From the councils website:
How is Housing Benefit paid under the Local Housing Allowance scheme?
In most cases, the benefit will be paid directly to the claimant giving them a direct responsibility for making payments of rent to the landlord. The benefit will be paid into a bank or building society account, if one is available.
What about if I don't have a bank account?
If claimants donít have access to a bank or building society account, we strongly advise contact with a local bank to arrange to open one. This way, customers will have a number of ways to access their Housing Benefit payment and can arrange to pay their rent to their landlord using a standing order, by cheque or cash, whichever is most appropriate
Claimants can get advice about opening and running a bank account from any bank or building society, an advice service, such as Citizens Advice Bureau or we can send information on how and where to open an account. Claimants may also be interested in saving via their local Credit Union, which offers a savings scheme and low cost loans.
Under the LHA rules, can Housing Benefit be paid directly to a landlord?
Not as a general rule. Under the LHA rules Housing Benefit is paid to the claimant, unless they are likely to have difficulty paying their rent; they are more than 8 weeks in arrears with their rent; or they are on Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance and deductions from this benefit are being made to pay off rent arrears.
There are many reasons why someone might have difficultly in paying their rent, for example someone may have learning difficulties, be unable to read or speak English, be an un-discharged bankrupt, have severe debt problems, or have an addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling. In circumstances like these we may be able to pay their benefit to their landlord. To help us establish whether or not it would be appropriate to pay to the landlord we have produced a Safeguard Policy. A copy of the policy can be viewed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
If the claimant is worried about managing their money, we can give advice on who can help with this.