Rent payments will soon be much easier to come by if your tenant receives Universal Credit. This month, Anna Pettinger explains how landlords can avoid onerous arrears…
My tenant is two months behind with her rent. As she receives Universal Credit, can I request her benefits are paid directly to me?
The good news is that at the end of this year, a new online system is being launched that will make it easier for Universal Credit payments to be made directly to a landlord. Unfortunately, you will have to wait a few more months for it to go live.
Private landlords will be able to request rent payments are made directly to them at the beginning of a claim. It is thought this will ensure fewer tenants fall into arrears and will help them manage their finances better.
What are the rules currently?
At the moment, both social and private tenants who claim Universal Credit are responsible for making their own rent payments. This has resulted in many landlords not receiving the housing element of the benefit and being faced with increasing arrears.
Tenants themselves can currently apply for rent to be paid directly to their landlord, if they are struggling to manage their finances, by requesting an alternative payment arrangement (APA).
If you are owed more than two months’ rent (or one month if your tenant has missed payments in the past), you can submit a request for a direct managed payment, by completing form UC47. However, many landlords are not aware of this system and the process is rather lengthy and time consuming, which can be daunting for those who haven’t done it before.
More information about implementing a direct managed payment can be found here.
If you would like help submitting an application to Universal Credit or recouping rent arrears, don’t hesitate to contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (0114) 218 4000.