Difficulty paying rent

Difficulty paying rent

With Local Housing Allowance, benefit is usually paid to the tenant. Tenants cannot choose to have their benefit paid to their landlord. But in some circumstances we can decide to pay benefit to the landlord.

When may a local authority make payments to the landlord?

The local authority must usually pay the benefit to the landlord if the tenant is eight weeks or more in arrears with their rent.

Payment may be made direct to the landlord where we decide that the tenant is:

  • likely to have difficulty in managing their financial affairs.
  • unlikely to pay their rent

We can also decide to pay benefit to the landlord if, during the current claim to benefit, we have had to pay the landlord because the tenant was eight weeks or more in arrears with their rent.

Who can ask for the payments to be made to the landlord?

Tenants, landlords, tenants’ families or persons acting on the tenants’ behalf, may tell the local authority that they are having difficulty paying their rent, or are likely to. The local authority may also identify tenants who may have difficulty managing their money, for example, when carrying out home visits. And landlords can contact the local authority, especially if the tenant is getting into arrears with their rent.

Who decides if we may pay the landlord?

We decide if we may pay the landlord.

There may be times when Housing Benefit staff know someone has difficulty in managing their money and may take action based on this knowledge. We recommend that, if someone thinks a tenant may have difficulty managing their money, they encourage the tenant to contact us.

We must have evidence to show that they have difficulty managing their money and that it is in their interest that we pay the landlord directly. Evidence should usually be in writing.

We will work with the tenant in making our decision.

Making a decision

Once we have collected evidence we will decide as quickly as possible if direct payments to the landlord are appropriate. We will still pay benefit while we are making our decision.

We will write to the tenant and explain our decision. We will also write to the landlord.

Reviews and appeals

If the tenant or landlord disagrees with our decision they can ask us to look at the decision again. This is called a review. Or they can appeal against the decision, giving reasons why they think the decision is wrong.

If you want more information about reviews and appeals, please click on Safeguard Review link on this page.

Money advice

Tenants can get help managing their money from Inverclyde Advice First on 01475 715299

Further information

If you want more information about where we may consider direct payments to the landlord, or where we must pay the landlord contact us using the details under Contacts on this page. Alternatively, visit the Scottish Government website under External links on this page.

Remember that this webpage is a guide only. It is not meant to say exactly what your legal rights are. While we have tried to make sure that the information is correct at the date shown, it is possible that there may be incorrect information or some ideas may be oversimplified. Also, please remember that the information is likely to become less accurate over time because of changes to the law.