Campaigns Welfare Reform and Homelessness

Landlord Escalation route for Universal Credit Live Service claimants

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

The Department for Work and Pensions has released information about a new ‘landlord escalation route’ that applies to the Universal Credit ‘live’ service, where claimants are at risk of eviction.

Please note this is unlikely to affect many landlords and claimants as Universal Credit ‘full’ service nears completion of roll out by the end of 2018. 

The escalation route for ‘full service’ remains the same. 

What’s new?

Landlords who have a tenant who is under an ‘imminent threat’ of eviction and is still with a Job Centre Plus under the Universal Credit ‘Live Service’ should now call the national Universal Credit live service helpline. Calls made to this number will be escalated to the Housing Team.

The Housing Team will then make an outbound call back to the landlord, in order for the case to be resolved. This will replace the current ‘Live Service Landlord Escalation line’ which will now close. 

Landlords calling the existing Escalation Line will be directed to this website, to follow the correct escalation route. Landlords can continue to contact the Live Service Housing Team email inbox directly with any enquiries.  

There is NO change to the UC Full Service process for landlords.

You can find out more by reading this letter here. 

The RLA is currently supporting a campaign that is being run by the DWP on educating landlords about Universal Credit. You can learn more about this campaign here including reading some top tips. 

To find out more about Universal Credit and the difference between ‘Live’ and ‘Full’ service you can read the RLA’s Universal Credit guide here.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.


  • Hello!

    I moved to Hammersmith & Fulham on 15/10/2018. I was preciously on ESA in the Support Group receiving the Enhanced Rate & Personal Independence Payment on the Severe Disability component for severe Mental Health Conditions including Shitzophrenia. I was & still am a University Student at Birkbeck in Bloomsbury. I was also receiving Full Housing Benefit because of my conditions.

    Then I moved to Universal Credit. I’ve been told that they refuse to pay my Housing Benefit because I receive £12000 Maintenance Loan from my University. They class it as income & have completely disregarded my Mental Health Conditions because of this by forcing me to pay my rent. It has absolutely lowered my overall rate of Universal Credit.

    I read their is a Benefit Cap on Universal Credit BUT because I receive Personal Independence Payment (Disability Benefit) I should be exempt from rent – They refuse because the Maintenance Loan is classed as income. I’m already over £1000 in Arrears with Notting Hill Housing Association. Universal Credit has forced me into arrears. They also expect me to pay my rent with my Maintenance Loan which I have to pay back. This means someone assessed with severe Disability is being forced into paying rent – then paying it back when they finish their Degree. I’d be paying rent – TWICE!

    Also, I text this to my Housing Officer who has a Meeting on Thursday over the Arrears…

    Kira! I genuinely ain’t screwing at you – it’s Universal Credit! They at least need to clear the Arrears on my Rent Account on the basis that I never knew I had to pay the rent UNTIL AFTER they Assessed my claim to Universal Credit in November! When I first text you #Emergency – That’s when they told me I had to pay the rent! I had already spent the Maintenance Loan I have bank statements to prove it & I have always had Full Housing Benefit paying my Rent! I have also read that Personal Independence Payment & ESA Support Group means I’m exempt from the Benefit Cap on Universal Credit! They don’t need a Sick Note from me because they know I was in the Support Group of ESA!

    They Assessed £12000 Maintenance Loan but I had spent £4000 before I moved onto Universal Credit – They told me to pay rent in November – That means £4000 shouldn’t be included in the Assessment & I don’t get the next payment until January – How can I pay the rent?! Their liable to pay the Arrears! I’m in Notting Hill Genesis HA because I’ve diagnosed with Mental Health Conditions & my Rent has always been covered on Mental Health Grounds! I got my Flat placed in Band B!

    They calculated my Universal Credit with £4000 I had already spent by the Time I moved into my Flat & I knew I was being made to pay the Rent – I never knew I was being made to pay my Rent until December!

    It’s a complete mess… Any help or advice would be appreciated.

    Kind Regards.

    • Hi,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences and we are sorry to hear the problems that you are currently facing.
      It sounds from your post that you are a tenant living in Housing association accommodation. We represent private sector landlords so can really only advise that you speak to your Housing Officer and give them your ‘explicit consent’ to discuss your housing costs with your local Universal Credit team. If they contact the local partnership manager for your area they may be able to pursue an appeal or look further into this for you. Your Housing Association should have support for tenants that have moved across to Universal Credit so it is perhaps best to speak with your Housing Officer about this.

      Best wishes and good luck.

  • Hello Victoria,
    I am a private landlord and I have two properties in Burnley Lancs. One of the properties is working well and there are no problems, but the other has tenants who are young (in their twenties) and were installed by my previous agent without a proper deposit and they seem to be unable or unwilling to pay their rent which is now in arrears to the tune of around £4000. They are apparently on uc and the male of the household has claimed he has ‘learning difficulties’ This is an untenable situation, they have been served with a section 21, but after I had a long conversation with the man, he promised me he would get the rent sorted out, so I offered one more six month agreement. Well here we are several months later and since then there has been no rent paid at all. I do not know if this is a genuine case or if he is bluffing me to avoid being evicted. I do believe however there is a considerable chance that the uc could be at least mostly responsible for this, unless of course he is just pocketing the rent. My question is how do I get the rent element of his uc paid directly to me/my agent as it looks like he is being as un co-operative as he can be. I have tried to find a pathway through the uc website to no avail, I just go round in circles unable to find any information for landlords, it is all about the tenants. is there anything that can point me in the right direction? I am an absent landlord living in Europe so communication is generally by email as calling costs are prohibitive and websites don’t always help, particularly, the uc site is like coming to a brick wall. Any help would be wonderful
    Many thanks

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