More information for private sector tenants
Paying your rent and Universal Credit
Claim help towards your housing costs:
If you claim Universal Credit (UC) and pay rent on your home, you can get help towards your housing costs as part of your UC. When you apply for UC it’s important to check that you have filled in the form properly with your rent details. If you don’t, your rent can get missed out. If you are asked to provide proof that you pay rent, such as your tenancy agreement, do this as soon as possible. (You cannot normally claim for help with your housing costs if you live in someone else’s home and pay them for your keep).
If you are worried about not being able to pay your rent while you are waiting for your UC to be paid, ask about an advance payment of UC. Speak to your work coach. Please be aware that you will have to repay this from your future UC payments.
Talk to your landlord
If there is going to be any delay before you pay your rent, because you are waiting for your UC or for an advance payment to be arranged, you might want to talk to your landlord to let them know what is happening. If your rent is late and your landlord does not know why, it might cause problems. Try and keep your landlord up to date.
You will be responsible for rent payments
Once your UC claim has been paid, check to make sure that your housing costs have been included in your UC. Normally housing costs are paid to you. You are responsible for paying your own rent to the landlord. It is very important that your keep up to date with rent payments. Always keep a record of money you have paid. If you ever make cash payments, make sure you get a receipt. If your rent gets behind – it can lead to all sorts of problems. You might lose your home and your credit rating can be damaged. If you have become homeless because of rent arrears, you might find it very difficult to get a new home. Paying your rent must always be your priority. If you are worried that you cannot manage to do this properly, talk to your UC work coach and ask about an Alternative Payment Arrangement or Managed Payment.
Shortfall in rent
Sometimes the amount of housing costs that UC can pay will be less than the amount of rent your landlord charges. If this happens, you must try and make this up from your other income. Sometimes, you can get help from the council called a Discretionary Housing Payment to help cover with this shortfall.
Make a separate claim for Council Tax Reduction
If you pay Council Tax where you live, UC does not include any help towards Council Tax. You should make a separate application for Council Tax Reduction. If you need help with Council Tax – apply straight away. If you wait, it could lose you money.