Information about Universal Credit for landlords, including who can claim it and how.
Universal Credit in Rushmoor
The government introduced Universal Credit in Rushmoor on 24 October 2018 for new claimants of the following benefits:
- Income support (IS)
- Income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSAIB)
- Income-related employment support allowance (ESAIR)
- Housing benefit (HB)
- Working tax credit (WTC)
- Child Tax Credit (CTC)
This applies to new claimants of working age, who are unemployed or low wage earners. It also applies to existing claimants who have a certain change in their circumstances.
All other existing claimants will be gradually transferred over to Universal Credit between 2019 and 2024.
Claims need to be made online on the GOV.UK website.
A helpline is available for people who need help making their claim online. The number is 0800 328 5644.
Exceptions to the changes
Customers will still claim help with their rent through the council if they:
- Are considered homeless and living in temporary accommodation
- Are living in supported accommodation
- Are a pensioner
- Have three or more dependent children
Help with council tax
What information your tenants will need to provide before they can get Universal Credit
Your tenants will need to provide information about their:
- Bank building society or credit union account details (they should call the Universal Credit helpline if they do not have one)
- Email address
- National Insurance number
- Housing, for example how much rent they pay
- Income, for example payslips
- Savings and any investments
- Payments for childcare if applying for help with childcare costs
If they do not provide the right information when they apply, it might affect when or how much they get paid.
They may also need these details of other people that live with them, including a partner or grown-up children.
They will also need to verify their identity online by using the GOV.UK verify service (they will need to have proof of their identity to hand to speed up this process).
Citizens Advice Rushmoor can help.
If they need extra support making the claim, they can also call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.
Once the claim is made online, they will be invited to the local Jobcentre to accept and sign their claimant commitment. This is an agreement to complete certain tasks so they can receive Universal Credit
How Universal Credit is paid
Under Universal Credit, payments will usually be made every month in arrears direct to the claimant's account, to match the way most salaries are paid. Your tenants are responsible for paying their rent from their whole income.
Sometimes, it may be possible for payments to be made more frequently, or to be split and paid to more than one person.
Most private landlords are used to this type of payment because most working age claimants renting privately generally get their housing benefit or local housing allowance payments direct and are responsible for paying their rent to their landlord.
When your tenants' Universal Credit will be paid
It could take up to five weeks after making a claim for Universal Credit before the first payment reaches a claimant's bank account.
If your tenants do not have enough money to pay their rent or their basic living costs during this time, they need to contact the Job Centre and apply for a short-term advance. This is a loan of future Universal Credit payments for people facing hardship.
When Universal Credit can be paid direct to a landlord
If your tenants are having trouble making their rent payments, they are in rent arrears or at risk of losing their home, you should contact the Universal Credit service centre. In these cases, you may ask for direct payments.
You can contact the Universal Credit service centre by telephoning 0800 328 5644 or emailing email@example.com.
The Universal Credit service centre may decide to pay the part of the Universal Credit covering housing costs directly to you. This arrangement is called an 'alternative payment arrangement'.
More information about Universal Credit
It may take a while for your tenants to get used to budgeting for a month at a time if they have been used to managing their money from week to week. Support will be available to help them manage their personal budgets. They can also find help at the Money Advice Service.
You can find more information on Universal Credit and how it could affect you and your tenants on the Universal Credit pages on the GOV.UK website. There is also information and tips for landlords on understanding Universal Credit.