Direct payments - application for payments of Local Housing Allowance to your landlord
Local Housing Allowance is a rent scheme for people living in private rented accommodation.
Local Housing Allowance is usually paid to the person making the claim for Housing Benefit, or Housing Costs within Universal Credit; they cannot simply ask for payment to be made to their landlord to cover their rent. There are circumstances where we must pay the landlord the Local Housing Allowance and these are:
- The claimant is eight full weeks in arrears with their rent
- The claimant is having deductions made from their Income Support or Job Seekers' Allowance to pay for rent arrears
We can also make a decision to pay the Local Housing Allowance to the landlord where we think the person is unlikely or unable to pay their rent (this could be because they are vulnerable or have severe financial difficulties) or where the landlord has reduced the rent to help a claimant to secure/retain their tenancy.
What do we mean by unlikely to pay the rent?
- A claimant who has rent arrears and has consistently failed to pay
- A claimant who has previously left a property without paying rent
What do we mean by financial difficulties?
- Claimants who are unable to open a bank or building society account
- Claimants with severe debt problems
- Claimants who are bankrupt
What do we mean by vulnerable?
By vulnerable we mean someone who may have difficulty managing his or her money. This may include:
- People with medical conditions
- People with learning difficulties
- People with physical disabilities
- People who are mentally ill
- Illiteracy or an inability to speak, read or write English
- A person with alcohol/substance/gambling addiction
- A person receiving help from a homeless charity
- A person who is housebound or lives alone with no support
There may also be other reasons why the claimant is considered vulnerable.
What evidence is needed?
In all cases written evidence will be needed and will depend upon the claimant's circumstances.
People who can provide evidence include:
- Family and friends of the claimant
- The landlord
- Welfare groups
- Care workers
- Money and debt advisers
- Social Services
- Probation officers
- JobCentre Plus
- The Pension Service
- Universal Credit Service
- Support workers
- Community nurses
- Hospital staff
- Court staff
This list is not exhaustive and we will require signed, written permission from the claimant to contact third parties on their behalf.
Making a decision
Once we have collected evidence we will decide as quickly as possible whether payment of Local Housing Allowance should be made to the landlord or the claimant.
We may pay Local Housing Allowance to the landlord while we are making our decision. We will tell the claimant if they are considered vulnerable. We will also write to the claimant or to someone acting for them and explain our decision.
Reviewing a decision
Where a decision is made to pay the landlord we will set a date to have another look at the situation and see if circumstances have changed.
If the claimant or landlord disagrees with our decision they can appeal. The rules for this are the same as for Housing Benefit.
Benefits serviceAddress: Broadgate House
Customer Service Centre