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Scottish Government advice for agents

27 March 2020

The Scottish Government urges letting agents to familiarise themselves with the latest, extensive advice issued during the continuing COVID-19 crisis. Read More...

COVID-19: Court services suspended for housing possessions

27 March 2020

Due to the deadly spread of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures that have been put in place, the UK Government passed into law the Coronavirus Act on 25 March 2020 which provides additional powers to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak. Read More...

Self-employed to receive 80% supplement by June

26 March 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak this evening announced a new self-employed income support scheme, comprising a taxable grant worth 80% of their average profit over the last three years. The scheme will be open for three months and will be extended if needed. Read More...

Changes to eviction rules after Coronavirus Act passes into law

26 March 2020

The UK Government passed into law the Coronavirus Act on Wednesday 25 March 2020 providing additional powers to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak including measures to suspend new evictions from private rented accommodation while the national crisis is taking place. Read More...

COVID-19: NFCC gives advice on waking watchers

26 March 2020

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has issued guidance stating that any agents, among other responsible persons with any doubt about waking watchers in buildings with flammable cladding materials present should get in touch. 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