A tenancy can be configured to comprise an element of the rent payable from housing benefit. This can be done either at the outset when adding the tenancy, or later by editing the tenancy's benefit details via Rent & Charges > Benefit Details.
Setting up housing benefit when adding the tenancy
In the Create Tenancy form set the Benefit Element option to Yes. This shows an advanced form to capture additional details relating to the benefit payments expected.
Tenant and Benefit Components: The full rent value from the first section of the tenancy form is shown and you should specify the breakdown between tenant and benefit rent elements.
Local Authority: Specify the local authority which will be responsible for paying the benefit element of this tenant's rent. If the authority is not already in the list, you may add it by selecting the Add New... option.
Arrears Threshold: When monitoring rent arrears, by default a tenancy is considered to be behind on rent payments if its rent balance is greater than zero. However, some tenancies may run a little behind with prior agreement due to the dates on which payments are received from the local authority. If you wish to set higher thresholds for particular tenancies then specific a custom threshold here. For example, if a threshold of £550 is set for a tenancy and the benefit authority currently owes £500 then this tenancy will not appear in the rent arrears report. However, if the outstanding rent balance increases to £1000 then they will be considered in arrears. Note that this arrears threshold applies to the amount due from benefits.
Benefit Payment Value: The expected regular benefit payment value. This will be used as the default tenancy benefit allocation value when allocating rent receipts from an overall benefit transaction.
First Payment Date: The date on which the first benefit payment is expected from the local authority.
Payment Frequency: How often payments will be received from the local authority. Typically this is 28 days (the default value) although some authorities pay out ever 14 days or may even work to other schedules.
As the tenancy progresses you can view a schedule of the dates on which benefit payments are expected, and correlate these dates with the dates on which payments have actually been received in order to identify any missed or upcoming receipts.
Updating benefit details on an existing tenancy
On an existing tenancy you can view benefit details via Rent & Charges > Benefit Details. Click Options > Update to modify these values.
The fields required are the same as when setting up the tenancy - see above.
Missing benefit details
If a tenancy has a rent breakdown defined comprising a benefit element, and no local authority details have been stored, then a warning will be shown about these incomplete benefit details on the tenancy overview screen. This tenancy will not show on the benefit allocation form so benefit payments cannot be received until the full details are provided.