Housing Benefit – Read these tips written by our Solicitor, Paul Fleming (tel 01243 790532), when letting your Property:
Your tenant may either at the outset, or during the tenancy, start being in receipt of Housing Benefit. This is the benefit which covers rent when the tenant is in receipt of welfare benefits. There are a number of perhaps surprising points about Housing Benefit:-
- The amount of Housing Benefit is calculated by a formula, which almost always means that the amount paid will be less than the rent due under the contract.
- The Housing Benefit may also be less if it is felt that the house is too large for the tenant.
- The Housing Benefit is usually paid direct to the tenant.
- You can arrange for the Benefit to be paid direct to you if the tenant is in arrears and if the tenant agrees. However, you should bear in mind that, if the Benefit is paid direct to you and it subsequently transpires that it was not payable, you and not the tenant will have to repay it! This is the case even if you could not have been aware of the overpayment. The only exception is if the over payment was by official error – this is sometimes difficult to prove!