Our website will be unavailable from midday to 3pm on Wednesday 24 July. Sorry for any inconvenience.

How a claim is made, what happens next, how much benefit will be paid and other information

Housing Benefit is a benefit we give to tenants to help pay some or all of their rent. The amount of benefit depends on the circumstances of the person claiming it. 

It's usually paid directly to the tenant, but we can pay you in some circumstances.

How a claim is made

To make a claim for housing benefit or council tax reduction, a tenant must fill in a Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction claim form and send their supporting documents to us. 

Guide to Housing Benefit

Claim Council tax reduction

What happens next

If we pay your tenant

You won't be told when we make a decision on their claim.

If we pay you

We'll contact you explaining:

  • how much benefit your tenant will get
  • the amount of your first payment and
  • the date it will be made

Sign in to your online landlord account

You can use your account to get information about your tenant's housing benefit. You need to register online for this service.

Sign in to your landlord account

Register for an online landlord account

To register for this service email statement.online@bristol.gov.uk to set up your account. Use 'New landlord account' in the subject line. 

Once registered, you'll be able to: 

  • see schedules for payments to you or your organisation made, including tenant name and address, payment period and overpayment deductions
  • see your notification letters for individual tenants 
  • add other admin users to your account once we've set it up 

How much benefit will be paid

Tenants can use our online calculator to find out how much benefit they could get.

The maximum amount that can be paid will depend on which Local Housing Allowance rate your tenant falls into

How benefit is paid

If we pay your tenant

We pay benefit to your tenant's bank account every two weeks in arrears. Your tenant is responsible for paying the rent with this money and for paying any shortfall between rent and Housing Benefit.

If your tenant has rent arrears

If your tenant owes you rent of eight weeks or more, we pay you their Housing Benefit straight to your bank or building society account every four weeks in arrears.  

You'll need to provide evidence that your tenant is more than eight weeks in arrears with their rent.

Your tenant will still need to make up any ongoing shortfall between rent and Housing Benefit and pay you any arrears.

Contact us if you want us to pay you direct.

What we can tell you about your tenant's claim

If we pay your tenant

We can tell you about their claim if they give their consent.

If we pay you

We can tell you some information without your tenant's consent, like:

  • payment details
  • the period a payment or payments relate to
  • overpayment details for certain types of overpayments

Changes of circumstance

If we're paying your tenant's housing benefit directly to you, you must tell us about any changes of circumstances as soon as you know about them, for example:

  • if your tenant moves out
  • if your tenant changes accommodation (including changing rooms or flats within the same building)
  • if you change the rent you charge them
  • if somebody else moves in
  • if your circumstances change, for example your address or bank details

Email benefits.enquiry@bristol.gov.uk to tell us about any changes of circumstances.

We can recover overpayments from you if we think you knew about a change and didn't tell us.

How we recover overpayments

We can take money from your tenant's ongoing benefit.

We can take money off your payments for other tenants.

We can send an invoice to you or your tenant.

Pay a benefit overpayment invoice

If you disagree with our decision

You can appeal against our decision to recover an overpayment from you.

We'll send you a decision letter explaining your right of appeal and time limits.

Find out more about Housing Benefit appeals.