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 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 (for example, they've signed a tenancy agreement)
  • occupation of property

Tenants are responsible for paying rent to you themselves, as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) pays Universal Credit directly into the claimant's bank account.

For private sector tenants, the Universal Credit 'housing element' will be whichever is lower out of:

Alternative payment of Universal Credit

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

This may mean that you'll receive:

  • a 'managed payment'
  • a 'split payment', or
  • a more frequent payment

Universal Credit guidance for landlords

For further Universal Credit guidance for landlords:

Also see

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