If you are a landlord or landlady or prospective landlord or landlady wishing to rent out property, you may have tenants entitled to help from their local council towards paying their rent. Download the Guide for Landlords whose tenants want to claim housing benefit.
Should a tenant make a claim for this help, called Housing Benefit, they will normally ask you for some simple information about the tenancy.
This page explains how Housing Benefit is calculated, what information the tenant will be asked for and what information you will need to provide so that an assessment of the level of Housing Benefit payable can be made.
Housing Benefit is a government scheme administered by us that gives help towards housing costs for people on a low income, including those who receive Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance.
Alternatively, contact the Worcestershire Hub on 01562 732928.
A tenant does not need to tell you that they have claimed benefit. The Council can only discuss a benefit claim with a landlord if the tenant has given his or her permission in writing for this to be done.
In addition to proof of income, every applicant for Housing Benefit must provide the following details:-
Until April 2008, all claims for Housing Benefit were referred to the Rent Officer for a decision on a reasonable market rent for the property.
Rent Officers are employed by the government to help the Council work out how much Housing Benefit a tenant can have.
If a rent is considered to be unreasonably high, then the amount of Housing Benefit paid could be restricted. Housing Benefit may also be restricted because a tenant is living in a property which is larger than needed.
For example, a couple with one child needs only two bedrooms, so their Housing Benefit may be restricted to the level for a two-bedroom house and not the three-bedroom house they actually occupy.
The following criteria are used when deciding whether a property is or is not overlarge. One bedroom is allowed for each of the following:-
Housing Benefit cannot be paid for that part of the rent which covers services such as water rates, fuel costs or meals, any such charges will be deducted from the gross rent and the net amount is referred to as eligible rent.
Since April 2008 most claims for Housing Benefit are now assessed using the rules relating to Local Housing Allowance.
Please see the relevant web page for further information on Local Housing Allowance
A person who receives Income Support could be entitled to their full eligible rent. A person not on Income Support but on a low income will receive only part of the eligible rent.
Housing Benefit is always paid on a four-week cycle. If a calendar monthly rent is charged, the appropriate weekly rent will be calculated and then paid on the usual four-week cycle.
Rent charged = 350.00 per calendar month
x 12 = 4,200.00 per year
÷ 365 = 11.506 per day
x 7 = 80.55 per week
So, if a tenant is entitled to full Housing Benefit they would expect to receive £322.20 every four weeks, which is 4 x £80.55 weekly rent.
Housing Benefit is paid every 4 weeks, in most cases 4 weeks in arrears, and is paid to the tenant unless a rent direct form is completed, in which case the benefit will be paid to the landlord. Payment is made by BACS wherever possible as opposed to crossed cheque.
If the Housing Benefit is paid to you as the landlord you will also receive a schedule showing which tenants' Housing Benefit are included in the BACS payment and how much benefit is in respect of each tenant.
Benefit will continue as long as there is entitlement and providing any claim review form sent to the tenant is returned on time.
Housing Benefit is only paid while a tenant lives in the property. Entitlement to benefit ends as soon as a tenant leaves the property. This condition also applies if a tenant dies, as entitlement ends on date of death.
Entitlement may continue during a temporary absence from home.
If a tenant moves out or dies and you have been paid Housing Benefit beyond your tenant's change of address or death, then you will have been overpaid. You will have to repay this money.
There may be times when the Housing Benefit Section finds out a tenant has left before you do. Housing Benefit will still end on the date the tenant is known to have left - any further rent due is a matter for you to pursue with your tenant.
This information is for guidance only. It does not cover all the rules for all the benefits for every situation, nor does it provide a full interpretation of the rules. It should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law.