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Universal Credit - Information for Landlords

In May 2016 the Universal Credit full service for all working age claimants began to roll out nationally (beyond London) and in July 2016 the government announced this roll out will complete by September 2018.

For the Poole Jobcentre (JCP) area, the full Universal Credit service roll out applies from 11 October 2017.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be rolling out Universal Credit full service for working age new claims in a phased approach using individual postcodes. Please check your Universal Credit eligibility on GOV.UK to see if the specific postcode is live with the Universal Credit full service.

If the claimant is responsible for 3 or more dependant children they won't be able to make a new Universal Credit claim, unless they are making a re-claim because they were getting Universal Credit within the last 6 months or they are making a new claim as a single person within one month of a previous join claim ending, because they are no longer a member of a couple. Otherwise, new working age claimants with more than two children will need to apply for Housing Benefit.

If the claimant lives in Supported Exempt/Specified Accommodation as well as claiming Universal Credit they will need to claim Housing Benefit for help with rental liability as the will not be entitled to claim the Housing Element of Universal Credit.

Who can claim and how?

Universal Credit is available to people who are on a low income or out of work. 

Claims need to be made online at apply for universal credit (opens in a new window). A helpline is available for people who need help making their claim online. The number is 0800 328 9344.

What information will my tenant need to provide before Universal Credit can be paid?

Claims are made on-line and to get help with housing costs, the tenant will have to provide information about:

  • their landlord
  • their tenancy
  • their rent
  • any service charges and
  • provide their rent agreement (if they have one)

To complete their claim they will also need to provide other information about their personal circumstances. They might also need details for people who live in their home, eg a partner.

How is Universal Credit paid?

Under Universal Credit, payments will usually be made every month in arrears direct to the claimant's account, to match the way most salaries are paid. The tenant is responsible for meeting their rent payments from their whole income.

It may sometimes be possible for payments to be made more frequently, or to be split and paid to more than one person.

Most private sector landlords are used to this type of payment because most working age claimants in the private rented sector generally get their Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance payments direct and are responsible for paying their rent to their landlord.

When will my tenant's Universal Credit be paid?

It could take up to 6 weeks after making a claim for Universal Credit before the first payment reaches the tenant's bank account. If the tenant does not have enough money to pay their rent or their basic living costs during this time they need to contact the Jobcentre and apply for a short-term advance. This is a loan of future Universal Credit payments for people facing hardship.

When can Universal Credit be paid direct to a landlord?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) expect most Universal Credit claimants will receive the single monthly payment and take responsibility for paying their own household bills on time, including their rent. However, DWP recognise some claimants will need extra support in managing this payment. In some cases a managed payment of the housing element to the landlord might be appropriate to help protect tenancies.

Who can request a managed payment of the Universal Credit housing costs to the landlord?

Either the claimant, their representative, or the landlord can make this request. If the claimant or their representative is making the request, this can either be:

  • during the work search interview with their Jobcentre Plus work coach, or
  • by phoning Universal Credit on 0800 328 9344.

If the landlord is making the request, this can either be:

Further information

It may take a while for your tenant to get used to budgeting for a month at a time if they have been used to managing their money from week to week. Support will be available to help them manage their personal budgets. They can also find help at the Money Advice Service (opens in a new window).

For further information on Universal Credit, how it will be introduced in this area and how it could affect you and your tenants, please see these pages: Universal Credit at GOV.UK (opens in a new window) and Universal Credit toolkit for partner organisations (opens in a new window).

 
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