In some circumstances rent payments can be made from your universal credit direct to your landlord.
Payment of universal credit
Universal credit is usually paid directly to you each month, including the part that goes towards paying your rent. This is the case if you are a council, housing association or private tenant.
It is your responsibility to budget and pay the rent to your landlord.
When universal credit can be paid to your landlord
In some circumstances, the part of your universal credit that goes towards your rent can be paid directly to your landlord. This is called an alternative payment arrangement.
This could happen, for example, if you have rent arrears or you cannot manage your money properly.
Ask for payments to be made to your landlord
You can ask for your housing costs money to be paid direct to your landlord if you're having problems paying your rent.
After you make a claim for universal credit, you have an interview with an adviser at a Jobcentre Plus office. The adviser should ask you if you need any support to help manage on a monthly budget.
Tell the adviser any reason why it will be hard for you to pay your rent out of your monthly payment of universal credit.
Tell the Jobcentre Plus adviser if you:
- owe at least a month's rent
- have a history of rent arrears
- are already in debt
- live in temporary accommodation
You should also tell the adviser if you have any learning difficulties or drug or alcohol problems that could make it more difficult for you to pay the rent yourself.
Jobcentre Plus will look at your circumstances. It could decide that the housing costs part of your universal credit can be paid direct to your landlord. It could offer you budgeting support instead.
Jobcentre Plus can arrange money advice to help you budget so you can manage to pay your rent.
If you have two months’ rent arrears
Jobcentre Plus should take steps to help you to avoid losing your home through rent arrears.
If you have at least two month's rent arrears your landlord can call the free UC Support Centre helpline on 0345 600 0723 to ask them to pay the part of your universal credit that covers your rent directly to your landlord.
Jobcentre Plus can also take a deduction from your universal credit and pay it direct to your landlord to help pay off your rent arrears. This is a fixed amount of a few pounds each week. This deduction should stop once your rent arrears are cleared.
Ask Jobcentre Plus to reconsider a decision
Jobcentre Plus will email or write to you to tell you its decision and the reasons for it. It will also say what you need to do if you disagree with the decision.
You should have one month to write to Jobcentre Plus to ask it to reconsider. If Jobcentre Plus refuses to reconsider the decision, you do not usually have any further right to appeal.
Get advice if Jobcentre Plus won't agree to make alternative payment arrangements.