The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published a new guide with updated information on Universal Credit - which states landlords no longer need explicit consent to apply for an Alternative Pay Arrangement (APA) if a tenant falls into arrears.

A spokesperson for the Residential Landlords Association said: “This change means that landlords will no longer need a tenant's consent when applying for an APA, making it much easier for direct payments to be made to landlords.

“APAs allow the housing element of Universal Credit to be paid directly to the landlord.

“Until now, a landlord would need the ‘explicit consent’ of the tenant to do this, and tenants could delay or refuse consent, leading to substantial rent arrears being built up.

“The DWP has now scrapped the requirement and if a landlord can prove the tenant is in arrears of two months or more, it will introduce payments direct to the landlord – as used to happen under housing benefit.”

Richard Truman, Head of Operations at Simple Landlords Insurance, added: “This is great news for landlords who let to Universal Credit tenants, and gives them back an extra layer of protection that had left them vulnerable. It means they’ll be better able to continue with this tenant strategy, and support people who are struggling.”

The new guidance that was published on Monday also contains information relating to how someone is able to act as an appointee for a Universal Credit claimant, or how someone would be able to obtain a Power of Attorney.

The guidance, which can be found on the Government’s website includes information on the way Universal Credit claimants are able to give consent for their information to be shared with another person.