Landlords' responsibilities

Find information on providing accurate evidence / proof of rent, your tenant's change of circumstances, paying back overpayments and fraud.

As a landlord, you must tell us about any change of circumstances if your tenant claims Housing Benefit. You also have a responsibility to provide us with accurate proof of rent and pay back any overpayments we may have made to you.

Providing accurate evidence / proof of rent

If your tenant claims Housing Benefit, we will need proof of the rent they pay you. This is usually a tenancy agreement but could also be a rent book or a letter from you.

The proof must include:

  • the full address of the property they are renting
  • your full name and address (if you are the landlord)
  • the full name and address of any agent
  • the full names of all the tenants who live in the property
  • the start date of the tenancy
  • the amount of rent you charge them
  • the length of the tenancy
  • how often they pay rent, for example every week, four weeks or per calendar month
  • what is included in the rent, for example, meals, Council Tax, gas, electricity, water charges and the amount charged for each of these services
  • the date they signed the tenancy
  • your signature
  • the tenant's signature.

It is also useful to give us details of any rent the tenant owes you.

Your tenant's change of circumstances

As a landlord you have a responsibility to tell us about any change of circumstances if we pay your tenant's Housing Benefit directly to you.

We expect your tenant to tell us about their change of circumstance, but you should also tell us if it is something you are aware of. If your tenant moves out, or their partner moves in or out, you need to tell us. You should also tell us if there is a change to the amount of rent paid, or if your tenant is in arrears.

If we pay benefit directly to you and you don't tell us about a change in circumstance, you might receive too much benefit and have to pay it back. If you could not have known about the change in circumstance then we will recover it from the tenant.

Paying back overpayments

An overpayment is where we've paid you more Housing Benefit than your tenant was entitled to. You must tell us if you notice we have paid you too much and we will normally ask you to pay it back.

Fraud

If you believe someone has committed fraud or given false information for an application for housing or to obtain a discount or exemption from Council Tax (including Council Tax Support) or Business Rates, or you wish to report a fraud against the Council of any other nature, you should report it as soon as possible.

Our Corporate Fraud Investigator deals with fraud committed against the Council, in particular:

  • Housing fraud - including false homeless applications, fraudulent housing and Right To Buy applications, non-residency and subletting.
  • Council Tax discounts - including Council Tax Support, single person discount, student discount and disability exemption.
  • Business Rates avoidance/evasion.

To report any type of fraud or suspicious activity, you can email fraud@runnymede.gov.uk or call 01932 830821 / 01932 425376.

Housing Benefit fraud is no longer investigated by councils and should be reported to the Department for Work and Pensions by:

  • going to the GOV.UK website
  • calling the free and confidential National Benefit Hotline on 0800 854 440
  • using the text phone service on 0800 328 0512, if you have speech or hearing problems
  • post to NBFH, PO Box 224 Preston, PR1 1GP

Runnymede is part of the Surrey Counter Fraud Partnership, working together with seven other district/borough councils in Surrey and the County Council to combat fraud. We share data and match information for the purpose of prevention, detection, investigation and, where appropriate, the prosecution of fraud and the recovery of debts created by fraudulent activity. We can prosecute under various Acts of Parliament including, the Fraud Act, the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act and the Theft Acts.