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Reporting Urgent Rent Arrears - Information for Private Landlords

Reporting Urgent Rent Arrears - Information for Private Landlords

If you are worried that a tenant may be receiving Housing Benefit payments but not using them to pay rent, or that they are about to leave your property and deliberately default on arrears, you should let us know immediately.

If we are able to establish that a person is abusing benefits payments, or there is a risk of this happening in the future, we can consider paying direct to the landlord. If you are concerned that this may be happening, please phone or email us immediately so that we can investigate the situation. We may then need to speak to the tenant and yourself and consider any information or evidence provided. We would normally suspend payment to prevent any monies going astray while we investigate.

We would advise you to keep accurate records of when rent is paid to you. If you do not already keep records a Rent Statement form is provided below for this purpose.

Our email address is landlords.benefits@dudley.gov.uk

Please put URGENT RENT ARREARS in the subject box of your email.

  • It is essential that any email report of arrears is clearly identifiable and contains the following information or we may not be able to give it any priority and the matter will not be dealt with as urgent,
    • Your full name, address and phone number
    • The full name and address of the tenant
    • Their Housing Benefit reference number if known
    • The amount of arrears owed
    • The date and amount (if any) of the last payment you received
  • Then please give full details of all contact you have had with your tenant to discuss the problem and what action you have taken to recover the arrears.
  • You may also need to send us by post any further evidence that you would like us to consider when we make our decision, such as copies of letters to the tenant, rent books etc.
  • Please note that although we will investigate any report of arrears, Data Protection rules limit the information we can share with you, if your tenant has not given us signed authority to discuss their benefit claim.
  • All Housing Benefit payments are now made via BACS direct to a Bank or Building Society account. Before we can make any payment of benefit direct to a landlord, we will need your full bank details. If we require these from you, we will send you a short form for you to complete.

If we do make a decision to pay further benefits direct to the landlord, the decision will be reviewed after a suitable length of time. You should use this period to work with your tenant to make arrangements to clear any arrears that have occurred and to look at how they will manage their finances in the future.

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Universal Credit - Important Information

The Government has introduced Universal Credit as part of the welfare reforms.

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment that will replace 6 existing benefits for working age people.

It will eventually replace:

  • Housing Benefit Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based)
  • Income Support Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)

Universal Credit is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and not local councils. 

Those customers claiming Universal Credit (UC) will have their housing costs paid as part of their UC and will no longer be entitled to claim Housing Benefit.

Between the 5th July 2017 and 13th December 2017 Universal Credit full service will be rolled out in Dudley Metropolitan Borough

Working age customers who would have made a new claim for Housing Benefit will claim Universal Credit instead. This means you will no longer receive payments from the Local Authority; you will receive them from the DWP instead.

As landlords you may be asked by DWP to confirm rent details for your tenants, or provide copies of tenancy agreements to confirm rent paid.

If you are asked to provide this information please do so immediately, otherwise there is a likelihood that the Housing Element of Universal Credit may not be paid.

Exclusions

All Pensions age claimants are excluded from the Universal Credit scheme and will still claim Housing Benefit.

Customers living in Supported Accommodation will continue to claim Housing Benefit. This is accommodation where you receive such support as care, supervision or counselling and advice. Some examples of supported accommodation are hostels, refuges and supported living complexes.

If you are a provider of Supported Exempt Accommodation you may be asked to confirm this, please ensure that you make this clear in any correspondence you have with DWP.

Customers with three or more children making a new claim after 6th April 2017 should still claim the relevant Benefits listed above instead of Universal Credit.

Further information can be found at GOV.UK