F.A.O. Dave A! Legal Obligations of a Local Authority in respect of LHA.

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The paragraph below has been pasted from a long letter I have received from the Benefits Manager at my local authority with regards to a tenant of mine who is in receipt of LHA. LHA is now being paid direct to me because of rent arrears.

"As a result of your enquiry to benefits in December we wrote to her on 6 January 2010 and again on 20 January 2010. She failed to respond. We have tried to make contact by telephoning and by text to her mobile phone but have had no response. As no contact has been made we have attempted to visit her twice at the property concerned, and we are still unable to make contact. These enquiries have led us to believe that she is no longer in residence at the property and that it has been abandoned. We have therefore suspended further payments of benefit until this is clarified."

What I would like to know is whether the LA has acted lawfully in this matter by suspending LHA without any concrete evidence that the tenant has indeed abandoned the property. I can also state that the said local authority replying to my query about what their procedures are with regards to suspending a claim when a landlord requests direct payment I was informed that this cannot be done without proof being supplied. This I fully accept but I don't see why it can't work both ways.

I would be grateful of your sound advice before I draft my reply to the benefits manager.

20/02/2010 00:00

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