by Mick Roberts
10:35 AM, 4th March 2022, About 3 months ago
If anyone is familiar with Universal Credit UC Direct arrears deductions, it stops tenants from becoming homeless. If a tenant gets in arrears, & may only be short falling £50pm, the Landlord can apply for these deductions direct from the tenant’s UC. It helps the tenant budget and really can be the difference from adding to the £10,000 taxpayer bill for each homeless tenant.
As a Landlord may want £750pm, he’s getting £625, but he’s not gonna’ swallow £125 every month, he may swallow £75 every month if being paid the £50 from UC Direct arrears deductions.
These deductions are paid every 28 days instead of paid with the tenant’s calendar monthly rent. Already making it awkward for tenant & Landlord to budget when we may have, £2000+ arrears.
It’s paid every 28 days as DWP just farm this part put to a Third Party Team who are more remote than Mars. You can’t talk to them even if you were Pamela Anderson with a million pounds in your briefcase.
These payments always stop, no one tells you anything. If you do manage to get a reply email it goes like this:
Normal UC staff say this on the journal (If you have a tenant you are getting on with to put notes on the journal) about 3rd Party Payments Team:
Our agents at the Service Centre will refer complaints and queries to those best able to deal with them. It is impossible for an agent or case manager to have the answer to questions about systems we have no access to.
I have, therefore, unfortunately, referred your query to third party deductions. Their number is 0800 328 0128 if you need to chase this up with your Landlord.
Apologies that we cannot be more specific.
Nottingham Service Centre
3rd Party Team say this:
We are Third Party Payments just the paying agents and do not set up, end or amend deductions. Please contact the benefits office you applied to for the deductions to be set up. They issue your rent payments direct.
That phone number above doesn’t work, by the way. So you can’t talk to anyone.
So Bill Irvine of universalcreditadvice.com has been trying to get the system changed for 9 years. Me for 6 years since UC in Nottingham. No joy.
The third party team have been paying water gas elec bills etc. for years out of peoples benefits to prevent loss of supply-If the tenant doesn’t pay it. However, as with everything UC, they don’t understand rent and homeless prevention.
However, through my great Labour MP Alex Norris, I’ve contacted Sir David Rutley MP, Minister for Welfare Delivery & within the swoop of a Malteser melting, he’s getting it changed.
Rutley says “I sincerely apologise for any confusion and inconvenience the previous reply caused…I share your constituent’s frustration and have worked with my officials to get clarity on the situation.”
“Roberts called for the payments to be aligned and the Minister has announced that from March, new applications for rent arrears from PRS landlords will receive deductions directly via the Universal Credit system – ensuring they are calculated, deducted and paid to landlords following each assessment period. Existing arrangements will not change.
“In the letter, he explained how a third-party payment system paid out the arrears based on a different time-frame, rather than the Universal Credit system.”
Rutley added: “Officials are looking at how Universal Credit will operate when legacy payment systems are retired, including how deductions for rent arrears can be paid to landlords in the most efficient and sensible way.”
That’s 7% of UC changed. Another 93% to go. Click here
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