Missing Children – is overpayment of housing benefit recoverable?Make Text Bigger
My current tenant is receiving housing benefit/local housing allowance (which is paid directly to the estate agent and then to me). Initially the tenant, who is a single parent, moved in with his three young kids. I tagged along to the most recent quarterly inspection and noticed that there were no children’s clothing or toys etc around the house. This led me to suspect that his children have left to live with mum or foster care etc.
I’m not exactly sure if the council knows about this. The housing benefit did reduce by £40 per week a few months ago though but not sure if the children had anything to do with that. I’m scared the council is going to come chasing me for overpayments. Is this likely to happen? Its not my fault if the tenant was fraudulently claiming housing benefit, but I appreciate the law isn’t always on the landlords side.
Any advice from someone who has experience of this?
I’m sure there must be some sort of protection for the landlord here? Either via legislation or court appeal? As a landlord I know that the tenant still lives at the property, but surely I cannot be “reasonably” expected to check if the tenant is claiming too much HB/LHA? I can’t keep a track of where his children are and therefore should not be expected to inform the council of a change in circumstances for the tenant. It just seems very unreasonable that the LL can be held accountable for the money where the tenant does not declare a change in his circumstances.
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