Housing Benefit overpayment

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  • Housing Benefit overpayment

    I have received a letter off the council stating I have been paid a overpayment of HB for a 7 day period . The tenant was in the property during that period as I have since found out he has left . I have not had the keys back. Can I appeal this ?

    What chance do you have of winning ?

  • #2
    Did T give you any prior Notice of intention to vacate (NTQ)?
    If rent paid direct to you by Council, you are resp for any over payments, but you maybe able to claim 'transitional allowance' * for last rent payment.
    * = my name.
    You can sue T for any rent owing until the T is legally terminated/accepted.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yet another example of the need for the basic rule: Never ever deal with Councils or "benefits" tenants -- unless you actually want to get diddled of course. Sad but that's the reality of the thing.

      Comment


      • #4
        Phillip

        Yes, of course, you should appeal the Council's decision and based on what you've said so far, there's every chance the council will back off as soon as you submit your letter.

        In this case, simply write back stating, as far as you're concerned there hasn't been any overpayment and any payments received by you, direct from the council, were wholly justified. You fully acknowledge that when receiving payments direct you have an obligation to alert the council to any change in your tenant's circumstances that could impinge on the ongoing award of HB/LHA. However, there hasn't been any change that you're aware of, otherwise you would immediately have reported this to the Council. Finish off by explaining, you've received no written notice from your tenant of his/her intention to vacate or indeed the return of the keys to the property. Consequently, if there has been an overpayment, culpability rests with the tenant.

        If I can assist further, drop me a note.

        Bill Irvine

        Comment


        • #5
          As above post number 4 ( amended )
          "explain you've received no written notice from your tenant of his/her intention to vacate or indeed had keys to the property returned, therefore your tenant is still legally responsible for paying you rent." ( and you expect the council to continue to forward rent payments to you until they are in receipt of your letter to confirm the tenancy has officially and legally ended.

          There are ways to fight the council if they send you rent payments direct and ask for money back.
          Often the council give rent payments to the tenant and tenant passes it onto you.
          If tenant has been overpaid, the tenant has to repay.

          If instead of the tenant being paid they pay you direct, It is still the tenant that legally was entitled to that money, but council just diverted it to you, therefore the tenant still has to pay back any over payment.

          Also, if they are still being silly, you state that you are not in receipt of housing benefit in your name for you to rent property, therefore there is no money to be returned, and you are only being given someone else s money, therefore the tenant is liable to return any over payments.
          You have supplied a service in supplying accommodation, and you have provided it at a fixed cost per month, have a legally binding contract for the tenant to pay for your service until legally ended, and that service supplied cannot be given back, in any shape, including money refunds. The service is being paid for and given til the contract ends.

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          • #6
            So ive had this a number of times.

            If the tenant hasn;t told you that they're leaving - then you cant reasonably know.

            The council may counter with - well you need to be doing inspections.

            But you cant be doing inspections every 7 days as theyre entitled to quiet enjoyment.

            The tenant hasn't given you notice, therefore hasn't left (as even if they leave theyre in the notice period still as they havent told you they were leaving)

            I had one for a whole 30 days - didnt know about it, and Leeds council tried to chase me for it too - we sent a number of letters, etc - and it all went quite (about 18 months ago now) - So I'm guessing they have their tail between their legs and dont think they can win.

            I tell you though -this is enough to stop taking on housing benefit tenants for me - I mean - who the hell wants to deal with this rubbish.

            The bloody council should be grateful for landlords like you prepared to take on housing benefit instead of trying to screw them over.

            We have benefits tenants straling the money and not paying it to landlords - and thats fine.

            But a landlord who has been overpaid by 7 days - lets screw them down to the floor.

            It's ridiculous.

            (Rant over - feel much better !)


            Daniel Latto

            Comment


            • #7
              Ram

              Sorry, but I need to correct some of the points you've made, in relation to my post, as they're quite misleading.

              1. The fact the tenant has a legal obligation to pay his/her landlord rent is quite a separate issue to the question of a continuing entitlement to HB. Once a tenant permanently vacates, with or without giving notice, the award of HB ends on the Sunday, following his/her departure, whereas his liability to the landlord to pay rent continues until the tenancy ends.

              2. If HB is paid direct to the landlord or indeed letting agent, this creates an obligation on that person/organisation to report any change in circumstances which they "could reasonably be expected to know" could impact on the award. If they fail to do so, then in many cases, recovery will be pursued from the payee, rather than the tenant.

              I challenge HB/LHA overpayments and, if need be, represent landlords at both First & Upper-tier tribunals. In my experience, no two overpayments are the same. I have developed very detailed submissions on this topic, including the relevant regulations & caselaw, which generally result in my landlord clients being relieved of any alleged culpability, but you need to be careful how you frame appeals. The overpayment in this case amounts to 1 week's HB so the figure will not be enormous. The summary I provided in 4# should, in most cases, of that nature, be enough to fend off the Council. Where overpayments amount to £1000+ its best, if you haven't previously dealt with overpayment disputes, secure professional help.

              Bill Irvine

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by hbadvocacy View Post
                Ram

                Sorry, but I need to correct some of the points you've made, in relation to my post, as they're quite misleading.
                Bill Irvine


                Certainly.
                1) My post number 5 is what I would do and say, and not what is common practice.

                But as you said ( post 4 ) "
                Consequently, if there has been an overpayment, culpability rests with the tenant."
                But you have tell them why, hence my post 5. ( and a bit overboard, I admit )
                Glad you have given your input which allows me to state line 1

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