Alan contacted Landlord Advice as his tenant was a month behind with the rent. Alan explained that the tenant was getting benefits to help with rent, but was unsure if this was Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
Alan’s property was managed by an estate agent.He had asked them to contact the benefit agency to ask for the tenants' benefits to be paid directly to the estate agent. However, the benefit agency said this was not possible.
Our adviser talked Alan through the correct procedures in this situation. Benefits to help with rent can only be paid directly to the landlord if the tenant is getting:
Housing Benefit and is in arrears of at least six weeks, or
Universal Credit and is in arrears of two months
Our adviser told Alan that the above would only apply from the date of the request and earlier benefit payments would not be backdated. Our adviser also explained the alternative options to recover any rent owed.