Universal Credit UK: Housing costs payment rules to change this month – details revealed

Universal Credit payments are based on the individual claimant’s circumstances and on top of the regular payments, additional amounts of money may be provided for specific elements. A housing payment can be provided which can help claimants pay their rent to a private landlord, local authority or cover interest payments on a mortgage.

However, that final example is set to change this month.

On July 9, Neil Couling a Senior Responsible Owner for Universal Credit, wrote to housing colleagues to provide an update on Universal Credit housing costs.

As he confirmed: “When I last wrote to you in late December, I set out our plans to start a small scale test with a group of Social Landlords to align the way that we pay Managed Payments to Landlords (MPtL) with a claimant’s Assessment Period.

“Despite the unprecedented volume of claims that we have received and the substantial changes that the Department has introduced at pace during this period, I am pleased to confirm that we have now successfully completed testing of the payment alignment feature.

“We will begin rolling this feature out to all Portal landlords, commencing next month.

“This means that going forwards you will receive the housing cost element at the same time as your tenant receives their UC payment, as well as allowing you to access payment information via the Landlord Portal, where a managed payment is in place.

“This should greatly improve your ability to manage payments and reconcile UC housing costs, helping you to support your tenants during this period.”

Affected landlords should be given at least two weeks’ notice before the changes are introduced.

Under current rules, Managed Payments to Landlord can be requested when:

  • a claimant is in arrears with their rent for an amount equal to, or more than, two months of their rent
  • a claimant has continually underpaid their rent over more than two months, and they have accrued arrears of an amount equal to or more than one month’s rent
  • any of the other Tier one and Tier two APA factors (which can be found on the government’s website) apply
  • a claimant was previously in receipt of Housing Benefit and it was paid to their landlord, a MPTL can be considered providing the claimant continues to meet the Tier one or Tier two APA factors


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