Universal Credit

Information for private landlords

What happens if your tenant cannot manage their Universal Credit payment and has rent arrears

If your tenant is not used to managing their single monthly payment and they are struggling to pay their rent and bills, help is available. Although Universal Credit is managed by the DWP, we can provide advice and support with budgeting. Your tenant can ask their Jobcentre Plus adviser about this or speak to us directly. 

Your tenant’s Universal Credit payment may include money which is intended to help them pay the rent. This is called the housing costs element.

If your tenant is on Universal Credit and falls into rent arrears, you can apply to the DWP for the housing costs element to be paid directly to you. This is a type of managed payment called an alternative payment arrangement (APA).

You can apply for an APA if your tenant:

  • is two or more months in rent arrears or
  • has underpaid their rent consistently, and is a month or more in rent arrears

You may also be able to apply for any rent arrears to be paid to you straight from your tenant’s Universal Credit claim. This is called a third party deduction.

Tenant applications for an APA

Your tenant can also ask for an APA.

From December 2017, the DWP should give your tenant the option of having their housing costs element paid directly to you when they first make their Universal Credit claim.  

Applying for an APA

You can apply for an APA online at directpayment.universal-credit.service.gov.uk

You can also ask for an APA using a UC47 Non-secure form. You can download this form from the GOV.UK website or get one by phoning the DWP on 0800 328 5644. You will need to email or post this to the DWP.

If you apply for an APA, you will need the following information:

  • your tenant's postcode (for online applications)
  • your tenant’s (and their partner’s) date of birth or their National Insurance number
  • proof of rent arrears - this must show the balance on the rent account, including the amount of rent due each week or month and the amount of rent outstanding
  • a full breakdown of how you have calculated rent arrears and the time over which they have built up
  • your contact details – your name and address, and your bank or building society account number and sort code

Once you have made an application for an APA, the DWP will tell you whether or not it has agreed to this. If the DWP agrees to an APA, this will not be indefinite and the DWP will set a period to review the APA decision.

How you can help avoid any delays to your tenant’s Universal Credit

To make sure their housing costs are paid promptly, your tenant will need to give details of their rent when they claim Universal Credit or if their rent changes. You should make sure that your tenant has an up to date tenancy agreement or that you give them a valid rent increase letter if you are putting up the rent.

What to do if you are refused an APA

If the DWP refuses an APA application, you can ask for a review of this decision if you can give more information about why you need an APA. 

Where to get more information

You can download a copy of this information in our Universal Credit - information for landlords leaflet.

Money Advice Service - Universal Credit - information for landlords

Universal Credit/DWP - Universal Credit and rented housing: guide for landlords

Universal Credit/DWP - Personal Budgeting Support and Alternative Payment Arrangement Guidance (PDF)