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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Housing costs  →  Thread

Can UC recall payments made to wrong landlord?

amy1552
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Financial Inclusion WCHG Manchester

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Client was in supported accommodation getting HB with dormant UC due to wages.  They’ve moved to general needs housing association property and HCE have been added to the UC. Rent has been confirmed by new landlord. However, UC have paid via direct payment the previous landlord. No APA was requested from us or the tenant.

Tenant has contacted UC and been told to request credit from old landlord, old landlord says they need to wait for the schedule to be able to return any credit. Looks like HB run on may have also been paid to old landlord.

UC have left tenant to resolve issue themselves, who experienced DV and this is why they were in supported accommodation.

Any other cases like this?

Charles
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Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

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I can’t see any reason why DWP/LA should be able to force your client to recover the money for them. But I’m more curious as to why they have returned to UC - why not stay on HB? Were they simply better off on UC?

HB Anorak
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Benefits consultant/trainer - hbanorak.co.uk, East London

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It looks as if they were already on UC, so UC(TP) Reg 5 will kick in as soon as they move to general needs and HB will have to stop.

There is some “wrong payee” HB case law that will probably still apply here:  R(H) 2/08 and CH/765/2008.

The key points are:

- if the benefit was paid in accordance with the current operative decision, it is properly paid and cannot be paid again
- if the benefit was paid to the wrong person as a clerical error, benefit remains to be paid to the right person in accordance with the decision

The facts were slightly different in these cases in that there was no issue about who the landlord was, it was a case of deciding between the landlord and claimant.  The benefit was not paid to some random third party.  In the OP’s case, DWP seems to be aware that there has been a change of landlord and presumably did intend to pay either the claimant personally or the new landlord, but due to a clerical oversight released the payment before amending the payee details.  That seems to me to be closer to the facts of CH/765/2008 and it is therefore arguable that the proper UC payment remains to be made.

Unfortunately there is no right of appeal against a payment decision in UC: it is one of the matters excluded from the Tribunal’s jurisdiction under the D&A Regs.

Charles
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Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

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HB Anorak - 14 August 2019 10:06 AM

It looks as if they were already on UC, so UC(TP) Reg 5 will kick in as soon as they move to general needs and HB will have to stop.

That’s what I first thought, but the OP does say the UC was “dormant”...

HB Anorak
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Benefits consultant/trainer - hbanorak.co.uk, East London

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Yes, missed that!  Dormant UC is another DWP administrative fiction isn’t it: AP synchronised with previous award if the hiatus lasts less than six months, but while it is happening the situation is that you simply aren’t entitled to UC and, for all anyone knows at that stage, you might never be again.  So could be a case of poor DWP advice on top of everything else.

Charles
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Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

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Yup, that’s why I was interested in knowing how it happened. Of course, it’s very possible they’re better off on UC…

flair
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Welfare rights officer - Linstone Housing Association

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Yes, they can. We have had a couple of instances where UC has been paid to the wrong landlord instead of ourselves due to DWP error, and UC have recalled this and then paid correctly to us. Unfortunately this was after a few phone calls and constant chasing, but it can be done.
Although this is slightly different in that it should have been paid to client - it is still clearly DWP error and falls on them to correct it and pay the money to the client. I would be escalating this and/or submitting a complaint to try and get resolved quicker.