At Moray Council Benefits Service we think landlords/agents are important stakeholders in the service we provide. We want to work with landlords/agents to ensure that they receive payment promptly and that overpayments are minimised. In return we ask landlords/agents to respect our obligations towards claimant confidentiality and the Data Protection Act when they make enquiries about their tenants.
General Notes About Payment of Benefits
The person who is entitled to Housing Benefit is the tenant not the landlord/agent, therefore it is the tenant’s responsibility to pay his or her rent to the landlord/agent. It is the landlord’s/agent’s responsibility to collect the rent from the tenant. We may pay his or her benefit directly to the
landlord/agent, but we will normally only pay the tenant’s benefit to the landlord/agent if we know he or she is more than 8 weeks in arrears. Any payment made direct to the landlord/agent does not form a contract between the Benefits Service and the landlord and therefore does not affect the landlord tenant relationship.
Personal information held by the Benefits Service such as details of family, income etc cannot by law be given to a landlord/agent as this maybe a breach of the Data Protection Act.
The Data Protection Act and Landlords/Housing
The Data Protection Act requires us to protect client confidentiality. By law we are not allowed to tell landlords/agents any details concerning the personal circumstances of a claimant.
If the client has not signed to give permission we cannot tell the landlord/agent anything. We are not even allowed to confirm that a client has made a claim unless the customer has given written consent.
If the client has authorised payment to the landlord/agent we can only tell the landlord/agent the amount of entitlement (but not how it is calculated), the date from which it is to be paid and the method and frequency of payment.
If the landlord/agent has been charged with an overpayment we will tell the landlord/agent the amount of the overpayment and how it is made up (i.e. number of weeks and amount per week), the reason for the overpayment, the fact that it is recoverable, and the method of recovery.
Customer Contact Team