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Landlord FAQs and Information

At Colchester Borough Council we provide two schemes that help people who are on a low income pay their rent and Council Tax. These two schemes are Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support.

For tenants renting from private landlords a number of factors are used to establish entitlement these will include the Local Housing Allowance, the tenant's income, capital and other household circumstances.


What is Local Housing Allowance?

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out Housing Benefit for tenants who rent privately.

LHA is usually paid directly to the claimant. Payments will only be made to the landlord if:

  • We consider that a tenant is unlikely to pay their rent
  • We think that a tenant may have difficulty managing their affairs
  • It will help the tenant secure or keep the tenancy
  • A tenant is more than 8 weeks in arrears with their rent (You will need to provide evidence to show the amount of arrears, the number of weeks and the details of any action you have taken).
Go to the Direct Payment Form to request payment is made directly to you.
Click here to Upload Evidence

How can I check the Local Housing Allowance Rates?

To check Local Housing Allowance rates you will need:

  • Tenants household size
  • Tenants circumstances (such as bedroom entitlement for a carer)
  • the postcode of the property they rent or wish to rent
Click here to read more information

Can I view my tenants Housing Benefit?

Yes, but only if payments are made direct to you. The easiest way to do this is to register for an online account. This will enable you to view your tenants Housing Benefit and payment information. In addition you will receive your updates as instant e-notifications instead of waiting for them to be posted to you.

If you pay Council; Tax on any or all of your properties or pay Business Rates you can also access this information and pay online.

Regularly updated, your online account is the easiest way to view, download or print these details whenever you want 24/7.

Did you know? Your tenants can also sign up for an online account. It's the easiest way for them to keep on top of their payments.

Click here to sign up you will need your business email address and Landlord reference number.


Can I discuss my tenants claim with the Council?

Colchester Borough Council can only discuss your tenants claim with you if they give us permission.

Your tenant would need to complete the Tenant's Permission Form


What can I do if my tenant is in arrears with their rent?

In the first instance check with your tenant, as the Council will have informed them about any changes to their payments.

Each letter tells the tenant how much Housing Benefit they will get, when their Benefit starts or changes, and how we assessed it. If we make payments directly to you, we will send you a separate letter.

You can apply to have your tenant's Housing Benefit paid to you if they are more than eight weeks in arrears with their rent.

You will need to provide evidence to show the amount of arrears, the number of weeks, and the details of any action you have taken.

Click here to go to the Direct Payment Form
Click here to Upload Evidence


I have been asked to complete a 'Landlord Form', what is it and where can I find it?

A 'Landlord Form' is key information about the accommodation, rent and tenancy.

Click here to go to the Landlord's Form

How do I report a change or a move?

You have a legal duty to tell us about changes that may affect the tenant's entitlement or how we pay you.

Examples of changes you should tell are:

  • if your tenant moves in or out (including changing rooms or flats within the same building)
  • changes in rent (both increase and decrease)
  • if somebody else moves in
  • if payments are made directly to you, you need to tell us if your circumstances change (i.e. change of address or bank details).

Do It Online - Landlord Changes This link opens in a new browser window


What happens if there has been an Overpayment?

When Housing Benefit is paid directly to a Landlord and there has been a change we may ask the Landlord to repay the money which has been overpaid.

Each case is decided on its own merits. If we decide that it is appropriate to recover the money from the Landlord, you will be sent an invoice. The invoice will show the period in which the overpayment occurred, the name of the tenant and the amount of overpayment. If a landlord has difficulty repaying the money we may be able to negotiate repayment by instalments.

If a Landlord fails to make repayments of overpaid Housing Benefit we can recover outstanding payments from any future payments of Housing Benefit due to be paid.

A tenant is also responsible for reporting any change of circumstances.

Report your Change of Circumstances here

Who must pay Council Tax?

An owner, occupier or tenant aged 18 or over living in the property is usually responsible for paying the Council Tax.

In certain circumstances, owners who do not live in the property must pay the Council Tax. For example, a 'House in Multiple Occupation' (HMO).

An HMO is a dwelling occupied by tenants who do not form a single household and who have individual tenancy agreements.

Click here to read some Frequently Asked Questions on Council Tax

Information and Help

More information is available to Landlords on:


HMRC Digital Tax Education Tools

  • e-learning tool: a mini tutorial with bite size modules covering property income /expenses / tips on record keeping etc which landlords can dip in and out of in their own time and pace.
  • webinars: delivered by HMRC, both recorded and "live" webinars for landlords. 
  • property rental toolkit: guidance on avoiding commonly made errors that HMRC see in property rental returns. Primarily for agents but may also be of interest to landlords.