Appeal a decision about Housing Benefit and Rate Relief

If you disagree with the decision about your application for Housing Benefit Rate Relief, you can ask Land & Property Services (LPS) for an explanation. You can also ask them to reconsider your claim. You can appeal to an independent tribunal after LPS reconsiders their decision.

Decision letter about your Housing Benefit and Rate Relief

When you apply for Housing Benefit and Rate Relief, Land & Property Services (LPS) will assess your claim and send you a decision letter.

If you think their decision is wrong, you can:

  • ask for a written or verbal explanation
  • ask for the claim to be looked at again - this is a reconsideration
  • appeal to an independent tribunal if you’re still dissatisfied after a reconsideration

Asking for an explanation

If you want LPS to explain their decision, you can telephone for an explanation. You can also ask LPS to give you a written explanation, known as a Written Statement of Reasons (WSOR). You need to ask for an explanation within one month of the decision.

Asking for a reconsideration

If you aren’t satisfied with their explanation, you can ask LPS to reconsider their decision. You must do this within one month of the decision letter and give reasons why you believe the decision is wrong. If you asked LPS for an WSOR, they’ll extend the time limit by the number of days they take to send you the statement.

To ask for more information about their decision:

  • telephone: 0300 200 7802 
  • text relay: 18001 0300 200 7802
  • email: housingbenefit.rating@finance-ni.gov.uk
Land & Property Services
Housing Benefit Central Unit
Queen's Court
56-66 Queen Street
Belfast
BT1 6FD

Reconsideration of your claim

The staff member in LPS who made the original decision about your claim doesn’t conduct the reconsideration . When LPS has reconsidered your claim, you’ll receive a letter with one of the following decisions:

  • LPS has not changed their original decision
  • LPS has changed the original decision in your favour
  • LPS has changed the original decision but not in your favour

You're dissatisfied with the decision after a reconsideration

After a reconsideration, you can ask LPS to look at your case again. You must do this within a month of receiving your new decision letter.

Making an appeal

If you are unhappy with decisions made by LPS, you can ask for a review of your case by an independent tribunal.

Appeal form

To ask for a review, you need to send a Housing Benefit and Rate Relief appeal form to LPS within one month of the date on their decision letter. 

You can complete the appeal form  onscreen and send by email or post to LPS.

You can ask LPS for an information leaflet or appeal form:

  • telephone: 0300 200 7802 
  • text relay: 18001 0300 200 7802

The Appeals Service handles Housing Benefit and Rate Relief appeals.

Making an appeal within the time limit

When you appeal, LPS will look again at your application. If they don’t change their decision, they send information about your appeal to the Appeals Service. An independent tribunal will consider your appeal. Tribunal members aren't employed by Land & Property Services (LPS).

Making a late appeal

If your appeal is later than a month of the decision letter, you must give reasons for the delay. The tribunal will consider your reasons and decide if they can accept your application for an appeal.

Appeal hearing

If the case goes to appeal, you can choose an oral hearing or a written determination.

Oral hearing

The tribunal will give you 14 days’ notice of the hearing. If there is a good reason why you cannot go, you must tell the tribunal immediately. If you don’t, the tribunal may decide the case in your absence.

At the hearing, you may ask questions and call witnesses. The tribunal may ask you questions. LPS is usually represented at these hearings.

Written determination

You or LPS don't go to a written determination. In making any decision, the tribunal relies on information you and LPS supplied about your claim.

You may need to go to an oral hearing if:

  • LPS requests this
  •  the tribunal feels this is necessary to reach a decision

You can change your mind and ask the Appeals Service for an oral hearing. You need to write and ask them. If the appeal has not yet been decided, they may be able to arrange an oral hearing.

Result of an appeal

You will receive the tribunal's summary decision soon after the hearing.

You can request:

  • a statement of reasons explaining the tribunal's decision, and the facts and law used, which you must ask for within one month of the issue of the decision
  • a record of proceedings from the hearing, which you must ask for within six months of the issue of the decision

If your appeal is successful, LPS will usually amend your claim as soon as it receives the decision.

Appealing a decision to the Social Security Commissioners

If you disagree with the tribunal’s decision, you can appeal to the Social Security Commissioner. The commissioners are independent of LPS and the Appeals Service.

Your appeal must relate to a point of law, not questions about facts or evidence.

Land & Property Services can also appeal the tribunal’s decision to the Social Security Commissioners.

Complaints about Land & Property Services

If you’re unhappy about how LPS dealt with your application, you can complain:

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