Latest News

Energy Efficiency PRS Regulations in Scotland on hold again

15 January 2021

The Scottish Government has today, 15 January, announced the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Standards that were to come into law in April 2021, with the first standard requiring properties to have a minimum EPC rating D for new tenancies from April 2022, have again been postponed. Read More...

New building safety regulators proposed for Wales

15 January 2021

The Welsh Government’s Building Safety White Paper covers all multi-occupied residential buildings, from houses converted into flats through to high rise apartment blocks. It sets out major reforms to how properties are designed, built, managed, and lived in whilst proposing clear lines of accountability and a stronger regulatory system. Read More...

Support growing for Fire Safety Bill amendments that add protection for leaseholders

15 January 2021

In November, the House of Lords passed an amendment to the UK Government’s Fire Safety Bill making changes to the current legislation to protect leaseholders from having to pay for historical fire safety remedial work, including the removal of dangerous cladding. Read More...

Tightened restrictions for working from home and in people’s homes

13 January 2021

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced today, 13 January, six new changes to COVID-19 restrictions in Scotland to come into force on Saturday, 16 January, subject to Parliament approval. Among these changes are statutory guidance on working from home and a limitation on working within other people's homes by law. Read More...

Property industry urges the use of the UPRN across the sector

13 January 2021

Propertymark, along with other leading residential property bodies across the UK, have published an open letter to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and Thalia Baldwin, Director of the Geospatial Commission highlighting the potential benefits from implementing a widely adopted Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN). Read More...

Universal Credit: Support for landlords

Monday 02 March 2020

In the vast majority of cases, Universal Credit claimants pay their rent on time and in full, but there will be times when a little extra help is needed. Fiona Jones the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Group Director for Wales, Work and Health discusses the support available to landlords to help keep things on track.

Universal Credit can include an amount towards a claimant’s housing costs, and this is usually paid to the claimant, who organises payments to their landlord themselves

But of course, there will be cases where a tenant needs a bit more support to be able to pay their rent on time, every time, or when arrears build-up that need to be taken care of.

The DWP offers a range of options to help landlords and claimants quickly address any issues around paying rent.

The housing queries routeway is your gateway to all this help. It includes:

  • telephone numbers and general guidance
  • links to online information; specific content on topics such as deductions, service charges, and third-party payments 
  • forms to request a managed payment
  • forms to apply for help with rent arrears
  • and the Universal Credit landlord engagement newsletter

By choosing the right route for your query, you can access the best support in the quickest way to get your issue solved as efficiently as possible.

Sometimes this will just be a matter of you or your tenant finding out how a particular aspect of Universal Credit works. At other times it could involve you speaking to your tenant’s case manager to agree on direct payment arrangements. Whatever your query is, DWP can help resolve it.

Be aware that before DWP can speak to you about your tenant’s claim, consent from your tenant will need to be given in order to share their information. The tenant can provide this through their online journal or by calling the Universal Credit Service Centre. To find out more about this, including what information you’ll need when calling the Service Centre, see the guides to resolving queries and consent and disclosure.

PAYING RENT AT THE START OF A CLAIM

You may have concerns about tenants paying their rent when they first move onto Universal Credit, so measures have been put in place to help make sure rent continues to be paid.

Universal Credit claimants will usually receive their first payment after their first monthly assessment period. Until then, they can apply for an interest-free advance, which they will need to pay back from their Universal Credit payments – usually over 12 months. The maximum amount they can borrow will depend on their circumstances and will be up to their estimated first Universal Credit payment.

You may also want to let your Universal Credit tenants know that they may be eligible for a Local Council Tax Reduction or a discretionary housing payment from their local authority.

DIRECT RENT PAYMENTS TO LANDLORDS

If your tenant isn’t able to manage their money themselves or has built one month’s rent arrears over more than two months, DWP can arrange a Managed Payment to the Landlord. This pays money towards housing costs straight to the landlord and can be considered at the start of a Universal Credit claim, or at any point during it.

For more details about when a Managed Payment to Landlord can be requested, see the guide to Alternative Payment Arrangements, which includes the tier factors that enable a managed payment to be put in place.

RENT ARREARS

If a tenant falls into rent arrears to the value of two months’ rent, Universal Credit can help recover those arrears. As long as the tenant remains in the property, an amount can come directly to you from their monthly Universal Credit payment until the arrears are paid off.

For much more about what Universal Credit means for landlords and how you can help make sure rent is paid on time, click here.

UNIVERSAL CREDIT AND RENTED HOUSING: GUIDE FOR LANDLORDS

The Government has updated its guidance on Universal Credit which provides private and social sector landlords with information about Universal Credit to help them understand what they can do to help their tenants prepare.

The guide