Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
Overpayments: From Landlord?

A Universal Credit overpayment will be recoverable from a landlord - where they have received an APA managed payment for the period of the overpayment, in 3 specific circumstances:        

  • The landlord has caused the overpayment by misrepresenting or failing to report a change.
  • The landlord has been paid more than the rental liability.
  • The claimant has moved out of the landlord’s property and DWP have continued to pay the landlord the housing element.'

    Regulation 4 of the Social Security (Overpayments and Recovery) Regulations 2013

    See below for more details.

    And - if you the landlord have been invoiced for an overpayment of Housing Benefit where your tenant has moved onto Universal Credit - see our flowchart "HB invoice for UC claimant?"

      If the claimant dies and the death is reported 'late' will the landlord have to pay back any managed payment that has been overpaid?

      'Overpayments are recoverable from landlords in the circumstances set out above, so if the landlord has NOT caused the overpayment and the landlord has NOT been paid more than the rental liability after the death then it would be recoverable from the claimant's estate. Otherwise it is recoverable from the landlord.'

      Landlord caused overpayment

      Where the overpayment has been caused by the landlord misrepresenting or failing to disclose a material fact (whether fraudulently or otherwise) the resulting overpayment will be recoverable from the landlord.

      Generally a landlord would only have a duty to disclose information to the DWP about a Universal Credit claim where they are receiving Universal Credit housing costs payments ie APA managed payments.

      But a landlord could be involved in fraudulent behaviour ie providing evidence that the rent is higher than that being charged, and therefore find the resulting overpayment being recovered from them even where they did not receive any housing costs payments from the DWP.

      APA managed payment exceeds Housing Costs Element

      Where the overpayment has been caused by the DWP paying an amount to the landlord (ie as an APA management payment) that is more than the housing costs for which the claimant is liable, then the resulting overpayment can be recovered from the claimant or the landlord.

      Change of dwelling

      APA managed payments

      If a claimant moves home and delays notifying the DWP they may find that there is an overpayment of Universal Credit.

      Any amount of Universal Credit payable to the landlord for the period of the overpayment will be recoverable from the claimant and the landlord - even where the landlord was totally unaware that the tenant had moved.

      As this is a discretionary decision ie who the DWP decide to recover the overpayment from, the landlord has the right to ask the DWP to reconsider the decision but does not have the right to take the decision through the normal appeal procedure and to a Tribunal.

      The claimant will not be entitled to any help with the rent on the property they have moved out of for the whole of the Monthly Assessment Period (MAP) in which they move and any subsequent MAPs. Unlike in Housing Benefit, a claimant is not able to get Universal Credit for any notice period.


      Regulations state that where an overpayment of housing costs has occurred because the claimant has moved from their old home "A” to their new home "B” and housing costs are payable to the same person in respect of both properties, and they are overpaid the housing element for A because they are no longer occupying (or treated as occupying) it and they are now entitled to a housing element for their new home B, the appropriate overpaid amount for A may be deducted from the housing costs for B. Where there is still a resulting overpayment - this overpayment can be recovered from the landlord if the landlord was receiving any payments of UC for the tenant is respect of housing costs ie an APA managed payment. 

      Third Party Deductions

      Third party deductions for rent arrears can only be made in respect of the property the claimant occupies. Therefore third party deductions should stop and should not be made for the monthly assessment period in which the claimant moved out of the property. If third party deductions continue for this and subsequent months this overpayment will be recoverable from the landlord. 

      How can an overpayment be recovered from the landlord?

      In response to a Freedom of Information Request the DWP stated:

      'Where an overpayment of Universal Credit is deemed to be recoverable from a landlord then a notification requesting repayment will be made. Recovery may also be made from on-going rent direct payments where the landlord chooses that form of repayment or where repayment is not forthcoming.'.