Information for landlords

Information for landlords

The information on this page is designed to help landlords understand how we can help them, and how housing benefit can work for their tenants.

Landlord forums

Landlord forums are an opportunity to meet other landlords and keep up to date with regulations and legislation.

Landlord forums
These are informal and often feature guest speakers. We hold forums in the north, west and southeast of the county at least twice a year. Find out more here.

Housing benefit
If you require any further information regarding how your tenant claims housing benefit, please click here or download our landlord and agents factsheet.

Universal Credit
Further information for private and social sector landlords regarding universal credit is available here

What do you if my tenant has rent arrears?
Housing benefit regulations say if a tenant owes rent for eight weeks or more, we must pay the landlord directly, unless we consider it in their best interest not to.

There are safeguards in place to protect the interests of landlords. Payment may be made direct to the landlord where we decide the tenant is:
  • likely to have difficulty in managing their financial affairs
  • unlikely to pay their rent
  • the authority considers paying the landlord will assist the claimant in securing or retaining their letting
We recommend that if a tenant is beginning to build up arrears, you should inform us before it reaches eight weeks. This will allow us to investigate if a there is a problem to be addressed.
What happens if my tenant’s circumstances change?
You and your tenant should inform us immediately in writing, about any changes that may affect a benefit.

Typical examples of changes in circumstances are:
  • if they change address
  • if their rent changes
  • if the size of their family changes
  • if an adult moves into or out of the house
  • if the tenant’s income changes
What if I do not agree with any decisions you have made?
Landlords only have certain rights to appeal if they do not agree with our decision about their tenants' housing benefit. These include:
  • whether we pay benefit directly to you
  • whether we decide you should pay an overpayment

Rent officer & lettings

To ensure the local housing allowance follows the market, the valuation office agency continually gathers lettings information from all available sources. Landlords can make a big impact by providing examples of properties let.

Providing us with letting information
The more comprehensive the list of rents, the more accurately the local housing allowance will track the market, so tenants receive an appropriate level of benefit.
What information does the valuation office agency need?
The lettings pro-forma shows the range of information the valuation office agency is looking for.
How can I provide this?
Please complete the lettings pro-forma and return it to: Post:
Mr Stephen Bertram
Valuation Office Agency
Wycliffe House
Green Lane
Durham
DH1 3UW

The valuation office agency is happy to receive information via telephone, or arrange a visit to attend a local landlord forum. Please contact George Bertram via email, or call on 0781 801 6034.
How will the information will be used
Local housing allowance is based on rents achieved by the local private rented sector and is calculated from a list of rents gathered across the geographic area known as broad rental market area, then local authorities apply the allowance according to the number of bedrooms a claimant is entitled to.

The valuation office agency ensures the collection, storage, use and disposal of any lettings information is strictly controlled to comply completely with the Data Protection Act 1998. Rent officers do not share this information.