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Vulnerability Policy

The regulations allow for payments to be made direct to a landlord where the Local Authority considers that the tenant is likely to have difficulty managing his affairs’.

 

The intention of this policy is to prevent tenants who are likely to experience difficulties from falling into rent arrears and tenants being put at risk of eviction.  It will also help sustain tenancies for vulnerable tenants.  This will reassure landlords that their rent will be paid if they have vulnerable tenants or are approached by vulnerable tenants.

 

Under Local Housing Allowance (LHA) a tenant cannot simply request that their payments are made to the landlord.  To protect vulnerable tenants the council will apply discretion to pay the landlord.  This policy sets out the guidelines by which officers will make decisions.

 

If you would like to apply to have payments made direct to your Landlord and meet the criteria, please complete the Vulnerability Form:

 

 

Aims and Objectives


  • To provide a safeguard for the most vulnerable tenants and reassure them that their benefit and rent will be paid
  • To help prevent rent arrears and tenants being put at risk of eviction
  • To help sustain tenancies for vulnerable tenants
  • To reassure landlords that rent will be paid if they have vulnerable tenants or are approached by vulnerable tenants
  • To help put tenants in touch with other agencies where necessary and give people the opportunity and support so they can manage their own affairs
  • To ensure council officers make reasonable, fair and consistent decision
  • To promote a transparent and simple process that is widely understood
  • To treat each case individually and to avoid making assumptions about people’s situations
The policy is not designed to:
  • Supersede support that is received by tenants and helping them to be responsible for their own income and expenditure
  • Be a blanket policy for agencies providing support to private tenants
  • Be used by landlords to circumvent the aims of LHA

 

Procedure

Alerting the council of potential vulnerability.

 

The tenant or their representative make the council aware they would prefer their LHA to be paid to the landlord.  The request needs to be supported with written evidence from a third party, but initially can be by:

  • A letter/ email
  • Vulnerability application form

 

Gathering information and evidence

Officers will consider the information that has been received and whether there is enough evidence to make appropriate decisions.  Evidence from all sources will be considered on its merit.

 

Evidence from a landlord cannot be accepted alone

 

Making a decision

One of two decisions will be recommended and approved by the Benefits Manager:

  • the tenant is vulnerable and payment of LHA will be made to the landlord.
  • the tenant is not vulnerable and payment of LHA will be made to the tenant.

 

Notifying Affected Parties

The tenant and/or their representative will be written to and advised of the following:

  • The decision
  • If and when the decision will be reviewed
  • Appeal rights
  • Contact details for the CAB that may help them

The landlord will also be written to and advised:

  • If their tenant has been found vulnerable and the council will pay them LHA upto the contractual rent
  • If and when the decision will be reviewed
  • Request bank details if not previously received
  • If their tenant has been found not to be vulnerable, the landlords appeal rights against this decision

 

Examples of Vulnerability

Reasons that we might pay the landlord instead of the tenant might be because the tenant:

  • Has a medical condition (affecting their mental or physical health)
  • Has a learning disability or a physical disability
  • Does not speak English as their first language
  • Is going through some changes which means the tenant needs some extra support
  • Is dealing with an addiction (to alcohol or drugs)
  • Has severe debt problems e.g. CCJs, bankruptcy, or a bad credit rating preventing them from having a bank account.

Even if a tenant comes under one of these categories it does not mean that payments will definitely go direct to the landlord.  Each case will be considered individually.

 

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