - if a claimant falls 8 weeks behind with their rent we are required to pay HB directly to the landlord even if none of the above apply.
Payments are automatically made directly to the landlord if a tenant has rent arrears of eight weeks or more.
The law says:
- overpayments caused by someone failing to tell us something or by misrepresentation (deliberate or accidental) are recovered from that person whether they received the HB payment or not
- overpayments that occur due to an error by us are still recoverable because someone should have known they were being overpaid and are recovered from the person who should have known
- overpayments where no one is at fault must be recovered from the claimant, the partner or the landlord if HB was paid to the landlord
DHPs can be awarded to claimants whose HB does not meet their actual rent. Please note DHP funding is limited so awards are subject to funds being available.
Further information is available on our Discretionary Housing Payments page.