Help with tenant rent arrears on Universal Credit?

Help with tenant rent arrears on Universal Credit?

10:36 AM, 16th March 2023, About A year ago 12

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Hello, I have a tenant with six months rent arrears on Universal Credit. I have filled in an online form for direct payment from UC but this was rejected.

These were the possible reasons they gave for the rejection but they did not tell me specifically:
1) tenant not on UC or housing benefit
2) wrong address
3) not in arrears

All of the above are not true so I made a call to UC but they said they need the permission from the tenant to look into the account.

The tenant is avoiding any contact with me due to the fact she’s £3,360 in rent arrears. The UC system is flawed because if the tenant was speaking to me she wouldn’t be in arrears as I would have tried to work something out.

Can anyone from Property118 help as all authorities can’t discuss without her permission?

All the while she’s keeping rent money whilst waiting for eviction which is another four months away.

I have even had legal help but was told this would be difficult to get the money back if she’s hasn’t got assets. I wish someone would see how this is affecting landlords as well as tenants.

Really need clear direction because I feel our system can’t allow this blatant stealing of tax payers money.

Many thanks,


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11:23 AM, 16th March 2023, About A year ago

May be it is time to add a term and condition in a tenancy agreement that should a tenant lose his or her job and unable to pay rent and starts claiming any kind of benefit, then he or she must sign a separate letter of authority authorising the landlord to approach UC or any housing benefit office to pay his or her rent directly to landlords account, but beware if the tenant was not eligible to this then they can claw back this payment from landlords, this is one reason why landlords avoid renting to tenants on UC or housing benefit.

So the problem of why some landlords would not rent to benefit tenants is because of the Government'works against the interest of landlords

Robert M

12:09 PM, 16th March 2023, About A year ago

The response you've received from UC is the standard UC template letter, that basically says they won't pay you, but they also won't tell you why they won't pay you.

The system is very flawed, and totally unreasonable to the landlord, as they won't even talk to the landlords about the UC claim unless the claimant authorises it there and then on the phone, or specifically adds the authorisation on their UC journal. Even then, if you call back at a later date, they will say the authorisation was just for that one issue at that time (one call?) and you will need the tenant to authorise you again for any subsequent contact.

It is possible to escalate up to a manager, or put in a formal complaint, but you may need help to do this, (I would recommend the services of Bill Irvine at "").

However, it may simply be that the person has been sanctioned (so their UC has stopped), or they've started work (but don't want to part with their earnings for paying rent), or their benefits have stopped for another reason (e.g. gone to prison, partner moved in, etc, etc), or they are on a different benefit, e.g. ESA, or their address on the UC system does not match the address that you have stated (did they change their address details with UC when they moved into your property?).

The benefit system is fraught with these type of issues, to the detriment of the landlord (and in many instances also the tenant). This leaves you with the prospect of having to follow due legal process to evict the tenants, and then look at recovering the resultant debt from the tenant's deposit, and then from their rent and damage guarantor (via court proceedings if necessary).


12:29 PM, 16th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 16/03/2023 - 11:23I have had those standard answers before and, have not been able to get any further even with the tenant saying they gave authorisation to discuss with me.
My tenancy agreement has a clause stating that, the tenant may be evicted if rent is not paid directly to me, but this does not make any difference.
I have also provided tenants on benefits with a letter stating that it was a condition of their tenancy that the rent was paid directly to the landlord but the letters are always ignored.
All in all UC is a disaster and is geared for tenants to not pay if they so wish. All my new tenants on benefits now have to have a guarantor.

I have also raised several complaints in the past where, the payment has not been paid directly to me when, the tenant was more than two months in arrears but, have had no response so all in all, until the system is changed if ever, complaining is a waste of time.


12:56 PM, 16th March 2023, About A year ago

This quote just about sums the issue up:

"....they said they need the permission from the tenant to look into the account."

As a landlord you don't have any power to confirm whether the tenant is entitled to benefits. All the power is with the tenant. But under the present law if the tenant turns out to be ineligible and has been in receipt of benefits the benefits authority can just come back and get the money off you as the landlord.

And there's no incentive for the council to give you the information either. They just want free accommodation from you.

And that's why I don't take tenants on benefits unless they pay me directly.

Mick Roberts

15:34 PM, 16th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert M at 16/03/2023 - 12:09
Well said Rob.

Mick Roberts

15:37 PM, 16th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 16/03/2023 - 12:29
Well said Clint, I too don't bother complaining any more. U wait 3 years for them to say We not do that again.
And 3 months later, separate complaint, they say
We not do that again.

I said Ooh look here, u said that 3 months ago, but u done exactly the same. They go silent.
They are PROPER THICK some of them workers in UC. Tenants are losing cause of this.


16:10 PM, 16th March 2023, About A year ago

It is a sad indictment that when we try and help those that need help and housing we are obstructed by the system and those who desire to castigate landlords.

David Houghton

16:19 PM, 16th March 2023, About A year ago

Why four months. Can't you use the S8 process. Yes no chance of getting the money back. Whilst of course you can't have a blank ban on uc tenants it doesn't mean you have to take uc tenants


23:00 PM, 16th March 2023, About A year ago

Hi Nick, So sorry to hear that. UC is really frustrating. Just wondering is there any chance your tenant could actually be working and earning above the threshold and this is the reason why they have stopped paying UC? I had this happen once and the tenant didn't think they should pay the rent out their earned money. If this is the case, you could ask the courts to do an attachment on earnings (but you will need the details and address of an employer). Is there a third party that you can contact such as a professional or family member? Other than that then the eviction process that you are following is the only course of action. Keep trying to engage with your tenant, I have had cases when I have managed to make contact and come to an arrangement. Personally, I'd document every communication to show you are trying to engage with the tenant.


10:37 AM, 8th April 2024, About A week ago

If you log on to gov.UK website and go to the section on Landlords there is a form called 'Landlord application for direct rent and/or arrears payments'.
If you go on there and complete the form at some point DWP should be able to set up a managed payment to Landlord.
DWP are bound by claimant confidentiality so they are not usually able to tell you WHY they cannot set up a recovery, but they are unable under government rules to set up recovery of arrears if the claimants earn more than the value of the standard allowance per month.
This is the main reason why arrears are not collected.
They also cannot set up arrears payments if the claimant is less than 2 months in arrears.

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