Tenants who are likely to have difficulty paying their rent

With Local Housing Allowance, benefit is usually paid to the tenant. Tenants cannot choose to have their benefit paid to their landlord. But in some circumstances we can decide to pay benefit to the landlord.

When may the Council make payments to the landlord?

The Council must usually pay the benefit to the landlord if the tenant is eight weeks or more in arrears with their rent.

Payment may be made direct to the landlord where we decide that the tenant is:

  • likely to have difficulty in managing their financial affairs.
  • unlikely to pay their rent

We can also decide to pay benefit to the landlord if, during the current claim to benefit, we have had to pay the landlord because the tenant was eight weeks or more in arrears with their rent.

Who can ask for the payments to be made to the landlord?

Tenants, their families or persons acting on the tenants'behalf, may tell the Council that they are having difficulty paying their rent, or are likely to. The Council may also identify tenants who may have difficulty managing their money, for example, when carrying out home visits. And landlords can contact the Council, especially if the tenant is getting into arrears with their rent.

If you wish to apply please complete the Application for Direct Payment.

Who may have difficulty paying their rent?

There are many reasons why someone may have difficulty paying their rent. They might be someone who:

  • has severe debt problems
  • has a recent Court judgement against them
  • is an undischarged bankrupt
  • is unable to open a bank or building society account
  • has some of their Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance paid direct to the gas, electricity or water company by the Department for Work and Pensions
  • is getting Supporting People help
  • is getting help from a homeless charity.

Or someone may have difficulty paying their rent if they:

  • have learning difficulties
  • have an illness that stops them managing on a day-to-day basis
  • cannot read English
  • cannot speak English
  • are addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling
  • are fleeing domestic violence
  • are a care leaver
  • are leaving prison
  • are homeless.

There may be other reasons why someone might have difficulties. Ask us for more information. Details about how to get in touch with us are on this website.

Who decides if we may pay the landlord?

We decide if we may pay the landlord.

There may be times when Benefit Services staff know someone has difficulty in managing their money and may take action based on this knowledge. We recommend that, if someone thinks a tenant may have difficulty managing their money, they encourage the tenant to contact us.

We must have evidence to show that they have difficulty managing their money and that it is in their interest that we pay the landlord directly. Evidence should usually be in writing. People who can provide evidence include:

  • the tenant
  • friends and family of the tenant
  • the landlord
  • welfare groups (including money advisers)
  • Social Work
  • probation officers
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • The Pension Service
  • homeless charities/organisations
  • Support Organisations
  • local Council rent deposit scheme administrators, homelessness or housing advice officers.

We will work with the tenant in making our decision.

Making a decision

Once we have collected evidence we will decide as quickly as possible if direct payments to the landlord are appropriate. We will still pay benefit while we are making our decision. We will write to the tenant and explain our decision. We will also write to the landlord.

South Ayrshire Council has endorsed a Safeguard Policy which gives in-depth information about how we treat applications to pay the landlord direct.