Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly - or twice a month for some people in Scotland.
If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.
Find out if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.
You can use the housing amount to help pay:
- interest on your mortgage
- interest on other loans secured against your home
- some service charges
If you’re between 18 and 21, you’ll only get the Universal Credit housing amount if certain exceptions apply.
Paying your rent
You have to pay rent directly to your landlord. The amount you get may not cover all of your rent.
You need to have a tenancy agreement and know how much your rent is when you apply.
If you’re in social housing, your landlord can tell you which service charges are included and how much you can get.
If you have tenants on Universal Credit, read the guide for landlords.
If you live in Scotland
If you live in a ‘full service’ area and your claim started on or after 4 October 2017, you’ll be asked if you want the housing amount to be paid straight to your landlord. Your landlord will be notified if you choose this.
Use the Citizens Advice eligibility checker to find out which area you live in.
If you get into difficulty paying your rent
If you’re currently behind with your rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get an APA to pay rent directly to your landlord.
Speak with your work coach about applying for an APA. If you’re in social housing, your landlord may also be able to support you with the application.
Paying your mortgage
If you or your partner own the home you live in, your Universal Credit payment may include Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).
The amount you receive is based on a set rate of interest on your outstanding mortgage. It will be paid direct to your mortgage lender.
If your house is leasehold you can also get help with some service charges.
Call the Universal Credit helpline to claim SMI.
Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Welsh language (make a claim): 0800 012 1888
Welsh language (report changes): 0345 600 3018
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges
When you’ll get a lower amount for housing
You’ll usually get a lower amount for your housing costs if you:
- live in council or social housing and have spare bedrooms
- are under 35, single and rent from a private landlord
If you’re renting from a private landlord, how much support you get with housing costs depends on your local housing allowance rates.
What you’ll need to apply
When you apply for Universal Credit you need to provide evidence of your rent or mortgage payments, for example:
- current tenancy agreement
- current rent statement
- current rent book
- signed letter from your landlord
- mortgage agreement
- current mortgage statement
- any loan agreements secured on property
- bank statement showing mortgage payments
Help with housing costs from your council
Depending on your local council, you may be able to get a reduction in your Council Tax.
The help you get depends on where you live and your circumstances, for example your income and if any children or adults live with you.
You may also be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments if your Universal Credit payment isn’t enough to pay your rent.
If you’re in sheltered or supported housing
If you live in sheltered or supported housing, for example you stay in a hostel or a women’s refuge, you might not get the Universal Credit housing amount.
You’ll need to claim Housing Benefit instead.
Other support available to you
If you’re claiming Universal Credit you might also get other financial support, for example free school meals and prescriptions.