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Can a council nail you for previous tenants over payments, I had a nightmare tenant who left my property 6 months ago and today i have had £380 deducted from the £621 i receive from my current tenants which will make it difficult

for me to make my mortgage payments. The tenant in question must have scammed them for more than they where entitled to yet i never got a penny over my rent from DSS so why am I being penalised for this. I would love to know what the law is on this so please all you experts out there please advice.

Thank you in advance

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Hi lost sole,

If the benefit is paid to the tenant .... and then the tenant pays the landlord the rent .... then the overpayment will be recovered from the tenant (as they are the party that received the overpayment in the first place). The Benefit Office usually recovers any overpayment to tenant at around £9.xx per week(ie: just under £40 a month). They recover the money from the tenant at this low rate so that they can continue to pay their rent and repay the overpayment to the Council.

If the benefit was paid directly to the landlord ... and there has been an overpayment ... then the overpayment will be recovered from the landlord.

Usually overpayments occur at the end of the tenancy because Councils have pre-defined periods that are covered by Housing Benefit payments. eg: Benefit is paid up until 31/01/11 but tenant actually leaves on 14/01/11 thereby creating an overpayment from 15/01 to 31/01. In this example, the Council would look to recover the overpayment from 15/01 to 31/01 from the landord. They usually - but not always - send an invoice that needs paying.

If the overpayment is because the tenant had a lower entitlement to Housing Benefit than previously assessed then I think it is worth, at least, challenging the overpayment with the Benefit Office. If they stand firm then you will need to contact your tenant and ask for payment or you could ask the Benefit Office to recover the monies from the tenant at £9.xx a week.

If all else fails - you might need to take legal action against the tenant to recover the money but, given they are on benefits and have no money anyway, you are probably going to have to write that money off.

Finally, many landlords would agree that if you have only lost £380 in rent whilst renting to a DSS tenant then you have done quite well. I know some landlords who have lost THOUSANDS ... not HUNDREDS!

Good luck,


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“Regulation 6(3) to (5) of the HB regulations, so that the chief considerationwhen deciding ‘whom to recover from’should be who has misrepresented or failed to disclose information.

Have you been sent a letter from the council giving the reasons for the overpayment? If not Request a written statement of reasons this comes under Reg 4(4) HB&CTB(DA) Regs

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