You need to write to your bank at least seven days before your housing benefit is due, making it clear that any regular payments or future deposits from East Hampshire District Council are to pay for your rent only.

For example, you may want to instruct your bank or building society:

'On or around August 20th, and every 2 weeks after, my housing benefit will be paid into my bank account. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it: £75 standing order payable to my landlord, Mr Smith on the 25th of the month'.

Keep a copy of the letter in case there is any dispute later. You may want to ask your bank or building society for a written acknowledgement of your instructions.

If there are any items you no longer want to pay from your account, or which you cannot afford, you should give your bank separate cancellation instructions.

This is because the first right of appropriation does not stop the bank paying items as well as those you have listed.

If you do not cancel these items, your bank may return the items as unpaid, which they may charge you for. However, payments from your account to re-pay a loan with the same bank cannot be cancelled.