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Universal Credit: New online system will enable landlords to receive direct rent payments

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Following a lengthy campaign by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), a new online system is in development by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that will allow rent payments to be paid directly to landlords.

At the moment, landlords can apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) which means the housing element of Universal Credit to be paid directly to them, using form UC47. The form is downloaded from GOV.UK and either posted or emailed back.

The new online system will speed up and improve the process by which payments can be made directly to the landlord and has been a central part of the RLA’s work on Universal Credit. The RLA is working closely with the DWP.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We need to make it easier for tenants in the private rented sector to find and keep a good home, and we need to give landlords greater certainty that their rent will be paid.

“I have asked the Department to build an online system for private landlords, so they can request (where necessary) for their tenant’s rent to be paid directly to them. And I will consider what else we can do, because I am determined to help keep people in their homes.”

Research by RLA PEARL found that the average waiting time for an APA to be put in place was 9.3 weeks. This is often on top of the 2 months’ arrears needed to make the application for direct payment, resulting in escalating arrears and ultimately increasing the risk of eviction.