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When universal credit can be paid direct to a landlord

In some circumstances rent payments can be made from your universal credit direct to your landlord.

Payment of universal credit

Universal credit is paid directly to you as a single monthly payment. The payment can include a housing costs element to help you pay your rent.

It is usually your responsibility to budget and pay the full rent to your landlord. 

This applies whether you are a council, housing association or private tenant.

When universal credit can be paid to your landlord

In some circumstances, the housing costs element can be paid directly to your landlord. This is called an alternative payment arrangement.

This could happen if, for example, you have rent arrears or cannot manage your money properly.

Ask for payments to be made to your landlord

You can ask for your housing costs element 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 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 or money advice instead.

Use the search on Gov.uk to find your local Jobcentre Plus

If you have two months’ rent arrears

Jobcentre Plus should take steps to help you to avoid losing your home through rent arrears.

Your landlord can complete a UC47 form to request:

  • payment of your housing costs element direct to your landlord
  • deductions from your universal credit payment to pay off rent arrears

Your landlord will need to provide Jobcentre Plus with proof of your rent arrears. 

Deductions 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 benefits advice if Jobcentre Plus won't agree to make alternative payment arrangements.

Use Shelter's directory to find a benefits adviser in your local area

Last updated 27 Apr 2017 | © Shelter

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