Housing Benefit is a benefit paid to tenants to help towards the cost of their rent.
The Council administer this benefit but the Government sets the rules on who can get Housing Benefit and how much they are entitled to.
How much Housing Benefit a tenant gets depends on:
- the money coming into the household including earnings, some benefits and tax credits and things like occupational pensions
- the size of the household and age of family member
- the level of rent charged. (The maximum amount of rent upon which the council can normally base its calculations is decided by the Rent Service.)
Local Housing Allowance
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is for tenants renting a property or room from a private landlord and on a low income.
How do tenants apply for Housing Benefit?
To claim Housing benefit your tenant must complete a Housing benefit Application Form.
Your tenant will need to provide original documents proving their identification, rent, income, and savings.
If your tenants asks you to complete a rent proof form, please do this as soon as possible to avoid delaying their claim.
If your tenant has a current, written tenancy agreement which includes details of the rent charged this may be all the rent information that the Housing Benefit Office needs.
Housing Benefit can only be paid direct to a landlord if one of the following criteria is met:
- The landlord is a Housing Association and the tenant requests direct payments
- You provide meals and your tenant request direct payments
- Your tenant has difficulty in managing their own finances and so are unlikely to pay their rent. Your tenant would have to provide this information to us, which they can do by completing a safeguard application form
- The tenant is over 8 weeks in arrears with their rent. If your tenant pays rent in advance, advance payments can be included in your 8 weeks in arrears. For example, your tenant pays the rent 4 weeks in advance, the 8 weeks in arrears can be calculated as 4 weeks in arrears & the 4 weeks advance payment
- Your tenant is entitled to Local Housing Allowance and you have reduced the rent to a level which is affordable to your tenant
To apply for payment direct to a landlord you need to have a rent direct form completed by your tenant with all the relevant information.
What happens next?
The complex benefit rules means that it can sometimes take a few weeks to collect all the information and then calculate the benefit.
During this time your tenant may make enquiries to us about the progress of the claim. You will not be able to do so, as the Housing Benefit Office cannot pass information on to a third party.
When the claim has been worked out the Housing Benefit Office will write to let your tenant know how much benefit they will get or why they do not qualify.