Universal credit has been implemented nationwide as an amalgamation of 6 stand-alone benefits for people on a low income or out of work. Most importantly in the property sector this includes the housing benefit element.
With universal credit the claimant receives 1 monthly payment and are responsible for managing their finances from this. There are very limited circumstances in which the “rent” element can be paid direct to the landlord or agent therefore it is vitally important the tenancy is set up in a way that is sustainable and with proper checks in place.
From a landlords perspective this now means that instead of dealing directly with the local authority to claim housing benefit we are now forced to deal with the DWP which poses additional challenges in its own right. More significant is the fact payments are made directly to the claimant therefore there is an increased risk of rent not being paid. That said when proactively engaging with tenancies and safety measures in place this can be a lucrative rental market well worth considering.
For further details regarding Universal Credit are available here ->