The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is seeking landlords and letting agents who rent to tenants on Universal Credit, to trial a new service.

Over the past year, the DWP has been working with landlords to improve the process for requesting direct rent payments or rent arrears deductions for landlords with tenants claiming Universal Credit.

Measures included a special landlord helpline, plus focus groups and face to face interviews with landlords and letting agents - as well as landlords having the chance to test various service designs.

This research has informed the design and development of a new online service for private landlords to request direct rent payments or rent arrears deductions, which aims to address some of the problems inherent in the current system.

The DWP would like to hear from landlords and letting agents to trial the new service in a live environment, with the focus of the trial being to understand and learn what works, what doesn’t work and how the service can be further improved.

The trial is expected to start either w/c August 27 or w/c September 3 with between 12 and 15 private landlords and letting agencies of various sizes, tenant profiles and experience of using the current process for applying for a direct rent payment.

Landlords that have been involved with testing early versions of the service will not be selected. This is because their prior knowledge may bias research findings.

If you wish to be considered to test the new Universal Credit service you should complete a questionnaire (which should only take 5 minutes) and send it to adpr.pbeta@dwp.gsi.gov.uk