Housing benefit element

The request was partially successful.

Dear Warwick District Council,

How many people have their housing benefit paid directly to their landlord? In last year?
What is the Council criteria for having the housing benefit element paid directly to a landlord? Eg private tenant

Yours faithfully,

John Brown

Information, Warwick District Council

Dear John Brown

Thank you for your request for information which I acknowledge was received by the District Council on 3 February 2020.

Your request is currently being considered. If the District Council is able to provide you with the information you have requested, then under the Freedom of Information Act you are entitled to receive it within 20 working days.

For your information, the FOI Act defines a number of exemptions which may prevent release of some or all of the information you have requested.  The District Council will assess your information request in light of the exemptions. If exemptions do apply, then the District Council may decide not to release all, or part, of the information you have requested. You will be informed if this is the case.

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken by the District Council as to whether to release the information to you. You will be kept informed if this is the case.

The District Council will not charge a fee to provide you with the information you have requested, provided the cost of dealing with your request is less than £450. If it appears likely that your request will cost more than £450 to deal with then I will write to you again asking if you are willing to pay the fees incurred, and setting out clearly what those fees will be, in accordance with the FOI Act.

If you have any queries or should you wish to make a complaint about the manner in which your request is being dealt with then please do not hesitate to contact me at the above address in the first instance. Any complaints will be dealt with under the Council’s corporate complaints procedure.

Further information about your rights under the Freedom of Information Act, is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office (0303 123 1113) or on their website www.ico.org.uk, and on the District Council’s website.

Kind regards

Matthew Kinsey
Corporate Support Assistant
Chief Executive’s Office

Corporate Support Team
Warwick District Council
Riverside House
Milverton Hill
Royal Leamington Spa
CV32 5HZ

Telephone 01926 456123

Website: www.warwickdc.gov.uk

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Stuart Brimsted, Warwick District Council

Dear Mr. Brown,

 

Thank you for your (below) Freedom of Information request.

 

In respect of your request -

 

How many people have their housing benefit paid directly to their
landlord? 

1684 HB claims (not Council tenants) currently have their Housing Benefit
paid directly to their Landlord.

 

In last year?

This is very difficult to report. Below, in respect of the further part of
your request are shown the reasons that HB may be awarded to a Landlord in
rent allowance cases (not rent rebate – Council tenant cases). These can
and do change throughout a year, and are also subject to review. As such,
to report on a yearly figure would require each Housing Benefit payment
run made throughout the last 52 week period to be checked, then compared,
to identify which cases remained paid to a Landlord and which had changed
back to the tenant or third party, and then ensure they had not changed
again back to the Landlord though a further change in circumstances e.g.
further failure to pay rent, so as to ensure no duplication. For these
reasons/difficulties only the current number of cases paid to Landlord’s
for rent allowance cases i.e. those which aren’t council tenants, are
shown here.  

 

What is the Council criteria for having the housing benefit element paid
directly to a landlord? Eg private tenant

 

These criteria are dictated by law, the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006
(as amended), which itself reflects established case law. These criteria
are also directed and commented upon via Department for Work and Pensions
guidance.   

 

Council tenants, the HB is credited to their Rent account.

 

Other Social Tenants e.g. Housing Associations, or where the Landlord is a
registered charity (and the HB is paid under exempt accommodation and rent
referral rules, more easily stated as not Local Housing Allowance cases)
HB may be paid to the landlord or agent where the claimant requests this
or consents to it i.e. they have a choice who receives HB, them or the
Landlord/Agent. Or the Council may pay the Landlord/Agent if it believes
it is in the claimants best interests.

 

In Local Housing Allowance cases (private tenants) HB is paid to the
tenant unless -

 

·         The tenant has 8 weeks or more rent arrears and so the
Landlord/Agent will be paid, unless it is in the tenants over-riding
interests not to pay the Landlord/Agent.

·         Paying your Landlord/Agent would help secure or retain their
tenancy.

·         The tenant is likely to have difficulty managing their finances.

·         It is improbable that the tenant will pay the rent.

·         The Council is considering whether the rules in the previous 2
entries apply to the tenant; in such a case a decision must be made within
8 weeks.

·         Part of the tenants  JSA/ESA/IS or state pension credit is being
paid to their Landlord/Agent.

·         The tenant has left their home and rent remains due to their
Landlord/Agent.

·         Rent remains due to the Agent/Landlord when the tenant has died.

 

There is a further caveat to be considered, in that in all rent allowance
cases the Council (indeed all Council’s) must consider whether the
Landlord/Agent is a ‘fit and proper person’ upon which the DWP provides
guidance.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Stuart Brimsted

Principal Benefits Officer

Tel: 01926 456760

 

Finance, Warwick District Council, Riverside House,

Milverton Hill, Royal Leamington Spa, CV32 5HZ

 

[1]www.warwickdc.gov.uk

 

*Please don’t print this e-mail unless you really need to.

 

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