Local housing allowance - landlord information

How do I find out what the Local Housing Allowance rates for my property will be?

Firstly, what area is your property in?  Look at the map, locate the area the property is in and this will tell you what rental market area you live in.  For more details about this click on this link Daventry-Locality Map.  We will publish the Local Housing Allowance rates, for the 5 rental market areas we have in Daventry, every month and you can check via this web site.  For details on our current rates, please follow the link Current LHA Rates.

How does Local Housing Allowance affect landlords?

The only change for most landlords is that payment of benefit worked out using the Local Housing Allowance rates will normally be made direct to the tenant. The tenant will be responsible for paying their rent to the landlord.


Which landlords does Local Housing Allowance affect? 

Local Housing Allowance affects any landlord who enters into a deregulated private tenancy agreement with a person awarded Housing Benefit on or after April 7th 2008. By deregulated, we mean a tenancy that has been entered into since 1989 and is not covered by one of the exceptions listed below.


Who is not affected by Local Housing Allowance? 

Local Housing Allowance does not affect:

  • local authority landlords who let to 'council tenants'
  • tenancies with registered social landlords
  • some supported housing
  • tenancies which started before 15 January, 1989 (2 January, 1989 in Scotland)
  • tenancies in caravans, houseboats or hostels
  • tenancies where the Rent Officer has decided that a substantial part of the rent is for board and attendance


Direct payment to landlords

In the past, there has never been a right for a landlord to receive Housing Benefit payments direct. However, there is a right for tenants to ask for this arrangement, and it is this right that is changing.


I already receive direct payment for some of my tenants. Will these payments stop?

No. Any tenant, who is getting Housing Benefit on 7 April 2008, will continue to be paid the old way. If you are receiving Housing Benefit payments direct on behalf of your tenant(s), these will continue to be paid to you.

The Local Housing Allowance rules will only affect any tenants who make a new claim, move address to new private rented accommodation or have a break in their claim, on or after 7, April 2008.

If you are a landlord who owns or manages a number of properties, you may find that you have tenants who claim Housing Benefit under the two different schemes. This will mean that you may have tenants getting Housing Benefit that the local authority pays to you, and other tenants getting Housing Benefit calculated using the Local Housing Allowance rates who will pay you themselves.


What protection exists for landlords?

There is a range of safeguards to protect the interests of landlords. Some of these already exist. For example, a local authority must usually pay the benefit to the landlord if the tenant is eight weeks or more in arrears with their rent.

Payment may be made direct to the landlord where we decide that the tenant is:

  • likely to have difficulty in managing their financial affairs.
  • unlikely to pay their rent 


We can also decide to pay benefit to the landlord if, during the current claim to benefit, we have had to pay the landlord because the tenant was eight weeks or more in arrears with their rent. 

We recommend that, if a tenant is starting to build up rent arrears, you should get in touch with us before it gets to eight weeks. This will allow us to investigate whether there is a problem that needs addressing. 

For more information on this, please click here the Safeguard Policy

Who decides if a tenant is likely to have difficulty in paying their rent? 

The local authority will decide whether a tenant is likely to have difficulty in paying their rent. Evidence will be required to support a request, which can be made by the tenant or other interested party. 

You, as a landlord, can approach us if you think it likely that your tenant will have difficulty in paying or you feel they cannot deal with their financial affairs. We will contact your tenant for further information regarding this. 

It is up to us to decide whether a tenant is unlikely to pay their rent. We can only do this if we have evidence of past, or likely, failure to pay rent. We will take into account all knowledge and evidence available to us at the time, including any known past history when making our decision.


It will also be important for the landlord to keep proper and adequate records of rent payments received and details of any contact made with the tenant.


For more information on this, please click on the Safeguard Policy.


Can the tenant ask for their benefit to be paid to their landlord?

As part of the Housing Benefit reforms, tenants will no longer be able to simply ask for their benefit to be paid direct to their landlords. If a tenant feels that they may have difficulty in managing their financial affairs and may be entitled to direct payment to their landlord, we will consider any request they make.


 For more information on this, please click on the Safeguard Policy.

Where direct payments are made to me, how long will they go on for?

Where a tenant is considered likely to have difficulty in paying their rent and there is little or no prospect of their situation changing, payment of benefit to the landlord is likely to be long-term.


In cases where the situation is likely to be temporary, or where rent arrears of more than eight weeks have been repaid, the situation will be reviewed. If the tenant is in a better position to have their benefit paid to themselves, and to pay their rent in full and on time, direct payments to the landlord will stop.


What appeal rights do I have against a payment decision?

Appeal rights are not changing as a result of the new scheme. You will still have the right to appeal against a decision by the authority not to make direct payments.


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