Payment of LHA
LHA is paid directly to you the tenant and not your landlord. You will be responsible for paying the rent to your landlord. If your rent is higher than the LHA you receive, you will have to make up the difference. You may want to claim a discretionary housing payment.
Direct payments to tenants
The only way to receive payment of LHA is direct into a bank account. This is a safe and secure method of payment and avoids the need for you to bank cheques. You can set up a standing order or direct debit to pay your landlord. Please note that LHA cannot be paid into a Post Office.
If you do not have a bank account you can make an appointment to see the benefits service's money advice officer by contacting the housing benefit call centre, who can help you:
- open a bank account
- print and complete a direct payment application form (word) for direct payments of LHA to your landlord
- complete an application for a discretionary housing payment
- assist you with budgeting and debt related issues.
The LHA: Money Advice and Bank Accounts leaflet (pdf) details other sources of support.
If you would like your LHA to be paid into your bank account please contact the housing benefit call centre, who can help you with this.
Direct payments to landlords
If you feel that you cannot cope with paying rent to your landlord, it may be possible for us to pay LHA direct to your landlord.
Since April 2011 we can make payments of LHA direct to landlords who in return for charging an affordable rent insist on payments direct to them. An affordable rent is one that the tenant can meet using Local Housing Allowance and their own funds. This applies to new tenancies from April 2011 and to existing tenancies for which the landlord is prepared to reduce the rent to an affordable amount in return for direct payments.
A direct payment application form (word) will need to be completed giving reasons why you think LHA should be paid to your landlord. We may need to ask you for more evidence to support your request. Alternatively you could make an appointment with the money advice officer by contacting the housing benefit call centre who can assist you with completing the direct payments application form.
The Direct Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance Payments Procedure tells you how we make decisions to pay private landlords direct.
Landlords should contact us if they believe that this applies to their tenant.
Eight weeks arrears
If we are advised that you owe eight weeks or more in rent, we must pay your LHA direct to your landlord until the amount owing has been cleared. We will look at the evidence from the landlord and check this with you when making this decision. We have discretion to consider paying a landlord direct when the arrears are less than eight weeks.
Landlords can print and complete the direct payments – rent arrears form (word) to advise us when a tenant’s arrears is approaching or has exceeded eight weeks.