Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Reduction (CTR) are paid in different ways depending on what type of tenancy you have or whether you own your property and when you claimed.
If you get CTR it will be used to reduce the amount of Council Tax you have to pay. Once your benefit is worked out we will send you a new Council Tax bill. To see how much you might be entitled to use our Benefits Calculator.
If a home is rented from a private landlord how we pay HB depends on when the claim was made and the type of tenancy and landlord.
Most claims made by private tenants after 7 April 2008 will be paid under the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules. There are some exceptions to this. See 'Claims made outside the Local Housing Allowance rules' (below) for further details.
Under the LHA rules we must pay HB to the tenant. There is no longer the choice to ask us to pay a landlord or their agent, even if the tenant would like us to. However, there are some people who will either:
In these cases we are able to consider paying HB directly to a landlord or their agent. Normally we need evidence that a claimant falls into the categories above.
If you have evidence that you or your tenant falls into this category you can fill in a request to pay Local Housing Allowance to the landlord(pdf, 41KB).
Richmond has a policy that prevents vulnerable tenants who are unable to manage their financial affairs and those tenants who are unlikely to pay their rent from falling into arrears. Our Safeguard Policy(pdf, 60KB) has more information.
If the LHA rules do not apply, there is more choice about who we can pay. A tenant is exempt from LHA rules for the following categories:
If the pre LHA rules apply a tenant can request that we pay either:
On their claim for HB, they must choose either:
Landlords should note that if HB is overpaid to them they may be liable to repay the overpayment if we believe they could have known the HB was overpaid (e.g. if the tenant moved out without notifying us). See Overpayments.
If the tenant is eight weeks or more in arrears with their rent, we must pay the landlord, unless there is a legal reason for withholding the rent.
If the tenant is in arrears equivalent to more than 8 weeks please fill in the request to pay Local Housing Allowance to the landlord(pdf, 41KB) form and return it to us. We may be able to suspend Housing Benefit, until we can make a revised decision on who we pay.