HB/LHA Direct paymens

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  • HB/LHA Direct paymens

    Regulation 96 of the HB Regulations 2006 provides for situations where LHA can be paid direct to landlords when, for example:
    a) The tenant is likely to have difficulty in the management of his financial affairs;
    b) It's improbable the tenant will pay his rent;
    c) Direct payments have already been paid by the councilto the landlord because of e.g. 8 weeks arrears of rent.

    In my experience, councils pay lip service to this part of the provisions. Is that your experience, and, if so, what are you doing to challenge the malpractice?

  • #2
    Strangely not, with the 2 tenants we have who are counted as vulnerable they have paid direct, although with one it was for 8 weeks while the DM decided. With a third they paid when they went into arrears, but when the arrears went under 8 weeks they paid the tenant again.
    So Manchester CC at least appear to be following the rules!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by hbadvocacy View Post
      Regulation 96 of the HB Regulations 2006 provides for situations where LHA can be paid direct to landlords when, for example:
      a) The tenant is likely to have difficulty in the management of his financial affairs;
      b) It's improbable the tenant will pay his rent;
      c) Direct payments have already been paid by the councilto the landlord because of e.g. 8 weeks arrears of rent.

      In my experience, councils pay lip service to this part of the provisions. Is that your experience, and, if so, what are you doing to challenge the malpractice?
      Yes, it has been, with a couple of councils, in particular Fenland. I had cause to challenge them on this when inspite of notifying them by phone, letter, email and being in contact nearly every week, they still paid to Ts who of course didn't pay over the money. I went through their complaints process and eventually got them to admit they were at fault and got compensation - see my story here. Also had a similar experience with South Holland, and it went up to Head of Benefits before it got resolved and I also got compensation.

      There are other councils I deal with who are OK with paying direct as per guidelines. Again, its a mixed bag.

      I do challenge any decision that is contrary to the law/guidelines.

      Comment


      • #4
        Council HB direct administration

        Thanks for the replies.

        I find it's quite a common scenario for the landlord to request direct payments, and just as common for the LA to completely ignore telephone calls, e-mails, and letters from LL's in which they repeatedly argue the case, under one of the much discussed headings. It's also not uncommon, in what should be the straighforward cases (tenant has more than 8 weeks' arrears) for the Council to either delay payment or refuse completely.

        In my view, where you have HB/LHA in payment to the tenant, and the LL makes a request, in writing, for direct payments, under Regulation 95 (Manadatory rule e.g. 8 week arrears) or Regulation 96 (discretionary rule -e.g. payment is improbable etc) and either provides evidence to support his/her request or offers to do so, the Council must examine the facts, and decide whether it requires to either revise or supersede the award. After doing so, the decision Maker (HBO) must decide whether to leave in place, revise or supersede the existing award, and having done so, send statutory letters to the 'persons affected' i.e. LL/tenant. Failure to do so, in my opinion, constitutes an error in law as it denies the LL, and, for that matter, the tenant, the right to request additional information or simply appeal the decision to the First-tier tribunals.

        In cases such as the above, I've found that LL's who are meticulous in recording communications and exchanges with councils can often secure compensation for the Council's poor handling of the case. Havenrus seems to exemplify the point. He/she is, I suspect, the exception rather than the rule. Others need to follow this lead by pursuing such matters vigorously. Those that do will benefit accordingly.

        Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Please help need some advice, opinions, ideas...!
          I allowed a family of lodgers in my home and they paid via housing benefit which was paid direct to me from the authority. Every thing seemed fine until a few mths later when the local authority wer awarded a rent reduction and consiquently reduced the housing benefit payments that I was recieveing. Then the tenants said they are leaving as where moving out of the area. The tenants left and I paid them back the deposit money.
          Approx 2 mths after they left I recieved letters asking me to pay an overpayment of back dated housing benefit due to the rent reduction.
          I contacted the authority and found out that the rent reduction was awarded to them as the tenants had outstanding debts from a previous property they lived in and because the tenants have now left my property and moved out of area then they cant chase the debt and I the landlord am liable to pay this money back. I stress because they said it was out of area they could not chase the tenant due to being a differant authority. They only lived in the house approx 6mths.

          [I]So does anyone know if this is correct as seems a bit much to pass some one elses debts onto the landlord and given they where only lodgers in my house?

          Also does anyone know if it would help if the previous lodgers signed a statment to say that the landlord is NOT responsible for his debts or any authority clawbacks from housing benefit or any other debts?

          Comment

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