Claimants on a low income can claim Universal Credit to pay for their household expenses including rental payments. Through this article, we will explain the reasons why the DWP asks for your landlord’s details when you apply for Universal Credit. Additionally, we will also explore different situations under which Universal Credit applies, the eligibility criteria to claim the benefit and the amount of monthly payment claimants can expect to receive. 

Why Does Universal Credit Ask For Landlord Details?

Universal Credit asks for your landlord’s details to make payments on your behalf from the housing element of your benefits claim. While Universal Credit will not contact your landlord to inform them that their tenant has made a claim, however, they will contact them to ask for the bank details so that housing cost payments can directly be made to them.

Monthly payments that cover housing payments are made directly to landlords by Universal Credit while the remaining amount is paid to claimants. In very rare cases and should claimants fulfil specific criteria will housing costs for rental payments be sent directly to them instead of their landlord.

The amount of Universal Credit that tenants receive each month may change; therefore your landlord may receive a different amount to cover your housing payments and you will be required to pay the remaining amount if the payment falls short of the due amount of rent.  

In order to claim Universal Credit, tenants must be able to provide proof of their rental payments and service charges. Likewise, landlords are required to make sure that they have provided their tenants with a tenancy agreement and a letter confirming their housing costs; with a complete break up of housing costs, rents and rates; since Universal Credit does not pay for rates. 

Universal Credit housing payments may not cover the full amount of a tenant’s rental payments and they will be required to pay the remaining amount to landlords. Therefore, while Universal Credit may contact landlords for housing costs payments, the tenant remains the first point of contact for landlords to claim rent.

Below are details of how Universal Credit amounts are classified:

Your circumstancesThe standard amount of UC claim
Single and under 25 £257.33 a month
Single and 25 or older£324.84 a month
Living with a partner. Both partners are below 25£403.93 a month
Living with a partner. One or both partners are 25 or older£509.91 a month

These are standard amounts. Depending on your circumstances you may be able to claim additional benefits for the following:

  • Housing
  • Children
  • Childcare

Does Universal Credit Tell Your Landlord You Are On Benefits?

No, Universal Credit does not tell your private sector landlord that you are on benefits. However, if you live in a social housing facility, as per the Social Security (Information Sharing in Relation to Welfare Services etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2015, the Department for Work and Pensions and the officials at Universal Credit must inform social housing landlords when their tenants are on benefits.

Irrespective of this, Universal Credit can contact both the private sector and social housing landlords. The reason why Universal Credit may contact your landlord is that monthly payments covering housing costs are made directly to landlords for which their bank details are required. To be able to claim Universal Credit payments, tenants must fulfil the following conditions:

  • pay the due rent for the property they occupy
  • prove to be liable for the property
  • live in the property as their main residence

Will Universal Credit Making Housing Payments Directly To Tenants?

Yes, Universal Credit can make housing payments directly to tenants instead of their landlord in case the tenant:

  • has not paid previously owed rent and currently has rent arrears
  • is repaying previous rent arrears
  • is repaying an overpayment 
  • currently has Social Fund or Discretionary Support debt
  • is residing in a hostel, refuge or residential care
  • shares the Universal Credit payment with another member of the household

Will Universal Credit Pay For Two Homes?

Yes, Universal Credit will provide housing payments for two homes in case of the following conditions:

  • The claimant has moved into another house due to fear of violence in their own home. Universal Credit can pay for both homes for up to 12 months as long as the claimant intends to move back to their original home.
  • A new home is being adapted to the disability needs of a tenant. While it is being modified and the tenant continues living in the previous home, Universal Credit will pay for both homes for 1 month. 
  • A household has been split into two homes due to the large size of their family. This will be considered as a single home and  Universal Credit will pay housing costs for both.  

However, there may be certain unique situations in which Universal Credit may or not cover housing costs. For instance, if someone has moved out of their main residence while renovations are taking place, Universal Credit will not pay for both homes.

Similarly, if a tenant is currently in a hospital or a care home and cannot move into their house, Universal Credit will pay housing costs for up to one month.

What Do They Ask You In A Universal Credit Phone Appointment?

In addition to your personal identification details, you can be asked about any of the following areas of your life during a phone appointment with regards to the Universal Credit claim:

  • your identification details from your passport or driving license
  • your postcode
  • your NI number
  • your bank account, building society or credit union account number 
  • your monthly rental payments
  • your landlord’s address 
  • details of your savings and capital investments
  • details of your income and benefits
  • details of any child care payments made by you
  • child benefit reference numbers (if any)

What Is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a state benefit for UK citizens above the age of 18 and below state pension age. It aims to provide financial assistance to individuals who are either out of work or on a low income. It is a monthly payment that claimants receive to help them to cover living costs.

Universal Credit has replaced six benefits, referred to as the “legacy benefits” by serving a single payment for households and helping them meet housing and childcare costs. These include:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Additionally, it provides support for health conditions, disabilities or the role of a carer that prevent claimants from working full time or working at all.

Who Is Eligible For Universal Credit?

To qualify for Universal Credit, claimants must be able to fulfil the below eligibility criteria:

  • aged between 18 (in some cases it may be 16 or 17) and state pension age
  • unemployed or on low income
  • between the claimant and their partner, total savings are less than £6,000
  • experiencing high costs for child care
  • suffering from a disability or health condition
  • caring for someone else

The amount of Universal Credit that an individual receives depends on their personal circumstances and income (if any). For instance, someone who is single and younger than 25 years of age will be eligible for Universal Credit amounting to around £257 per month. Meanwhile, this amount will rise to around £509 for someone who is living with a partner and either one of them or both of them are above the age of 25.

What Counts As Income For Universal Credit?

During your benefits calculation by the DWP, not only is your job-related income(s) taken into account, but the authorities will also consider unearned incomes. These are incomes that individuals receive without having to work.  

Unearned incomes that affect your Universal Credit payments include the following:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (new style)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (new style)
  • Pension Income
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • State benefits that aren’t replaced by Universal Credit

For every £1 earned through any of the above means, £1 will be reduced from your Universal Credit payments.

Which Change In Circumstances Affect Universal Credit?

Certain changes in your circumstances can bear an impact on the benefits you receive including Universal Credit. Therefore, it is advisable if you face any of the following situations, you must inform the relevant authorities: 

  • a new mobile number, postal or email address
  • a change in your bank details
  • change of residence due to moving in with a partner
  • having a child
  • changes to your health condition
  • being unable to work due to an illness
  • starting to care for a child or disabled person
  • finding or finishing a job
  • changes to your earnings, savings, investments
  • changes to rental payments
  • changes to your immigration status (in case you’re not a British citizen)

Conclusion:

From this discussion on receiving support through Universal Credit regarding housing expenses, we have to the conclusion that while Universal Credit may not share details of your claim benefit with your landlord, they will ask for their contact details in order to transfer monthly rental payments to the landlord’s bank account. Sometimes, the amount that you receive from the DWP may not cover the entire monthly rent that you need to pay to your landlord. In this case, the DWP pays the amount of your housing element to your landlord while you pay the remaining amount. 

FAQs: Why Does Universal Credit Ask For Landlord Details?

Does Universal Credit Check your tenancy?

Yes, Universal Credit checks your tenancy. For this purpose, you may be asked to share evidence of your rent liability with a written tenancy agreement, a rent book or a letter from your landlord or letting agent confirming your tenancy details.

Can you claim housing benefit without the landlord knowing?

While you can claim housing benefit without the landlord knowing as you are not under any obligation to disclose the details of your benefits claim to your landlord, you may not be able to do so if the DWP chooses to send rental payments directly to your landlord.

Can a landlord refuse a tenant on Universal Credit?

Yes, if a landlord chooses to decline to offer their property to a potential tenant due to them being a Universal Credit claimant, they can do so.

Why do landlords not accept Universal Credit?

Most of the time landlords do not accept a Universal Credit claimant as a tenant is because they lack the confidence that individuals claiming benefits will be able to maintain rental payment on time.

References:

Landlords with tenants claiming Universal Credit | nidirect.

Universal Credit and rented housing: a guide for landlords – GOV.UK

What Universal Credit means for landlords

Universal credit and you

Understanding Universal Credit – How earnings affect Universal Credit

Social housing landlords with tenants on Universal Credit | nidirect

Universal Credit and rented housing – frequently asked questions

Universal Credit: Report a change of circumstances – GOV.UK

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