When universal credit can be paid direct to a landlord
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can decide to pay either:
you – as part of your single monthly payment
Your universal credit (UC) housing element is usually paid to you. Then it's your responsibility to pay your landlord the full rent.
If your housing element is less than your rent, you have to cover the rest.
Your UC housing element could be paid direct to your landlord if you:
have missed rent payments
find it hard to budget
This is sometimes called a 'direct rent payment', 'alternative payment arrangement' or 'managed payment to landlord'.
You must still pay any rent shortfall not covered by your housing element.
How to ask for direct rent payments
call the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644
ask your work coach through your online journal or at an appointment
You can do this when you apply for UC or any time after.
What to tell the DWP
You should tell the DWP if you have:
been in care
problems with addiction
experienced domestic abuse
been evicted for rent arrears
at least 2 months' rent arrears
serious debts without a repayment plan
been homeless or living in temporary housing
a mental health condition or learning disability
You may need to discuss personal information.
You could be asked for proof that you're struggling.
The DWP should consider information from your landlord, family or support workers.
These are not the only situations which the DWP should look at.
You might be offered budgeting support instead.
How long direct rent payments last
Your situation will be reviewed every so often. The DWP should tell you when.
There will usually be a review if you move home or your income changes.
If you disagree with a decision
Ask your work coach again. You can ask for a review if they refuse.
The DWP will not ask you for permission if your landlord wants direct rent payments or deductions for rent arrears.
You can give them evidence if you disagree that you owe 2 months' rent.
Last updated: 26 March 2023