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What is the 4 rent free weeks?

in Benefits & Tax Credits
13 replies 632 views
I'm getting additional rent arrears each month and I think it's because of the 4 rent free week thing.

It says on UC statement your rent is £xxx but because of 4 rent free weeks are giving you £yyy.
The difference becomes arrears. So why is this happening why do I get deducted for 4 weeks of the year?

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  • edited 15 May at 8:11PM
    tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    edited 15 May at 8:11PM
    It's because you don't pay rent to your landlord for four weeks of the year, but you are getting the same payment from UC for 52 weeks of the year. 
    e.g. If your weekly rent is £100, but you have 4 weeks when you don't pay it, your rent for the year will be £4800. (48 weeks * £100). UC will pay you £400 per month towards your rent, even though for 11 months of the year your rent is £433.33 per month, but this is because in the last month you only £33.33 in rent is due, but you still get £400 from UC. So it all balances out.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • theDon876theDon876 Forumite
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    tacpot12 said:
    It's because you don't pay rent to your landlord for four weeks of the year, but you are getting the same payment from UC for 52 weeks of the year. 
    e.g. If your weekly rent is £100, but you have 4 weeks when you don't pay it, your rent for the year will be £4800. (48 weeks * £100). UC will pay you £400 per month towards your rent, even though for 11 months of the year your rent is £433.33 per month, but this is because in the last month you only £33.33 in rent is due, but you still get £400 from UC. So it all balances out.
    I still don't get it. I just need to work out why I have rent arrears. From around the 1st to 8th of May I have accumulated around £65 of rent arrears.
  • Norman_CastleNorman_Castle Forumite
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    How much is your weekly rent? Is the payment date different to the due date?
    I'm not a cat.
  • Robbie64Robbie64 Forumite
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    theDon876 said:
    tacpot12 said:
    It's because you don't pay rent to your landlord for four weeks of the year, but you are getting the same payment from UC for 52 weeks of the year. 
    e.g. If your weekly rent is £100, but you have 4 weeks when you don't pay it, your rent for the year will be £4800. (48 weeks * £100). UC will pay you £400 per month towards your rent, even though for 11 months of the year your rent is £433.33 per month, but this is because in the last month you only £33.33 in rent is due, but you still get £400 from UC. So it all balances out.
    I still don't get it. I just need to work out why I have rent arrears. From around the 1st to 8th of May I have accumulated around £65 of rent arrears.
    Are you paying the full amount of rent that is due each month? If so then you shouldn't have arrears. If you are paying what Universal Credit are paying you, your rent will fall into arrears. This is because
    1. UC may not pay all of your rent if it includes things such as water and sewerage charges (you can't get help with these)
    2. if you have 4 rent free weeks then the rent you need to pay to the landlord may be higher than what UC are paying you each month. Your landlord doesn't really give you 4 weeks free rent every year. What they do is divide the annual rent (weekly rent x 52) by 48 instead of 52 and you pay more rent in those 48 weeks, to make up for the 4 weeks when you would pay nothing. Universal Credit pays the rent all year around so you have your annual rent divided by 12.
    Have you told your landlord you are on UC? If so, you may be able to wok out a payment plan to pay the rent by direct debit or monthly payments over 12 months which should help.

  • edited 16 May at 11:20AM
    calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    edited 16 May at 11:20AM
    theDon876 said: I still don't get it. I just need to work out why I have rent arrears. From around the 1st to 8th of May I have accumulated around £65 of rent arrears.
    What bit don't you get?
    tacpot12 said:
    It's because you don't pay rent to your landlord for four weeks of the year, but you are getting the same payment from UC for 52 weeks of the year. 
    e.g. If your weekly rent is £100, but you have 4 weeks when you don't pay it, your rent for the year will be £4800. (48 weeks * £100). UC will pay you £400 per month towards your rent, even though for 11 months of the year your rent is £433.33 per month, but this is because in the last month you only £33.33 in rent is due, but you still get £400 from UC. So it all balances out.
    tacpots explanation seems clear to me but I'll try phrasing it differently. Taking the example he gives, your rent for the year is £4,800 and you are expected to pay £100/week for 48 weeks and nothing for 4 weeks.
    UC calculates your rent over 52 weeks so only pays you the equivalent of £92.31/week. If you only pay this amount to your landlord each week then, in weeks where rent is payable, you are underpaying by £7.69/week which will create arrears.
    Over the course of 52 weeks you will have still received enough UC to cover all of the rent  it's just that the UC payment schedule doesn't match your rent liability schedule.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • LifemattersLifematters Forumite
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    UC will average you annual rent over a 12 month period 

    So if your weekly rent is £100 with 4 weeks rent free per year then your annual charge is £100 x 48 = £4800 per year.

    Your rent for UC will be £4800 per year / 12 = £400 per month.
  • hucksterhuckster Forumite
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    @thedon876 suggest that you speak to your landlord as this is obviously causing you concern. They will explain what you need to do.
    The comments I post are personal opinion. Always refer to official information sources before relying on internet forums. If you have a problem with any organisation, enter into their official complaints process at the earliest opportunity, as sometimes complaints have to be started within a certain time frame.
  • pickledonionspaceraiderpickledonionspaceraider Forumite
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    Try and chill out.  It isn't a problem - IMHO stop looking for problems that don't exist - life's too short hunni x
    With love, POSR <3
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    Try and chill out.  It isn't a problem - IMHO stop looking for problems that don't exist - life's too short hunni x
    It is a potential problem if OP doesn't pay the shortfall in the rent during the months in which it is needed.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Robbie64Robbie64 Forumite
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    calcotti said:
    Try and chill out.  It isn't a problem - IMHO stop looking for problems that don't exist - life's too short hunni x
    It is a potential problem if OP doesn't pay the shortfall in the rent during the months in which it is needed.
     It can also be a potential problem if they do pay the shortfall and therefore have less money available to live on.
    Over 12 months the reduction in money available to live on would even itself out but if someone is on UC for a shorter period of time than a year the person may never have the advantage of getting to a month where the housing costs are paid in UC but no rent is due.

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