Universal Credit is a benefit for those who:

  • are out of work
  • want to start work
  • want to stay in work
  • are on a low income

It helps make sure claimants are 'better off in work' than on benefits. Claimants must be aged between 18 and Pension Credit age, and must satisfy other criteria.

Universal Credit payments

The majority of Universal Credit payments are:

  • paid monthly in arrears (usually 1 month and 14 days after an initial claim is submitted)
  • a single, monthly amount, paid directly into the claimant's account
  • made up of different amounts ( or 'elements') depending on individual circumstances
  • inclusive of all eligible housing costs

The 'housing element' of Universal Credit

The 'housing element' of Universal Credit helps tenants with their 'eligible rent' and 'service charge' costs.

Claimants must satisfy the following three conditions to qualify:

  • payment of rent
  • liability for rent (they have signed a tenancy agreement, for example)
  • occupation of property

As the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) pay Universal Credit directly into the claimant's bank account, tenants are responsible for paying rent to you themselves.

For private sector tenants, the Universal Credit 'housing element' will be whichever is lower out of the Local Housing Allowance rate and the tenant's actual costs.

Alternative payment of Universal Credit

In some circumstances, alternative payment arrangements will be available for Universal Credit claimants who genuinely can't manage their monthly rental payment.

This may mean that you will receive a 'managed payment', a 'split payment', or a more frequent payment.

Universal Credit guidance for landlords

For further guidance, see Universal Credit and rented housing: guide for landlords (GOV.UK) or contact the Universal Credit Service Centre directly, on telephone: 0345 600 0723.

Universal Credit tips for landlords

The Universal Credit: Top tips for landlords information leaflet (GOV.UK) provides useful Universal Credit information for landlords.

Also see

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