Urban Myths

Answers to a number of questions, on rent, paying rent, benefits, and more

Myth: Because I am working I can not claim Housing Benefit.

Myth: Housing Benefit will pay from the start of my tenancy.

Myth: I am working and cannot claim income support or JSA.

Myth: I thought I automatically got my rent paid because I am on JSA/ESA or I/S. 

Myth: I’ve got children so the local authority won’t evict me. 

Myth: You will have to re-house me if you evict me. 

Myth: I have reclaimed JSA so I thought Housing Benefit would automatically start. 

Myth: I thought if there was a problem with my rent I would automatically get contacted.

Myth: Housing Benefit & the Rent team are the same people. 

Myth: I have an overpayment of Housing Benefit that I am repaying at £10.80 per week.  I can’t afford this and there is nothing I can do.

Myth: I have an overpayment and I can not do anything about it. 

Myth: I cannot pay any rent until I know what my Housing Benefit entitlement is so I will need to wait until I have received my calculation letter.

Myth: Housing Benefit will pay rent on two properties whilst I move. 

______________________________________________________________

Myth: Housing Benefit will pay from the start of my tenancy.
Reality: Housing Benefit is assessed on income, so you can work and claim Housing Benefit.  You may also be entitled to tax credits.
 

Myth: Housing Benefit will pay from the start of my tenancy.
Reality: Housing Benefit will only be paid from the Monday following the date you make your claim, unless you make your claim in the same week the tenancy started, and only if you have moved in, in that week.  
 

Myth: I am working and cannot claim income support or JSA.
Reality:  If your income is very low and you are working less than 16 hours a week, you may be able to claim a top up of the relevant benefit.  You need to discuss this with the Jobcentre.

Back to Top


Myth: I thought I automatically got my rent paid because I am on JSA/ESA or I/S. 
Reality: You have to make sure you have made a claim for Housing Benefit.  Housing Benefit may not cover all of the rent you have to pay. You should always ensure the Housing Benefit team knows of any changes in your circumstances or that you make a claim if you haven’t received Housing Benefit before.  You should also keep your Housing Officer updated on any changes in your circumstances so that they can support you.


Myth: I’ve got children so the local authority won’t evict me
Reality: Evictions are carried out where there is a breach of tenancy, after we have tried to help as much as we can.  The eviction process is carried out through the Courts.  This means it is possible to lose your home even though there are children in the property.


Myth: You will have to re-house me if you evict me. 
Reality:  Where it is decided that someone is intentionally homeless it is likely they will not be rehoused and they will need to arrange suitable alternative housing themselves.

Back to Top


Myth: I have reclaimed JSA so I thought Housing Benefit would automatically start. 
Reality: Not if the Job Centre do not advise the Housing Benefit team.  It is always better to ensure you have direct contact with Housing Benefit and let them and your Housing Officer know of any changes in your circumstances.


Myth: I thought if there was a problem with my rent I would automatically get contacted.
Reality: It is your responsibility to pay the rent and to check your rent account is up to date.  Your rent is reviewed every April so you can not assume you are paying enough.


Myth: Housing Benefit & the Rent team are the same people. 
Reality: The Benefits Team and Housing are two separate departments so you should ensure everyone is updated when your circumstances change to prevent rent arrears or overpayments.

Back to Top


Myth: I have an overpayment of Housing Benefit that I am repaying at £10.80 per week.  I can’t afford this and there is nothing I can do.
Reality: Based on your income and expenditure it is possible for your overpayment recovery amount to be reviewed and possibly reduced to a more affordable level for an agreed period. You need to contact the Housing Benefits team about this.


Myth: I have an overpayment and I can not do anything about it. 
Reality: You will have been given information on your letter from the Housing Benefits team, advising you of the overpayment, about the appeals process.  If in doubt, contact the Housing Benefits team. Telling the Benefits team of any changes as soon as you know about them may prevent further overpayments being created.


Myth: I cannot pay any rent until I know what my Housing Benefit entitlement is so I will need to wait until I have received my calculation letter.
Reality: If you supply everything you have been asked to, your claim will be assessed quickly.  You can ask the Benefits Officer for a rough calculation or check yourself using our related links.  To prevent arrears building up which you cannot afford to pay back, you should pay as much as recommended by the officer or on the website.


Myth: Housing Benefit will pay rent on two properties whilst I move. 
Reality: Housing Benefit can only be paid on two properties where there is a good reason to make an award.  This is for a maximum of four weeks and only when the tenant has moved into the new property from the tenancy start date.

Back to Top