Housing Benefit information for private landlords

Who can claim Housing Benefit

Pension age customers can claim Housing Benefit.

Most working age customers must claim Universal Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). However, working age tenants living in supported accommodation can claim Housing Benefit.

The main conditions for receiving Housing Benefit are that the claimant meets all the below requirements:

  • is entitled to public funds
  • lives in the dwelling as their home
  • pays rent or has a partner that does
  • the total household income and capital are not to high to qualify
Type householdSupported accommodation?Can claim help with rent from
Single working ageNoUniversal Credit (DWP)
Single working ageYesHousing Benefit
Single pension ageNoHousing Benefit
Single pension ageYesHousing Benefit
Couple, one pension and one working ageNoUniversal Credit (DWP)
Couple, one pension and one working ageYesHousing Benefit
Couple, both pension ageNoHousing Benefit
Couple, both pension ageYesHousing Benefit

What we can tell you about a tenant’s Housing Benefit

We can only give you information about a tenant’s Housing Benefit if they give us permission. They can do this in the claim form or tell us in writing or by email.

If they give us permission, we can tell you:

  • whether we have decided a claim, or  
  • when and how much a payment will be

Unless authorised, we cannot give you confidential information about their personal circumstances.

If we pay Housing Benefit direct to you

We will send a decision notice to tell you:

  • the date benefit started, changed, or ended
  • the weekly amount of benefit
  • how often we pay
  • how we will pay
  • how much is being deducted from payments to repay an overpayment
  • the types of changes you must tell us about
  • when payment of Housing Benefit has been suspended

How we pay Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit will be paid 4 weekly in the tenant’s bank account.

We can pay a landlord direct if:

  • The landlord and tenant negotiated a lower rent and paying rent direct will help secure or retain the tenancy
  • The tenant is unable manage the payment themselves, for example for health reasons

The tenant owes 8 weeks or more rent

Who is responsible for paying Council Tax?

An owner-occupier or tenant aged 18 or over living in the property is usually responsible for paying the Council Tax.

In certain circumstances, owners who do not live in the property must pay the Council Tax. For example, where the house is in multiple occupation (HMO).

An HMO is where:

  • a tenant rents a room in a shared property with other tenants; and
  • each has a separate tenancy agreement with only their name on it.

Changes you must tell us about

If we pay your tenant’s Housing Benefit to you, you must tell us about changes that could affect the amount payable or how we pay you.

You should tell the Benefits Team if:

  • your tenant moves out
  • the tenancy ends
  • there are any permanent or temporary absences from the property
  • somebody else moves in
  • your tenant changes room within the same building
  • your tenant changes flat within the same building
  • there is a change in the rent being charged
  • there is a change to the number or names of joint tenants
  • you waive the rent for a period
  • the tenant owes you eight weeks or more rent
  • you serve a Notice Seeking Possession
  • the premises are closed due to nuisance or disorder
  • your bank details change
  • you are no longer the landlord

How to contact the Benefits Team and report changes

Email: benefits@reading.gov.uk

Phone: 0118 937 3707

Writing to: Reading Borough Council, Benefits Team, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 7LU

Rent arrears and eviction proceedings

If your tenant has rent arrears and is waiting on a Housing Benefit decision, please contact us before starting eviction proceedings.

We will do our best to make a prompt decision, providing we have all the information needed to assess the claim.


When we pay Housing Benefit direct to a landlord and their tenant’s entitlement changes, we may ask the landlord to repay the money which has been overpaid.

If we decide it is appropriate to recover the money from the landlord, we will raise an invoice for repayment.


Only a person affected by a decision about Housing Benefit can appeal the decision.

A landlord can also be a ‘person affected’ in the following circumstances:

  • we decide to make direct payment of Housing Benefit to you
  • we decide not to pay Housing Benefit direct to you
  • we decide you are the person responsible for repaying a Housing Benefit overpayment

Landlords affected by a Housing Benefit decision can ask us to:

  • explain the decision in more detail
  • reconsider the decision
  • submit an appeal to the Tribunals Service for a hearing

This should be done within one month of the date of the decision letter.

Last updated on 30/10/2023