My tenant lost her job due to Covid and is now on universal credit

Hi all, I’m not sure how to post this as a separate question…but I’m in a similar situation…my tenant lost her job due to Covid and is now on universal credit. She’s paid me half the rent for April/May/June, and I’ve agreed to give her a 10% reduction for those months, but I’m struggling to get her to agree a repayment arrears plan, and also the future is so uncertain as to whether she’ll be able to keep paying the rent. I’d love some advice…I’m not sure what a repayment plan should look like?

I don’t know what a repayment plan should look like but housing benefit is included in the UC payment. It might be worth looking up the LHA for your area and seeing exactly what she is being paid towards her rent. If she’s not over accommodated and the rent charged is not significantly higher than the going average for the area she will be getting most if not all of it. Especially as you have given her 10% off.
Also, UC are paying people a bit extra at the moment. For a couple, it’s £85pm I believe, don’t know what it is for a single person.
Remember she will also have the majority, if not all of her council tax paid too.
My point is to maybe do some research into what she is actually receiving, if you haven’t done so already, then you will know what is fair and reasonable. Unfortunately, some tenants believe this pandemic means they don’t have to pay.

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Hi Deb, I’m sorry to hear your tenant has been badly affected by coronavirus and that your rent is not being paid in full. It’s great you are trying to accommodate her position with a rent reduction.

I asked a lawyer to produce this guide on rent reduction agreements and repayments. I hope it helps.


This reply is a little distasteful, lacks sympathy and many inaccuracies. Firstly, please don’t assume this tenant doesn’t want to pay her rent, Now from her last pay check, typically they wait 5 weeks for a UC payment that will be much less than her wages so so this is probably why she’s short each month. You can ask for a mortgage holiday first to ease your own financial pressure and pass on that easing to your recently unemployed tenant. You can also send the tenant an income/outgoing query and work out a sensible repayment plan based on what they have to live on. Please don’t listen to the previous reply because Local housing allowance/housing benefit and Council tax benefit were all managed by the local authority but now UC is managed and calculated by the DWP and housing benefit is most certainly not paid as part of UC as they suggested. Please remember your tenant had a job and I’m sure they didn’t get said job to convince you to let them rent and they could lose it and stiff you, in all likelihood she will get another job and be able to repay you quicker out of her wages than. She will get a job quicker with your support, please remember you’re renting a home not a commercial property. Finally check with your landlord insurance for advice.


You have made many assumptions - incorrectly I might add, which I too find distasteful and arrogant.
Housing Benefit most certainly is paid as part of UC. I’ve just checked once again as have had to help our tenants with just that so have just been through the whole process. It can be five weeks but there is also the option to ask for this to be paid in advance, and to be honest the claim was actually paid quickly.
No one is saying someone went out, got a job solely for the purpose of shafting a landlord. That’s really quite stupid and very disingenuous.
I was speaking from experience, as we have been through the exact same scenario!
Our tenants rent was covered in full. This may partly be because as sympathetic and honest landlords, we did them a favour and gave them a chance at the outset to get established and get on their feet, and reduced the rent, so they have new property for less than the going rate of a shabby one. We have never increased the rent either despite increased expenses. So we support our tenants day in and day out not just at certain times.
The HB component is solely for rent so it is actually not lawful for the tenant to be keeping this part. So even if not all rent is covered the majority of it will be (especially with a 10% reduction as the poster stated) and especially if the rent is within the local average. So whenever it does come through, even if five weeks it should be being passed on so the landlord only has to sort out things their end for this time span.
As I also correctly stated there is an extra payment being added at the moment, again this is correct as to what our tenants were awarded.
There is a repayment ‘holiday’ - if your circumstances fall into that category. More assumptions on your part as not everyone’s do.
This has to be repaid with interest and will be added to the original amount borrowed and the monthly repayment will be recalculated, obviously resulting in an increased amount. Again, fine, if you as a landlord, and have set your rent high enough in the beginning to be able to accommodate the increase. If a landlord is committed to keeping rents low this of course will mean there simply may not be the leeway in times such as these.
You cannot group every landlord into the same situation. They may well have lost their jobs too and not be able to work. Not to mention losing what was an wage/s from a family member/s who have lost their lives to this virus.
I am glad that your own personal circumstances are such that they do not fall into any of the above categories.
One thing I failed to omit - our tenants actually have more income than we do!
So what are landlords meant to do in this scenario?
As I also said it is helpful to find out what is going on and what payments will be received to find a fair and workable solution which is acceptable to all.
It’s hardly helping the tenant if the house has to be sold or repossessed. Everyone is suffering - apart from you apparently.

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you only have to google in .“is housing benefit part of universal credit?” and the answer is yes.

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Thanks Colin for clarifying!
Hope you’re doing okay

All is well MR T. one of my shop tenants is struggling a bit so I am helping there but they have a 10K grant as all small shops have received but are disheartened as he is a tatooist and thats now in doubt Everone else has paid up to date .I do have good tenants and see most on a regular basis as i check furniture or rubbish has not accumalated. I also personally collect rents. I am also selling more insulation than ever, but building work is slower as usually I work in peoples homes. and I like working, the main thing is we all are safe and not ill. We will all end up paying for this epidemic in higher taxes . Is all well with yourself?

Housing benefit was a benefit paid by the local authority, UC includes housing costs but is not called housing benefit and not necessarily reflective of local housing allowance. You said “ Unfortunately, some tenants believe this pandemic means they don’t have to pay.” However you frame it, that’s distasteful.

Mr T I appreciate your reply and the support you have afforded your tenants. You obviously care and have taken time to make sure you understand your tenant’s situation. I note you said your tenant had more income than you do, have you taken into account how much of this goes to you?

distasteful or not what Mr T said is true . How would you frame it ? What words would you have in your sentence ??

On the one hand the tenant is in strife and can’t pay their rent and it’s not their fault, but then neither is it the landlord’s, yet it seems acceptable to lay the tenant’s issues firmly at the doorstep of the landlord and God forbid if the landlord complains. It’s all too easy to play the greedy uncaring landlord card. Sure, by dint of the tenant’s possession of the property the landlord has a part to play, but the narrative that all landlords are out for themselves is just an excuse to kick the can down the road to those who are perceived to have the deepest pockets, whilst failing to recognise landlords may not be in a position to assist. There is a complete imbalance between how landlords and tenants are regarded/treated. For every 1 bad landlord there would be 1,000 lousy tenants, yet the landlord still is the bad guy. Though the narrative of the so-called greedy landlord is more about the politics of envy than it is about fairness.


Spot on envy it is . Many more bad tenants than bad landlords


What bugs me most is this the attitude. Landlords enter into a contract with the tenant - our part of the bargain is to provide a suitable property and the tenant commits to paying for it. Aside from this contractual commitment, as a landlord, I owe the tenant nothing. Anything else is at my discretion and is subject to my good will, so why on earth anyone thinks they have the right to demand anything more than what I am obligated to provide is beyond me, and in the event they do need assistance then the right way to go about it is to afford me the same level of understanding they want me to show them.


It will never be any different. when Councils had the stupidity to sell off housing stock because THEY could not maintain them to a decent standard it started to fall apart from then, Extra tax on buy to let. Higher standards for all landlords EXCEPT housing associations, so let them house the ner do wells, the addicts . We will not take them


In many ways Osborne’s attack on the BTL sector has helped those who remained, as it was in danger of becoming saturated. Now we can be a bit more choosy. My voids have never been so low, same with defaults.

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Yes Malcolm, I have taken that into account - or else I wouldn’t have said it! I am referring to their disposable income after rent and council tax - which are priority debts.
What amount goes to me is a very small percentage of their total income as our tenants are in a part of the country with the lowest rents. Obviously the national wage is just that - National. So they receive the exact same amount of income - whether in wages or in UC - with minimum outgoings to the rest of us.
Have you considered that landlords have rent to pay rent too? My rent is more than theirs.
I appreciate that my comments may have caused offence and I apologise for that as you are right it doesn’t apply to all.
However, I have noticed another post from someone who appears to be you, saying that it’s unfair as landlords have payment holidays and ‘don’t have to pay’ and tenants do!
So clearly there are tenants who think they should be having a ‘holiday’.
In most cases it will not be because the tenant is trying to pull a fast one, but if the tenant is believing this and is full of resentment, even if it’s through being misinformed, then it has to be considered and the information corrected.
The original post on here asked if the landlord could ever expect a rent payment from someone receiving UC, and that is what I was trying to answer.
The information I intended to convey was that yes, whatever component was being paid towards the rent should be being passed on to the landlord, as is the law.
So the majority of the rent, if not all, will be being covered, and the most any tenant should be behind with is five weeks. Especially with a generous 10% discount.
The amount paid towards Housing Costs (if you prefer that term to HB) is based on local rents. Otherwise, you would have tenants from up north being paid the same rent amounts charged in London, and on a small 2 bed property would have approximately £1000 pm in their pocket on top of standard UC payments. So of course it’s based on local rents even if being dealt with from a centralised office.
Furthermore, unfortunately there are several posts on here which would indicate that tenants are taking advantage of the situation and refusing to communicate, talking absolute rubbish or failing to provide paperwork to their landlords, hence my comment, in the interest of covering all possible scenarios. Surely, worse than mentioning this, is the fact that it is happening? Read some of these posts.
Landlords have exactly the same the bills as you do and do not qualify for UC or furlough payments.
I for one, am certainly not making sheds loads of money from this and most certainly would not do it again. Due to the tenants not looking after a new property we have even had the value of the house itself reduced due to their actions which is going to cost a lot to put right.
However, I do like your idea of a repayment plan whereby incomings and outgoings are documented. Best wishes

Hi. Colin,
Old Mother T here, I am the lucky one doing the managing!
I am still well, thank you and that’s the main thing, as you say.
It must be really difficult being in the job of tattooist. I wonder what will happen?
We had the UC situation, as you know, but it was sorted pretty quickly and all rent was covered and lucky they have passed it on. They seemed very happy with the situation so all okay at present. You seem to have a more sensible Govt where you are so I’m listening to that advice and staying indoors for a bit longer! Keep well

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When Government sanctioned the idea of rental “holidays” and a ban on evictions (now extended by a further 2 months) they opened the doors for abuse and, anecdotally, it is not uncommon. There is this perceived* imbalance of power between landlords and tenants with all this new legislation aimed at redressing it, yet from where i sit the tenant has the power, particularly once section 21 is banned. Bottom line - if the tenant abuses their responsibility (i.e to.look after the property and pay rent on time), as landlords we are on our own with the tenant facing zero legislative sanctions. Yet if a landlord abuses their responsibility we face the full force of the law with the possibility of huge penalties. Balanced? My ar$e!

Government side with tenants simply for votes. Labour are unabashed about their position, but the Tories are stuck between sticking up for free enterprise on the one hand and on the other appealing to the mass of renters for their vote and do not want to be seen supporting the nasty old landlord. End of the day - votes count!

  • I say perceived, but in actual fact it’s propaganda. The idea that all landlords are bad and we take advantage of tenants etc etc is not supported by the data. Most of the current legislation has been enacted in response to pressure groups who make a big noise about “injustices” and feed the anti-landlord sentiment despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Thanks all for your various replies. This is such a tricky situation. In my particular case the tenants housing benefit is less than half of the rent she was paying. Even with the reduction we have agreed she cannot even begin to formulate a rent arrears plan with me yet I have emailed her about this several times. I am nervous to do this during such a situation but I am wondering whether I will now have to give her notice…as it looks like she is unable (and possibly unwilling given her lack of engagement on the arrears plan?) to pay anything remotely like the rent due for the foreseeable future. I wonder what others would do in this situation as I also have no idea if there people out there able and looking to rent at the moment? Has anyone tried renting out a north London two bed property on here lately? Any thoughts on this whole mess I’m in would be appreciated…

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