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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-landlord-engagement-newsletters/may-2019-universal-credit-landlord-engagement-newsletter
It’s important that you use the most up to date version of the UC47.
Please check regularly to find the most up to date version of the Universal Credit and landlords guide and UC47.
1. Setting up email alerts
Email alerts are a really good way to receive information that has been updated on GOV.UK for updates about Universal Credit (UC).
To sign up for email alerts go to the bottom of any GOV.UK page, and click on guidance and publications on bottom right. On the next page down the left hand side you can select the appropriate filters to identify what you want to receive updates about.
For example, if you would like future alerts about publication of the landlord newsletter, select landlord newsletter in the search box, then Department for Work and Pensions in the organisation box, then ‘get email alerts’.
Then select email and complete email details This will ensure you receive future versions of this newsletter when published.
2. General updates
2.1 Recent announcements
The roll out of UC is now complete and is available in every jobcentre across the country. By 2023, all existing legacy claimants will be moved to UC.
Secretary of State’s Announcement: 9 May 2019 on sanctions
On 9 May 2019, Secretary of State, Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP, announced a change to the sanctions policy and a review into how the sanctions system supports people into work. Under the change, the length of the maximum single sanction a claimant can face will reduce from 3 years to 6 months.
Secretary of State’s Announcement: March 2019 – Move to UC
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, said:
Subject to parliamentary approval, we have sought powers to conduct a pilot phase of moving legacy benefit claimants to Universal Credit. The goal of the pilot is to learn as much as possible and to increase numbers as slowly and gradually as necessary, and there will be safeguards in the process to ensure that no-one is left behind. We will report on our findings from the pilot before bringing forward legislation to extend this.
We have said that all individuals will be tracked all the way through the pilot process and understanding the reasons for unsuccessful applications will be an important part of the pilot. However, there will be safeguards in place to protect those who might otherwise fail to make a successful claim.
The Department is committed to finding those who will need support and will help them through the process, including home visits where necessary. This will give an indication of the size of the support requirement which will be key information for any future scaling. Our stakeholders and partners will also play a key role and we will work with partners to ensure we reach people who might otherwise be missed, and the further development of these delivery relationships is a major aspect of this phase of the Programme. The pilot will start in July 2019 (subject to parliamentary approval) and will last for at least a year to ensure our processes work for everybody.
We have chosen Harrogate Jobcentre as it is an experienced Universal Credit site, and has been delivering Universal Credit for 3 years. Harrogate covers a mixed urban and rural area and the office has good relationships with partners locally, and the legacy caseload reflects what will be typical as we start to scale. Benefit claimants in Harrogate who still receive old style benefits will be the first people moved onto Universal Credit, once regulations are passed.
Initially, we will test an approach that is based on using existing relationships that DWP or partners have with claimants. Through these relationships we will establish whether someone is ready to move and how to get them ready.
We will initially select claimants for the pilot from those that currently attend the Jobcentre for meetings with their work coach. The work coaches will then build on that existing relationship to prepare claimants to move and to support them through the process. This personal, face to face support will ensure the first cohort moves successfully to Universal Credit.
More information about the Universal Credit pilot launch in North Yorkshire.
2.2 Universal Credit statistics
The latest statistics Universal Credit: 29 April 2013 to 11 April 2019 were published on GOV.UK on 14 May 2019.
Universal Credit Caseload published 14 May 2019
as of 11 April 2019, just under 2 million people were on Universal Credit; of these, 610,000 (33%) were in employment
in February 2019 1.6 million households were on Universal Credit – 1.4 million (92%) were receiving a UC payment
2.3 More Information about the UC and rented housing guide for landlords
The UC and rented housing guide for landlords has recently been improved and provides private and social sector landlords with information about UC to help them understand what they can do to help their tenants.
This includes Alternative Payment Arrangements if claimants are finding it hard to manage their UC payment and pay their landlord themselves.
The guide contains important information for landlords including:
- understanding payments and helping tenants to prepare for UC
- paying rent
- evidence requirements and checking claims
- calculating rent
- paying for 2 homes
- service charges
- Alternative Payment Arrangements (APA)
- recovering rent arrears from a UC claim
- discretionary housing payment
- specialist accommodation needs
- UC Scottish Choices
More information about Universal Credit and landlords.
2.4 Disclosure guide for landlords
The Universal Credit housing costs and disclosure guide for landlords was removed from GOV.UK on 5 June 2019 to correct some out of date content.
2.5 Submitting a managed payment to landlord
Once a landlord has applied for an APA managed payment to landlord using form UC47, we may need to contact them for further information about their request.
Please ensure that a contactable telephone number is included on the UC47 form. If we are unable to contact the landlord on the number provided we may be unable to progress the Alternative Payment Arrangement request.
More information about direct rent payments
2.6 Third Party Payment Scheme guidance
Social landlords are paid their managed payment to landlord and recovery of rent arrears using the third party payments scheme.
For private landlords, recovery of rent arrears is made using the third party payments scheme.
Further information relating to the Third Party Payment scheme and Creditor Reference number including:
- creditor handbook – guidance
- the form to amend creditor address
- the form to amend creditor bank details
- the form to amend customer reference number
2.7 Help to Claim
From 1 April 2019 Citizens Advice (England and Wales) and Citizens Advice Scotland are delivering the new ‘Help to Claim’ support to claimants making a new UC claim or moving from a legacy benefit to UC because of a change of circumstances.
The Citizens Advice Help to Claim service offers tailored, practical support to help people make a UC claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time. It is available online, through web chat, through a freephone number and face-to-face through local Citizens Advice services.
Telephony support is also available for claimants who cannot make or maintain their claim online and where a claimant is unable to manage their own affairs, an appointee can act on their behalf, taking responsibility for making and maintaining a claim.
Universal Credit provides enhanced personalised support for all claimants. All claimants receive continuous tailored support managed through personal work coaches, who know each person. Our work coaches receive extensive training to ensure they can offer effective support to different claimant groups, including those with learning disabilities.
We are supporting disabled people, including those with learning disabilities, to prepare for employment, enter and retain work through a range of initiatives, for example, Access to Work, the Local Supported Employment proof of concept, and the new Intensive Personalised Employment Support scheme, which is expected to be running by the end of 2019.
2.8 Goodbye GSI
‘.gsi’ has been removed from Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) email addresses.
From 31 March 2019 if you use any existing DWP email addresses, you will need to change these from @dwp.gsi.gov.uk to @dwp.gov.uk.
Any messages sent to a DWP ‘.gsi’ address after 31 March 2019 will continue to work for a limited period of time to help with a smooth transition. You will however receive an automated email response asking you to use the new address.
Read further updates about the removal of ‘.gsi’, or if you have any questions email email@example.com.
2.9 Claimants with 3 or more children
Claimants with 3 or more children can now make new claims to UC. Claimants will be entitled to an additional amount for any child born before 6 April 2017.
Universal Credit will not pay for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017, unless special circumstances apply.
Read more about UC and families with more than 2 children.
2.10 Habitual residence test
Under the revised process, work coaches are able to fast track claimants who have Home Office documents showing permanent residency. This means that all the information required to make a determination on a person’s immigration status can be gathered at the initial evidence interview, thereby enabling decisions to be made more quickly.
2.11 Corporate appointees
If the claimant is incapable of managing their own affairs because of mental incapacity or severe physical disability, an appointee may be appropriate. The Secretary of State may, on receipt of a written application, appoint a person to act on the claimant’s behalf for benefit purposes. This form of appointment removes control of the benefit from the claimant. An appointee can be an individual or an organisation.
Corporate acting bodies (CAB) are organisations appointed by the Secretary of State to act on behalf of a claimant. They may delegate this authority to a named representative who has a day-to-day working relationship with the claimant. The representative will act as a third party. Any number of organisations could be a CAB, including local authorities.
Payments to corporate appointees now include the relevant claimant National Insurance numbers. This helps appointees who are supporting more than one claim identify the payments.
2.12 Calling UC phone lines
Now that UC has fully rolled out, we are updating our phone lines for UC and legacy benefit queries.
If you need to contact us by phone, check the Universal Credit guide before ringing to ensure you have up to date contact information and advice. If ringing on behalf of a claimant you will need their permission for you to act for them, see Universal Credit consent and disclosure of information.
More information about how to contact the claimants case manager.
2.13 Metro campaign
The DWP in partnership with the Metro newspaper has launched a campaign that aims to tackle common myths about UC and demonstrate the support available from the UC Work Coaches.
3. Information for Social rented sector landlords
3.1 2019 Rent Changes
Guidance has been shared with social landlords to inform them of the process for the 2019 UC rent changes. Claimants are still responsible for notifying DWP of changes in their housing costs, this includes responding to the ‘to-do’ issued to all UC claimants with housing costs in April 2019.
3.2 Landlord portal statistics
As of 1 May 2019, there are 723 landlords enrolled on the portal (including landlords in Northern Ireland).
The enrolled landlords represent over 96% of the total SRS housing stock in England, Scotland and Wales. We will continue to identify and offer the trusted partner landlord portal to all eligible SRS Landlords.
The list of landlords with access to the portal is updated regularly in the House of Commons members’ library.
If you are a social landlord and feel you would benefit from use of the portal, please contact us at:
4. Information for private rented sector landlords
4.1 If you have sent a secure UC47 from a non–secure email address, you will receive a message advising that we are unable to process the information on it as it does not comply with general data protection rules. Your original email will then be deleted.
Please ensure that you follow the correct process using the correct UC47 form.
More information about UC and a landlord request for a managed payment or rent arrears deduction.
4.2 Future UC landlord newsletters
We hope you have found this newsletter useful. If there is anything specific you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, send an email to: