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Dealing with rent arrears and benefit payments

Alan got in touch with Landlord Advice as his tenant had fallen into arrears, and he wanted guidance on how best to manage the tenancy.  

14 November 2023

Alan contacted Landlord Advice as his tenant was a month behind with the rent. Alan explained that the tenant was getting benefits to help with rent, but was unsure if this was Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.  

Alan’s property was managed by an estate agent.He had asked  them to contact the benefit agency to  ask for the tenants' benefits to be paid directly to the estate agent. However, the benefit agency said this was not possible.  

Our adviser talked Alan through the correct procedures in this situation. Benefits to help with  rent can only be paid directly to the landlord if the tenant is getting:  

  • Housing Benefit and is in arrears of at least six weeks, or 

  • Universal Credit and is in arrears of  two months 

 Our adviser told Alan that the above would only apply from the date of the request and  earlier benefit payments would not be backdated. Our adviser also explained the alternative options to recover any rent owed.