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Universal Credit advice to landlord

Peter contacted the helpline after one of his tenants has applied for Universal Credit due to a change in their circumstances. Peter rents several properties and this is the first of his tenants to claim Universal Credit.  He would like to know what to expect and if there are any differences, he should be aware of.

We advised Peter that the main differences that will impact him as a landlord are:

  • The assessment period is one calendar month, rather than one week, and payments will be made once a month
  • Typically, it will take 5 weeks from the date that a tenant makes a claim before the first payment will be received. Tenants can apply for an advance payment if this delay causes financial hardship.
  • By default, payments will be made directly to landlords, but the claimant can ask to have the money paid to him or herself. However in some cases this will not be permitted, such as if the tenant is in rent arrears or has a history of rent arrears which are still being recovered.
  • While all Housing Benefit payments are made on fixed days in a month, the date of each Universal Credit payment will depend on when the tenant originally made his or her claim
  • Landlords will no longer have to complete a Certificate of Occupation, but the tenant would need to show liability by providing a rent book, tenancy agreement or written letter confirming the tenancy in order to get help with their rent.
  • Tenants will not be eligible for help with rates under Universal Credit and will have to make a separate application for rates rebate in order to get financial assistance with this charge
  • Tenants will no longer be entitled to receive their full rental amount for a 13-week period if they need to apply for Universal Credit and haven't done so in the last 12 months. Instead, they will immediately move into the Local Housing Allowance system
  • Landlords will be able to apply for direct deductions from the tenant's Universal Credit claim where the tenant owes rent arrears