Reply To: Council Owned Properties using SRL as Managing Agent

Peter Barker

Interesting one.

A rent rebate is normally paid by reducing the amount that the tenant is liable to pay, but s134 of the Administration Act allows it be paid as an actual payment to the person entitled. Rent rebate is a legal term rather than a description of a method: it’s a rebate because the Council is the landlord even if it behaves like an allowance.

(2)The rebates and allowances referred to in subsections (1A) and (1B) above may take any of the following forms, that is to say—
(a) a payment or payments by the authority to the person entitled to the benefit;
(b) a reduction in the amount of any payments which that person is liable to make to the authority by way of rent; or
(c)such a payment or payments and such a reduction;
and in any enactment or instrument (whenever passed or made) “pay”, in relation to housing benefit, includes discharge in any of those forms.

Section 5 allows payment to be made to a third party on the claimant’s behalf instead if regulations so provide. In HB those regulations are regs 94 to 96, which only apply to rent allowance. Reg 91A prescribes certain circumstances in which a Council tenant gets a rent allowance instead of a rebate, but this isn’t one of them as far as I can see.

Therefore I do not think it is legally possible to pay your Council tenants’ HB by way of a cash payment to a third party!