Universal Credit for landlords
The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a campaign to raise awareness and understanding of Universal Credit amongst private and social rented landlords. Spearheaded by partners in the sector, it features real life case studies from landlords as they explain in their own words their experience of working with the department to support tenants who are claiming Universal Credit.
A suite of new products has also been developed to help landlords understand what Universal Credit means for them. This includes a toolkit for landlords consisting of a top tips guide, explainer videos, a template article for use in newsletters and e-bulletins, and a recommended social media plan with suggested copy and assets to use across their own channels.
The Understanding Universal Credit website has also been updated with a new landlord section containing lots of handy tips and facts to support landlords in their conversations with tenants.
We've compiled some top tips for you below.
Universal Credit: top tips for landlords
Ensure your tenants know how much their rent is
Speak to them early on and make sure they are ready to pay their rent to you directly.
Apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement
If you have tenants who may struggle to pay their rent or are in rent arrears, you can apply for their housing costs to be paid to you directly from the start of their claim.
Claimants can apply for an advance
Are you aware new Universal Credit claimants can apply for an advance from the start of their claim that can be used to help pay rent and bills?
Additional support for Housing Benefit claimants
Remind tenants moving from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit that they will automatically receive an extra two weeks' Housing Benefit support which they don't need to pay back.
Understand the options
In Scotland, tenants can choose to have their housing costs paid direct to their landlord or themselves. Make sure you understand all the options so that you can give the best advice possible.
Encourage tenants to set up their direct debits
They will need a bank account for their Universal Credit payments, and having a direct debit or standing order set up may help them make sure their rent payments are made on time.
Encourage tenants to claim straight away
Encourage tenants who have a change of circumstances, such as losing their job, to make a claim for Universal Credit straight away so they can continue to pay their rent.
Get to know your Partnership Manager
Build strong links with your Partnership Manager - they can share contacts to help you resolve complex matters.
Make sure your tenant has to right paperwork
If you are a private landlord, you will need to provide your tenants with suitable signed paperwork that confirms how much their rent liability is, as this is required for the verification process.
Read more useful information on Universal Credit for landlords and find out how to contact the DWP partnership teams via the Government's Universal Credit website (external link).