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Universal credit - advice for landlords

Universal Credit (UC) is a new Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) benefit for working aged people.

It replaces Income based Job Seekers Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax credits and Housing Benefit.

Individuals making a new claim, or those with an existing claim who experience certain changes of circumstances will usually need to claim UC.

The process for making a claim UC is generally done online. Once claimed, the claim can be maintained through an online "journal". More information about making and maintaining a claim is available in the Universal Credit booklet.

If you are a landlord and your tenant is in receipt of UC or moving on to UC, the DWP has information on what this means for you, what you need to do and how you can help your tenants.

It is important to be aware that the DWP cannot discuss your tenants UC claim unless the tenant gives you "explicit consent" your tenant can do this via their online journal. This will be required each time you wish to call the DWP.

Rent arrears

If your tenant is in rent arrears you can apply for the housing cost element of UC to be paid to you directly using the UC47 form. The form can also be used to apply for payment towards the rent arrears (third party deductions). The DWP will decide how much is paid towards the arrears each month.

In Scotland, tenants can also request that their housing costs are paid directly to their landlord at any time. Landlords can only make the request if certain Universal Credit conditions apply.