Benefits - What do I need to know about the Recovery of Overpayments?

Each case is decided on its merits. However recovery from the landlord/agent will normally only begin if the Benefits Service believes that the landlord/agent should have been aware of the circumstances. For example it is understood that landlords/agents should be aware of circumstances relating to the letting of their property i.e. tenants moving in or moving out of their property and circumstances where the landlord and tenant share the same address.

Full notification of the overpayment will be issued to the landlord/agent 1 calendar month prior to recovery, to allow for any appeal.  Payment will be due within 35 days from the invoice issue date. The invoice will show the name of the tenant and the amount of overpayment.  If a landlord/agent has difficulty repaying the money our overpayments section can negotiate repayment by instalments.

If a landlord/agent fails to make repayments of overpaid Housing Benefit we can recover outstanding payments from any future payments of Housing Benefit due to be paid to the landlord/agent. If we do invoke these powers it means that for each tenant in respect of whom Housing Benefit is being paid, the amount of their entitlement will be offset against the overpayment. If this happens the landlord/agent must reduce the tenant’s rent liability by the full value of their Housing Benefit entitlement. The landlord/agent is not entitled to seek to recover the monies from the tenant. The legislation that enables this is contained within Section 16 of the Social Security Administration Act 1997.

If an overpayment is recoverable from a tenant but they still receive Housing Benefit payments, and these are paid directly to the landlord/agent, we may recover the overpayment from these ongoing Housing Benefit payments.

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