Are your bank charges swallowing your money each month?
Running out of money
Legally your bank cannot take any of your benefits to clear an overdraft. The law says that a person needs a minimal amount to live on and that is what income related benefits are for.
You can protect your housing benefit from being used by the bank for any authorised or unauthorised overdraft. You can tell your bank that the money should be used to pay the rent to your landlord. This type of protection is called a First Right of Appropriation order.
You need to write to your bank at least 7 days before your housing benefit is due. Also, you need to make it clear to the bank that you will be receiving regular payments from Aylesbury Vale District Council and these should be used for rent payments only. State in the letter that you are exercising your first right of appropriation.
You can download a First Right of Appropriation letter below. If you need more information phone the Housing Debt Advice Team on (01296) 585168.
If your bank continues to use your benefits for bank charges then you can make a complaint to the Banking Ombudsman.
Remember you will still have to pay any bank charges and costs associated with your overdraft.
If you are constantly going overdrawn then you will need to open another bank account to enable you to have access to your income and control over your finances. For a list of basic bank accounts which are also available to bankrupts visit the Money Advice Service website.
Date Updated: 23/02/12
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First Right of Appropriation letter
A sample letter to invoke your first right of appropriation
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Money Advice Service