A LandlordZONE Twitter poll of landlords asking them about their experience of Universal Credit has found that 59% of their tenants are claiming the benefit and that 58% of those claimants have fallen into arrears.

But the majority of landlords who responded to our survey reported that they weren’t receiving direct payments from the DWP – a whopping 70% – meaning that they can often have trouble getting paid.

Since the pandemic started, hundreds of thousands of landlords across the UK have had to start dealing with Universal Credit and navigate the often frustrating benefits system, as the number of new claimants has jumped from 2.5 million to 6 million since March.

Many have come across problems registering an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) and some, like Nottingham’s Mick Roberts, have successfully challenged the DWP over poor communication and a litany of mistakes.

He, like many others, have now decided not to take any more benefits claimants as tenants.

housing benefit

Bill Irvine, at Universal Credit Advice, tells LandlordZONE that the APA scheme isn’t working and is causing some landlords to lose thousands of pounds a month while they struggle to resolve claims.

“The high volume of claims and the fact DWP staff are working from home means APAs are down their list of priorities,” he explains.

“It’s not helped by the fact that more and more tenants are providing wrong information in an effort to frustrate landlords’ attempts to access the scheme.”

See the Twitter poll.


  1. A lot of people who are working are claiming UC/HE. I know somebody who gets around £7 UC/HE – a person in full time employment and isn’t in arrears.
    I would be interested to know what proportion of the rent to UC/HE the people who are in arrears are claiming.
    It might be that ALL the people who are relying for all their rent on UC/HE are paying and up to date.
    Or, it might be that employed people who receive a small amount of UC/HE are in arrears.
    I have 3 tenants who rely 100% on UC/HE for their rent and there is no problem with them paying their rent. They all have guarantors.
    Can you provide your readers with a breakdown of the statistics please?
    e.g from the sample in the survey/investigation
    people who rely 100% on UC/HE = x% in arrears
    People who rely on 90-99% = x% in arrears
    People who rely on 80-89% = x% in arrears
    and so on.
    Your readers will then be able to come to a considered and meaningful conclusion.

    • Absolute twaddle.
      The default situation should be that for now while the eviction restrictions are in place that ALL UC HB claimants should have their FULL contractual rent paid DIRECTLY from their UC to the LL removing ALL ‘clawback’ possibilities.


      If after paying their full rent they have no remaining funds that is just TOUGH!

      Those tenants will have to seek additional welfare assistance.

      But at least the tenants won’t be poncing off the LL facilities.

      With the FULL contractual rent being paid directly there is far less risk of a tenant being evicted.

      ALL UC HB and other benefits required to pay the full rent should be paid directly to the LL as the default situation until the LL allows the tenants to utilise UC before full rent is paid.

      Of course Govt will never allow this which means that even more LL will refuse to accept DSS tenants at the outset of a tenancy.

      Nobody can force LL to take on DSS tenants!!

      The current UC HB rent arrears will just cause those tenants to be eventually evicted when possible with very few LL wishing to take on those evicted rent defaulting DSS tenants.

      • “Nobody can force LL to take on DSS Tennants!!” Sounded like reasonable and rational words to me. That is until Thursdays white paper. Turns out the government will force LL to do just that. The worlds gone mad and I’m getting out of the LL game now.

  2. not only not getting rent paid but damage caused by these tenants has to be funded by the LL, many such tenants treat the property as a hotel, expecting at a click of their fingers to get black mould an broken items fixed, as they would in council accommodation where everything is done for them.

  3. I know it’s still a substantial figure, but doesn’t the Twitter poll so that 59% of UC claimants pay on time, while 41% are in arrears?

Leave a Reply to Irate Landlord Cancel reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here