Universal Credit and landlords

2. What landlords need to do

As a landlord you have certain responsibilities to help your tenant make and manage their Universal Credit claim. Here’s a few things you can do to help their claim go smoothly and help ensure you receive rent payments in full and on time.

1.    Confirm housing costs

Private sector tenants

You can help your tenants by making sure they have documents that are up to date and correct.

If a claimant applies for help towards private sector housing costs as part of their Universal Credit claim, they will be asked to provide proof of:

  • liability to pay rent
  • occupancy of the property they are claiming for

If they don’t have a signed tenancy agreement which shows the current rent, a signed letter from the landlord or letting agent is acceptable.

This evidence should be provided by the claimant at their first appointment at the jobcentre. Claimants will not receive any help towards housing costs until they provide this proof. If a private sector tenant hasn’t provided all the information required, the Department for Work and Pensions will contact them.

Please note that private sector landlords will not be informed that their tenant has made a claim for Universal Credit.

Social sector tenants

If your tenant applies for help towards social sector housing costs as part of their Universal Credit claim you will be asked for details of their housing costs. Please make sure your tenant knows the following when they make their Universal Credit claim:

  • Their postcode
  • Your organisation’s name (or your name if there is no organisation name)
  • Your postal address
  • Your telephone number
  • Your email address

If you are registered on the Landlord Portal you will receive this request through there. The Department for Work and Pensions is contacting social sector landlords to invite them to register on the Landlord Portal.  Watch social sector landlords explain how the Portal has helped them:

 

If you are not registered on the Landlord Portal you will be sent a housing verification form by email.

You will need to confirm your tenant’s housing cost details before they can receive any help towards their housing costs through Universal Credit. Responding quickly will help make sure you receive rent payments on time.

2.    Consider whether rent should be paid straight to you

In some cases where a claimant is having trouble managing their money, it may be appropriate for their Universal Credit housing costs to be paid straight to their landlord.

This is known as an Alternative Payment Arrangement. The guidance on Alternative Payment Arrangements provides more information about the process and which tenants this will be appropriate for.

All landlords can apply for the direct payment of rent from the start of a Universal Credit claim using the UC47 form. Social sector landlords can also apply through the Landlord Portal or as part of the rent verification process.

If you received a managed Housing Benefit payment from the local authority you should make sure you familiarise yourself with the process for Alternative Payment Arrangements. Direct payments to a landlord will not be automatically put in place when someone moves onto Universal Credit. However, if a tenant tells the Department for Work and Pensions that their Housing Benefit was paid direct to their landlord, this can be continued from the start of their Universal Credit claim if the claimant still needs this support.

Photo of Sherrelle Collman of Caridon Landlord Solutions. Quote "Alternative Payment Arrangements have meant we can take steps when needed to help claimants sustain their tenancies."

3.    Understand how to resolve issues

In most cases you should attempt to resolve any claim or payment issues with your tenant. It will usually be the case that they can raise and address it through their online Universal Credit journal.

If this is not possible or the issue remains unresolved you can call the Universal Credit Service Centre on 0800 328 5644. Once you’ve answered a few questions about your tenant you can be put straight through to the relevant case manager.

The Department for Work and Pensions will usually need explicit consent from the claimant before talking to a landlord or other third party about their claim. The claimant can provide this through their online journal or by calling the Universal Credit Service Centre. They will need to provide:

  • A contact name at your organisation
  • The name of your organisation
  • Brief details about the issue

If a direct payment of rent to the landlord is in place, a case manager can speak to a landlord about the payment without the need for this consent.

For more information see Universal Credit consent and disclosure of information

If the issue is urgent or still unresolved you should contact your local jobcentre. The partnership manager can help with general queries, and the work coach team leader will deal with claimant-specific issues. Find out how to contact them by emailing the DWP partnership teams

Photo of Emma Owens of Curo. Quote "Building strong links with our DWP Partnership Manager means we can work together to resolve complicated Universal Credit cases more quickly."

4.    Read the guides for landlords

There’s more information in the guidance on Universal Credit and landlords. It includes detailed guidance on:

  • Rented housing
  • Service charges
  • Disclosure
  • Reporting social rented sector rate changes
  • Housing costs for 18 to 21 year olds
  • Personal budgeting support and Alternative Payment Arrangements

5.    Help your tenant prepare

Prepare your tenant for Universal Credit by having discussions about paying rent and making sure they understand how Universal Credit payments work. See How landlords can help their tenants for ways to support and advise them.

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