Housing Associations have told tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit to pay their rent a month in advance, due to growing fears over Universal Credit.

Housing providers fear that tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit may default, or fall behind on their rent payments when they are transferred (moved) to Universal Credit, which is replacing six existing benefits and rolling them into one single monthly payment.

Housing Benefit is currently paid directly to social landlords in the majority of cases. Under the new Universal Credit system, housing support will be paid directly to the claimant.

Those claimants will then be expected to manage their own housing costs – a month in advance. In the minority of cases where a claimant may not be able or capable of managing their own housing costs, rent payments may still be paid directly to housing providers.

Six Town Housing based in Bury, Lancashire, has told its tenants that “you need to make additional rent payments now if you are affected by the introduction of universal credit. Otherwise, you are at risk of your rent account falling into rent arrears.”

The Town and Country Housing Association, who manage social housing properties across 22 local authorities, is asking its tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit to pay an extra £14.60 every month, until they are a month in credit. “This will ensure that when you transfer to universal credit you will not be in arrears which could put your tenancy at risk,” the Housing Association said.

Town and Country also refused to reimburse a tenant who had wrongly been asked to pay the controversial ‘bedroom tax’. The tenant was owed £362, however the Housing Association said it would be in the “best interests” of the tenant for the over-paid rent amount to remain on their account.

Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice’s chief executive, told the Guardian newspaper:

“It’s for householders to manage their finances, not landlords or housing associations. There’s a difference between advising people to be financially prepared and doing it for them, and it would be concerning if the latter were the case.”


Find out more: The Guardian




  1. Unfortunately, this is nothing new.
    I was asked by my HA at the end of last year to pay an additional £3 every week until my account was a month in credit in anticipation of the Universal Credit. They also attempted to make it difficult to repay almost £300 in over payments.

    Universal Credit isn't just a shambles, it's also very difficult for benefit claimants to move over, because of the extra rent payments AND extra living costs we have to attempt to save up. Remember, Universal Credit will be paid a month in arrears rather than a week in arrears.

    And how exactly are Benefit Claimants expected to save up this kind of money (£800+) on benefits that aren't even enough to cover bills and basic necessities?? It's more or less impossible and there is no help offered by the Government at all, which means that the vast majority of Benefits Claimants will have no choice but to forego heating and go hungry. and in addition, hundreds of thousands of Housing Association Tenants will be at risk of losing their home.

    It amazes me how utterly thoughtless the Universal Credit project is.
    No doubt it will end up costing far more than it will save, and the misery it will inflict on millions of people will be endless. All this for the ambition and arrogance of an unqualified and out-of-depth Iain Duncan Smith and his minions like Esther McVey.

    It's beyond sad that this has been allowed to happen in this day and age.

  2. If you default because of a change in the benefits system-
    not your fault- you may become homeless. Many will end up in the hands of
    private landlords and the housing benefit bill will increase.

    But, in my view, this is all a pre-conceived and well
    thought through plan. Change the
    benefits system so those in social housing cannot pay their rent; they become
    homeless and at the mercy of private landlords; housing benefit bill goes up-
    the money going into the pockets of Tory-supporting leeches and it gives
    credence to further austerity.

    This leaves social housing empty to move in tenants who
    might buy and to those who say that private landlords are refusing benefits
    tenants, do you think the cruellition gives a damn if you get re-housed or not?

    And finally, the private landlords that might take housing
    benefit tenants will be the lowest of the scum, the ones who flout regulations
    and bully tenants.

Comments are closed.