Not a landlord? See information for claimants.
Universal credit will replace the following benefits in October 2018:
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Child and working tax credits
- Housing benefit
- Income support
If your tenant needs to make a claim for any of the above on or after 17 October, they will need to claim universal credit instead.
This change will not apply to your tenant if:
- They are eligible to receive a state pension
- They live in supported exempt accommodation such as a hostel, or are living independently but with support in sheltered housing
The change to universal credit will not apply immediately unless your tenant’s circumstances change and they need to make a new claim. If no new claim is made, the DWP will arrange to transfer them to universal credit at a later date.
Universal credit will be paid monthly in arrears. The first payment will be made five weeks from the date your tenant claims it.
Universal credit does not replace council tax reduction – your tenant will still need to apply to us to receive this.
Housing costs, called the housing element, will be included in universal credit. This is dealt with by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), not by us.
In some circumstances you can apply to have the housing element paid directly to you, via an alternative payment arrangement (APA). These circumstances include:
- If your tenant is two or more months in arrears with their rent
- If your tenant has consistently underpaid their rent and the arrears are equal to more than one month’s rent
You’ll need to provide proof of the arrears. The housing element will be paid directly to you if the DWP agrees that it is in your tenant’s best interests. They might choose to arrange personal budgeting support with your tenant first.
You will need to provide:
- Proof of the rent arrears
- Your tenant’s (and their partner’s) date of birth or their National Insurance number
- Your bank details
Your tenant can also apply for an APA.
Housing costs for families with three or more children
From 1 February 2019, if your tenant has three or more children and is considering applying for housing benefit, they will need to claim housing costs through universal credit instead. This change only applies for new housing benefit claims.
There are some exceptions – your tenant will be told if they apply when they make their claim for universal credit.
Help your tenant prepare for universal credit
- Encourage them to open a bank account
- Encourage them to create an email address
- Adjust the date rent is due to fit in with the universal credit payment date
The DWP has produced two guides to help you understand how universal credit will affect your tenants: