Help with rent
Universal Credit is paid in one lump sum and on a monthly basis, and can include help to pay your rent – called a Housing Costs Element.
To be entitled to a Housing Costs Element you must be responsible to make payments of rent for the home where you live.
This help isn’t paid separately, like Housing Benefit. And usually all the Universal Credit is paid straight to you, which means it will be your responsibility to budget and pay your rent from your Universal Credit payment and any other income you may have.
So if you make a claim for Universal Credit let your landlord know.
However, if you are in debt, have rent arrears or are vulnerable, you or your landlord can ask for an amount up to the Housing Costs Element to be paid direct to your landlord – called a ‘managed payment’ under the Alternative Payment Arrangements scheme – click here for more details.
You / your landlord can also request that an amount of your Universal Credit goes towards paying off rent arrears every month until these are paid off.
If you live in ‘specified’ or ‘temporary’ accommodation such as a hostel, women’s refuge or certain supported accommodation, you’ll need to claim Housing Benefit to help pay your rent – even if you are on Universal Credit – instead of getting a Housing Costs Element in your Universal Credit award.
If you receive Housing Benefit when you apply for Universal Credit, then unless you live in ‘specified’ or ‘temporary’ accommodation your Housing Benefit will end. You may be entitled to a two week run on – called the Transition to UC Housing Payment. These are usually paid automatically but if you move home you should contact the council to check.
Will the Housing Costs Element cover my full rent?
The amount of the Housing Costs Element included in your assessment of Universal Credit may not cover your full rent.
It may be reduced due to ineligible service charges, an under-occupancy (Bedroom Tax) reduction or a Housing Costs Contribution (non-dependant deduction).
Click here for more details.
What the Housing Costs Element won’t pay for
You can’t get a Housing Costs Element for:
- Extra you pay for landlord if you’re behind on your rent on your current or previous home
- A mortgage
- A care home
- Ground rent
If you’re in a shared ownership scheme
You’ll normally be paying mortgage and rent. Universal Credit can help with your rent, but not your mortgage. You’ll need to see if you can get a loan to help with your mortgage interest.
Frequently Asked Questions