Universal Credit is a new single benefit payment to include housing costs, this is administered by the Department for Works and Pensions.
Up to date information is provided in full in 'Universal Credit and rented housing: guide for landlords' online support and Understanding Universal Credit
In most cases Universal Credit will be a single, monthly payment which is paid in arrears directly into the claimant’s bank account. Payments will include all eligible housing costs. This means that claimants will be responsible for paying their rent themselves.
To be eligible for Housing Costs the claimant must provide sufficient documentation to verify three criteria:
- proof of address/residency
- liability for housing payments
- proof that payments have been made (normally through bank statements, utility bills, a rent book or letter from the landlord)
You may be asked to provide this information to support your tenants Universal Credit claim.
Claimants will be expected, where possible, to arrange their own rent payments as they would if they were in full-time work.
As a landlord you need to think about how this will fit with your own payment calendars. If you have previously received a managed rent payment from the local authority, you will need to speak to your tenants to agree arrangements for collecting rent from them.
In a minority of cases Alternative Payment Arrangements can be put in place to support claimants.
What if your tenant has arrears?
If your tenant has accrued rent arrears to the value of two month’s rent or more, you can request a third party deduction to recover the rent arrears using the rent arrears deduction form.
Can Housing Costs be paid direct to landlord?
A request can be made for your tenants housing costs to be paid directly to you, this is called a managed payment to landlord. You will need to complete a managed payment form.