More than half of landlords with tenants on Universal Credit have seen them fall behind on rent, a study says today.

Some 54% of landlords who let to UC claimants in the last year saw them slip into arrears, the Residential Landlords Association said. 

And 82% of those said arrears only began after the tenant began claiming UC. 

More than two-thirds of landlords overall (68%) said there was a shortfall between the cost of rent and the amount UC claimants receive. 

And landlords who had arrears said, on average, they were owed £2,187.

Many feel like they'll never be able to buy
 

RLA policy director David Smith warned without changes to UC, “benefit claimants will struggle to find the homes to rent they need.” 

He added: “Today’s research shows the stark challenges the Government still has in ensuring Universal Credit works.” 

The RLA published the findings after 2,229 people on its database responded to an e-mail survey. 

The survey found arrears peaked last year, with 61% of landlords with Universal Credit claimants seeing some of them in debt, before falling slightly to 54% this year.

Read More

Latest UK politics news

Ministers have poured extra money into Universal Credit since last year, including a “run-on” two weeks’ housing benefit and higher advances to soften the wait for funds.

Universal Credit claimants have to wait five weeks to be paid, although they can borrow against future benefits to bridge the gap.

The Daily Mirror is campaigning to stop the rollout of Universal Credit and replace it with a fairer system.

We say it should either be redesigned to be fit for purpose, replaced by a brand new system, or axed in favour of the old system if it is unfixable.

A DWP spokesman said: "Many people join Universal Credit with existing rent arrears, but this number falls by a third after four months, and the number of landlords reporting Universal Credit tenants experiencing rent arrears has fallen over the last year.

“The best way to help people pay their rent is to support them into work, and Universal Credit is helping people to get into work faster and stay in work longer than the old system.

“We continue to work closely with landlords and tenants to make improvements to Universal Credit where necessary, including 100% advances available from day one of a claim.”