Money Matters: The '53-week' rent year explained

In this week’s Money Matters column, Wrekin’s Debt and Energy Manager Dan Bebbington explains the unusual ‘53-week year’ affecting some renters in 2024/25.

If your rent is charged weekly and you get help towards it from Universal Credit, there may be a shortfall this year.

Many landlords, including Wrekin, charge rent weekly on a Monday. Unusually, there are 53 Mondays in the current rent year, so you will need to pay rent for 53 weeks.

If you claim Universal Credit, it means that there is one week in this rent year when you will not get any help, because the DWP calculates your monthly Housing Costs over 52 weeks. You will need to make up this shortfall yourself.

You may need to make a change to your payments depending on how you pay your rent. The extra week is factored into the calculation that we make when creating your payment plan for the year.

This extra week is spread across each of your payments, to make it easier for you. This will mean you don’t need to pay it in one go.

For example, if your rent is £120 a week, you’ll need to pay an extra £10 a month to cover the ‘missing’ week.

If you pay your rent by direct debit, the amount should have been updated automatically at the start of the new rent year in April. You will have also been contacted to confirm the new collection amounts.

If you pay by standing order, you’ll need to contact your bank to update the amount, to avoid falling behind in your rent.

It’s a good idea to do this sooner rather than later, to keep the extra weekly amount as low as possible.

People who receive help with their rent through Housing Benefit rather than Universal Credit are not affected and don’t need to do anything.

Wrekin customers who find themselves struggling to pay their rent, or need help understanding their payments, can contact their Housing Executive. Our Money Matters team is also there to support you.

30th May 2024