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Housing Benefit

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 12th May 2011.

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Photo of Mike Weatherley Mike Weatherley Conservative, Hove

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on giving tenants in the private rented sector the choice of whether to receive local housing allowance directly.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

We continue to support the principle that tenants in the private rented sector should be responsible for managing their rental payments. There are safeguards in place so that housing benefit can be paid to the landlord if the tenant is unable or unlikely to pay their rent. Benefit is also paid direct to the landlord if the tenant is in arrears by eight weeks’ rent.

From April 2011 we are widening local authority discretion to pay housing benefit direct to the landlord only if it would help the customer secure a new tenancy or remain in their current home at a reduced rent. We will work closely with local authorities to ensure this provision is used in very specific circumstances where landlords are reducing rents to a level that is affordable for customers.

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