Tenant on Universal Credit

I’m a relatively new landlord and have only had tenants paying their own rent through their salary in the past. I now have an applicant who would like to rent my flat and is claiming Universal Credit. She is already in a flat and using the system to pay that rent but has to move. Can anyone give me advice as to whether it works to go with tenants on UC or if it becomes extremely complicated? Thanks very much.

Why does she have to move?


It’s because she’s moving job.

If you are inclined to accept her, just do the usual checks about security of her job, history of rent payment etc.


Hello,I’m also on universal credit and have to move .I am a full time carer for two disabled grandchildren I am new to this and worried about landlord scammers, open rent hold your deposit for safe keeping but universal credit take their time about everything,I’m worried that landlord will try to claim deposit if they are kept waiting? I’ll lose my savings,I’d appreciate advice from honest landlords on what to do or not do to protect against this happening.Thanks.

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Nothing wrong with UC per se.

The question is more affordability.

Unfortunately inn London for example any tenants on uc are not very likely to be able afford the rent.


If you cant get a good straight payer then UC is your option. Expect to put in a lot more admin time. Getting through to UC can be difficult.
I have a guy on UC now and they pay to a certain amount and the rent is above that so i am losing maybe £150 a month and he wont obey a section 21 because the council have advised him to wait for eviction as they cant home him. To evict him will cost a lot so im just having to suck it up.
Also getting UC to say when they actually started covering the rent (unbelievably) has not proved possible. When he does leave because UC pays in arrears they will probably stop payments on the day he leaves so you can get stuffed there as well.
I avoid UC where i can based on poor experience in the past


Interview the tenant and a good judge of ppl should get a general idea if they will be fine in your property. I suppose age can play a big part. Anyone who’s UC doesn’t cover rent you want proof of how they’re going to pay top up. If they can’t then they don’t move in. Overall I think the younger generation give ppl who pay by UC a bad name


Get a financially secure guarantor, then no worries.

I have a UC tenant who started to default 2 months into the tenancy, we contacted the guarantor and made them aware of their liability, and all sorted, rent is now paid regular as clockwork.


Not sure what makes you say that as you can get £1,200 on UC for housing in most of London and even higher towards the centre

Possibly, but it depends on the size of the family. Our properties are quite small.

I only speak from experience of what prospective tenants tell me.


Hi Katy
As a tenant on UC I suggest a few things. You say she is moving because of a change in occupation and is therefore working. So first I would check your local council rent allowance as this will give you the amount of rent that will be awarded towards the tenant via ANY benefits including UC then I would ask them to show you their current tenancy agreement to check her current rent charge pcm then I would ask them to show you their actual UC account (watch them login) and check under the HOUSING section( see pic), this gives a clear amount of what is being paid and WHY it is the amount stated.
NB: with working applicants this will be valuable for you to look at but also look at random statements on there too because the amount awarded can change every month depending on earnings (they are clearly date listed see pic). Then ask how they are currently paying the rent, for example UC maybe paid on the 10th of the month but their salary is paid 30th of the month so asking what date they actually pay their rent will be beneficial (IMO) Then check their bank statements to cross reference. I also get the reason many are telling you to get a guarantor which if they can great but in the current cost of living crisis in the UK many maybe reluctant to commit to possibly adding to their financial burden no matter if they believe the risk is minimal.
Another thing about UC it is paid on an exact date unlike the old housing benefits paid via local council which I believe could be nit monthly or an exact date on an average 6 weekly basis but now it is paid the same date the tenant is paid. You can request your tenant asks UC to pay you directly, if UC turn down this request (sometimes UC refuse if no arrears) don’t worry because if your tenant should stop paying you can apply for direct payment once they are 2 months in arrears.
I know it may seem like a lot to do but almost everything you need is the same as a non UC tenant and everything is all within your tenants UC account which btw they should have no issue showing you and don’t accept any excuses because all UC claimants have an online account without exception so any reluctance is a clear sign to not go any further. I hope whatever kind of tenant you get is a good one that respects your home and is of good standing as all tenants should be regardless of financial standing!
I’m always happy to answer any questions if you have any and that you find the pics easy to see, assuming they have uploaded correctly lol (it’s my personal account so obviously I’ve blacked out my personal details) good luck.

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Hi Sidney
I’m sorry you’ve got such a @#%* for a tenant but anyone who doesn’t pay their rent would behave in the exact same way even if they were on benefits or working! However the tenant can show you the date that UC started paying his rent by his own personal statements that ALL UC claimants have access to 24/7 WITHOUT EXCEPTION and it can be logged in to from any device, be it on any smartphone phone or laptop etc (I’m telling you and any other LL for that matter because you can offer your own phone for them to use so no excuses for any UC tenants). I do accept you sound like it’s probably gone beyond you being able to discuss this with the tenant face to face but you can a contact UC directly and ask for direct payments if over 2 months in arrears (don’t get me wrong I get this can be time consuming if your tenant is not prepared to request this with a simple message on his UC account if they are struggling but I just want to put it out there for all landlords to see because I get that many may not fully know how UC works as far as housing costs are concerned plus I have commented further down to the OP which includes photos of what to look for on a tenants UC account.
I do hope you manage to get this person out soon it’s disgusting for anyone to behave that way! I’m a tenant but I genuinely believe the law is highly unbalanced in favour of the tenants which IMO is just a guidebook on how to steal money from landlords :rage: so good luck.

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Sorry Sidney I did want to mention one more thing which is useful information for any landlords with tenants on UC or the old Housing Benefits system. All local council rent allowances in all areas of the UK will almost be below any rate of actual rent prices for private rentals. However everyone on UC/HB can apply to their local council for what is called Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) this is a top to make up for the difference and once a tenant applies it normally always awarded providing the home is under occupied (such as a single person in a 3 bed property) so it’s just another bit of information for you and all landlords help take away some of the misconceptions and/or lack of information that’s actually useful, after all knowledge is power.


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