Vulnerable Tenant paid directly by Council and now in arrears

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  • Vulnerable Tenant paid directly by Council and now in arrears

    My local council has paid two months of rent directly to my tenant this is despite my tenant notifying them that he is in no position to handle money.

    This money has now been spent and as anyone knows it is almost impossible to recover money from Housing Benefit tenants.

    Can anyone advise if this money can now be recovered from the council as this was there error? Also their policy states that landlords are entitled to direct payment if the arrears are in excess of two months due to delay by the council.

    Many thanks

  • #2
    worriedlandlord,

    Pursue the council for an 'ex gratia' payment, at the very least. The potential success of such an action will be dependant on how the claim was handled.

    If, as you suggest, this was an "error" on the part of the council and the payment should have been made to you, following formal HB notification, the council would be obliged to make a further payment to you.

    Alternatively, if this was the first such payment, following a new claim, the payment should have been made to the tenant, but in your name to ensure it was used to meet the arrears of rent.

    Lastly, if the council was aware that the tenant was in breach of his tenancy agreement by not complying with his rental payments and had accrued arrears of 8 weeks or more rent, then you could pursue on the basis it should have been paid to you.

    Councils resist making payments and tend to cite the "offsetting" rules and a Judge Edward Jacobs decision relating to this. Invariably, they pick the parts of the decision which help their case and overlook the fact he recommends "compensation" in such cases.

    If you're intent on pursuing seek assistance as you're more likely to succeed.

    HBadvocacy
    www.hbadvice.co.uk
    www.welfarereformsadvice.co.uk

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    • #3
      Hi

      I am a housing benefit assessor

      The best thing to do, ring the hb dept. the claim will be suspended and you will need to supply proof of arrears, I recommended emailing this through. Also ask for payments to be made directly to yourself. Was benefit originally requested to be paid direct to yourself?

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