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If you're of working age and think you may be eligible for help with your rent, you must apply for Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit. Please note that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for Universal Credit.

How is Housing Benefit paid?

How your Housing Benefit is paid will depend on who you rent from.

Housing association

You can choose to have your benefit paid to the housing association every four weeks, in arrears, or paid to you every fortnight, in arrears. If the money is paid to you, it is your responsibility to make sure you use it to pay your rent.

Private landlord or letting agency

Usually, we'll pay your Housing Benefit into your bank account every fortnight, in arrears. It is then your responsibility to make sure you use it to pay your rent.

Paying your landlord directly

Under the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules, we also have the power to pay the benefit directly to your landlord instead. We'll only consider doing this if:

  • you're having difficulty managing your finances
  • we think you are unlikely to pay your rent
  • your rent is set at an affordable level, and payments to your landlord will help you to secure or keep a tenancy

If you are eight weeks or more behind with your rent, we will pay the money directly to your landlord even if you don't agree.

Apply to have your benefit paid to your landlord

You, or your landlord, can contact us. You may need to provide evidence as to why you think paying the landlord directly is necessary. 

If the reason is because you're having difficulty managing your money you can ask for it to be paid to your landlord. To do this, download and complete our  Icon for pdf request to have housing benefit paid to your landlord form (PDF, 127.7kb) . Return this with any relevant information to the address included on the form or by email to

What date will your claim be paid from?

We usually award Housing Benefit from the Monday after we receive your application.

Backdating payments

We can backdate Housing Benefit for up to one month, depending on the circumstances. However, you'll need to show that there were continuous good reasons why you weren't able to apply earlier. You must put any request to backdate payments in writing to us giving as much information as possible about why you were unable to claim earlier.

If you're making a late claim and you, and your partner (if you have one), have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, we can start your benefit from up to three months before your application. However, we cannot backdate Housing Benefit any further than three months, even if you have good reason for not applying at an earlier date.

Use the state pension calculator to find out when you will reach the qualifying age.

Contact us
03000 26 2000
Our address is:
  • Transactional and Customer Services
  • PO Box 238
  • Stanley
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH8 1FP