Landlord advice

Landlord Portal

This system provides comprehensive information regarding the Housing Benefit of the tenant plus access to view Landlord payment details and electronic notification letters. Once the landlord has registered on the new Milton Keynes Landlord portal, they will be able to view their payment schedules and notification letters online.

To enrol for the new landlord portal please email

Universal Credit

If your tenant is on Universal Credit and the property is privately rented by you, you will need to direct any queries to the Department for Work and Pensions. Information for landlords is also available on 

Payment Frequency

Landlords are paid on a four weekly cycle fully in arrears. Payments normally take three working days from the payment being created to it being received by your bank and allocated to your account. We have three “payment runs” a week to pick up any outstanding payments owed. 

Benefits Assessment

If you have a query relating to your tenants who receive Housing Benefit, or any other Housing Benefit related issues please contact the Benefits Service on 01908 253100 or e-mail 

It is our intention to cultivate a better working relationship between landlords and the Benefits Service through mutual understanding and an increased awareness of each other's needs. We would welcome your comments and suggestions.

Your questions answered

What is Housing Benefit?

Housing Benefit is a national scheme, which helps tenants on low incomes to pay their rent and is administered and paid by the Council – deposits or rent in advance are dealt with by the Local Welfare Provision team (see section below on Discretionary Housing Payments). As well as claiming Housing Benefit, tenants can also claim Council Tax Reduction.

How is Housing Benefit claimed?

Tenants apply to their local council (if entitled to, as most claims are now made through Universal Credit) - this is done in Milton Keynes primarily via an electronic form which can be found on the MK council website. All applications must be supported by full original documentation, which confirms the tenant’s income and identity as well as confirming the rent charged and the tenancy conditions. Tenants should claim Housing Benefit as soon as they move into a property to avoid losing benefit.

How is Housing Benefit calculated?

When deciding how much Housing Benefit a tenant is entitled to, the council will take the maximum amount the government says your tenant needs to live on per week and compare it to their income and savings. Generally speaking, the more income a tenant has, the less Housing Benefit they will receive. Other factors considered are the number of other adults in the property and the level of rent charged. The calculation is based on the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate.

What is Local Housing Allowance (LHA)?


Number of bedrooms

LHA rate per Week

LHA rate per Month




Shared room



1 bedroom



2 bedrooms



3 bedrooms



4 bedrooms



Once a claim is assessed, how is Housing Benefit paid?

Housing Benefit is currently paid by BACS 4 weeks in arrears to landlords and/or weekly or 2 weekly in arrears to tenants. Payment can be made to you if it is a condition of the tenancy if it is in the tenant’s interests or if they are more than 8 weeks in arrears with their rent. Please note that before payment can be made to a landlord the “Paying Benefit Direct to your Landlord” form must be completed. This will be sent to you if payment is to be made to you.  

When can Housing Benefit be paid directly to landlords?

If your tenant requests that Housing Benefit is paid directly to you, then we will make payment to you every 4 weeks in arrears.

  • If your tenant is receiving payment direct to them but is 8 weeks or more in arrears, on receipt of proof of the arrears we will make payment directly to you. 
  • We will consider paying you direct if you believe they are likely to have a problem managing their financial affairs.
  • We will also consider direct payment if this will prevent eviction or help secure a new tenancy. 

Please note: Milton Keynes City Council has no influence with regards to Managed Payments to Landlords using the Apply for a Direct Rent Payment service administrated by the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP). This applies to cases where a tenant is receiving Universal Credit help with their Housing Costs and all queries concerning this should be directed to the DWP.

What are my responsibilities?

It is a landlord’s duty to inform the Benefit Service of any changes in their tenant’s circumstances of which they are aware which may affect that tenant’s entitlement to Housing Benefit. For example, if the landlord becomes aware that their tenant has vacated a property then Benefit Services must be informed immediately. Tenants however have an equal responsibility to inform us of any changes to their circumstances

What about overpayments?

Inevitably when a tenant has claimed Housing Benefit, an overpayment may result due to a change in circumstances, and this overpayment can be either recovered from the claimant or from the person to whom payment was made. There are two main methods of recovery of overpayments:

1. Via deductions from a claimant’s ongoing Housing Benefit.

2. Via the issue of an invoice.

If the decision is made to recover from a tenant’s ongoing Benefit via a set weekly deduction and payment is made to the landlord, then this will obviously reduce the amount a landlord receives on a 4-weekly basis. Landlords are kept fully informed as to the amount of the deduction and when deductions would commence, but it is then the tenant’s responsibility to make up the shortfall in the rent.

If the decision is made to recover the overpayment from the landlord, then an invoice is issued. This will show the name and address of the tenant, the amount of the overpayment and the period to which it relates. A landlord does have the right to appeal against repayment of the amount outstanding, not the amount or the cause. Any appeal must be in writing, giving full reasons for the appeal and must be received within one month of the date of the original notification. If a landlord experiences difficulty in repaying an invoice, then it may be possible to negotiate repayment by instalments.

Any underpayments of housing benefit due will be used to offset (reduce) any outstanding overpayments that are owed.

If a landlord fails to repay an overpayment, then the council has powers to recover the amount from the Housing Benefit of any other tenants the landlord may have, and while this is done reluctantly, it is sometimes necessary. You should also be aware that if a tenant has an overpayment from a previous claim, then this would also be recovered from any new claim that the tenant makes.

Do I have any right of Appeal?

A landlord has no right of appeal concerning their tenant’s claim for Housing Benefit. If a tenant wishes a decision to be reconsidered, then this request must be made in writing by the tenant, not the landlord. However, we can consider a request to review the decision not to pay a tenant’s benefit directly to the landlord.


What can Benefit Services tell me about my tenant’s claim?

The Benefit Service cannot disclose any information to you unless the tenant has signed an agreement confirming that this is acceptable. If you receive payment, then you are entitled to know the amount of benefit being paid, the date it started, and any amount being recovered from an overpayment.

What about the Council Tax?

If you rent out your property to more than one tenant and each tenant has their own tenancy agreement, then this classes your property as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and it would be your responsibility to pay the Council Tax.

If you rent your property to a tenant or joint tenants (joint tenants are those who have an equal liability for payment of the rent but only have one tenancy agreement between them) then they are normally responsible for payment of the Council Tax, and their claim for Council Tax Reduction will be dealt with at the same time as their claim for Housing Benefit. They will, however, be responsible for payment of the council tax from the date of their tenancy and will be sent a bill in their name or names.

What is a Discretionary Housing Payment?

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is a special payment made to individuals who need extra help with their Housing costs. DHP's are not part of the normal Housing Benefit scheme and are paid for by Central Government on a yearly basis from a limited fund. It is administered by the Local Welfare Provision team – there may also be the possibility that deposits and rent in advance can be paid from this fund for tenants. Call 01908 253040 or e-mail for more information.

Landlords and Benefit Counter Fraud

If you think that it is possible that your tenant is committing benefit fraud, then it is essential that you inform us immediately. Please call the Benefits Helpline on 01908 253100 if you have a case involving suspected fraud that you wish to discuss.

How can I help the process?

Landlords can help the Benefit Service by keeping us informed of any changes in their tenant’s circumstances of which they become aware as soon as possible. This reduces the possibility of overpayments being raised and improves the overall efficiency of the service.

How can Benefit Services help you?

The council is keen to improve its working relationship with landlords and we welcome any comments or suggestions to improve the service. If you have any suggestions relating to Housing Benefit that you wish to discuss or would like clarification on general Housing Benefit issues, please e-mail For all other enquiries please call the Benefits Helpline on 01908 253100