Landlords fear money worries

PUBLISHED: 09:16 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:37 15 June 2010

PRIVATE landlords offering new tenancies after April 7 will no longer be able to receive direct payments of housing benefit.

PRIVATE landlords offering new tenancies after April 7 will no longer be able to receive direct payments of housing benefit.Instead, payments will be made to tenants with the onus being on them to pass the money on.East Devon District Council, along with other local authorities, will apply the new Local Housing Allowance criteria as part of the Government's personal responsibility agenda.Private landlords have contacted the Herald and expressed concern that tenants may be tempted to keep the money.But a spokesperson for the council said: "The Local Housing Allowance was piloted in a number of areas prior to its roll out throughout the country. This scenario was looked at as part of the review of the pilot schemes and there was no evidence of this pattern of behaviour emerging to any great extent."Local Housing Allowance will not affect tenants of council housing or registered social landlords (housing associations). Payments will be made in accordance with existing rules.The council spokesman explained: "Neither will it affect existing tenants who currently receive housing benefit and rent their accommodation from private landlords. Their housing benefit will continue to be paid under the existing rules until either they have a break in their claim or move home."Under the rules governing the Local Housing Allowance, the presumption is that payment of housing benefit will be made direct to the tenant."The exception to this rule will be where a tenant is eight weeks or more in arrears with their rent or where someone has severe difficulty in managing their affairs. Each case will be dealt with on its merits and evaluated to a very strict criteria.

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