What if I get into rent arrears?
If you are 2 months or more behind with your rent, your landlord can apply for:
- An APA Managed Payment – which is an amount up to the value of your Housing Costs Element – for the on-going rental liability, and/or
- A Third Party Deduction – worth between 10% and 20% of your Standard Allowance – for the arrears.
If you fall behind with your rent, speak to your landlord as soon as possible.
Salina, 52, has lost her job and found it difficult to keep up to her rent payments. She thought she’d get another job quickly so didn’t apply for Universal Credit straight away. By the time she applied she was nearly three months behind with her rent. Her landlord applied for an APA Managed Payment to Landlord and now her Housing Costs Element is paid straight to her landlord. She has agreed to pay £5 a week towards her arrears – which her landlord is happy with, but if she fails to pay this, they will apply for a Third Party Deduction too.
I’m not yet in rent arrears but I am struggling – can I have an APA Managed Payment set up?
If you are not yet in rent arrears with your rent but are worried that this may happen, talk to your Work Coach – they may agree that you would benefit from an APA Managed Payment* before you have reached the 2 month level of arrears because of your personal circumstances.
Tim, 36, applied for Universal Credit when he moved into his one bedroom flat. He’d been sofa surfing for a while and wasn’t sure how he was going to cope budgeting all these new bills. He explained this to his Work Coach who agreed to set up a Managed Payment to his landlord for 6 months to help him settle into his new situation.
You could also try for a Discretionary Housing Payment to help pay the rent that is due.
See Discretionary Housing Payments for more information.
* If you are claiming Universal Credit in Scotland, then there is a different system called Scottish choices. This means you can choose to have your Universal Credit award paid to you twice a month and for an amount of your Universal Credit to be paid direct to your landlord. You will be offered these options when you first make your claim, or you can request this at any time.
How do I apply for an APA Managed Payment?
Speak to your Work Coach to apply for an APA Managed Payment to your landlord. You can apply for it when you first claim or at any time after this.
Your landlord can also ask that an APA Managed Payment be set up if you are in 2 months’ or more rent arrears or they have reason to believe that you will struggle to pay your rent.
If the DWP set up an APA Managed Payment, then you may be asked to agree to take steps to help you manage your money, such as getting budgeting advice. The DWP will review the APA at regular intervals to check that you still need it.
Wayne and Carol have four children and have found it difficult to manage their money since the Benefit Cap started to affect them, meaning their benefits were drastically reduced. They explained their difficulties to their Work Coach who then set them up on an APA Managed Payment to Landlord. An amount up to the value of Housing Costs Element is now paid to their landlord.
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