View Full Version : Council paid Housing Benefit money to wrong person

24-01-2008, 08:38 AM
My wife and I made a new claim to housing benefit in November. As we were moving (and had paid our rent in advance to our old landlord) we asked the council to pay the money directly to us. When we moved there was about £120 owing to the landlord but the council did not pay the money directly to us, they paid £500 to the landlord.
My question is this; does the council owe us the money (as they made the mistake) or do we have to take the landlord to court, my limited knowledge (gained from working in the DWP for five years) suggests to me that it is the council that owes us the money, in the same way they would if they paid the money into someone's account who i did not know.
any ideas?

24-01-2008, 08:58 AM
Have you got evidence that the council agreed to pay the money to you? If so, they have made a mistake and it's up to them to get the money back from the landlord and pay you. Have you spoken to either party?

24-01-2008, 09:48 AM
We received nothing from the council at all after that claim, we only found out that they had paid the landlord when we called to find out when payment would be made.

24-01-2008, 11:38 AM
What reason did the council give for paying the money to the LL?


24-01-2008, 11:43 AM
What reason did the council give for paying the money to the LL?

asternword: Are you sure that you did not sign any form of payment mandate or authority?

24-01-2008, 18:55 PM
On the claim before there was a mandate to pay directly to the LL, but with the new claim we wanted it paid to ourselves. Basically the council didn't read that part of the form and put in place the old arrangements.

25-01-2008, 09:14 AM
Do you have a copy of the form showing that you opted to have payment to yourself?


25-01-2008, 09:39 AM
The very simple answer is to get the former landlord to forward to you the excess and to make a complaint and request for compensation to the council.

It gets complicated if the landlord will not part with the excess in which case I think your recourse is to the local authority and if I were in this situation, I would join both the landlord and the local authority into a court recovery action as they are both guilty:-

1. the local authority for sending the money to the wrong place
2. the landlord for not returning the excess.

You need to talk to both landlord and LA and give them both an ultimatum. The LA does have the power to recover benefit wrongly paid but it cannot pay the same benefit twice, so you may well have to wait until the LA claw back the money from the landlord if he/she is unwilling to surrender the excess. A formal complaint should be made about this.

25-01-2008, 16:47 PM
thanks for all the replies! i have written to the council today and will update with what the outcome is.