Housing Benefit and local authorities
Rachel Allen, of Firstbay Lettings, has provided the following positive news of her / landlords recent triumphs regarding Housing Benefit abandonment payments / blameless tenant recovery. It goes to show that the local authorities can be challenged if you follow the correct procedures.
1) Tenant in a 2 bed property was issued a Section 21 eviction notice which was then later revoked by the landlord. Tenant left property with no notice given to agent or landlord, 7 day abandonment proceedings began, Housing Benefit were notified by landlord and they stopped the claim from the date of vacation of property. Upon appeal we argued that entitlement should be paid up to date of end of statutory notice period. Housing Benefit agreed to pay a further 4 weeks entitlement to the landlord upon proof of Section.21 notice revoked.
2) Tenant in 1 bed flat left and moved out of the area. Landlord discovered abandonment after the fact and again 7 day abandonment proceedings began. Housing Benefit were notified but they then claimed excess of £600 overpayment back from the landlord, backdated to when they thought tenant had left the property. By appealing the decision that statutory notice period have not been adhered to or paid up to, Housing Benefit paid the overpayment back to the landlord. Housing Benefit decided to invoice the tenant for the excess instead.
3) Classic abandonment situation with tenant departing overnight, by leaving numerous belongings in property and causing lots of damage. 7 day abandonment proceedings adhered to. Housing Benefit notified landlord of intention to claim back - under blameless tenant recovery. This was dated from when the tenant started a new tenancy on a different property. Housing Benefit had already claimed back without notification one week’s entitlement that they claimed had been paid in error. Again upon appeal that statutory notice not adhered to, and that no prior notification of previous amount claimed back. Housing Benefit agreed to repay the one week’s entitlement and cancelled the intended clawback, and paid up to end of statutory notice period.
Based on Rachel's comments, this demonstrates why knowing the rules is important, and highlights the value in using a professional who has relevant experience.