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Universal Credit is a payment for people over 18 but under State Pension age, who are on a low income or out of work. It includes support for the cost of housing. If a tenant is entitled to Universal Credit, they could get help towards their housing costs. This is known as the housing element.

In Northern Ireland, the Executive has decided that rather than pay the housing element to the claimant, it will instead be paid directly to the private landlord on a monthly basis. However in order to do so, the department needs to hold the landlord’s details including bank account and sort code. To date, the department has been obtaining this information by either telephone or post and this can therefore delay the payment to the landlord or result in the housing element being paid directly to the claimant.

To address this issue, private landlords can now provide their bank details using the secure online form available at:

www.nidirect.gov.uk/direct-payment-of-housing-costs-to-landlords

Providing this information in this manner will enable the department to ensure that private landlords receive the housing element payment as quickly as possible.

More information about Universal Credit and private landlords is available at:

www.communities-ni.gov.uk/articles/universal-credit-and-rented-housing-guide-landlords

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