13:02 PM, 5th September 2016, About 5 years ago 4
I have received a Housing Benefit (HB) Over payment recovery decision notice from the council, which is saying they will recover the over payment from myself (Landlord). Obviously this was a bit of a shock, as all I do is receive the HB for the tenants living in the property from the Council directly and have no part in the benefits process other then this.
The benefits decision notice is very vague and does not say why they are wanting to recover from myself and what reason the benefits were overpaid. From what I can understand or make of it is that the tenants rate has changed to £0 which would make me think the tenant was not eligible for HB during that period, and the council have just found some information that voids their eligibility.
Having a look all over the forums and articles the first advice given is finding out the cause of the over payment.
I could not think of any obvious or possible reason, other than matters that a Landlord may not be privy to ie. tenants financial situation etc. I have just looked through historical payment slips from the council and tenancy agreements (every half yearly), as a result I think I’ve found something;
1. The HB over payment seems to relate to one of the tenants, as we have been receiving or used to receive HB payments for multiple tenants in the property.
2. The Tenant that we think this relates to had their name removed of the tenancy agreement although still remained a tenant of the property, which ties into the date that the benefits over payments started.
A couple of questions that I’m hoping the experienced lot here can guide me on so I have a rough idea of where I stand, what can go in my way or against me.
Q1. I do not know much about the benefits process, for one to claim HB do they have to be named on the tenancy agreement?
Q2. The tenants name was removed from the tenancy agreement, yet the payment letters from the council listed her name, would this be my fault for not noticing this and not informing the council/HB department?
Q3. Would the cause of this overpayment lie with;
i. the tenant as they knew their name was not on the tenancy yet still claimed and did not inform the council?
ii. the council for not checking the tenancy agreement to confirm eligibility of the tenants?
iii. the landlord for failing to notice the points mentioned in Q2 and informing the council?
I do intent on writing a letter for a further explanation and asking why they want to recover from me and not the tenants (claiment) and what caused the overpayment, but just worried their answer may be vague, after which it can be decided how to proceed.
Any and all advice given would be appreciated.
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