When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing Benefit and Universal Credit for landlords

This page is for landlords operating in Northern Ireland.  You can find advice for tenants elsewhere on our website. Private landlords in Northern Ireland can call Landlord Advice on 028 9024 5640 and choosing option 5. Lines open Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 2.30pm.

The current state of the economy means that more and more people may have to apply for housing benefit for help with their housing costs. Housing benefit can only be used to pay for rent and rates. It will not cover any service charges or heating costs.

If you are a private landlord, it's important that you understand how the system works and what your tenants are entitled to.

Private tenants who claim help with their rent will get either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. There are two different systems used to calculate how much Housing Benefit someone will get. In most cases, the Local Housing Allowance system dictates how much Housing Benefit a private tenant can receive, but some older tenancies will still be assessed under the old Housing Benefit rules. This will only apply to protected tenancies and tenancies in which a claimant has continuously been receiving Housing Benefit since before April 2008 without a change in circumstances. 

Universal Credit will eventually replace Housing Benefit for the majority of working-age claimants in Northern Ireland. While some accommodation will continue to be assessed under Housing Benefit, all private tenancies will eventually come under the Universal Credit system.