Reply To: Housing Benefit, Reg 9 and a selective licence


I don’t think you have any legal power at this stage to create an overpayment going back to 2014. The liability may be perfectly valid; I don’t see what this has to do with the tenant. The landlord could certainly sue for arrears of rent. So my advice would be to suspend payment pending further enquiries and review the claim at this stage. The point is that no professional landlord or letting agent etc would not obtain a licence from the date of the scheme because of the huge penalty involved. Then I would ask the claimant in to discuss the matter. If you decided there was no liability and it all sounded vague etc then I would make a new decision from the suspension date and terminate from then. You would use dma reg 11 to suspend and 14 to terminate here.

It is certainly possible to supercede from the earlier 2014 date at a later stage but the legal onus would be difficult to justify unless you had compelling evidence..and the failure to obtain a licence is not enough in itself. It might well indicate that the landlord did not see themselves as a “landlord” and this was really just a casual arrangement between family and friend etc and that may be why a licence was not obtained. Your interview with the tenant should clarify. At this stage you cannot know this I guess. So my advice would be to hold off for the moment on creating an overpayment. Suspend yes.

Potential 30k penalty and criminal offences? The landlord must be bonkers ….there must be more going on here as the landlord could easily lose the property for little compensation.