Firstly, landlords cannot freely increase rent to any level and tenants can challenge rent increases. However, assuming the increase is reasonable, a tenant in receipt of Universal Credit may be able to receive extra money to cover the increased costs.
It is advised that where a tenant (on Universal Credit or Housing Benefits) struggles with the increased costs, they should inform their council’s housing team before the increase begins and attach evidence of the increase. Tenants can apply for ‘discretionary housing payments’ from their local council for extra help.
Individuals on Universal Credit who claim housing costs for rent are also responsible for informing the Department of Work and Pensions of any changes in their rent. There is a maximum amount an individual can get under Universal Credit- this is based on where that person lives, the size of their household, income and other relevant factors. Provided a rental property is suitable for a tenant on Universal Credit (for example having the right amount of bedrooms) and the rent is at market value it seems likely that the council will fund rent increases.