What does UC/HE cover?

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    What does UC/HE cover?

    My longtime T in HMO has lost his job and will be claiming UC/HE. I have no intention of serving him a S21 or S8.

    I believe that the UC will contact me and ask for a breakdown of what the rent is made up of ie actual rent, utilities, CT etc.

    Lets say the rent is £100 pw and UC/E will cover that amount. If I give a breakdown of £80 actual rent and £20 for utilities etc., will UC/HE just be for the £80 and my T will have to find the £20 from the rest of his benefits?

    I can't find any answer online.

    #2
    Hi,
    Yes UC will contact you and verify the rent. If the tenant is in arrears you can have it paid to you. The tenant should put a note on their UC journal saying they agree to the Housing Element to be paid to the LL.
    UC should pay the full £100 as long as you declare it as an eligible charge.

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      #3
      We have had this question a few times before.

      Although UC legislation says that with Social Rentals (council housing) the UC claimant/LL has to list the rent and service charges seperately, that doesn't apply to a private rental.

      However the UC claims staff are asking that it be done anyway for private rentals as well.
      That's either because of their poor training, or just because it's easier for them to always ask for it.
      Plus because of Covid a lot of people now taking UC claims have been seconded from the Child Benefit section (and other DWP sections) and so they haven't had much training in UC at all.

      So if they ask then it's just easier all round to do it and keep them happy rather than trying to tell them that they don't need a breakdown with a private rental. (Nobody likes being told they are not doing their job properly).

      It doesn't make any difference in the end. - As a private renter the tenant will get whatever they pay to the LL, up to the applicable LHA rate of course.

      Comment


        #4
        nukecad, I do have one UC/HE tenant in a HMO and UC asked for a breakdown of the rent. Let's say the LHA rate is £65 for shared accommodation. Is this just for the rental part and utilities are extra ie from the rest of the claimant's benefit money, or does the LHA rate include utilities? Our local YMCA charges around £106 per week, which is probably more reflective of the true costs and risks involved (e.g. coping with mental and social problems) and has unemployed people living there.

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          #5
          In UC legislation the Housing Element for a Private Rental includes everything that a tenant pays to their landlord, up to the LHA rate(cap).

          Which is why there is no provision in the UC legislation that says it has to be broken down into 'rent' and 'other', so for a private rental UC-HE could include a small amount for things other than pure 'rent'.

          So in your case if whatever you charge your HMO tenant, whatever for, is over £65 he will only get UC-HE at the LHA rate of £65.
          If you break it down as say £60 'rent' plus £20 'other' he would still get LHA rate of £65 and have to make up the extra £15 from elsewhere.

          With a Social Rental it's different because LHA rate(cap) does not apply to Social Rentals, UC-HE pays the full rent that the tenant pays, subject to the overoccupancy charge (Bedroom Tax), plus some but not all service charges.

          Which means that it has to be broken down into 'rent' and 'other' to avoid the situation of UC paying the entirety of a Social Renters utility bills if they are included in what he pays to the Social Landlord.
          (eg. I have an aquaintance who's Social Rental in a large purpose built block is inclusive of all utilities, it would be unfair if benefits paid all his utility bills, whereas in my private rental they wouldn't pay mine).

          How it works in practice:
          As said above the UC claims staff will ask for that breakdown for all renters, Private or Social.
          The claims staff are not interested in what kind of rental it is, they just follow what their computer tells them.
          Once it gets to a DWP Decision Maker the DM decides how much should be paid as UC-HE depending on which type of rental it is.
          If it's private rental the DM will simply decide to pay the lower of the actual payment to landlord or the LHA rate.
          If it's social rental the DM decides to pay the full amount of 'rent' and then has to decide if any service charges/others in the breakdown are covered by UC-HE or not, which is why they need that breakdown for a Social Rental.

          PS. The YMCA probably classes as 'emergency accommodation' which has different rules again and usually any claim for rent there would still be for Housing Benefit from the council, even if the tenant was also claiming UC for being unemployed/disabled.

          As you can see introducing UC has really simplified the benefits system, just like the government said it would.

          Comment


            #6
            nukecad Thank you for that very indepth answer. There are no rooms in my LHA rate area for the shared rate, and afaik no 'council' shared rooms.

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