Apply for a direct rent payment – pilot research


Over the past year we have been working with landlords to improve the process for requesting direct rent payments or rent arrears deductions for landlords with tenants claiming Universal Credit (UC).

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been working with landlords, letting agencies and UC processing teams to fully understand the issues and their impact on both the landlord and the DWP. This has included conducting face to face interviews, focus groups and testing of various service designs.

The findings from this research have 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.

We are now seeking a cross section of landlords and letting agencies to trial the new service in a live environment. The focus of the trial is to understand and learn what works, what doesn’t work and how we can further improve the service.


  • We aim to recruit landlords by the end of July 2018. Landlords will be notified whether they have been selected or not.
  • A start up meeting will be arranged to discuss participation in the trial. This is likely to be in Manchester City Centre w/c 20/08/2018 but there are options for specific visits to landlords if you are unable to attend on the date.
  • The trial is expected to start either w/c 27 August 2018 or w/c 3 September 2018. This will be clarified with selected landlords once confirmed.

Landlord selection:

 We will select 12 – 15 private landlords to participate in the trial.

  • The trial will include landlords and letting agencies of various sizes, tenant profiles and experience of using the current process for applying for a direct rent payment or rent arrears deductions.
  • 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.

Participation in the trial:

  • From the trial start date selected landlords will use the new service to apply for direct rent payments or rent arrears deductions. They will use this instead of the current ‘UC47’ process.
  • Our user researcher Jude Eccles will work closely with landlords in order to identify, understand and resolve any issues that need to be fixed, identify improvements to the service and understand how landlords feel about the service.
  • Your participation will involve attending an initial ‘start up’ meeting and then, during the trial, a combination of face to face interviews, telephone interviews and visits to watch you use the service. Landlords who wish to get further involved may opt to carry out diary studies which will help us to understand in detail your full customer journey / experience. Details will be covered in the start-up meeting.
  • Any information you provide or feedback you give as part of the trial will be treated in the strictest confidence and will only be used for research purposes. It will not be shared outside of the DWP.

If you are interested: 

  • If you wish to be considered for the trial please download and complete the ‘About You’ trial questionnaire here (which should only take 5 minutes to complete) and send it to
  • If you are not selected to participate in the trial (unless you express otherwise) we will hold your details in case we expand the trial at a later date.
  • If you have any further queries you may contact Jude Eccles on 0161 951 6362 who will be happy to talk things through with you.