If you receive direct payment of your tenant’s Housing Benefit entitlement, you may be liable for any overpayments.
Overpayments happen because -
- information was incorrect on the initial claim
- there has been a change of circumstances
- a tenant leaves your property without advising us
- a tenant or yourself has deliberately claimed benefit to which they are not entitled
Responsibility for repaying the overpayment
Before you received direct payments of your tenant’s entitlement, we asked you to sign an agreement to repay any Housing Benefit paid in error. This means we can, if relevant, recover an overpayment from you.
If we decide you are responsible for the overpayment we notify you of the -
- name of tenant
- dates and periods
- reason for overpayment
If you do not agree with this decision, you have one calendar month from the date of the notification to appeal.
Repaying the overpayment
One calendar month after sending your notification letter, we either -
- send you an invoice for the full amount which includes payment details
- recover the debt from your ongoing schedules (known as direct recovery). For example, if you are receiving ongoing payments for other tenants, we can make deductions from these payments to the value of the amount of outstanding overpayment
When a tenant is responsible for an overpayment, we may reduce the amount of benefit that is paid to you to recover the overpaid amount. It is the tenant’s responsibility to pay any difference to you. You have no right of appeal against such deductions.
If you fail to repay an overpayment, under benefit regulations we can refuse to make any further direct benefit payments to you.
Overpayments due to your tenant leaving your property
If your tenant leaves your property without informing us, you may receive an overpayment.
If your tenant was unable to give you notice and left your property early to move into another property, they may can request an overlap of benefit. This means they could claim up to four weeks Housing Benefit to cover the rent of your property until their tenancy with you ends. This decision is made by us.
The tenant must occupy their new home before requesting, in writing, an overlap payment for their old address.