Housing Benefit helps your tenant pay their rent if they are:
- unable to work
- on a low income
Only certain groups of people can make a new claim for Housing Benefit.
Tenants receiving Universal Credit will not be able to claim Housing Benefit. Tenants living in specified accommodation with care, support and supervision provided by their landlord can claim Housing Benefit for their rent costs and also receive Universal Credit for their personal living costs.
Most people in Wirral will claim Universal Credit instead of claiming legacy benefits such as Housing Benefit.
If your tenants claim or already receive Universal Credit you may be able to request a direct payment for their rent costs.
There are some people who will still claim Housing Benefit if they need help with their rent. These groups are listed below:
- people of pensionable age people who pay rent, and do not receive Universal Credit
- people living in rented accommodation, where care, support or supervision is provided by their landlord
- people who have been placed in temporary accommodation by the Local Authority
Applying for Housing Benefit
Only the tenant can apply for Housing Benefit.
Housing Benefit entitlement depends on the personal circumstances of the tenant and their household as well as the level of rent, so landlords cannot apply on behalf of a tenant.
How much Housing Benefit is paid?
This will depend on:
- how much income the tenant and their partner receive
- if other people live with them
- when they made their claim
The Local Housing Allowance rate is the maximum amount of Housing Benefit payable. If your tenants' rent is higher than the Local Housing Allowance rate, they will have to make up the shortfall themselves.
Care and supported accommodation
If you are considering providing accommodation with care and support included, different rules may apply when we calculate Housing Benefit for your tenant, contact us for more information.
Who is it paid to?
Payment is normally made to the tenant. Housing Benefit can only be paid to the landlord if:
- the tenant is unable or unlikely to pay their rent
- the tenant is vulnerable
- direct payment would help the tenant secure or retain the tenancy, where the landlord has reduced the rent to align it to the appropriate Local Housing Allowance rate for the household. If this is the case you should complete the rent alignment form.
If you wish to have direct payments made to you, please complete the direct payment online form.
Responsibilities as a landlord
You must tell us as soon as you become aware that a tenant has moved out.
To tell us about a tenant moving out please email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you receive direct payments you must also tell us if you have moved address, or if your bank details have changed.
What information can we give you?
If the Housing Benefit is paid to the tenant we cannot tell you anything about it, unless the tenant has given us permission to.
If the Housing Benefit is paid directly to you, we can tell you:
- the amount of the benefit
- how often it will be paid
- when we stop paying benefit to you
- the reason for an overpayment if we intend to recover it from you
- the amount of overpayment and the period it covers
You can register for online access to view information regarding your payments.
Tenants can give written permission for us to discuss other issues by completing the following:
Your rights as a landlord
If we decide to stop paying you directly, we must tell you that we have done this and the reasons why. You have the right to appeal against our decision to stop paying the rent direct to you.
You also have the right to appeal against an overpayment of Housing Benefits being recovered from you. You must do this within one month of being notified about the overpayment.
You do not have any other rights of appeal.
Can my tenant get extra help with their rent?
We cannot pay Housing Benefit above the Local Housing Allowance rates. However, your tenant can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
Join the landlords mailing list
Private landlords can sign for email updates from Wirral Council. We’ll send you updates and useful information, including:
- information about the roll-out of Universal Credit
- details of Landlord Forum meetings
- the Landlord Link-up newsletter