Help with Rent

Council Tax

Help if you are renting your property or rooms out to someone who has claimed or is about to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

Can my tenant claim Housing Benefit?

Your tenant can claim Housing Benefit to help with their rent if they are on a low income. And not claiming Universal Credit They claim this help from the Council (the rules are different if your tenant has or is about to claim Universal Credit- more information about this further on). There is a useful entitlement checker where they can check first to see if they are likely to be eligible and get an estimate of how much they may get.

  • A claim for Housing Benefit can be made on-line using the link on this page or there are links from the Benefits Information pages.
  • Your tenant can also claim Housing Benefit by requesting a form from the Benefit office by calling 01909 533710  or
  • in person at either of our One –Stop shops at Worksop or Retford or village helppoints.

Whilst completing their form, the applicant will be asked to provide proof of his/her rent, as well as proof of identity and National Insurance Number for both the claimant and their partner (if they have one). This includes civil partners of the same sex.

Your tenant may ask you to provide a detailed breakdown of his/her rent if it includes other things like Council Tax or services. The form also asks the tenant to give us permission to talk to their landlord about their claim. Without this, we will be unable to give you any information about it.

If your tenant is claiming Universal Credit

Once a tenant is eligible to claim Universal Credit,  the help for their rent will be included in their monthly Universal Credit payment.  For new Universal Credit claims there is a 7 day waiting period so the tenant will have to pay their l rent for the first week. They can claim an advance of their Universal Credit by calling the DWP helpline on 0345 600 0723 if they are struggling whilst waiting for their first payment. They must do this within 21 days of claiming their Universal Credit.

If your tenant is in receipt of Universal Credit and falls into rent arrears,  The Department for Work and Pensions may arrange an alternative payment method. You will need to call the above helpline number for advice about  alternative payment arrangements.

How long will a new claim take?

On average, the Councill will process new claims for Housing Benefits within 14 days of the claim form and evidence being submitted. Sometimes we have to request further information from your tenant so it may take a little longer. Once all the information is received, we will make a payment within fourteen days.

If your tenant claims Universal Credit, they must take all of their evidence including rent proof to their first interview with the Jobcentre. They will receive a phone call, test or letter to tell them when this is. Payment of Universal Credit is monthly in arrears so they will not receive their first payment until at least 7+33 days, so they may need help budgeting for their outgoings for the first month, including rent. The Jobcentre may refer the claimant for more help with on-going  personal budgeting from the Council.

How will I be notified of any benefit being paid?

You will only receive notification of the amount of benefit to be paid and from when, if the payment itself is to be made direct to you. This will not apply in Universal Credit cases. If we are paying your tenant direct, you will not receive notifications. If you are the payee, you will also be notified of any changes to the benefit amount and if benefit ends. This notification will include details of any overpayments that have been made and from whom we will recover these.

How will Housing Benefit be paid?

We will normally pay Housing Benefit by direct credit (BACS) directly into your tenant's bank account. The first payment may include any back pay due. In some cases we can pay you without the tenant's authorisation, for example, if you show us evidence of 8 weeks or more worth of arrears. There are other exceptional cases where we may also pay the landlord direct for example where the tenant is vulnerable. Please contact us if you think this is the case. If your tenant claims Universal Credit, and is getting into arrears, you will have to contact the DWP on 0345 600 0723 for help.

What if I am overpaid?

Overpayments occur when your tenant has a change of circumstances that affect the amount of Housing Benefit they are entitled to.

The Council's first consideration in deciding from whom to recover an overpayment is who has contributed to the overpayment occurring and whether there has been any failure on the part of the tenant or the landlord in notifying us of a change in circumstances.

If the overpayment is deemed recoverable from you, you will be notified about the method of recovery. Usually this would be by reducing future payments made to you, even if they are in respect of different tenants. When this happens, you must still credit the "blameless tenant's" rent account as if their Housing Benefit had been paid in full.

If you have stopped getting any payments after an overpayment has occurred, we would send an invoice to the person we are seeking recovery from. There is a delay of one month from the date the overpayment occurs to allow time for you to make an appeal if you do not agree with our decision to recover an overpayment from you.

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