Advice for landlords

Your tenants can claim Housing Benefit to pay their rent if they’re on a low income. We can then make the payments to them or to you directly.

Find out more about who is eligible for Housing Benefit.

We can pay Housing Benefit directly to you

Housing benefit will be paid directly to your tenant, unless:

  • your tenant has 8 weeks or more rent arrears
  • your tenant is vulnerable

Rent arrears

We will pay Housing Benefit directly to you if your tenant has rent arrears of 8 weeks or more, unless your tenant can show good reason for withholding rent payments. If your tenant is 8 weeks or more in arrears please complete a direct payment to landlord form (pdf, 49kb) and provide any proof you have of your tenant’s arrears, for example a rent statement.

Vulnerable tenants

We can pay Housing Benefit directly to you if we decide that your tenant is likely to have difficulty in managing their finances or is unlikely to pay their rent, for example if they:

  • have severe debt problems
  • have a recent County Court judgment against them
  • are going through bankruptcy
  • are unable to open a bank or building society account
  • have some of their Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance paid directly to the gas, electricity or water company by the Department for Work and Pensions
  • are getting Supporting People help
  • are getting help from a homeless charity
  • have learning difficulties
  • have recently suffered a bereavement
  • have an illness that makes it difficult to manage their affairs
  • can't read English
  • can't speak English
  • are addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling
  • are fleeing domestic violence
  • are a care leaver
  • are leaving prison
  • are homeless now, or were homeless, or at risk of homelessness recently

Either you or your tenant can ask for Housing Benefit to be paid directly to you. However, we’ll need a direct payment to landlord form (pdf, 49kb), and must have evidence to show that the tenant may have difficulty managing their money or that they are unlikely to pay their rent (such as a letter from a support worker).

Your responsibilities as a landlord 

If we pay Housing Benefit to you, you have a legal duty to tell us about changes that you are aware of that may affect the tenant's entitlement or how we pay you.

Examples of changes you should tell us about are:

  • your tenant vacates the property or dies
  • if anybody else moves into or out of the household
  • changes to the amount of rent charged
  • changes to any service charges included within the rent
  • changes in circumstance or income of people living at the property
  • changes to your details (eg you change your address or bank details)

You can report a change in your or your tenant's circumstances.

Appeals

As a landlord you can appeal against any decision that directly affects you, such as:

  • we decide to make direct payments to you
  • we decide not to make direct payments to you
  • we plan to take back money we overpaid you

More information about appeals is available on the explanations and appeals page.

Page last updated: 02 October 2017