Northumberland County Council > Housing > Housing benefit > Housing Benefit Landlord Info

Housing Benefit - Landlord Information

This page provides information for landlords or agents.


Housing Benefit - Landlord Informationrent

Northumberland County Council recognises the important role that private landlords play in providing increased choice and access to affordable accommodation within the county.

 

Landlord Forums

We are committed to working in partnership with you and to offer support, guidance and encouragement to enable you to develop your role as a landlord.

If you are interested in attending a Landlord forum or would like to view the minutes from previous forums in your area please click here.

 

How does my tenant claim Housing Benefit?

Tenants who claim Income Support or income based Jobseekers Allowance will get a Housing Benefit claim form (HCTB1) when they claim.  They should send this form directly to our benefit section.  Jobcentre Plus will tell us if the tenant gets Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based).

If your tenant applies for Pension Credit, they will be asked whether they want to claim for Housing Benefit on the Pension Credit application form.  The Pension Service will then send them an HCTB1 (PC) form.  They need to send the filled-in form to our benefit section.

Your tenants do not have to be getting Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance (income based) or Pension Credit to get Housing Benefit.  In these cases they can claim Housing Benefit directly from us by filling in a claim form.  Once they have filled in the form, they must send it back to us as soon as possible.

 

What information do you need to work out benefit?

  • The tenant’s and their partner’s income and savings
  • The tenant’s family circumstances, including details about who lives with them; and
  • The tenant’s rent.
  • They will also need to provide proof of their and their partner’s National Insurance number and identity (with a passport, birth certificate or driving licence, for example).

 

What proof of rent do you need?

We need proof of the rent your tenant has to pay.  This is usually a tenancy agreement, but could also be a rent book or a letter from you.  The proof must include:

  • The full address of the property they are renting
  • Your full name and address (if you are the landlord)
  • The full name and address of any agent
  • The full name of all the tenants who live in the property
  • The start date of the tenancy
  • The amount of rent you charge them
  • How often they pay rent (i.e. every week, four weekly)
  • What is included in the rent (i.e. meals, gas, electricity) and the amount charged for these services
  • The date they signed the tenancy agreement
  • How long their tenancy will last
  • Your signature; and
  • The tenant’s signature

 

Can I find out the maximum Housing Benefit a tenant is entitled to before they move in?

Yes.  The maximum Housing Benefit a tenant is entitled to will be the rate of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) set for the number of rooms your tenant needs in the area they live in.  Please click here for the LHA rates.

 

How is Housing Benefit paid?

Housing Benefit will almost always be paid to the tenant.  It is their responsibility to pay you their rent.  There are very few circumstances where we will pay Housing Benefit direct to the landlord.  If you have any further queries regarding this please contact us on 0845 600 6400.

 

What can I do if my tenant has rent arrears?

The Housing Benefit regulations say that if a tenant owes rent for eight weeks or more, we must pay the landlord direct, unless we consider it in the tenant’s best interest not to pay you direct. 

There are a range of safeguards to protect the interests of landlords. For example, a local authority must usually pay the benefit to the landlord if the tenant is eight weeks or more in arrears with their rent.

Payment may be made direct to the landlord where we decide that the tenant is:

  • likely to have difficulty in managing their financial affairs
  • unlikely to pay their rent
  • the authority considers that paying the landlord will assist the claimant in securing or retaining their letting


We recommend that, if a tenant is starting to build up rent arrears, you should get in touch with us before it gets to eight weeks.  This will allow us to investigate whether there is a problem that needs addressing

 

What happens if my tenant’s circumstances change?

You and your tenant should tell us straight away, in writing, about any change that may affect their benefit.

Typical examples of changes in tenants’ 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 decision 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 will pay benefit direct to you or not; or
  • whether we decide you should repay an overpayment or not

 

How could Benefit Fraud affect me?

Benefit fraud accounts for the largest single abuse of public funds in the UK. It’s a crime that neither Local nor Central government take lightly.

People who deliberately claim benefits when they are not entitled to it are committing a criminal offence.

If a landlord, who is paid housing benefit directly on behalf of their tenant, fails to notify the council that their tenant has left the property then they may be committing benefit fraud.

For further information on Benefit Fraud please click here.

 

How do I report a benefit fraud?

If you believe that someone is claiming benefit they are not entitled to, please telephone the Northumberland Fraud Hotline on 01670 624359 or email: fraudline@northumberland.gov.uk

 

Contact DetailsIRRV

Benefit Section
Northumberland County Council
Wansbeck Square
Ashington
Northumberland
NE63 9XL

Telephone: 0845 6006400

 

The council now offers nine local area code telephone numbers for customers to use when calling the central contact centre.  For more details about the numbers, along with frequently asked questions, please click here.

Fax: 01670 620098

E-mail: benefits@northumberland.gov.uk

 

 

Language Services

If you would like any benefit document in a different format, or if you need any help with language or translations please telephone 0845 600 6400 and we will do all we can to help.

You may also wish to use the facilities available on all our webpages including page translation, accessibility and text size options.  Please see the links at the top of each web page.