Blameless Tenant Recovery from Agents

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    We have a query from an agent, who isn’t happy about the blameless tenant recovery we have started :O .

    He has queried the fact that we are recovering from him, and not from the actual landlord; he has stated (and provided proof) that he has paid the monies over to the landlord and that he no longer manages the property.
    I do know we can still recover from the agent, R(H)10/07 states we can still recover, but does anyone know of a clearer regulation or anything in the DWP guidance?

    His other query is that we are recovering (by blameless tenant) from a tenant who is living in a different landlords property. His argument is that he can’t pay landlord B because we are recovering, from landlord B’s property, an overpayment which occurred at landlord A’s property.
    I can see his point, but also understand that it is the agent’s responsibility to manage his affairs.
    Is there any caselaw or guidance on this?

    Thank you to anyone who can help


    Simple answer – he needs to pay the full amount to landlord B and bill landlord A for whatever was recovered.
    The agent presumably takes a nice commission from all the HB that passes through his hands – this is just one of the things he needs to deal with to earn his cut.

    Kevin D

    Just taking a step back in the process, why is the o/p being recovered from the agent and not the clmt?


    In reply to Kevin D

    We were informed by DWP that the claimant had changed address. The property was a board and lodgings, and the agent stated on the tenancy agreement that he provides breakfasts, and payments were made direct to him. So we have made him liable on the grounds that he would have been aware the tenant had left.


    In reply to mwigg1

    Thanks, My thoughts exactly.

    Still looking for some guidance which states the legislation clearly though.

    Kevin D

    On the basis that the agent actually knew (distinguished from being expected to know), I agree the o/p is recoverable from the agent. If the claimant failed to disclose the move, the overpayment is also recoverable from the clmt (which means both parties must be notified – the notificatons must contain identical content).


    Once your notifications are in order, blameless tenant recovery comes under Section 75 of the Social Security Administration Act:

    (5) Where an amount paid to a person on behalf of another person is recoverable
    under this section, subsections (3) and (4) above authorise its recovery from the person
    to whom it was paid by deduction–

    (c) from prescribed benefits paid to him to discharge (in whole or in part) an
    obligation owed to him by any other person.

    (6) Where an amount is recovered as mentioned in paragraph (b) of subsection (5)
    above, the obligation specified in that paragraph shall in prescribed circumstances be
    taken to be discharged by the amount of the deduction; and where an amount is recovered
    as mentioned in paragraph (c) of that subsection, the obligation specified in that
    paragraph shall in all cases be taken to be so discharged.

    Don’t worry about the distinction between landlord and agent. If the agent received the overpayment and has been correctly notified that he is liable to repay the overpayment you can go ahead with recovery. Its up to the agent how he balances his books.

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