You can ask for housing costs to be paid in a different way if you have rent arrears or find it hard to budget. To do this you need to ask for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).
This could mean that your housing costs are:
Paid directly to your landlord
If you find it hard to pay your rent on time, your housing costs can be paid to your landlord. This is called a ‘managed payment’.
Paid to you every week or fortnight
This is called a ‘more frequent payment’.
Split with your partner
If you claim as a couple, your monthly payment normally goes into 1 bank account. In exceptional circumstances it can be split between you. This could be where, for example, you feel you are at risk of domestic or financial abuse.
An APA is most likely to be agreed if you are vulnerable in some way, for example, if you:
- are homeless
- are in rent arrears
- have an addiction to drugs or alcohol
- have severe debt problems
- have experienced domestic violence or abuse
- you are in supported accommodation, or
- have a disability.
To ask for an APA you will need to speak to your work coach, call the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644 (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm) or ask for it in your online journal. It would help if you can provide information to show you’re struggling, such as:
- proof you’re in rent arrears or have other priority debts
- personal issues that make it difficult to budget.
A landlord can ask for an APA themselves if you have rent arrears (landlord guidance here and also available in Welsh here).
If you are told you can’t have your housing costs paid differently, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again but there is no automatic right to appeal.
Any APA that is agreed will be reviewed regularly.