Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
HB Office Good Practice
In January 2020 the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman published some HB maladministration cases that had been brought to them. In the report the Ombudsman made several recommendations relating to overpayments and to challenges against overpayments.

These are (amongst others) that Councils must:

  • be able to identify valid appeals against overpayments, including circumstances where they make recovery from landlords
  • embed knowledge of dealing with housing benefit appeals within all teams dealing with customer enquiries. Teams should, as a minimum, be capable of recognising where appeals have not been properly processed and understand a landlord’s power to recover rent arrears from tenants – and the threat of homelessness which can ensue
  • forward appeals to the tribunal service, which they believe are not within the tribunal’s jurisdiction. These are ultimately decisions for the tribunal service
  • pass cases, which they have already reviewed and have not resulted in a more favourable outcome for the claimant, to a tribunal to hear an appeal

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