Social Services topping up rent shortfall.

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    We have had a few recent instances where claimants have moved from council tenancies into expensive privately rented accomodation. The RO is passing around 50% of the rent.

    We have asked the claimants how they intend to make up the shortfall and the reply is that Social Services will pay. They had to move because of harrasement etc and there was no suitable Council Housing available.

    Does this happen elsewhere, is it normal, should I be worried?



    Yes it is quite common and is probably one of those things HB Officers would prefer not to know. It appears to me to be somewhat dubious and the sort of area that auditors should be probing. It smacks of the LA paying themselves HB. If the Council is liable to support the claimant then they are surely liable to pay the full rent or nothing at all. What powers are social services using to pay and are these funds disregarded for HB?
    I can understand the reasons for doing this (i.e. to limit the cost to the local taxpayer as against the national taxpayer) but the legal basis?
    For instance, is the money paid to the landlord or the tenant? Is the accommodation really to be treated as private or is the contract between social services and the landlord?

    To put it another way, what would you do if a private tenant was in the same position and was receiving large payments towards the rent from a relative? Exactly what is the rental liability? Can of worms …


    This is a situation we have experienced in our area, slighty different to post but social services getting involved.

    I have a particular case where the council will not house the family, high arrears and nuisance problems. Due the fact there are children social services got involved and assisted a family in finding accommodation (although had no statuatory duty – this was checked to see if we should even be paying!).

    Social Services pay the rent up front (tenancy is between clmts and l/lord, not social services). HB is then claimed and social services accept whatever amount is paid back.

    Unusual situation I would admit.

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