As the rollout of Universal Credit continues throughout England and Wales, new Universal Credit guidance for landlords has been updated and published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The guidance explains various aspects to the claiming process for tenants and includes things a landlord can do to assist with a claim:
Landlords can help tenants to get ready for Universal Credit by encouraging them to:
• go online
• open a bank account to receive payments
• read the Universal Credit and you guide
Universal Credit is designed to be claimed online, if tenants don’t have access to the internet or are not confident using a computer, the jobcentre can tell them about local services that can help.
The guidance is helpful in understanding the claims process, how the monthly payments will be calculated (if the rent is not monthly) and how landlords can claim direct payment should the tenant experience difficulty.
The guidance doesn’t make mention of the normal 2 months arrears rule for direct payment. Instead, the guidance says:
If a tenant gets into difficulty paying their rent, the landlord can apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) Managed Payment to Landlord (MPTL) which will be considered on a case by case basis.
It could be slightly confusing which form a private landlord should use to request direct payment because one is for people with a secure email and one for a non-secure email (private landlords will use the non-secure email form). A useful link is provided which asks a couple of questions and gets you to the right form quickly and easily. Use this link to apply for direct payment.
Overall, the guidance is a useful addition and landlords who have tenants claiming Universal Credit, will find it useful to have a read through.