Housing Benefit - Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

Payments to Landords

How Local Housing Allowance affects 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.

 

To implement any of these safeguards, new and existing, the council must have documented evidence. To request payments to be made direct to the Landlord, please complete the online Direct Payment of Housing Benefit to Landlord form .

Any request for direct payment will be considered however, payment will only be made direct to the Landlord if the Local Authority is satisfied the criteria for direct payment is met.