Housing Benefit - Guidance

Landlord Information

Citizens Access Landlords

Citizens Access Landlords allows landlords (social and private Landlords), who receive payments of housing benefit to:

  • Check payments - giving you a breakdown of the payments you have received for each of your tenants in receipt of housing benefit.
  • Review individual cases, where payment is made to you, allowing you to view claim details such as the next payment dates.
  • Getting in touch to report a change in one of your tenant's circumstance or ask a query is quick and easy to do using the portal. Notifying us of a change using the Landlord Portal will ensure changes are actioned without delay.

 Accessing Citizens Access Portal

If you have already been set up with an account, you can go straight to the Landlord portal .  Guidance and information on using the portal can be found here.

By signing up to use Citizen Access Landlords it is understood that the Isle of Wight Council is allowing you, the landlord, access to information that the council holds and therefore it is important that you read our Terms of Use document found here.

If you have any questions or need any guidance on how to use the Landlord Portal, please contact us on telephone number 01983 823950. If you need further help we will be happy to assist you.

If you have not already signed up to use Citizens Access Landlords please email us at revenues.support@iow.gov.uk with your landlord reference, email address and contact telephone number. Once this has been received your access will be setup and you will receive an email instruction on how to log into the portal for the first time.

Universal Credit

If your tenant is in receipt of Universal Credit, their housing costs will be met in most circumstances, through their Universal Credit benefit payment and will be paid directly to them. For further information visit GOV.UK website.

Universal Credit - Landlords Top Tips

A suite of new products has also been developed to help landlords understand what Universal Credit means for them. This includes a toolkit for landlords consisting of a top tips guide, explainer videos, a template article for use in newsletters and e-bulletins and a recommended social media plan with suggested copy and assets to use across their own channels. The Understanding Universal Credit website – www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk – has also been updated with a new landlord section containing lots of handy tips and facts to support landlords.

To view Landlords Top Tips - Please click here ( PDF,132KB,1 page)

Landlords affected by Local Housing Allowance

LHA affects any landlord who enters into a deregulated private tenancy agreement with a person awarded Housing Benefit. By deregulated we mean entered into since 1989 and not covered by one of the exceptions listed below.

How Local Housing Allowance affect landlords

The tenant will be responsible for paying their rent to the landlord.

In recognition of the risk that some tenants may struggle with the responsibility of paying their rent, safeguards are in place. Rather than introduce a precise list of circumstances when payment could be made to the landlord, the Council will use it’s discretion in identifying such cases.

The Council can decide to make payment direct to a landlord in a number of circumstances including:

  • If they consider that the tenant is likely to have difficulty managing their own affairs. We have called this ‘vulnerability’. Examples of this could include tenants with a learning disorder or a drug or alcohol problem that would mean they may have problems managing a budget. 

  • If they think the tenant is unlikely to use their LHA to pay their rent. This could be if the council knows the tenant has consistently failed to pay their rent in the past.

  • When the LHA has been backdated or there has been a delay in processing a claim and a large amount of benefit is to be paid. In these cases the Council can decide to make the first payment of LHA by cheque payable to the landlord, although it would be sent to the claimant. (This is the same as Housing Benefit Regulation 94.) Making the first payment direct to the landlord is also expected to provide a good indication that the tenancy has actually been established.

  • If the tenant has built up rent arrears of eight weeks or more and payment direct to the landlord has been implemented (under current Housing Benefit regulations), the Council can decide to continue making payments direct to the landlord after the arrears have fallen below eight weeks.

  • If the tenant is having deductions from their Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance to pay off rent arrears.

 

Requesting Payment to be paid to Landlord - to implement any of these safeguards, for new and existing tenants, please complete the online Direct Payment of Housing Benefit to Landlord form. The council may request documented evidence.

Overpayments Paid To Landlords

If we were paying Benefit to a landlord and then find out that there has been an overpayment, we may ask the landlord to pay the money back direct.  However, if there is a good reason why we should ask the tenant for the money instead, then we will do this.  An example could be where the tenant had started work and had not told us and the landlord could not have been expected to know that he was being overpaid.  Each overpayment case is considered on its own merits.