Published On: Mon, Jan 13th, 2020

Universal Credit: DWP apologises after landlords report housing payment issue | Personal Finance | Finance

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has apologised, after a change in the system saw some landlords report an issue in identifying housing cost payments. On Wednesday, Caridon Landlord Solutions said it was calling on the DWP to urgently address the changes to its payment system. They said the changes have left landlords unable to identify which housing cost payments of Universal Credit should be allocated to which tenants.

According to Caridon Landlord Solutions, up until three weeks ago, payments of the housing element of Universal Credit made directly to landlords included a unique reference.

This was the reference provided by the landlord when they completed the UC47 to request managed payment because their tenant was unable to manage their finances or had fallen into arrears.

However, it is said that since mid-December, payments had been coming through with a 28-number reference.

It’s claimed that this new reference had no explanation or payment schedule in order to enable landlords to identify who they are for.

READ MORE: State pension: 11,000 people set to get £3,500 less from April 2020 – are you affected?

Sherrelle Collman, Managing Director of Caridon Landlord Solutions, which specialises in helping landlords with tenants in receipt of Universal Credit, says she has been inundated with phone calls from landlords asking how to interpret the new number reference.

Ms Collman said: “We were told last week that there had been an upgrade to DWP’s system which has caused the change, but we have been unable to get any further information on how we can allocate payments or what is being done to rectify the problem.

“We called Universal Credit Full-Service line but they are unable to help without a National Insurance number, date of birth and/or address.

“Then we called the Third-Party deduction line, and they are unable to help unless the tenant is in arrears and now has third party deductions set up.


“Some landlords have numerous payments for the same amount but for different tenants, making it impossible to identify who the payment is for.”

Caridon Landlord Solutions has said that if the matter is not resolved soon, many tenants could be accused of falling into rent arrears through no fault of their own because landlords will be unable to update the tenant’s rent account.

The company says it is pursuing the matter with DWP as a matter of urgency.

A DWP spokesperson said on Friday: “Shortly after private rental payments to landlords were automated in December an issue with reference numbers was identified. This was quickly rectified, we apologise for any inconvenience.”

What should affected landlords do?

Any landlord who has identified an issue with private rented sector managed payments should raise this with their local partnership manager or Jobcentre Plus contact so that it can be investigated.

This contact should be able to provide a list of claimants against each payments to the landlord.

Universal Credit: Housing payments

Universal Credit is paid monthly, usually into the claimant’s bank, building society or credit union account.

The website says that the payment can include an amount for housing, “which you’ll usually need to pay to your landlord”.

Some people who are eligible for Universal Credit may get help with paying for their housing, and this is called the housing payment.

It can be used to help a person pay:

  • Their rent to a private landlord
  • Their rent and some service charges if they rent from a housing association or local authority, for example council housing
  • Interest payments on the mortgage and some service charges if they or their partner own the property they live in.

Universal Credit: What are Alternative Payment Arrangements?

Alternative Payment Arrangements (APA) are for “claimants who cannot manage their single monthly payment and there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant and/or their family”,” explains.

The following APA are available to help claimants who need additional support:

  • Paying housing costs of Universal Credit as a Managed Payment (MP) direct to the landlord
  • More frequent than monthly payments
  • Split payment of an award between partners.

The website says that an APA may be considered at any point during the Universal Credit claim, and adds that they will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

It may be that an APA is identified by a work coach or case manager, and they can also be triggered by information received from the claimant, their representative, or their landlord.

If a tenant is having difficulty in paying their rent, a landlord may be able to request payment of rent from a tenant’s Universal Credit by filling in the UC47 form.

Either the claimant or a landlord can request a Managed Payment to Landlord, and should the landlord make the request, this can be by email, using the UC47 Managed Payment/Rent Arrears form.

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