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Moving from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit


Peter contacted our advice line as one of his tenants has recently applied for Universal Credit.

Some of his tenants get Housing Benefit but this is the first tenant to claim Universal Credit. He wanted to know what to expect and if there are any differences compared to Housing Benefit.


How Landlord Advice helped

We advised Peter that Universal Credit will gradually replace housing benefit. Tenants will need to claim Universal Credit if they are of working age and:

  • it's their first time claiming benefits to help with rent; or
  • they get housing benefit and have a change of circumstances

Our adviser explained that, with Universal Credit, landlords don't have to complete a Certificate of Occupation. Instead, tenants will need to provide a copy of rent book, tenancy agreement or written letter confirming the tenancy. The first housing costs payment will usually arrive 5-6 weeks after the tenant applies.

Housing costs are paid monthly instead of every 4 weeks. Tenants (with no arrears) can choose for payment to go to either tenant or landlord. Peter asked if there would be a payment towards rates and our adviser told him that Universal Credit don't help with rates. The tenant will need to make a seaparate application to Land & Property Services for a Rate Rebate

Our adviser also explained that Peter can still apply for direct deductions from the tenant's Universal Credit claim if the tenant gets into rent arrears.


If you are a registered Landlord in Northern Ireland and need advice, contact us on 028 902 45640 (option 1), or send an email.